There are many certifications available for supply chain professionals looking to acquire the skill sets to address the complex supply challenges of today. Certifications also provide added credentials that can allow professionals to advance at their current companies or become more attractive candidates in the job market. We recently sat down with Vince Mozik, Supply Chain Project Manager at Aviall (a Boeing Company) who holds PMI – PMP, APICS – CPIM, and APICS – CSCP certifications to get his thoughts on attaining certifications and what value certifications provide professionals and employers.
How have certificates helped you as a supply chain professional?
“Having worked for various Fortune 500 firms across 5 industries in supply chain, the education gained from certifications have shortened the learning curve and enabled me to effectively diagnosis and solve complex supply chain matters in diverse business environments.”
Outside of technical skills, how have certifications helped you?
“Aside from advancing critical thinking skills, obtaining certifications has fueled a personal continued focus towards the journey of best practices, a process improvement mindset, and the confidence to challenge current business practices early in my career.”
Do you recommend companies put in place a certification training program?
“Yes, as the field of supply chain continues to evolve and become more multifaceted, specialized knowledge gained from certifications will naturally become more vital for firms to stay competitive in today’s global business environment.”
Attaining 5 certifications might be a bit of a stretch but our experience highlights that many professionals that attain one or more certifications on the below list truly set themselves apart from their peers and are best positioned to solve their organizations most pressing problems. Below is a list of the top 5 supply chain certifications every professional needs, and the associated benefits.
1) The Association for Operations Management (APICS) is a leading provider of research and education programs that elevate supply chain professionals through networking, training, and industry recognized certifications.
- Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) The certification provides you with a mastery of supply chain management best practices and distinguishes you as an industry expert with specialized, high-level knowledge and skills.
- Benefits: Provides you with a common standard of supply chain understanding, vocabulary, resources, and frameworks to address supply chain challenges and opportunities. The certification focuses on; customer relations, information technology enablement, working with ERP systems, international trade, physical logistics, and facilitating supply chain functions.
- Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) The certification provides you with the ability to understand and evaluate production and inventory activities within a company’s global operations.
- Benefits: Preferred by thousands of employers worldwide due to core focus on; demand management, procurement management, supplier planning, material requirements planning, capacity planning, sales and operations planning, master scheduling, performance measurements, supplier relationships, quality control, and continuous improvement.
2) Institute for Supply Management (ISM) The Institute for Supply Management is the oldest and largest not-for-profit professional supply management organization in the world. It reaches globally to provide research, education, and industry certifications throughout its vast network to supply chain professional
- Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) The certification establishes you as someone who has mastered the core competencies of the foundational aspects of procurement and sourcing, contracts, negotiation and leadership. The certification sets you apart as an expert in critical areas of global supply chain management such as sustainability, strategic sourcing & forecasting and risk/compliance.
- Benefits: Employers increasingly require CPSM certification as a prerequisite to career advancement within their supply management organizations. Sets a context for the science of purchasing and sourcing as the discipline rapidly evolves. Salary data shows that supply management employees with certification on average earn higher salaries than those with no certification.
- Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) The certification allows you to create high-impact supplier diversity outcomes. Designed for professionals tasked with creating diverse supplier initiatives as well as strategic diversity initiatives. The certification gives you exemplary skills and recognition as an expert in the diversity sourcing field.
- Benefits: Supplier diversity expertise is in high demand, at a time when stable, long-lasting relationships are essential to meeting corporate business and inclusion goals. Salary data shows certification holders on average earn higher salaries than those with no certification.
3. Six Sigma The Six Sigma certifications are unique in that no one organization grants certifications. A number of different organizations, consultants, and universities certify professionals at all levels, such as the American Society for Quality, International Association for Six Sigma Certification, and the University of Michigan. Below are four levels of Six Sigma certifications.
- Yellow Belt – Aimed at those new to the world of Six Sigma who have a need to develop quality foundational knowledge.
- Green Belt – Operates in support of or under the supervision of a Six Sigma Black Belt, analyzes and solves quality problems and is involved in quality improvement projects.
- Black Belt – A professional who can explain Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools and, have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the DMAIC model in accordance with Six Sigma principles.
- Master Black Belt – A mark of career excellence and aimed at individuals who possess exceptional expertise and knowledge of current industry practice.
- Benefits: Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of the process output by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. The quality methodology and processes gained by attaining this certification are invaluable for understanding both empirical, statistical methods.
4) Project Management Institute (PMI) The Project Management Institute provides accreditation in project management, education, research, conferences and training, as well as services including the development of standards, and networking-opportunities within in local chapters.
- PMI – PMP (Project Management Professional) The certification is the gold standard of project management certification. Recognized and demanded by organizations worldwide, the certification validates your competence to perform in the role of a project manager, leading and directing projects and teams.
- Benefits: Signifies that you speak and understand the global language of project management and connects you to a community of professionals, organizations and experts worldwide. Certificate holders also earn, on average, 20% more than non-certified peers.
5) Master of Business Administration (MBA) There is a wide range of master of business administration degrees available to professionals today with many universities offering specialty degrees in specific business functions. Many supply chain professional today are choosing to focus their studies on disciplines outside of supply chain such as finance to broaden their business skill sets to complement their supply chain undergraduate degrees.
- Benefits: Well technically this last certification, is a degree but this final designation is a critical key to advancement to senior positions at many leading companies.
In addition to the above list, there are many purposeful supply chain certifications so depending on your industry and areas of interest every professional and company should seek out the appropriate certifications that will best meet the needs of their organization. The industry organizations above offer many additional certifications focusing on specific supply chain functions so there are many more certifications that could be applicable depending on your professional aspirations. We hope this list, supporting overviews, and benefits allow you to make sense out of the supply chain certification alphabet soup and provided a helpful reference to help guide your future professional certification pursuits and company certification training programs.