By Andrea Cohen, Tests.com Contributing Writer
Operations and supply chain professionals are faced with an increasingly competitive global economy. In order to maintain their edge, it is important that these professionals invest in career-related education so that they can constantly acquire pertinent knowledge and update their skill base. The Association of Operations Management (APICS) is the premier organization determining international standards of excellence in relation to operations management, and is considered the leader in certification and education programs related to the field.
The Certified in Production and Inventory Management Exam (CPIM Exam) is a series of five exam modules created by APICS that must be passed before one can receive certification in production and inventory management. The exams test knowledge in all aspects of production and inventory management, operations and supply chain management.
About the Exam
The CPIM exams define the common terminology, practices, concepts, strategies and knowledge related to operations, supply chain and production and inventory management. This includes sectors such as procurement, materials requirement planning, supplier planning, demand management, capacity requirements planning, sales and operations planning, supplier relationships, performance measurements, master scheduling and quality control.
The CPIM designation is earned after one passes all five component exams. CPIM certification is good for five years and must be maintained through the certification maintenance program administered by APICS, which includes earning points for continuing education, membership in professional organizations and other methods that maintain educational requirements within the field.
Earning CPIM certification benefits both individuals and their employers. Professionals in the fields of production and inventory management, operations, procurement, purchasing materials management and supply chain management should consider earning the CPIM designation. Through the CPIM designation, individuals can increase their knowledge, improve efficiency, streamline operations, increase profitability and maximize customer satisfaction. The CPIM designation also increases credibility among employers, peers and customers and can result in higher earning potential and greater job security. In some colleges and universities, the CPIM designation can count toward class credit.
CPIM Exam Format
There are five modules of the CPIM exam, and all components must be passed in order to earn CPIM designation:
Basics of Supply Chain Management – This exam includes topics related to managing the complete flow of materials from suppliers to customers throughout the supply chain. It includes basic terminology and supply chain concepts and relationships and is considered a prerequisite for the other four exam modules.
- Master Planning of Resources – This exam includes topics related to demand management, sales and operations planning and master scheduling.
- Detailed Scheduling and Planning – This exam includes topics related to inventory management, materials requirements planning, capacity requirements planning, procurement and supplier relationships.
- Execution and Control of Operations – This exam includes topics related to scheduling, controlling, measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of production operations, such as project, batch, line, continuous and remanufacturing environments.
- Strategic Management of Resources – This exam includes topics related to processes and technologies and how they relate to manufacturing strategy and supply chain-related functions.
The CPIM exams are computer based but are administered using a linear testing approach. This approach operates similarly to a paper-and-pencil exam, where all candidates answer a predetermined number of questions.
Exams for most of the CPIM modules contain 75 multiple-choice questions, although only 60 are scored. The exception is the Basics of Supply Chain Management exam, which contains 105 questions, of which 80 are scored. The additional non-scored questions on the exam are used for research purposes and are randomly distributed throughout the tests. Since candidates will not know which questions are scored and which are not, it is important that all exam questions be answered. Candidates have three hours to complete the exam.
The CPIM exams use a scaled score system to determine test performance. The score range is from 265 to 330, and a score of 300 is required to pass each exam. If a test is not initially passed, candidates are required by APICS to wait 30 days before retaking the test.
CPIM Exam Registration
Exam candidates must contact APICS to obtain a customer number for exam registration. Members of APICS receive a discount on registration fees and materials, though membership is not required to take the exam. Candidates may register online through APICS at www.apics.org.
CPIM exams are administered through Pearson VUE, a testing company with locations throughout the United States. CPIM exams are offered via computer-based testing at the Pearson VUE locations throughout the year, and specific days and times may vary by site. Candidates may register for exams from 90 days to four days before an exam date and may take as many exams in one day as they would like, assuming there is time and space to accommodate each test. Paper and pencil exams are also available for group testing.
Exam fees are $120 per exam for APICS members and $155 per exam for non-members. Exam fees must be paid in full at the time of registration.
CPIM Exam Preparation
There are a number of methods to prepare for the CPIM exams, including workshops and online courses. Are you ready to start preparing for the CPIM exam? Take a look at our CPIM Test Directory to find the best test preparation materials for you.