What is CPIM-F and How do I Qualify?

The CPIM-F program is intended for supply chain professionals whose work focuses on production and inventory management and who have received APICS certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM). CPIM-F is one of three fellowship programs offered by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). The other two programs are CSCP-F (Certified Supply Chain Professional) and CLTD-F (Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution). CPIM are buyers, inventory analysts, managers, and supply chain analysts, to name a few. The focus of their tasks is mainly within their organization. Their jobs involve cycle counting, receiving, product forecasting and inventory movement. They are leaders and mentors who freely share their knowledge with their teams and contemporaries.

CPIM Certification is a Requirement

To be considered for a fellow program, applicants must hold a CPIM certification. Both businesses and employees benefit from APICS certifications. The curriculum lends to process improvement and streamlining of tasks, which allow companies to run more smoothly and efficiently. Many employees find that their salaries are increased due to their CPIM certification, and more opportunities are available to them.

Skills and processes learned through the certification curriculum can lead to networking opportunities with other CPIM-certified professionals, as well as opening doors to industry events and professional organizations within their community. Since its launch in 1973, over 112,000 professionals have earned the designation of CPIM.

Backed by an International Organization

In addition, their Code of Ethics is quite an admirable one. It dictates that anyone representing ASCM must agree to maintain “exemplary standards of professional conduct.” Moreover, multiple rules emphasize that harassment or discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.

A Brief History of ASCM

Formerly known as APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society), they have merged with other supply chain organizations, including the Supply-Chain Council in 2014 and the American Society of Transportation and Logistics in 2015, to form ASCM. ASCM is an international education association that has been in business for 60 years. They pride themselves on providing the highest-rated education options in supply chain management and logistics. During this time, they have also amassed a vast network of companies across the globe who offer products and services to their members and customers.

A few of these companies are:

  • Korn Ferry
  • Loyola University – Chicago
  • China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP)
  • Supply Chain Canada
  • Institute of Business Forecasting & Planning (IBF)

Applying for the Fellowship

Because Fellows are considered an “elite” group within ASCM, consideration for the fellow programs include being an official APICS volunteer at the Chapter (local) level or their Headquarters in Chicago. Mentorship is another way to stand out from other applicants. Writing a book on an approved topic would be more impactful than writing a magazine article. Other opportunities to shine include teaching an APICS-sponsored course or an approved university course. The material for non-sponsored courses must promote the APICS Body of Knowledge.

There is a $200 CPIM-F application fee for ASCM members and $250 for non-members. Eligibility is based partially upon a points system. Any items submitted for consideration within the fellowship application must have been completed within the three years prior, apart from APICS certifications. Those exams can be within five years.

There are some easier ways to earn points. For example, twenty points are earned upon receiving CPIM certification, which is required to apply. The remaining points are earned by completing tasks that are commonly completed through the course of most careers, such as completing continuing education courses, by being an active member in other industry-related professional organizations, and most importantly, sharing industry knowledge with others in a professional manner, following ASCM guidelines.

The topics permitted to earn points are numerous and include:

  • Accounting
  • Critical Thinking
  • Policy Formulation
  • Marketing
  • Quality Management
  • Team Building
  • New Product Development
  • Organizational behavior
  • APICS CPIM Certification Review Courses

Supporting Other Supply Chain Management Professionals

The fellowship programs are meant to encourage a sense of community, with professionals helping other professionals and sharing their knowledge. This is directly aligned with the ethos of ASCM. Their Code of Ethics includes, “Encourage and cooperate in the interchange of knowledge and techniques for the mutual benefit of the profession.”

Those who are Fellows are awarded this prestigious designation through their actions in representing ASCM, such as conducting webinars or other presentations, teaching APICS-sponsored courses, mentoring others in their field, attending industry functions, and participating in volunteer opportunities that promote the APICS Body of Knowledge. The Body of Knowledge is a guideline developed by academics and leaders within the field. It consists of specific standards, research, and education.

Maintaining Fellowship Status

As with maintaining CPIM certification every five years, Fellows must maintain their certifications as well. Rather than the 75 points required of a CPIM, Fellows must submit maintenance activities totaling 100 points every five years. This task is made more accessible if Fellows choose to be ASCM members. The membership fee is $99 per year, with the option to pay $10 per month. If members choose the Certification Upgrade, it costs an additional $100 each year. Still, discounts on training are also more significant with this option.

Being an ASCM member provides Fellows 6 points per year simply for being members, which adds up to 30 of the required 100 compulsory points over five years. Attending and participating in the annual 3-day ASCM conference, ASCM Connect racks up another 24 points. Contributing to ASCM publications, such as the ASCM Insights blog or SCM Now Magazine, will provide another 5 points. Other methods to earn maintenance points include completing continuing education courses or presenting at a seminar on a plethora of approved industry-related topics. Teaching APICS-sponsored courses will provide 1 point/hour, and non-sponsored approved courses will earn .5 points/hour of instruction.

Lapse in Certification / Suspension

Not submitting or completing maintenance activities can yield severe consequences. It is possible to have a certification suspended and lose a Fellow designation. If maintenance points are not submitted at the proper five-year interval, there is a 90-day suspension that allows a bit of a grace period. After that point, a CPIM or CPIM-F can lose their certification. If the certification is suspended, each year it is suspended requires an extra 20 maintenance points to be submitted on top of the 100 points customarily required. Any members who have had their certifications suspended for over five years are required to take the test again. Take into consideration, however, that taking the exam again does not guarantee recertification. In addition, Fellows are required to resubmit their applications, and they may lose that designation as well. While an account is suspended, the certification cannot be used on a resume, LinkedIn, or in any professional capacity until reinstated.