ASCM launches procurement certificate program for supply chain professionals

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The expectations on procurement teams, and now supply chain departments, have grown exponentially in the last few years. It seems every month there is a new technology to learn about and decide how to deploy.

To be well-versed on the latest trends, procurement education is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve. Educational programs can help professionals understand new technologies, advocate for procurement’s role in the workplace and potentially manage the expectations placed on procurement teams.

Procurement is often seen as the biggest controller of a company’s bottom line. Add on newfound efforts that focus on sustainability and community impact, and procurement faces incredible pressure to perform and be well-versed on the latest options for success. Studies, like a report from Forbes, show that “expectations for procurement’s performance are higher and growing higher.”

How do you find the right procurement technology and vendor for your company? Spend Matters’ new 5-step “Procurement Technology Buyer’s Guide” can help — with how-to documents, checklist templates and other tips.

These expectations have increased dramatically since the start of the Covid pandemic just over a year ago. Lisa Sallstrom, the Vice President of Certification and Membership at the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), has seen a sharp rise in focus on procurement and supply chain to do better for their organizations.

“Why now, right? Well, it's important to take a look at a little bit of what happened in the past to get us to where we're at today,” Sallstrom said. “Procurement used to be seen just as really purely a cost cutting or cost management function in the organization historically. But over the last year or year and a half — and especially as a result of the pandemic — it has really elevated the importance of this function as a key to sourcing critical goods and services, from medical PPE to grocery staples.

“The creation of stronger supplier collaboration can avoid those potential bottlenecks in the future with more visibility ahead of time into any potential business difficulty and then implementing those contingency plans prior to the actual event.”

As the world grapples with mass economic downturn and finding recovery somehow, all eyes are on procurement to provide a path forward. Procurement can be a catalyst for true business achievement — from implementing new tech efforts to advocating for the role of sustainable procurement.

While these expectations may seem insurmountable, a lot of company changes can come at the hands of procurement professionals. They are the ones moving the lever. While they work in teams to produce results, it’s also important for professionals to take a look inward to see what opportunities they should take advantage of now to move their careers, and organizations, forward.

In an effort to provide quality education opportunities for supply chain and procurement professionals, ASCM recently launched a procurement certificate program. The program is a fully virtual, interactive experience that gives professionals at any point in their career the tools to succeed in the world of procurement.

The self-paced program takes about 20 hours to complete. It focuses on six areas of major procurement fundamentals — like sourcing strategies, purchase order management, performance measuring, contract management and negotiation, sustainability and ethical sourcing, and procurement evaluation metrics and intelligent supply chain. It was designed with the end-user in mind, providing an engaging and intuitive experience that includes reading lessons and interactive games so professionals learn the procurement process from industry experts.

“There have been considerable technological advances that have occurred very recently, like blockchain which is really changing the face of procurement,” Sallstrom said. “This advancement changes how individuals perform their job functions. And it's important that they understand, for example, how the tracking of purchases can be improved through the use of blockchain. … These technological advances will continue to occur at just a faster and faster pace. People really need to stay ahead and understand how this impacts them.”

Different from certifications which are more rigorous, broader in nature and require ongoing maintenance and continuing education to keep the credential, once the ASCM procurement certificate is earned, the credential is good for life with no ongoing requirements. Individuals who pass the final, online procurement certificate exam with a 70% or better earn a downloadable certificate and electronic badge to share on social media and attach to their LinkedIn profile.

One benefit of this latest program is that it was designed to help anyone interested in procurement advance their career and reach flexibility and credibility at any level — from people just starting out in the profession to leaders in procurement.

“Everyone from entry level to the seasoned professional can really benefit from the program, but in different ways,” Sallstrom said. “Entry-level supply chain professionals who are looking to become more knowledgeable in procurement can benefit as well as more experienced professionals who would like to do a deeper dive or get a refresher on particular areas of procurement. … There’s really something in it for everyone. If people are interested in learning more about how new technologies are affecting the way people in procurement do their jobs today, then they should check this out.”

The ASCM procurement certificate is open to all professionals wanting to learn more about procurement. Visit the ASCM Supply Chain Procurement Certificate webpage to learn more about the program.

If you are making the case for — or are in the process of buying procurement technology — be sure to try out Spend Matters TechMatch℠.

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