The Benefits of Supply Chain Certifications for Professional Advancement

Obtaining supply chain certifications is frequently a terrific approach to building new abilities and showcasing your competence, irrespective of the job or sector you operate in. Getting a supply chain certification could be advantageous, whether you’re just beginning your career or looking to strengthen your qualifications and previous experience. The significance of supply chain certifications is discussed in this article, along with a list of a few of the top supply chain certifications that might boost your career.

Supply Chain Management: What Is It?

Supply chain management is a procedure that makes sure that products and services are delivered efficiently, from the raw material warehouse and manufacturing of commodities to the transportation of finished products to the place of consumption.

To reduce the overall cost of manufacturing, sales, and distribution, supply chain management includes coordinating every one of the supply chain’s components. When the supply chain is effectively controlled and managed, it aids in resolving any problems that may already exist between chain participants.

For instance, businesses that have a strong supply chain management system in place would be capable of organizing the interaction between the sales team and the warehouse. While the warehouse requires a low stock level of goods to save inventory costs, the sales department requires a high stock level to meet consumer expectations.

The advantages of supply chain management include:

  • It manages the whole process of producing things and providing services.
  • To guarantee customers have a positive experience, it manages the delivery of goods and services.
  • It guarantees the success of the business.

How do physical flows work?

Physical flows include the physical transformation that raw materials undergo to become completed commodities as well as the storage and transportation of products and services to end consumers. The physical flows are the component of the supply chain that a corporation can see the best.

What do information flows mean?

Informational flows refer to the coordination and planning processes used by the various supply chain participants to manage the daily movement of resources and goods along the supply chain. Several factors make them crucial to supply chain management:

  • They improve the effectiveness of the supply chain.
  • They serve as the foundation upon which the supply chain collaborators base their choices.

What is the significance of supply chain certifications?

Supply chain certificates give you the chance to increase your knowledge of supply chain management, discover the most recent problems and developments in the industry, and develop your professional abilities. So, obtaining a supply chain certification frequently broadens both your eligibility and your income potential. Although some businesses prefer candidates for supply chain managers to have professional supply chain certifications, these credentials are typically not required. The following supply chain qualifications could help advance your career:

1. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)

With their recently established Association for Supply Chain Management, the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) is a company that offers supply chain courses in schools (ASCM). You can demonstrate to potential employers that you are aware of the most up-to-date fundamental techniques, concepts, and technologies in supply chain management by including the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certificate on your CV. You require three years of applicable work experience, a bachelor’s degree, or a valid CPIM, CTL, CLTD, CIRM, CPSM, CPM, SCOR-P, or CFPIM certification to sit for the CSCP exam. People with APICS certificates work in a range of sectors, including:

  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Consulting
  • Defense
  • Services
  • Education
  • Government

After passing the exam, you must earn points for continuing education to keep your supply chain certification active. You achieve this by engaging in tasks intended to broaden your knowledge and keep you up to date on supply chain developments. You must acquire a minimum of 75 career development points overall every 5 years.

2. APICS Accredited in Inventory and Production Management (CPIM)

You can show that you’re a manufacturing and inventory operations expert by obtaining the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential from ASCM. This supply chain certification validates that you have a comprehensive comprehension of production scheduling, forecasting, master timetabling, material handling, and the way each of these elements pertains to the wider supply chain. The CPIM Part 1 and Part 2 tests must be passed in consecutive order over three years to receive this APICS certification. While Part 2 of CPIM examines the administration, scheduling, and planning of resources as well as general operations, Part 1 of CPIM focuses on the basics of supply chain management.

The CPIM, such as the CSCP, mandates you to acquire 75 points for career development to retain your supply chain certification every five years.

3. Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution APICS Certification (CLTD)

The Accredited in Logistics, Distribution, and Transportation certification is another advantageous APICS credential (CLTD). The CLTD demonstrates to companies that you have a thorough understanding of the most effective methods for distribution, transportation, and logistics efficiencies. This supply chain certification covers topics like inventory management, purchasing, and logistics planning. This supply chain certification must be kept up-to-date every 5 years by obtaining 75 points for career growth.

4. ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)

To demonstrate your proficiency in supply management, you can obtain the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certificate from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). You must have a minimum of 3 years of experience in supply chain management that isn’t in a support or administrative position to be eligible to take the supply chain certification examinations. You must take and pass three distinct tests, which can be done in any sequence, after accumulating professional experience. You must complete 60 hours of continuing education classes that have been authorized every four years to renew your supply chain certification.

