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January 2013, Vol. 25, No. 1
for the volunteer leadership

Annual Professional Credentials Issue

Letter From the ISM Professional Credentials Committee Chair

Every day, we see higher starting salaries and promotions strongly correlated with possessing an Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) certification. We all hear quotes about the differential in starting salary negotiated by ISM certified job seekers vs. the noncertified.

The kind of individual who puts forth the effort and sacrifice to obtain an ISM certification typically also performs other job-related activities with the same relative excellence and professionalism:

  • They are more active in ISM and other professional associations, which leads to extra knowledge and stronger personal and professional networks.
  • They know ways to get the job done more efficiently and to make their employer profitable. If they do not have the answer, they know others who do and who are willing to assist them.
  • Their accomplishments testify to superior performance and, when asked, professional references may be more enthusiastic.

The continuing dearth of qualified workers in our workforce, and our need to just get the work done, lead us to seek out individuals who can get more work done on their own. Therefore, an inflated premium is building for the more promising job seekers.

A recent professional development meeting speaker talked about e-commerce (electronic commerce), to be followed by i-commerce (informational commerce), and leading to c-commerce (collaborative commerce). It is these extra-effort individuals who find ways to make these concepts work and who will reap the rewards for their companies. It is companies that hire certified employees, and encourage and support noncertified employees in seeking certification, which will be the winners in this burgeoning global competition we face.

Just as a diploma, a four-year degree or an MBA imply a level of capability and therefore create an expectation of a certain level of performance, a CPSM® raises the bar of expectation. And typically, capability and performance follow that expectation. "We expect more, and therefore we get more."

Be that exceptional performer. Better yet, create a team of exceptional performers and you will see. The results can be astounding.

Set your standards high and achieve your goals. ISM and your local ISM affiliate's Professional Development Educational Committee are here to help you succeed in doing so.

David Van Valkenburgh, CPSM, C.P.M., CFPIM, CSCP, CFCM
Chair, ISM Professional Credentials Committee

Letter From the Vice President of Professional Credentials

More than 5,000 professionals have achieved the Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) designation. As the field has changed, these individuals have continued to learn and expand their knowledge. The CPSM® designation tells leaders, employers and potential employers that the individual with the CPSM® is dedicated to the profession and committed to continual professional growth. The CPSM® identifies leaders in the field.

But what about the C.P.M. (Certified Purchasing Manager)?

Many individuals with a CPSM® previously obtained the C.P.M. designation and have now recognized the importance of demonstrating their knowledge in all areas of supply management.

Individuals who pursue the CPSM® understand the importance of cross-functional skills in all the major areas of supply management. They strive to obtain and demonstrate their overall knowledge by obtaining the CPSM® designation. They continue to challenge themselves professionally. As the CPSM® continues to grow in recognition as the leading global supply management designation, more employers will seek individuals with the CPSM® for new positions and advancement.

For those with a current C.P.M., the road to achieving the CPSM® is, for a limited time, shorter than for those without the C.P.M. designation. Current C.P.M. holders only need to pass one Bridge Exam instead of the three CPSM® Exams that those without a C.P.M. must pass. However, the Bridge Exam option is only available for a limited time. In less than two years, individuals will no longer be able to register for the Bridge Exam — the last day to register is December 31, 2014. After that, C.P.M. holders must take all three CPSM® Exams to qualify.

To assist current C.P.M. holders with preparing for the Bridge Exam, ISM has clearly identified the Bridge Exam material in the CPSM® Study Guide. Other study resources include:

The Bridge Exam Diagnostic Practice Exam is a particularly useful study aid. After the individual takes the Bridge Diagnostic Practice Exam exam, the score report results indicate those areas in which the candidate may need additional study before taking the actual Bridge Exam. The individual can then concentrate further study on those areas.

Time is valuable. Knowing where to concentrate further study not only saves time, but also results in a more effective study process ... reaching the end goal even sooner. Taking advantage of the Bridge Exam option is even smarter.

Make 2013 the year YOU step up your game.

Demonstrate your knowledge of all areas of supply management by achieving the CPSM®!

Andrea Waas, APR, A.P.P.
Vice President, Professional Credentials

CPSM® — What's the Payoff?

What do you tell your fellow affiliate members when they ask you, "Why they should I get the CPSM® certification?" Are you also wondering what achieving the CPSM® can do for your career?

