The SPSM Certification

Charles Dominick sent me a copy of his latest benchmark survey results, titled: 2008 Purchasing & Supply Management Career & Skills Report. It is available for download from his site, on this page. One of the interesting quotes in the summary section was:

Employers are increasingly seeking candidates with certifications to fill open purchasing and supply management positions. Purchasing and supply management professionals possessing the SPSM Certification earn an average of $19,220 more per year than those who do not possess the SPSM Certification. As of January 2008, the SPSM Certification has been earned or is being pursued by purchasing and supply management professionals in over 60 countries around the world.

Of course, this makes total sense. The fascinating part about this to me, is from the business perspective. Charles has made a company from a perceived need (like any business). In this case, because he felt the CPM and ISM were outdated and were losing their value. Dominick mentions on his website:

“So in 2004, Next Level Purchasing launched the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification Program. The SPSM Certification was the first purchasing certification designed to be both a globally recognized certification as well as the most modern certification, as opposed to being created by a “national” association in decades past. It was meant to give employers confidence that they were selecting the true “cream of the crop” when they made their staff selections.”

It is obviously working, as thousands of procurement professionals are choosing an independent certification over (or in conjunction with) a national association certification, which has been around for a long time. Personally, I think there is more of a story to this. What was wrong with the CPM that created a business opportunity? What was the “A-ha” moment? How long did it take before the dam broke and acceptability was easier?

Good questions and we may never know the answers. Unless…maybe Charles himself would care to elaborate with some more detail about how this all came to be? Open invite for a guest post, Charles. I think it is a very interesting story.

6 Responses to The SPSM Certification

  1. I accept the invitation. Give me a few days and I’ll get the guest post to you. I agree that eSourcing forum readers will find the story to be fascinating!


    How does a Sourcing professional select which certification to pursue, and is it worthwhile to pursue them all? I’ve always enjoyed having letters behind my name.

  3. Hi Matt.
    Here are things to look at:

    1. Focus on Your Profession. You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you get a certification from an organization that focuses on what job you do and what job you want to do. If your current or desired title is something like buyer, purchasing agent, procurement specialist, supply manager, director of purchasing, etc., then you want a certification from an organization focused on purchasing and supply management (like the SPSM). If your current or desired title is inventory planner, production scheduler, inventory control analyst, etc., then you want a certification from an organization focused on those fields (like the CSCP from the American Production and Inventory Control Society).

    2. Global Recognition. Today, purchasing and supply management professionals are doing more and more business with international suppliers. Getting a national certification will fail in communicating to your global supplier counterparts what caliber of purchasing and supply management professional you are. A globally-recognized certification (like the SPSM) will help you in this regard while also teaching you from a global purchasing perspective.

    3. Future Promise of the Certification. At least one of the certifications you cited above is soon no longer going to be available. So be careful not to invest your time and money into a certification that will decline in value as time passes. Also look to the history of the organization’s certifications. Do they pull the plug on their certifications (like the A.P.P. no longer being available after a few years on the market)? Also, think of the risk of a “copycat” certification being forced out of the market. If there are similarly named certifications (not just the acronym, but the full name), check to see which was out first, whether there are trademarks registered, and if there are any office actions from the US Patent and Trademark Office outstanding against the “second to market.” In this world of monkey-see-monkey-do, it is quite possible that a new certification could be forced out of the market due to trademark infringement. So it would be sad for anyone who invested their time and money into such a certification.

  4. I recently conducted a job search through career builders in Rochester, NY and didn’t see one company requiring SPSM they were looking for CPM or APICS certification. Where in the United States is the SPSM more widely recognized? How does the SPSM compare to having the CPSM? How do potential employers view a candidate with a SPSM taken online verses having a CPSM from a national association. What are the continuing eduction requirements to keep the SPSM current?

  5. How an IT professional working as a eprocurement consultant ,select which certification to pursue?

  6. I have doubts about this certification being legit when links on the official spsm website are dead and not working….

    I’ve taken a couple of the spsm courses, they’re useful in what I do but some of the online courses are poorly written and have missing links (wtf?)

    The one thing i dont understand is that the spsm2 certification which gives out a free ‘amazon card’… kinda sending a bad message when an educational institution has to give away free stuff to get people to sign up.

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