The profession of supply chain management has evolved to a critical skill needed by businesses of all sizes. Businesses that manage their supply chain are 73% more profitable and realize a 40% return on their investments in supply chain management. For professionals in this career field, they have the potential to start at $51K per year and work their way up the ladder to over $200K when they become a Chief Procurement Officer for their company.

When a supply chain professional earns certification, not only are they well qualified for higher positions, but also are positioned to earn 8-10% more than their peers who are not certified (ISM 2013 Salary Survey).

As the supply chain profession becomes more competitive for the best people, companies are looking for experienced supply chain professionals who have certifications to prove that they are an expert of at least one of the following fields: operations, supply, inventory, production, and supplier management. However, Supply chain professionals are bewildered due to an array of options that they can choose in terms of certifications available to them.

This only means that your career will have a significant trajectory once you earn a certificate in any Supply Chain Management Certifications. A certificate program gives you tools and ideas that will help shape and define your leadership, decision-making, and inventory and procurement skills. Individuals who are just starting up a career in the Supply Chain Management often get confused on what certificate they should earn. Every Supply Chain Professional should remember to only choose certifications that are significantly recognized.

This article will discuss widely acknowledged supply chain certifications that can help you not only land on a job, but also earn you 8-10% more than non-certified people:

  • Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)
  • Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD)
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • Certificate in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) offers the supply chain certificate programs CPSM and CPSD, and the Association for Operations Management (APICS) offers CSCP and CPIM. Any of these certifications demonstrate your commitment to professional development and a desire to do more than the minimum. The differences between the certification are the areas of focus, your career goals, and the qualification requirements.

The certification you choose to pursue should align with your career goals because the investment of time and money to achieve these certifications can be significant. Since the long-term benefits once certified are substantial, your time investment needs to immediate with a guaranteed result, so consider how much time you need to commit to achieve a guaranteed result of certification.


CPSM Is the foundation for a career in supply management

CPSM was launched in 2008 and this certification is focused on supply chain management, covering the technical, managerial, and leadership skills required for career professionals. The certification was developed in 2005 from a survey conducted by ISM. The survey asked supply professionals from companies generating $1 Billion in annual revenue what competencies they needed in their team. The results were the CPSM Certification that evaluated a person’s competencies in 14 areas required to manage a supply chain from end-to-end. As an individual deciding which certification to pursue, you should note that ISM conducted a salary survey in 2013 that showed professionals with CPSM earn 9% more than those who are not certified, so certification is important.


Purpose of CPSM

CPSM exam certifies that you have key competencies in the areas of supplier relationship administration, risk compliance, finance, organization global strategy and that you are a leader in the supply chain management profession.

Eligibility or Qualifications to take the CPSM

Supply leaders who opt to take the CPSM exam must meet the following CPSM Qualifications:

  • Three (3) years full-time, professional supply management experience with a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree (non-clerical, non-support) or five (5) years of supply management experience (non-clerical, non-support) without a degree.
  • Pass 3 CPSM® Exams OR if you are a C.P.M. in good standing, passed the Bridge Exam


Coverage of the CPSM Exam

The results for the CPSM Exams are good for three years, so when you are just starting a career in supply management, the preparation process with CPSM materials are a great way to get a solid foundation in the fundamentals and give you the skills to show your value to an employer. When you are planning to take the CPSM exam, you need to know that there are three CPSM Examinations covering the following skills:

CPSM Exam 1: Foundations of Supply Management

(165 questions; 25 tasks; 2 hours and 45 minutes)

  • Cost & Finance
  • Contracting and Negotiation
  • International
  • Social Responsibility
  • Sourcing
  • Supplier Management


CPSM Exam 2:  Effective Supply Management Performance

(165 questions; 24 tasks; 2 hours and 45 minutes)

  • Forecasting
  • Logistics
  • Materials and Inventory Management
  • Organization/ Department Management
  • Planning
  • Project Management
  • Product Development
  • Quality

CPSM Exam 3: Leadership in Supply Management

(180 questions; 32 tasks; 3 hours)

  • Leadership
  • Risk and Compliance
  • Strategic Sourcing


CPSD is suited for supply professionals in charge of diversity programs

The Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity was launched in January 2011 after the successful pilot testing that was participated by more than 200 professionals in November 2010.


Purpose of CPSD

Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity is a professional designation for supply leaders who demonstrate understanding, skills and proficiency in supplier and/or strategic diversity. Diversity programs are increasing in popularity due to the significant impact they have on local businesses. This certification is necessary for people required to develop and manage diversity programs because the certification grounds you in the skills required to manage diverse suppliers and leverage the benefits of small businesses.

Eligibility or Qualifications for the CPSD

  • Successfully pass Exam 1 of the Certified Professional in Supply Management®(CPSM®). This requirement is waived if the candidate holds a current C.P.M. or CPSM.
  • Minimum of five years professional (non-clerical, non-support) supplier diversity or supply management experience (does not need to be primary function), OR three years of professional (non-clerical, non-support) supplier diversity or supply management experience IF the candidate has a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or international equivalent).


