1.3 Overview of APICS certification
1.3.1 Rationale for operations management certification programs
From its inception in 1957, APICS intended to provide the means by which its members could demonstrate that theirs was a profession fully on a par with engineering, accountancy, and other functional callings. It appointed a Curricula and Certification (C&C) Council in the late 1960s to identify the body of knowledge that represented production and inventory management. This council did not aspire to establish a licensing credential, but to demonstrate the deeply specialized expertise required to execute materials management functions. These initial efforts began long before computers became common in the workplace, so many of the competencies identified required a significant understanding of complicated mathematical functions and their application to the daily management of operations.
Within a few years, the C&C Council was administering examinations on a regular basis around the world, and through the Certified in Production and Inventory Management credential, earned by successfully passing four examinations, designees gained the recognition and respect of their peers in other manufacturing professions. Two additional certification programs followed: Certified in Integrated Resource
Management in 1991 and Certified Supply Chain Professional in 2006. For each of the three programs, a unique body of knowledge was identified and developed.
For certified individuals in any or all of the three programs, the credentials demonstrate their commitment to acquiring current industry knowledge and achieving continual improvement.
.1 Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
The first two certification examinations were developed on the topics of inventory management and forecasting, closely followed by shop floor control and material requirements planning. Over time, additional modules were created and incorporated. The current CPIM structure integrates those modules and consists of the entry level exam on Basics of Supply Chain Management; three pillars of knowledge entitled Master Planning of Resources, Detailed Scheduling and Planning, and Execution and Control of Operations; and the capstone exam on Strategic Management of Resources.
.2 Certified in Integrated Resource Management (CIRM)
The CIRM program was developed to identify a number of key functions that make up a business enterprise and to examine the way these functions interact, particularly when enterprise-wide activities require them to collaborate on a project. The CIRM materials explored the internal drivers and issues of each function and the ways those issues might conflict with other needs and interests, and suggested methods by which project managers or team leaders might deal with the resulting territorial disputes. CIRM primarily focused on business strategies and problem solving for middle managers working with diverse, cross-functional teams. The last CIRM examination was given in April 2008.
.3 Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
The CSCP program was developed to assist candidates in internalizing their connections to the “supplier’s supplier” and the “customer’s customer.” Rather than being seen as a discrete entity, the enterprise is viewed as a link in a supply chain that crosses organizations and, in some cases, oceans and continents. This picture of a company’s place in the broader scheme requires global thinking by managers struggling with outsourcing and international distribution networks.
The supply chain is a fragile, dynamic entity and managing its various links requires a broad understanding of its unique constraints. Procurement, manufacturing, and logistics, among other disciplines, all are woven together by technology. Speed to the market is enabled by the real-time exchange of information among widely separated partners. Demystifying these complex relationships is the goal of the CSCP educational program.