The foundational test applies to both qualifications, thus if you possess the CPSD certification, you just need to take two examinations.

5. APICS Reference for Supply Chain Operations (SCOR-P)

A thorough supply chain certification, the Supply Chain Operations Reference Professional program (SCOR-P) helps you improve your people skills as well as your knowledge of quality standards, performance indicators, and business procedures. You may demonstrate to companies that you know organizing, monitor, and enhance every area of supply chain performance by obtaining this supply chain certification. You have to go to a three-day training program to take the SCOR-P exam. The test itself consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and lasts for two hours.

This supply chain certification has no ongoing maintenance requirements, as opposed to other APICS certificates.

6. ISM Certified Supplier Diversity Professional (CPSD)

ISM now offers the Certified Professional Supplier Diversity (CPSD) credential in supply chain management. You need a bachelor’s degree, 3 years of work experience in supply chain or diversity, or just 5 years of applicable industry experience to be eligible for this credential. You must complete two distinct examinations after meeting these requirements. If you currently hold a CPSM certification, you can skip the prerequisite exam since it’s the same for both the CPSM and CPSD certifications.

By taking 50 hours of authorized corporate growth programs over three years, you can keep your CPSD certification.

7. SOLE Professional Logistician Certification (CPL)

The International Society of Logistics (SOLE), a nonprofit professional association, offers the Certified Professional Logistician (CPL) certification. This is a wonderful supply chain certification to have if you operate in one of these sectors because logistics are a crucial component of supply chain management in a variety of different businesses, including academia, government, defense, and business. You must meet one of the minimum guidelines to be qualified to take the CPL exam:

Having taught or practiced logistics for nine years and having two years of experience in at least two different logistics-related fields

  • Five years of related experience and a bachelor’s degree
  • 4 years of applicable experience and a master’s degree
  • three years of related experience and a doctorate

This supply chain certification examination is broken down into four portions that are each eight hours long. There are multiple-choice questions.

8. Certification for CSCMP SCPro

The SCPro certification, which has three levels and is available from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), is intended to assess your proficiency with supply chain practices. Your ability to study case studies, recognize organizational obstacles, create supply chain activity enhancements, and administer a project management plan that yields strategic results is validated by this supply chain certification. There are precise criteria that must be met for each stage of this supply chain certification program, as well as an examination:

  • SCPro level one: To be eligible for the stage one exam, you must hold a bachelor’s degree or possess four years of relevant industry experience. You have four hours to finish the test, which has eight sections with a total of 160 multiple-choice questions.
  • SCPro level two: You need to have your level one supply chain certification, a bachelor’s degree, 3 years of applicable industry experience, or 7 years of work expertise in supply chain management before being eligible to take the level two examination. You will be provided a business case for this exam, and you will be required to write an essay-style case study analysis. You have four hours to finish the test.
  • SCPro level three: You can finish level three of the SCPro certification program once you have obtained the level one and level two supply chain certification, in addition to either a bachelor of science degree and 5 years of applicable industry experience or 9 years of work experience in supply chain management. Instead of taking a typical exam, this level encourages you to put your skills into practice by analyzing a real business and creating a project plan that will help the company resolve its problems and produce tangible results. At this stage, you are partnered with a college counselor who will help you navigate the process. After that, a group of supply chain management specialists will evaluate your work.

9. Professional Contract Manager NCMA Certified (CPCM)

The National Contract Management Association (NCMA) offers several supply chain certifications, but the Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM) credential is the most useful supply chain certification as it’s more thorough. This qualification is intended for contract managers who work for both commercial and governmental organizations, but if you’re just interested in one sector, you can also seek either the Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM) or the Certified Commercial Contract Manager (CCCM). You may demonstrate to employers that you’ve learned the standards and abilities required for contract administration, irrespective of the business, by obtaining this credential.

You need a bachelor’s degree, five years of work experience, 120 hours of CPE, and a minimum of five years of work experience to become a CPCM

10. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)

Although there are numerous organizations from which you can obtain the Six Sigma Black Belt certification, the fundamental ideas, philosophies, methods, and tools should all be the same. With this supply chain certification, you can establish that you have a solid grasp of the lean enterprise principles as well as a deep comprehension of the Six Sigma define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) model. You need to have either two projects with written affidavits or two completed Six Sigma projects with signed affidavits to be eligible for this credential. Before taking the exam, you usually need to finish some training.

