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This post is intended for people interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding of Supply Chain Management theory and practices.

In this post I am going to explain the difference between a membership in a professional society, called APICS, and pursuing CPIM and CSCP certification from APICS. This post is a continuation of my previous blog:

Should Business Process Expert be an expert in business? from January 2, 2008

Should Business Process Expert be an expert in business?

First, some definitions:

APICS – The Association for Operations Management

CPIM – Certified in Production and Inventory Management

CSCP – Certified Supply Chain Professional

CIRM – Certified in Integrated Resource Management (discontinued).

You don’t have to be a member of APICS to take the five exams that are needed to earn the CPIM certification. You just prepare, then pick a third-party place for computer test, register, pay, take the test, and pass. Five exams – five visits.

Then you get a nice diploma in the mail, and within next five years you have to obtain enough professional educational points to maintain your certification (just like with Continued Education Units). Otherwise, at the end of the five-year period, you have to pass the exams again to be re-certified.

You didn’t think there was no catch, did you?

APICS membership is a different thing altogether that allows you to be a member of a professional society. You don’t have to take any exams or tests for that. You just pay a membership fee.

You get invited to your local Chapter meetings (usually on weekday evenings), where you a) have dinner/drinks, b) listen to the presentation/participate in a discussion, c) network and hang out with people who have same interests as you, d) have more drinks.

This might be difficult if you are a consultant who travels all the time, but this is an excellent way to meet prospective employers in your area or make friends if you dream about getting off the road one day. Additionally, you might obtain new contacts; find out what’s going on with businesses in your area, and what kind of needs they might have.

Participation in Chapter meetings gives you points to maintain your certification. So does a visit to the yearly APICS conference (this year it is in Kansas City Sepember).

Think of it as just another way of growing your personal network of contacts among like-minded people…  

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