CPM & CPIM Certification


Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) and Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certifications are credentials for management-level business professionals. The CPM certification is aimed at individuals who specialize in purchasing and supply management, and CPIM certification is geared toward manufacturing professionals, who may or may not be involved with purchasing and supply.

CPM Certification Function

  • The CPM credential is a nationally recognized industry standard used to indicate competence in purchasing and supply management. The certification process concentrates on leadership and management ability and related skills, such as forecasting, inventory management and sourcing analysis. Applicants demonstrate proficiency in the operational aspects of purchasing, which includes mastery of such functions as negotiations, technology, creating agreements and managing relationships.

CPM Certification Features

  • The CPM examination contains four modules that applicants can take all at one time or on different occasions. Candidates must pass all four modules to receive the CPM credential. The first three modules contain 95 questions each, and the fourth module includes 120 questions. Applicants receive 105 minutes to complete the first three modules and 130 minutes to complete the fourth.

CPM Considerations

  • The Institute for Supply Management, or ISM, administered the CPM credential from 1974 to December 2009. The organization has since transitioned the credential to a program that offers recertification only to individuals who have already earned the CPM designation. Recertification requires a new application every five years to demonstrate participation in at least 84 hours of acceptable continuing education during the active period of certification. Applicants must submit the recertification application no more than 120 days before the CPM credential is scheduled to expire.

CPIM Certification Function

  • The Association for Operations Management, or APICS, has administered the CPIM credential since 1973. The certification process evaluates candidates' knowledge of concepts, processes and terminology related to capacity requirements planning, continuous improvement, demand management, master scheduling, material requirements planning, performance measurements, procurement and supplier planning, quality control, sales and operations planning and supplier relationships. Benefits of acquiring the certification include enhanced knowledge, improved customer relationships, an average 9 percent higher salary and increased credibility, efficiency and profitability, according to APICS.

CPIM Certification Features

  • The CPIM credential requires successful completion of examinations that test candidates' skills in five modules: Basics of Supply Chain Management, Detailed Scheduling and Planning, Execution and Control of Operations, Master Planning of Resources and Strategic Management of Resources. Before the year 2000, CPIM certification required completing examinations in seven modules, which APICS subsequently reconfigured into the current five. The computer-based CPIM examinations are available year-round to APICS members and non-members through testing providers in North America, such as Pearson VUE.

Applicant Requirements

  • Before ISM transitioned the CPM credential to recertification only, candidates had to have either a degree from an accredited four-year school and at least three years of acceptable full-time experience or five years of full-time experience in supply management without a clerical or support focus. Candidates for CPIM certification should be professionals who work in materials management, operations, procurement, production and inventory management, purchasing or supply chain management.

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