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CPIM Streamlined for Busy Supply Chain Professionals

APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

Thursday August 24, 2017

“Everything old is new again.” – Noell Reed

Since the launch of the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) program in 1973, more than 107,000 professionals have benefited from this globally recognized certification. It was created with the goal of elevating the profession and professionals in Operations Management, Materials Management and, more recently, Supply Chain Management. It has done that with great success. We hear stories regularly from supply chain professionals whose careers were boosted by earning the CPIM (I am one of those professionals) and we continue to hear from companies whose CPIM-certified employees are contributing to their bottom line.

Companies seek out CPIM-certified individuals, knowing the value of certification. As I write this article, searching LinkedIn Jobs for “CPIM Required” pulls up 750 matches, the same search on pulls up 869 jobs, and 510 jobs in Our Corporate Development team works with many Fortune 100 companies who require CPIM for certain job categories.

Shortened Preparation time for CPIM Certification

Times change, work evolves, and companies need new skills and better trained supply chain professionals. As a result, APICS has updated the CPIM program to better serve the needs of today’s supply chain workforce, while maintaining the body of knowledge and integrity that has kept CPIM at the forefront of supply chain education.

Preparing for a certification, even one as venerable as CPIM, over a two-year period is no longer sustainable. Reducing the number of exams from five to two will help CPIM candidates reduce their preparation time considerably. The reconfigured exams – CPIM Part 1 and CPIM Part 2 – will be longer and the amount of material candidates will be expected to learn for the CPIM Part 2 exam has expanded to cover four of the previous version’s modules. Nevertheless, the truly motivated should earn their CPIM in six to nine months, and a more leisurely pace can still earn a candidate CPIM certification in under a year.

The body of knowledge covered in today’s CPIM is the same body of knowledge that will be covered in the new, reconfigured CPIM, but streamlined to remove redundancies that were necessary when the body of knowledge was divided into five exams.

Moving from five modules to two may seem drastic, but change is not new for the APICS CPIM program. CPIM has continually evolved over the years to meet the needs of operations management and supply chain management professionals. Between 1973 and 1997 CPIM took several forms, ranging from three to seven exams with varying requirements to pass. Then in 2000, the Exam Committee made significant changes to CPIM, moving from seven exams to five and redistributing the content from topic-specific exams (Inventory Management, JIT, Capacity Planning, etc.) to process-oriented exams (MPR, DSP, ECO). The process-oriented exams directly followed the planning hierarchy, and included Basics of Supply Chain Management (BSCM) which is an overview of all the modules, and SMR, which was viewed as a higher-level capstone exam.

To accompany the newest changes to CPIM, APICS is releasing new CPIM Learning Systems with innovative instructional designs which aim to make it easier for candidates to master the concepts necessary to obtain certification.  Printed books are available in digital format to be read on any phone, tablet or laptop. An extensive selection of online content will be available through the learning systems, offering resources such as: pre- and post-exams, a Smart Study tool to help candidates plan their studies, quizzes for each section within the books, videos teaching course content and also exam preparation strategies, flash cards, and a “final” exam comprised of retired APICS exam questions that mimics the Pearson VUE test experience.

Drum roll, please: New CPIM 6.0 Pre-Sale promotions

The CPIM Part 1 and Part 2 Learning Systems and the CPIM Bundle (CPIM Part 1 Learning System and exam and the CPIM Part 2 Learning System and exam) went on presale to the public on August 7, 2017.  A public webinar was held on August 8 which reviewed the new program and announced a promotion during the pre-sale period, August 8th through August 31st. During this presale period, individuals can take $50 off the Part 1 and/or Part 2 Learning Systems or $100 off the CPIM bundle. For more details on the pre-sale view the CPIM webinar, CPIM Transformed for Today’s Professional.

 New CPIM Timeline, CPIM Learning System and Exam Availability

  • August 31, 2017:  The CPIM Part 1 and Part 2 Learning Systems, and the new bundle, will start shipping
  • August 31, 2017:  The CPIM Part 1 and Part 2 exam sales launch
  • September 30, 2017:  CPIM Part 1 Exam delivery begins
  • October 1, 2017:  Retake exam credits will go on sale
  • November 4, 2017: CPIM Part 2 Exam delivery begins
  • November 5, 2017: Retake exam credits will go on sale

Note: Candidates who have passed the BSCM exam within the last ten years will only need to take the CPIM Part 2 exam to earn their CPIM.

Legacy CPIM 5.0 Program Information and Timeline

We haven’t forgotten those who are still preparing for CPIM using the “legacy” CPIM program.

The BSCM can be used in lieu of CPIM Part 1 exam, and APICS wants to help those who’ve already taken multiple CPIM exams complete their CPIM with the current program, if that is their preference. Candidates who have passed at least two exams (i.e., BSCM, plus MPR, DSP, ECO, and/or SMR) can continue to prepare for and take the legacy CPIM exams through 2018, or they may choose to prepare for and take the CPIM Part 2 exam.

Phase-Out Timeline – CPIM Version 5.0 (Legacy)

  • August 31, 2017 - BSCM Participant Workbooks, Self-Study Guides, Exam Simulators and exam credits will no longer be available for purchase.
  • December 15, 2017 - Retake Exam Credits will continue to be available until December 15, 2017; two weeks before the BSCM Exam is discontinued.
  • January 1, 2018 - Only electronic versions of the MPR, DSP, ECO and SMR Workbooks and Self-Study Guides will be available for purchase. If there is enough demand for printed copies, we may reconsider this decision.
  • January 7, 2018 - The last date anyone can take the BSCM exam. After this date, the exam will no longer be available. Any unused BSCM Exam Credits or ATTs will no longer be valid and are not transferable or refundable.
  • June 30, 2018 - MPR, DSP, ECO, SMR Participant Workbooks, Self-Study Guides, Exam Simulators and new Exam Credits will no longer be available for purchase.
  • December 15, 2018 - Retake Exam Credits will no longer be available for purchase.
  • December 31, 2018 - The last date anyone can take the MPR, DSP, ECO or SMR exams. Any unused Exam Credits or ATTs will no longer be valid and are not transferable or refundable.

We’re very excited about the release of the new CPIM 6.0 program and look forward to continuing to serve the supply chain community. 

Visit for more information on the streamlined CPIM 6.0 program.

System Maintenance

The Pearson VUE Hub will be down at 5:00 pm CT Saturday, December 15 until 2:00 am CT Sunday, December 16. Exams cannot be scheduled during this time. Please contact Pearson VUE at 866-583-8949 or with questions.