APICS, USA [Part of ASCM Network] launched the Certified Supply Chain Professional credential, popularly known as CSCP in the year 2006 and today it is the world’s leading end-to-end supply chain management program sought-after both by SCM Professionals and by Organisations that view their supply chain as a competitive advantage.
This article is the summary of the questions and answers traded between me and my SCM students over the past seven years either in the Certification Training or in the Executive Development Programs that we conduct for corporate. The following paragraphs will address the three important questions.
(1) Why CSCP?
(2) What You and Your Organisations Get Out of CSCP?
(3) How to Attain CSCP?
1-Why CSCP? – Until 1980’s the various functions of an organisation such as sales, marketing, production, distribution, customer service, finance and new product development were working towards furthering their individual goals, delivered a sub-optimal performance at the organisational level. The situation was like everything is perfect, but at the end of the day the shows the poor performance. Organisations were looking at what was going wrong and operational experts were pointing out that all these functions need to be looked in a holistic manner rather than individual silos. At this juncture, Keith Oliver of Booz Allen Hamilton coined the phrase ‘Supply Chain Management’ and he recommends the need to view these functions in an integrated manner. This period was characterized by a big shift in thinking that is from attaining the functional goal to that of the organisational goals. Subsequently, in response to the industry need APICS launched the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certification.
CSCP enables SCM professionals to master the end-to-end supply chain, so as to plan, execute, monitor and control the supply chain in a holistic manner. To achieve this objective, CSCP has 30 chapters grouped under three modules.
Inputs to Supply Chain Strategy | Supply Chains and Supply Chain Strategy | Tools and Techniques | Business Considerations | Supply Chain Design and Configuration | Technology Design | Implementation Tools | Demand Management | Operations Planning and Control | Inventory | Supply Management | Logistics | Warehouse Management | Transportation | Monetary, Regulatory and Trade Considerations | Segmentation | Customer Relationship Management | Supplier Relationship Management | Linkages Between CRM and SRM | Reverse Logistics | Waste Considerations | International Standards and Regulatory Compliance | Corporate Social Responsibility Considerations | Risk Identification | Risk Assessment and Classification | Risk Response | Security, Regulatory and Compliance Concerns | Supply Chain Metrics | Measuring Performance and Customer Service | Continuous Improvement and Change Management
So far our focus is on how to better perform the supply chain function, but hereafter the focus will be on how to adopt technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Business Analytics and Block Chain in supply chain to deliver superior customer service, outperform the competition and at a lower cost. Unless otherwise, SCM professionals are fundamentally strong in SCM domain they will not be in a position to recommend or adopt appropriate technologies.
Over the last two decades, most of the supply chains lost their regional flavor and became a global ones. Organisations source raw materials and components and sells their finished goods not only in their country, but also across the globe. This trend of globalization further continues in the coming decades and the degree of globalization will have a significant impact on both professionals and organisations. This will make the SCM professionals to communicate and move across the geographies more than ever and this requires a international qualification such as CSCP so that one get recognized irrespective of where they are.
2-What You and Your Organisations Get Out of CSCP? – I always tell my students that one should go after the knowledge and certification is the by product. CSCP delivers two things to an individual. (1) An amazing body of knowledge in supply chain. It gives a lot of confidence in what one does. (2) The CSCP credential behind one's name will speak about his/her expertise in SCM, so there won't be any unnecessary hurdles in demonstrating the SCM knowledge – may be in an interview or at a client's place.
I can vouch with confidence, if you have CSCP, as long as you are in supply chain, you will never look back in your career.
CSCP certified candidates have gone through a rigorous preparation and passed an international examination. One has to have a real understanding and application knowledge in supply chain to ace this examination. What they learn is the collection of global best practices in supply chain which is meticulously reviewed and revised by APICS/ASCM every year, which comes out as a learning system. The CSCP aspirants use this learning system to prepare for this examination. The knowledge what they have acquired will reflect on the work what they do within the organisation, which will make the organisation's supply chain as a very competitive one also and your CSCP qualified SCM professionals are a pride in front of your clients’.
3-How to Attain CSCP? – To attain CSCP, I would recommend you to go through the five-step process – Membership, Learning System, Classroom Training, Preparation and Examination.
Membership – Though membership is not a mandatory one, you will save significant amount of dollars in learning system and examination and also get the value of the membership benefits. These savings and benefits far exceeds the cost of membership itself. Membership is valid for one year from the date of registration.
Learning System – The learning system contains two components. One is the text books and other is the web tool. You will get three text books each dedicated to the three modules covering the 30 chapters listed earlier. The web tool contains quizzes, case studies, flash cards, pretest, post-test and practice exams.
Classroom Training – Attending a classroom training is not mandatory, but it will help you to prepare better and faster for the examination. IISCM conducts classroom training across India, South-East Asian countries, Middle-East and Africa. The purpose of the classroom training is to give you a conceptual clarity on various supply chain concepts and problems so that you will not face any roadblocks during your preparation.
Preparation – I recommend roughly about 6 months of preparation by following a cycle pattern. One cycle refers to reading a chapter and mastering it, taking the corresponding quiz in the web tool, then reading the web tool explanation and then referring back to the text book. For each chapter one has to repeat this cycle three times and the same thing has to be followed for all the 30 chapters. Successful students have done this way, which results in not only mastering this great body of supply chain knowledge, but also attaining the CSCP credential in one-attempt. Learning system (text books and web-tool) is the only way to prepare for the CSCP examination which also helps one to ascertain whether the individual has adequately prepared for the examination.
Examination – After successful preparation, one can book and take the examination. This is a proctored (supervised), closed-book, online examination administered at Pearson Vue Test Centers located across the globe. In a typical major Indian city, you will come across somewhere between 20 to 30 centers. So, you can find one closer to your home or workplace. The exam duration is 3.5 Hours (210 minutes) and you will be answering 150 multiple choice questions. Each question has four options and you need to select the most appropriate answer. Some question formats may vary. After completing all the questions, review them once again and then submit your answers. The system will display your result. The scoring range is 200 to 350. One need to secure 300 and above to pass the examination. You will also get a printed copy of your performance indicating your result from the test center and then you can download your electronic copy of the certificate from your APICS login. Also you can order a hard-copy for free from APICS, which will be sent through postal mail.
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Venkadesh Narayanan is the Principal Consultant at Fhyzics Business Consultants Pvt. Ltd. with over 25 years’ experience in business consulting, business analysis, process improvement, supply chain and new product development. He is a mechanical engineer and an MBA worked for several organizations in India, USA and Canada prior to joining Fhyzics. He is a former Indian Civil Servant [IRAS 2000 Batch] and served in Ministry of Railways, Government of India. You can find some of the videos of Venkadesh Narayanan on various topics in our YouTube Channel Business Analysis Digest and also feel free to connect with him through LinkedIn.
Keywords: Supply Chain, Supply Chain Professional, Certified Supply Chain Professional, APICS, USA, CSCP, Professionals, SCM Professionals, Organisations, SCM, Certification, Training, Certification Training, Executive Development Programs, Sales, Marketing, Production, Distribution, Customer Service, Finance and New Product Development, End-to-End Supply Chain, Inventory, Supply Management, Logistics, Warehouse Management, Supply Chain Metrics, Measuring Performance and Customer Service, Continuous Improvement and Change Management, Supply Chain Strategy, Tools and Techniques, Business Considerations, Supply Chain Design and Configuration.