Institute for Supply Management

The Institute for Supply Management’s Mission

ism certificationThe Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is a United States based non-profit educational organization with a focus on supply management. According to their mission statement they exist “to lead and serve the supply management profession” by focusing on six strategic imperatives.

These imperatives include attracting and engaging thought leaders in the manufacturing industry, aiding supply-management professionals in advancing their careers, driving the CPSM program to be recognized as essential for career success in supply management, expanding their global influence, leading corporations to supply management excellence, and engaging their staff in successfully implementing their strategic plans.

They provide certifications for professionals who have at least three years of professional experience (at varying degrees of education) who have shown competency in their field through knowledge tests, education, and work history.

They also provide supply-management professionals with other valuable services like monthly publications and business reports.

Professionals at all levels of their career are eligible to become a regular member of ISM, regardless of how long they have been in the supply management field or what their education background is.


The National Association of Purchasing Agents (NAPA) was founded in 1915. This was the first iteration of the association we now know as the Institute for Supply Management. As NAPA, the organization brought together several existing purchasing associations in the northeast United States, including associations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Within a few years, associations in Indiana, Michigan, and California joined them. The scope and mission of the national organization continued to shift, and the name was changed again to the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) in 1968.

Finally, in 2002, the organization changed its name to the Institute for Supply Management. According to the ISM website, it is the oldest institute of it’s kind.

ISM Certifications

The Institute for Supply Management offers three different supply-management credentials for professionals looking to deepen their knowledge and skills at every level of their career.

Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) Program

Supply management professionals who hold a CPSM credential show knowledge in several areas, including supplier-relationship and commodity management, risk and compliance issues and social responsibility. They must hold a bachelors degree, have three or more years of relevant experience, and pass three comprehensive exams.

For more details on CPSM certification, click here.

Certified in Supply Management (CSM) Program

This credential is similar to the CPSM credential, in that it confirms your understanding of important supply management concepts, but in this case, valid experience and successful completion of the three CSM exams can replace the need for a university degree. Topics covered in this program include financial matters, managing supplier relationships, compliance issues, and big-picture strategies.

For more details about the CSM certification, click here. 

Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) Program

For professionals who are responsible for leadership in supplier diversity, the CPSD credential shows a drive and know-how specifically in the area of diverse supplier initiatives. Managers and other organization leaders who are interested in this certificate will need experience in their field, and will need to pass the first of the CPSM foundational tests as well as the CPSD test.

For more details about the CPSD certification, click here.


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