You have a choice of taking the CSSBB examination on paper or online. Although both tests are open-book, there are a few minor differences as well:

  • Computerized exam: There are 165 questions on the computerized exam, but only 150 of them are graded. It is only offered in English. The one-part test has a time limit of 4 hours and 18 minutes.
  • Physical examination: Translations in English, Chinese, and Spanish are available to you when performing the test with paper and pencil. You have four hours to finish this one-part, 150-question test.

Your supply chain certification must be renewed every three years by passing another exam or obtaining 18 RUs (recertification units). Taking classes for continuous learning, gaining corporate experience, publishing works, or obtaining additional qualifications are some ways to acquire RUs.

11. Oracle Purchasing Certification: Oracle E-Business Suite 12 Supply Chain Certified Implementation Specialist

This Oracle certification, which specializes in supply chain purchasing, is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the principles and methods used for purchasing in the context of supply chain management. Although training is offered to help you get ready for this supply chain certification examination, it is not required. It will take you 2.5 hours to finish this 80-question test.

12. Project Management Professional (PMP)

One of the most well-known project manager qualifications in the field is the Project Management Professional (PMP), which is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This supply chain certification demonstrates your possession of the knowledge and abilities required to manage a project successfully. To be eligible, you need to have either:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree, 3 years of project management experience, along with either CAPM certification or 35 hours of project management training
  • A minimum of a high school diploma, 5 years of project management experience, along with either CAPM certification or 35 hours of project management training

There are 200 questions on the actual exam. After passing, you must obtain 60 professional development units (PDUs) during the following three years to maintain your supply chain certification. A minimum of 35 of your PDUs must come from ongoing training activities like courses or seminars, and 25 of them must come from supporting the industry by serving as a mentor or volunteering. Every PDU is valued at one hour.

What is the process of supply chain management?

By managing the flow of raw materials into a business or organization, supply chain management creates a successful cross-functional and well-designed process. The transfer of finished goods away from the organization and in the direction of the final customer follows the production features of the internal conversion of the raw materials into finished products. Professionally, it touches every link in the supply chain that leads to the consumer.

Companies that want to concentrate on their core competencies and increase their adaptability typically relinquish ownership and control of their distribution networks and raw material procurement. These crucial tasks are delegated to other businesses that specialize in performing them more affordably and efficiently.

As a result of this evolution, more businesses and people are now involved in the distribution of finished items to end customers. Also, this lessens the company’s operational control over daily logistics activities.

The result is a rise in the number of businesses engaged in meeting consumer demand while a decline in the administrative oversight of the company’s daily logistics operations. The idea of supply chain management was developed as a result of less management and more collaborators in the supply chain. To improve inventory visibility and the velocity of stock levels, supply chain management aims to foster greater trust and cooperation between chain partners.

Steps for supply chain management

To accomplish a single goal, the many components of the supply chain management process must operate together. The following five fundamental actions will help you manage your supply chain successfully, effectively, and affordably:

1. The planning phase

Planning is the initial step in the supply chain process. To ascertain or resolve how the goods and services will satisfy the needs of the customers, a good strategy must be devised. The creation of a plan that generates the most profit ought to be a major priority throughout the planning stage.

A strategy must be developed by the company to successfully manage this process to make the best use of all the assets necessary for the creation of the goods and the delivery of services. The successful operation of the supply chain process begins with the planning phase.

2. The stage of development (source)

After the planning phase comes to the development phase, which entails locating the raw materials needed for production. At this point, a company’s major priorities are establishing trusting working relationships with raw material suppliers, finding reliable vendors, and figuring out various planning techniques for raw material transportation, delivery, and payment.

3. The production or manufacturing stage

Making items in response to consumer requests is the third phase in the supply chain management process. The products are created, produced, checked, packaged, and scheduled for distribution to the clients during this stage.

The supply chain supervisor then plans all of the tasks required for manufacturing, inspection, packaging, and delivery readiness. The most metric-intensive step of the supply chain occurs at this point, where businesses can gauge the volume of output, employee productivity, and quality.

