Institute for Supply Management

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Institute for Supply Management
Institute for Supply Management logo.png
Abbreviation ISM
Formation 1915
Type Non-profit
Purpose Supply Management
Region served
Website Official website

Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is the oldest, and one of the largest, supply management associations in the world.[1] Founded in 1915, the U.S.-based not-for-profit educational association serves professionals and organizations with a keen interest in supply management, providing education, training, qualifications, publications, information, and research.

ISM currently has 48,000 members in more than 90 countries. It offers two qualifications, the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and the Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), and, in partnership with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, sponsors CAPS Research.

ISM competes against several education, certification, and membership organizations serving the supply chain profession, including APICS, the Next Level Purchasing Association, the National Contract Management Association, the American Purchasing Society, and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.


Institute for Supply Management originated in 1915 as the National Association of Purchasing Agents (NAPA). Prior to 1915, local purchasing associations had formed in at least 10 major cities in the U.S., including one of the most active groups in Buffalo (founded in 1904). The New York Association (formed in 1913) eventually became the nucleus of the national organization. The first local associations to affiliate with the new national association were New York City, Pittsburgh, and Columbus in 1916. South Bend, Indiana, Detroit; and Los Angeles followed them in 1917. Buffalo later affiliated with NAPA in 1918.

In 1968, the organization changed its name to the National Association of Purchasing Management, Inc. (NAPM). As the field continued to change, traditional purchasing professionals were becoming more responsible for the supply of goods and services instead of strictly purchasing. NAPM members voted in April 2001 to change the organization's name to Institute for Supply Management, which became effective in January 2002.

Supply Management[edit]

ISM defines supply management as: "The identification, acquisition, access, positioning, management of resources and related capabilities the organization needs or potentially needs in the attainment of its strategic objectives." (ISM Glossary of Key Supply Management Terms, Fifth Edition, Institute for Supply Management, 2009). Components included under the supply management umbrella are:

Certification Programs[edit]

Currently Offered Certifications[edit]

ISM currently offers two professional qualifications: CPSM and CPSD.

Certified Professional in Supply Management

In 2008, ISM launched its Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certification to address the changing demands of the profession and the international marketplace. According to ISM’s 2015 annual salary survey, the average salary for a CPSM recipient was $109,846.

Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity

ISM’s Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), launched in January 2011, is currently the only certification for professionals whose responsibilities include supplier diversity, and it is supported by various diversity organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. According to ISM’s 2015 annual salary survey, the average salary for a CPSD recipient was $109,272.

Previously Offered Certifications[edit]

Two previous certifications, the C.P.M. and A.P.P., are no longer offered, but holders are eligible for ongoing recertification.

Certified Purchasing Manager

ISM’s Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation was a popular certification through the 1990s. However, it is no longer offered for testing by ISM and has transitioned into recertification-only status.[2] ISM continues to recertify C.P.M.s who meet continuing education requirements. According to ISM’s 2015 annual salary survey, the average compensation (salary plus bonus) for a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) was $108,889.

Accredited Purchasing Practitioner

ISM also offered Accredited Purchasing Practitioner (A.P.P.) designation for several years. The A.P.P. focused on entry-level purchasing functions for those primarily engaged in the operational side of the supply chain. No longer offered for testing, ISM continues to recertify A.P.P.s who meet continuing education requirements. According to ISM’s 2015 annual salary survey, the average salary for an Accredited Purchasing Practitioner (A.P.P.) was $104,309.


Inside Supply Management

ISM publishes a members-only monthly magazine Inside Supply Management (formerly titled Purchasing Today and NAPM Insights), which debuted in June 1998. It includes the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business and the Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business, purchasing surveys that are leading economic indicators.


ISM releases its PMI composite index (formerly known as the Purchasing Managers’ Index) on the first business day of each month. It can be found under ISM Reports On Business on the ISM home page.

Journal of Supply Chain Management

Journal of Supply Chain Management is ISM’s quarterly academic journal (formerly titled International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management and Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management).


