Earlier this week, Next Level Purchasing announced their latest certification: the SPSM2. Billed as a follow-on course of study to the SPSM certification, the SPSM2 builds on the curriculum of the previous designation but is not meant as a replacement for it. I’ll spare rehashing all of the details about it for you because Supply Excellence already did a good job capturing the essence of the certification noting that “the new coursework focuses on ‘processes that are becoming more significant in the purchasing field -- international procurement, advanced negotiation, and managerial skills.’ In other words, NLP hopes to help procurement professionals keep up with an increasingly global, risky, complex supply chain at a time when they’re being asked to do more with less (headcount and/or budget).”
Yesterday, I had the chance to speak to Susan Lemley, who is the first recipient of the SPSM2. She told me that she opted to follow the SPSM course of study in the first place “because she found it more user friendly” than other options and that such features as the “audio component” broke the monotony of the learning. In addition, Lemley observed that the “study material is clear and concise” and that “what you study is on the test” and the content included “everyday things that we can use on our job … [including] the cultural differences of working in a global environment.”
After doing a bit of research on what’s included in the SPSM2 and talking to Susan, it feels to me that the latest Next Level Purchasing certification resembles the first in that it is inexpensive and less time consuming to obtain than other certification options (when total costs are factored in). In addition, the curriculum is concise and flexible while representing a useful body of knowledge to apply in the field. While I’d always argue that certifications are never a replacement for practical experience, mentoring and networking -- especially when it comes to getting on the executive track -- there’s no doubt that the SPSM2 can contribute to helping individuals build a practical body of extended procurement knowledge in their field in a highly efficient and flexible way.
Despite this endorsement, I have some concerns that credentials, including the SPSM and SPSM2, are being oversold in the market, especially from a career advancement perspective. Check back tomorrow for my Friday Rant on the subject.