Coverage of the CPSD Exam

CPSD Exam covers 120 questions. Everyone is given 2 hours to complete the exam. CPSD covers the following topics:

  • Certified in Supplier Diversity
  • Policies and Planning
  • Sourcing/Supplier Development
  • Finance/Budgeting
  • Metrics/Oversight
  • Training and Development
  • Advocacy/Marketing/Outreach


CPIM is Ideal for Professionals in Inventory Management

Certificate in Production and Inventory Management’s inception was in 1973. It is considered as the most recognized certification in Supply Chain Management.

You should note that the APICS Operations Management Outlook survey showed that professionals with CPIM earn up to 14% more in annual compensation than those who are not certified, so certification is important.


Purpose of CPIM

Get the CPIM if you want to become an expert in planning and scheduling inventory management. The whole program provides you with an ability to comprehend and assess production and inventory activities within your company’s global operations. If you plan to focus your career in manufacturing, then CPIM is the best certification for you. As you seek more responsibility with higher paying positions, you should consider other certifications that look at all aspects of the supply chain that builds on the CPIM certification.

Eligibility or Qualifications to take the CPIM

  • No bachelor’s degree is required
  • You need two or more years of experience in the field


Coverage of the CPIM Exam

A professional seeking to have a Certificate in Production and Inventory Management must pass all five modules:

  • Module 1: Basics of Supply Chain Management
  • Module 2: Master Planning of Resources
  • Module 3: Details Scheduling and Planning
  • Module 4: Execution and Control of Operations
  • Module 5: Strategic Management of Resources


CSPC is fit for General Supply Chain Careers

Certified Supply Chain Professional was first launched in 2006. CSPC is similar to the CPSM and provides a certification for professionals who seek broad overview in Supply Chain Management for the manufacturing industry. A CSPC’s salary varies greatly depending in the company, location, industry and experience.


Purpose of CSPC

The CSPC teaches professionals to have a broad perspective in supply chain management, view relations between planning, manufacturing, sourcing and delivery and also oversee how the supply chain integrates.


Eligibility or Qualifications to take the CSPC

To be eligible for the APICS CSCP designation, you must have:

  • The APICS CPIM, CFPIM, or CIRM; or C.P.M., or CPSM designations plus two years of related business experience, or
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent plus two years of related business experience, or
  • Five years of related business experience.

Coverage of the CSPC

The CSPC consists of three modules. Each module consists of 175 questions. The following are the parts of the CSPC exam:

  • Module 1: Supply Chain Fundamentals
  • Module 2: Supply Chain Strategy, Design, and Compliance
  • Module 3: Implementation and Operations

Study Options for the Supply Management Certifications

There are a lot of study options to prepare for supply management certification. Based on your time availability, budget, and career goals, you need to select the best option for you. The preparation options you can follow are self-study, online reviews, university classes, and certification review boot camps.

However, studying all by yourself may not produce the result you want because you may miss important details as you navigate through the mounds of reading materials. If you choose this option, augment this process by enrolling in an online course that give you the preparation strategies you need to focus your efforts.

Time is the most expensive investment in your certification efforts. Do not waste your time guessing what you need to do. Instead, use an online course that tells you exactly what to do and not only give you preparation strategies, but also strategies to use during the exam. Some online programs include personal coaching which give you the opportunity to ask specific questions for your needs. Without the coach, you are no better off because you are still wasting time trying to figure things out on your own.  Again, don’t waste your time, get involved in the right program that gets you certified in the most efficient way possible.

Attending university classes is another option. Qualified instructors present university classes over a semester. The cost of the class is similar to the expense of a university course and may be reimbursable by your company’s tuition assistance program. These courses are scheduled over a 12-week semester at night or on the weekends. The time commitment may take you away from your family on the weekends or require you to class after a long day at work, so consider the impact on your personal time when considering this option, especially if you spend long hours at work or traveling for work.

One of the desirable study methods is to participate in Boot Camp Review Courses. In boot camp review you will meet a lot of enthusiastic and driven professionals just like you. In boot camps, you can also assure that the instructor is equipped and you can easily interact and ask questions to him/her.

When you want to get certified as soon as possible, the 3-day or 5-day review courses fit your needs best. These courses are set up to give you the information you need to pass the tests the first time. The best candidates for these courses are people who have three or more years of experience and want to get certified as soon as possible. When looking at review course providers, consider their experience teaching boot camps, success rate of people passing the test, availability of classes, and a guarantee that you will get certified.

Of these factors, the most important is the guarantee because you are investing in a result of certification that leads to long-term rewards. When you invest in this training, you want to make sure the investment will have the return on your investment.

There are many study options available to you to help you achieve your career goals.

One of the best companies that offer online, certification coaching, and live review courses is Jack Quinn Solutions, LLC..  Their CPSM Certification Training Program is one of the most comprehensive and effective programs available. JQS offers the following:

  • Personalized study plan based on diagnostic test;
  • Interactive instruction that bring the material to live and easier to recall;
  • One-on-one coaching to get personal attention;
  • Assigned certification coach that will walk you through the entire process;
  • Teach you exam strategies and many more!

By participating in this kind of study session, you are saving time, money, and effort! You can also get rid of thick boring books since all you have to do is listen, participate, and watch live materials.

Visit to get a FREE study guide “How To Pass the CPSM Exams” and more details about how you can easily pass the Supply Chain Management Certification Exams. When you need information now, call 877-680-0494 to speak to one of our representatives who listen to your career goals and help you develop a plan to achieve the results you need to provide for your family. 4 certifications


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