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What are the Different Types of Supply Chain Certification?

By Jeri Sullivan
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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Supply chain professionals include buyers, commodity managers and purchasing managers. Many supply chain management jobs require supply chain certification as a prerequisite. The different types of supply chain certification are Certified Supply Chain Professional, Certified Purchasing Manager, Certified Professional in Supply Management, and Retail Supply Chain Certification. The most common supply chain programs are offered by APICS, ISM, and Accenture. Additionally, many four-year colleges and universities offer degrees or a supply chain program.

The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), which is now known as the Association for Operations Management, was founded in 1957. The guiding principles are "advancing productivity, innovation, and competitive success." Originally intended for production managers to become proficient in areas such as production control, inventory management, resource planning, and demand management, APICS has now broadened its scope to include program management and supply chain certification.

The association has rigorous standards within four separate disciplines, including supply chain. The Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certification was introduced in 2010 and requires the candidate to have prior experience in supply chain management. The candidate must also pass a proctored computer exam. Recertification is required every five years. Recertification includes publishing works in supply chain, taking supply chain courses, and continued experience in the supply chain field.

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM), which was formerly known as the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM), is another organization that offers supply chain specialists the opportunity to receive supply chain certification. As of 2010, ISM confers two types of certifications: Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM). Each certification requires prior or current work experience in the procurement and supply chain field.

The CPSM certification is intended for managers and requires at least three years of management experience, a bachelor's degree, and successful completion of three exam modules. The CPM certification is intended for professionals in the area of contract negotiations and supplier relationship management. CPM certification requires previous work experience and successful completion of four exam modules.

Accenture offers a Retail Supply Chain Certification (RSCC). The applicant is required to take and pass four exams. The exams are supply chain fundamentals, inventory management, forecasting and planning, and metrics and process integration.

Unlike the APICS and ISM certifications, the RSCC designation does not require the applicant to be a college graduate or a manager. Instead, the program is designed to teach the candidates and train them during a 40-hour supply chain course. The goal of Accenture's program is to educate retailers, suppliers, and company employees on the aspects of supply chain specific to the retail industry.

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