Who down wit’ CPP?... or SPSM, CPM, or CPPM?

on Friday, August 6, 2010

I’ll kick this entry off by apologizing for the throwback reference to the 1991 pure-gold Naughty by Nature hit. It was a temptation I just couldn’t resist. I promise this will pertain to purchasing certifications and not 90’s gangster rap. If you’re a purchasing manager, you may have wondered if a certification will add value to your skill set and increase your marketability. If you are considering obtaining a certification, the question then becomes, “Which of the myriad certification options is right for you.” After reading this, you should get a better idea of which certification you’re “Down wit”.

SPSM® is the abbreviation for Senior Professional in Supply Management. This certification comes from our friends over at Next Level Purchasing. This program, founded by Charles Dominick, is rapidly becoming one of the most recognized certifications in the procurement world. 44 credits of continuing education courses must be completed through personal interactive online courses, as well as a final exam. Next Level has certified over 2,800 procurement professionals in 60+ countries.

This particular certification acronym stands for Certified Purchasing Manager. Getting this cert means that you are on the cutting edge of procurement management…if the year was 2007. Unfortunately for any CPM’s out there, your certification is out of date. In 2008, the Institute for Supply Chain Management replaced this credential with the CPSM (Certified Professional in Supply Management). This updated cert is designed to encompass the increased scope of duties purchasing managers are now involved with. The ISCM is probably one of the more visible, well-known accrediting bodies.

All of the above certifications are issued by the American Purchasing Society. The Certified Purchasing Professional credential is designed for “professionals who have demonstrated the skills to successfully implement improved purchasing and supply chain practices as part of a business solution in an organization”

If you’re still green in purchasing, but have demonstrated some success, this cert would be right for you. The Certified Professional Purchasing Manager certificate is designed for anyone in a managerial position. It basically stamps a label on a general manager that they have formal training when it comes to the procurement function. The Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant moniker caters to CPP’s “who either consult or teach purchasing to people outside of their own employer.” Here’s lookin’ at you, all you quality third party sourcing consultants out there.

The Certified Supply Chain Professional cert comes from the Association for Operations Management. The AOP claims to differentiate their certification from others by bringing “your company's entire value chain into perspective.” The idea with this cert is to learn how to look at the purchasing function relative to the rest of an organization’s value chain.

Both the Certified Professional Public Buyer and the Certified Public Purchasing Officer credentials are both intended for purchasing professionals in the public arena. If you’re working for “the man”, chances are this is the certification for you.

If you’re head is spinning with C’s and P’s right about now, we have something in common. The answer really depends on what industry you’re in, and what certs your organization values most. Ask your boss. Bring it to HR. Research your industry. Whichever you choose it is important to pick a credential that will do more for you then hang on the wall. Make sure whatever certification program you choose has tangible, applicable content that will actually improve your purchasing abilities.


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