ISM offers a comprehensive curriculum addressing all areas of supply, but with a particular focus on sourcing and procurement, available in different formats.

Products & Services[edit]

  • CPSM and CPSD professional certifications
  • ISM Mastery Model
  • Report On Business
  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Corporate training
  • Career Center


CAPS Research

CAPS Research is a non-profit research organization jointly sponsored by ISM and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University dedicated to providing strategic insight to top global organizations. It also uses supply management KPIs to provide comprehensive benchmarking so companies can see how they compare to other organizations.

ADR North America

In January 2012, ISM invested in the consulting firm ADR North America (ADR NA), which continues to operate under its own name. ISM and ADR NA have been partners for years in a successful joint venture, the ISM-ADR School for Supply Management, which provides a broad range of professional development courses delivered in a variety of formats and native languages around the world. To execute its investment, ISM established the for-profit company ISM Services, Inc. ADR North America will operate as a subsidiary of ISM Services, Inc., as will ADR-ISM Supply Management Consulting (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. ADR North America and ADR-ISM Supply Management Consulting (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. will continue to be licensees of ADR International, the UK-based global consulting firm.

Spend Matters

ISM is partnered with procurement blog Spend Matters in conducting research and surveys.[3]

Principles & Standards[edit]

ISM publishes principles of sustainability and social responsibility as well as principles and standards of ethical supply management conduct. Its goal in doing so is to give its members firm guidelines and solutions to help them navigate a complex global environment and problematic business conditions.


In 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated the early release of the June 2013 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business by mass media and information firm Thomson Reuters. According to an article on, there was an upsurge of high-speed trading 15 milliseconds before the report was scheduled to be released: "ISM's manufacturing data was inadvertently sent out early by Thomson Reuters on June 3rd to its high-speed clients, many of whom immediately traded on the information. There was a sharp market reaction to that burst of trading, which prompted downward moves in the SPY ETF, which serves as an investing tool for traders to bet on the overall direction of the market. That downward surge [allowed insiders] more than enough time to profit from early knowledge of market-moving information." After a telephone inquiry from the SEC about the early release of the data, Thomson Reuters issued a statement explaining that the early release was due to a clock synchronization issue. At the SEC’s request, the firm voluntarily provided a redacted copy of its contract with ISM. In an interview with CNBC, ISM CEO Thomas Derry said that after speaking with Thomson Reuters about the mechanics of their release process, he was confident it was an isolated occurrence. He also indicated that “We have not been contacted by any government entity.”[4]

On June 2, 2014, ISM released its closely followed monthly manufacturing report and then revised it twice in the span of about two-and-a-half hours, a highly unusual event. The initial figure of 53.2 was lower than anticipated and indicated a slowing of the pace of factory-sector growth, and this caused stocks to dip immediately. Economists immediately queried the accuracy of the report and determined that ISM had incorrectly applied seasonal adjustments from the previous month.[5]

“It’s a debacle, as far as ISM is concerned,” said Tom di Galoma, head of fixed-income rates at ED&F Man Capital. “It’s hurt their credibility, and it’s going to take a while for that to recover.”[6] Pantheon Macroeconomics founder and chief economist Ian Shepherdson was quoted as saying, "Amateur hour at the ISM strikes again," and Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, was quoted as saying, "ISM made a mistake, another reason not to trust anecdotal information on the economy. They cannot tabulate the survey results correctly and apply the right seasonal adjustment factor. ISM manufacturing is more unreal than ever, more unreal than actual dollar and cents counting of orders, production employment. It makes you wonder if some of these errors are sometimes not caught."[7]

ISM's final correction of 55.4 was almost in line with Wall Street expectations, indicating brisk growth, and the stock market rebounded quickly and closed the day with a modest gain.[8] In a statement, ISM attributed the errant report to a software glitch that "incorrectly used the seasonal adjustment factor from the previous month."


External links[edit]