4. The delivery phase

During the delivery phase, the supplier delivers the goods to the end-users at the predetermined location. In essence, this is the logistics phase, during which customer orders are processed and product deliveries are scheduled.

As businesses collaborate to fulfill client orders and establish a network of warehouses, this phase is frequently referred to as logistics. Moreover, carriers must be chosen carefully to transport goods to customers, and an invoicing system must be put up to receive payments.

5. The subsequent stage of returning

The return stage is the last and final phase of supply chain management. Customers are currently returning faulty goods to the provider. Companies can handle client inquiries and complaints at this level.

For most firms, this last phase of the supply chain can be very challenging. The managers of the supply chain must design a responsive and adaptable network for receiving returned products from consumers that are damaged or excessive.

How do supply chains work?

The processes involved in setting up a system that enables individuals, resources, data, actions, and organizations to collaborate to deliver items purchased from vendors to customers are known as supply chains. Typically, firms, corporations, and organizations use this approach.

Raw materials and natural resources are transformed into finished goods as part of supply chain operations in the first phase. The last phase makes sure the final goods are carried out or delivered to the final consumers.

Many businesses typically participate in the supply chain system just to further their own commercial goals, with little regard for the interests of other parties or customers. Because of this, big businesses must include corporate policies in their management solutions and workplace cultures. Companies that are a part of the supply chain system will have the ability to conduct their operations by accepted criteria in this way.

What advantages does supply chain management offer?

Supply chain management can give a company a competitive edge by allowing for faster product delivery to clients. SCM achieves this without asking the organization to decrease pricing in the following ways:

  • SCM brings down operating expenses. Costs associated with production and purchase are decreased to achieve this. For instance, if you run a grocery shop, cutting out the middleman and purchasing your tomatoes straight from the grower saves you money. You may save money and have the product on your shelves more rapidly by making direct purchases.
  • SCM creates collaborations that can assist in development going forward. Farmers can expand their activities as you expand yours if you, the owner of the grocery store, forge strategic alliances with them upfront in the operation of your firm.
  • SCM assists in achieving market demands and product supply equilibrium. If you purchase vegetables from the farmer directly, like in the local supermarket example, you can better bargain and modify the number of tomatoes you purchase each season.
  • SCM makes it possible to provide customers with services that are more successful and effective. This happens because clients swiftly and accurately obtain their stuff. For instance, the products will probably be cleaner and less harmed if the farmer delivers the vegetables straight to your grocery shop rather than through a third-party provider.

More earnings through enhanced client satisfaction and decreased operating costs are the end objective of efficient supply chain management. When costs are under control and whenever feasible decreased, profits are healthy. When the cost of production and raw materials decreases, operating costs also decrease.

A supply chain example

The typical supply chain is a real-world illustration of a supply chain. The collection and derivation of the necessary raw materials for manufacture mark the beginning of the typical supply chain. The raw materials are delivered to the raw material providers, also known as wholesalers, through logistics.

The flow of raw materials from logistics to the producers is a continuation of this kind of supply chain. The producers use raw materials to create completed goods.

After that, the wholesalers send the final goods to the merchants by placing them in stores. Consumers, or end users, are who the retailers sell their goods. When customers purchase the goods, the cycle is over.

The producers’ decision to resume manufacturing will be based on consumer interest in the goods. When production starts, the cycle repeats itself.


When deciding whether to pursue a professional supply chain certification, there are many things to take into account. However, according to our experts, all the supply chain certifications mentioned here are excellent credentials that will distinguish you from the competition when looking for work.

Frequently Asked Questions about supply chain certifications

  • Which supply chain certifications are the simplest?

We suggest the CPIM and CSCP for newcomers. CLTD, CPSD, and CPSM are excellent places to start for people with 3 to 5 years of professional experience. The CPL and SCOR-P certifications are for people with more experience who have above five years of SCM experience.

  • Which supply chain certification is preferable, CPIM or CSCP?

Professionals with CPIM and CSCP certifications can use their supply chain certifications to advance in their careers and/or earn more money. While CPIM certification may be beneficial to individuals just starting their careers, more seasoned workers have to think about obtaining CSCP certification.

  • How valuable is CSCP supply chain certification?

Those with an APICS CSCP certification can make up to 21% more money than noncertified colleagues. The passing rate for APICS certification tests is generally greater for ASCM members than for nonmembers.