While there is no governing body that controls or even defines Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), APICS, the Association for Operations Management does offer a certification program in production and inventory management (CPIM) that covers the body of knowledge that surrounds ERP Certifications include an advanced designation for fellow-level recognition (CFPIM). The APICS certification knowledgebase is generic, including all of the theory and practice of planning, execution and control of operations, and management of resources. While not addressing the specifics of any particular implementation of these principles in ERP software, every ERP product on the market adheres to and applies the APICS principles.
Many manufacturing professionals take advantage of APICS classes, reference books and professional development opportunities to learn the concepts behind ERP. Testing for certification is organized into five subject areas and exams: Basics of Supply Chain Management; Master Planning of Resources; Detail Scheduling and Planning; Execution and Control of Operations; and Strategic Management of Resources. Applicants must achieve a passing score in all five exams to gain certification. A program of continuing professional development governs certification maintenance—individuals must renew their certification every five years.
While there are no individual CRM certifications, CRM principles and operations are included in the CPIM coverage and more so in the APICS supply chain management certification: Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) offers a Certification in Supply Management (CSM).
Individual ERP software vendors offer various certifications related to their specific software features, functions and use, and not necessarily the theory and practice of ERP in general or the efficient operation of a manufacturing business. These system-specific certifications are generally intended to qualify consultants and implementation partners to work with end-user customers. Therefore, you might find Oracle certifications (although they might focus on Oracle database functions and operation), Peoplesoft certifications, SAP certifications, and so on. There is SAP ERP certification training available through SAP’s vast network of partners and affiliates.
Be aware that there are many technical certifications that may be of interest to ERP user companies as credentials to watch for when recruiting or contracting for technical support. Microsoft, for example, offers a number of technical certifications for their products—Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Data Base Administrator (MCDBA), and a number of others.
There are three SOA certification programs, sponsored by IBM, BEA and ZapThink.