Imagine this conversation…

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Sarah Carbuyer:  “What is the best vehicle available?”

Johnny Expert:  “A Ford F-150.”

Sarah Carbuyer:  “Why?”

Johnny Expert:  “Most people I know are familiar with the Ford F-150.”

Sarah Carbuyer:  “OK, I’ll go buy a Ford F-150.”

How does this make you feel about these two people?

Is Johnny’s recommendation a little short-sighted?

Is Sarah a little too easily influenced?

How about yes and yes!

So, what would be the correct answer to Sarah’s question?

Is there one?

Yes.  The correct answer is:  “It depends.”

The best vehicle for Sarah depends on her circumstances.

Does she need to park in tight spaces?

Does she need to drive around five kids?

How much of a priority is fuel efficiency?

And what if the number of people who are familiar with a vehicle model does matter to Sarah but she lives in Japan where Toyota is a more “recognized” name than Ford?

How helpful is Johnny’s advice now?

See, there are a lot of things that Sarah needs to consider to find the best fit for her.  But people like Johnny dole out advice based on one factor and one factor alone.  And that’s not always helpful.

There are a lot of factors to consider.  And there are a lot of great options available.

Unfortunately, the same thing happens on social media with procurement certifications.  Someone will ask for a recommendation on the best procurement certification and someone else will chime in with one and only one recommendation based on his/her situation, not the situation of the person asking.  And while intentions are good, it’s not necessarily as helpful as it could be for the person seeking advice.

In the procurement profession, we are fortunate to have a choice of certifications.  If one certification was right for everyone, there would be no need for any others.  But different certifications have different advantages.  And that’s why just like multiple vehicle models exist, multiple procurement certifications exist.  Heck, there are plenty of ambitious procurement professionals out there who have certifications from multiple providers.  Procurement certifications are not mutually exclusive and it only helps a procurement professional to be more competitive in the job market if they achieve as many credentials as practical for him/her.

It is important for someone seeking a procurement certification to consider more than one factor when choosing a certification.  If someone selects a certification just because it is one that they are familiar with before doing any research, what does that say about their procurement skills?  After all, isn’t it a core competency of procurement to thoroughly research a market and identify the option that is the best fit for the organization?  Why should anyone apply a lesser standard to the selection of their own certification?  After all, earning and maintaining a procurement certification requires a multi-year commitment and an investment of money.

So, my advice for anyone asking a question like “What is the best procurement certification available?” is to look at multiple options to determine which is the best fit for your personal circumstances.

Even though I am the founder of a procurement certification provider, I wanted to keep this post provider-agnostic so that the thought process could be applied to any certification.  You can stop reading now and walk away with some good, objective insights if you have an allergy to the slightest bit of bias.

However, if you do want to better understand 14 factors to consider when comparing procurement certification options, here is a link to a whitepaper that the NLPA published – http://goo.gl/M9lQKo.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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