Often, people need to hear from someone who already has the CPSM® about why it made a difference in their career. That was the case with Janell Moffat, a purchasing agent from North Carolina. She had just started studying for the CPSM® and wanted some validation of her choice of credentials. Moffat asked CPSM® group members from ISM's CPSM® LinkedIn group, "I am just starting on the CPSM® path and am curious to know how getting the CPSM® has helped others in their careers?"

Posted responses included being able to set new standards, becoming a resource for others and even being a factor in a new promotion. Here are some of the benefits posted in response to Moffat's question.

Deborah Gamble, CPSM — I realized several benefits from obtaining a CPSM®. The certification set a standard in my department. As a new manager, it added to my qualifications among many of my already-qualified C.P.M. peers. By possessing the certification, I was in a better position to encourage my employees to seek the same. The best part to me was the real learning that took place in studying for the exam. Despite 15 years+ of procurement experience, I still learned so much during my exam prep! My study guides are highlighted, tattered and full of sticky notes. It was such a great experience. I am now doing systems consulting, and the CPSM® certification has helped me define myself not only as a software systems expert but also as a procurement professional — one who truly can understand a purchasing department's needs. Best of luck in your preparation; it's a terrific journey.

Paul Buerkle, CPSM, CPSD — Good choice on pursuing your CPSM®. If you were an accountant, you would probably seek to join the Association of Certified Public Accountants and become a CPA, because that is the designation for the most skilled within that industry. If you want to be seen as the most skilled within a purchasing, sourcing or supply management career field, then you will want to be part of ISM and have your CPSM® (or C.P.M. for those who can keep that designation). Simply obtaining the CPSM® certification did not earn me a promotion to global sourcing manager, but it did allow me to differentiate myself from other candidates. The CPSM® is part of my skills toolbox and indicates an industry-recognized level of understanding of supply management concepts. I trust you will be pleased when the CPSM® is part of your toolbox.

Uriah St. Ange, CPSM — You absolutely cannot go wrong with this certification. Not only is it highly recognized as the industry standard, the knowledge gained is invaluable. Like Paul stated, CPSM® is to supply chain professionals just as CPA is to accountants.

Steve House, CPSM — I earned my CPSM® eight months ago, and it opened my eyes to the parts of supply management that I do not deal with on a daily basis and gave me many more tools in my toolbox. I have used these tools to better accomplish my job and have become a resource for others in my office. The CPSM® spoke volumes of my desire to learn all I can and be the best associate I can be for my company. It set me apart and was a factor in me being promoted at the beginning of this month to a new position. Coworkers have on many occasions spoken to me about the CPSM®, as they saw how I increased my knowledge, as well as the credibility it gives me with them and our customer base. Obtaining my CPSM® and the continued training to keep it has been a real win-win situation for me.

David Castro, CPSM, C.P.M. — I was able to utilize some of the CPSM® study materials to manage customs compliance at a new job. The CPSM® helped me land my current job. While it was not the only reason, my employer valued the certification and it was a great talking point during my interview.

These CPSM®s have proved themselves to be knowledgeable, well-rounded professionals who use up-to-date supply management practices. Not only has the certification made a difference in the careers of these CPSM®s, they have also been able to show others the benefits of getting their own credential.

Are you ready to get your CPSM®? Are you ready to tell others to get their CPSM®? Learn how you can get started now and reap the benefits of your own CPSM® designation. And if you aren't already a member of the CPSM® LinkedIn group, make sure to join today for support from fellow group members. Learn more about the CPSM® program.

Why Certify?

Thinking about going for one of ISM's professional designations? See what some industry leaders have to say about the concept, the process and the rewards. Click here. Feel free to share this video in your affiliate or company's professional development meetings.

CPSM® — Where Do I Start?

If you want to get your CPSM® but don't know where to start, this is for you. Start by taking a good look at the CPSM® and Bridge Exam Specifications (Bridge items are highlighted). This is where you see exactly what you are tested on in each of the exams. By looking over the exam specifications, you can confirm that the CPSM® tests the areas that are important to your personal career path and also figure out what areas you already know as well as what areas you may not be too familiar with. The areas you are not too familiar with are the ones where you need to focus your studies.

As suggested in the How to Study for the CPSM® page, set goals and create a time line to study and take each exam around your work and personal commitments. Most people complete the CPSM® program in six to 12 months. We recommend you plan your timeline around the following goals:

6-Month Time Line
Daily Study Goal Weekly
Monday-Friday Study at least 1 hour each day
(30 min. during lunch/breaks, 30-60 minutes in the evenings)
10 hours 40 hours Take an exam at the end of month 2, 4 and 6
& Sunday
Study 2-3 hours each day

You can always extend your time line if unexpected circumstances come up, but it helps to keep yourself on a specific schedule. If you are an active C.P.M., you only take one Bridge Exam and would set your goal to study and take your exam in two months.

