One way CSCMP accomplishes that is through its Young Professionals Group (formerly Associate Members). Because they’re just out of school or only a year or two into their jobs, they pay a smaller membership fee [$150 as opposed to $295 for in individual membership]. “They can’t ask their boss for $5,000 to go to a conference, so this gets them access to knowledge and peers,” Blanchard explained.
ISM also has an important mentoring program, the R. Gene Richter Scholarship Program for Undergraduate Students. R. Gene Richter (1937-2003) was a leader and innovator in supply management and a galvanizing force in the field of procurement. Since 2004, ISM and the R. Gene and Nancy D. Richter Foundation awarded scholarships to 66 undergrads.
“We’re proud to be in our 10th year of sponsoring the Richter Scholarship Program,” said Derry. “It identifies 10 to 12 of the best and brightest undergraduates obtaining a degree in the field. Then it pairs them with a mentor from a Fortune 500 company. It gives them a tremendous opportunity to benefit from the expertise, the insight and the experience their mentor can provide in how to take advantage of opportunities, where they lie and what to expect when they get into the corporate world. It’s no surprise that those scholars move rapidly into leadership roles in the industry.”
Your next job
“Networking is critical,” said Derry. “If nothing else, that’s your local network for your next job. It’s a very important function that we provide on behalf of membership—the opportunity to tap into local networks for employment advancement and employment security.
At the national level, networking takes a different form. Depending on how senior you are, networking then might be about validating what you’re doing. Is it still best practice: ‘I’m dealing with this challenge. You’ve dealt with it before. How did you manage it?’ Sometimes you’re not comfortable going to the boss, but you might go confidentially to a peer.”
ISM reinvented its flagship Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) as the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) program in May 2008. The CPSM addresses the broader, more strategic role supply management plays in corporations today.
The Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) is a new professional designation for supply management professionals whose responsibilities include supplier diversity.
“Why is diversity critically important?” asked Derry. “It’s not just politically correct or nice to have. It’s an important part of risk management, developing suppliers who meet your needs. Adding some resiliency to your supply base is very important.”
Certification is a new area for CSCMP. It established a three-tier certification program called SCPro. Level 1, said Blanchard, “is a cornerstone of supply chain management—testing to make sure you have a solid foundation, all the fundamentals in procurement and supply management, transportation, manufacturing, inventory and things like that.”
Level 2 will be available in late spring or summer. For this certification, people will have to show, via case studies, they can apply the concepts they achieved in Level 1. Level 3, still a year or two away, is the “black belt” of certification, said Blanchard. “You’ve got the foundation and know how to apply the concept. Now it’s time to initiate it while on the job, paired with someone from CSCMP as a facilitator/faculty person and, preferably, someone in leadership at your company. You have a project and apply those concepts.”
At Next Level, the rigorous certification track is designed to help procurement professionals attain expert-level skills across a comprehensive combination of areas and become qualified for higher-level roles. The association offers three levels of certification: the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM), the higher-level SPSM2 which requires the SPSM certification as a prerequisite, and the highest-level SPSM3 which requires SPSM2 as a prerequisite.