Executive Briefings

Why Certification Is Important to Supply Chain Managers

Paul Novak, chief executive officer of the Institute for Supply Management, traces the development of the organization's CPSM certification, and discusses its value in promoting industry knowledge and career advancement.

The last 10 to 15 years have seen a dramatic growth of supply-chain management programs at universities across the country, says Novak. "Prior to that," he says, "people ended up in it by accident, then fell in love with it. This has been a remarkable change."

Nevertheless, the general public is still not fully aware of the value of supply chain as a discipline for study. The general ignorance that has dogged the field for decades "has diminished, but is not gone," Novak says. Even senior executives don't always appreciate the importance of taking a supply-chain perspective of their operations. In the automotive industry, for example, between 75 and 80 percent of the cost of goods sold emanates from outside the organization. "All of a sudden," he says, "you realize you had better pay attention to that."

One path to greater respect is the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation of the Institute for Supply Management. Formulated just three years ago, the certification already carries big benefits. Novak cites a recently salary survey which showed that holders of a CPSM earn on average 23 percent more than those without it. "Without question, it makes you more marketable."

There's an element of personal satisfaction as well. For those who make the effort, Novak says, "it's really a personal declaration of commitment to the profession, and a personal challenge to prove they have mastered the subject."

Supply-chain professionals are seeking certification on a global scale. South Korea has the second-highest number of CPSMs, after the U.S. Novak encourages students to take the exam as they finish their senior year, or by the second year of their MBA programs. The whole process can be completed in three to six months. "I say, go test," Novak urges.

To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.

Paul Novak, chief executive officer of the Institute for Supply Management, traces the development of the organization's CPSM certification, and discusses its value in promoting industry knowledge and career advancement.

The last 10 to 15 years have seen a dramatic growth of supply-chain management programs at universities across the country, says Novak. "Prior to that," he says, "people ended up in it by accident, then fell in love with it. This has been a remarkable change."

Nevertheless, the general public is still not fully aware of the value of supply chain as a discipline for study. The general ignorance that has dogged the field for decades "has diminished, but is not gone," Novak says. Even senior executives don't always appreciate the importance of taking a supply-chain perspective of their operations. In the automotive industry, for example, between 75 and 80 percent of the cost of goods sold emanates from outside the organization. "All of a sudden," he says, "you realize you had better pay attention to that."

One path to greater respect is the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation of the Institute for Supply Management. Formulated just three years ago, the certification already carries big benefits. Novak cites a recently salary survey which showed that holders of a CPSM earn on average 23 percent more than those without it. "Without question, it makes you more marketable."

There's an element of personal satisfaction as well. For those who make the effort, Novak says, "it's really a personal declaration of commitment to the profession, and a personal challenge to prove they have mastered the subject."

Supply-chain professionals are seeking certification on a global scale. South Korea has the second-highest number of CPSMs, after the U.S. Novak encourages students to take the exam as they finish their senior year, or by the second year of their MBA programs. The whole process can be completed in three to six months. "I say, go test," Novak urges.

To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.