If you begin by taking the CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam practice tests, you generate a score report that tells you your strengths and weaknesses against the tested exam content. When you follow the directions in the Diagnostic Practice Exam, you also get bibliographic references to each item that you missed, telling you where to find the detailed explanations within the other study items (ISM Professional Series and CPSM® Study Guide). These references give you a personalized study plan based on the areas you need to strengthen the most. You'll know which study items you need that contain the areas you need to work on. By using the Diagnostic Practice Exam, you study with a plan based on your needs while keeping your studies time-efficient and cost-efficient.

Get started on your CPSM® today by visiting the How to Study page.

One Exam to Become a CPSD™

If you are an active CPSM® or C.P.M., you only need to pass one exam to become a Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity® (CPSD™). Everyone else is required to take two exams to become a CPSD™.

If you are responsible for supplier diversity initiatives in your organization, you need to look at the CPSD™ certification to demonstrate you are on top of this growing trend in sourcing and supply management. With major players requiring their partners to use diverse suppliers and the need to maintain a competitive edge, if supplier diversity is not already on your organization's radar, it will be soon.

Learn more about the CPSD™ today.

Discounted Exams at Annual Conference — Study Now!

Set your goal and start studying now to prepare for discounted CPSM® and CPSD™ Exams available for everyone to take before the start of Annual Conference. You can take paper-and-pencil exams for US$99.50 member/US$149.50 nonmember each exam on Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Dallas/Ft. Worth. You'll save 50 percent off the regular exam prices of US$199 members/US$299 nonmembers. Choose from a morning and/or afternoon exam time to take your CPSM® and/or CPSD™ Exams. Register now; scroll down to Exam Registration. Advanced registration is required.

Studying for CPSM®? Prefer In-Class Instruction?

If you are studying for the CPSM® Exam and prefer in-class instruction to assist in your studies, there is an upcoming CPSM® Exam Review seminar (#4250) on April, 24-26, 2013 in Grapevine Dallas/Ft. Worth. (Seminar is equivalent to the CPSM® Online Exam Review course and the CPSM® Self-Study Workbook course.) You can even take up to two of your CPSM® Exams following the seminar on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at half-price (see above article). Register today.

Be The Local Solution!

Author: C.J. Nord, C.P.M.
Immediate Past President, ISM—Los Angeles, Inc.

What is the role of the regional ISM affiliate, and how do we bring exceptional value to our members?

One of the ways is though helping them manage the risk unique to our neck of the woods, and to stay on top of changes that affect the supply chains of our local economies. In California, we have our own set of challenges, just as our colleagues do from Texas, to Maryland, to Hong Kong.

During the recent work stoppage at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Port, the ISM—Los Angeles affiliate kept our members informed of the situation, and we offered common sense advice, such as "Talk to your freight professional to understand the back log", and "This situation will impact inventory levels on parts that you may not be directly importing" Knowledge is power, and we want our members to be powerful. It is ISM's responsibility to lead in times of crisis that impact the supply chain.

Now, from one affiliate leader to another, while the work stoppage went on and on, I sweated bullets over a long planned tour of the port with our good friends from APICS Los Angeles. The tour was arranged by Damco USA, part of the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group. You can imagine my relief when the situation was finally resolved a scant two days before the tour. A little too JIT for comfort!

The port tour was an enormous success. Being able to see the port running at more than full speed to catch up on the backlog was top notch supply chain excitement! The tour started with a view of the land operations of the port, and then onto a boat that traveled around the harbor so we could view vessels and operations from the water. Afterwards, we all enjoyed each other's company at a local restaurant. All in all, it was a golden day.

Fellow leaders, in our roles we are often overwhelmed by what it will take to make your local affiliate a success. I believe we have two jobs. Yes, only two. The first is to bring value to membership, and the second is to grow membership. The ISM—Los Angeles mission statement is "To educate, develop, and advance the purchasing and supply management profession by providing opportunities to network, enhance professional skills, and increase the knowledge of our membership." In so doing, we become job creators through the increased margins we gain for our employers, thus freeing up capital for growth, and new hires. We make a positive difference in our communities not just for our members, but for the local economy as well. Keep up the good work! You are the solution!

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