Are you differentiating yourself from the competition right out of the gate? From start to finish, you must rise above everyone else in the field or your chances for success decrease and you may not get the opportunity to make the impression you intended. Sometimes, a potential customer won't even agree to meet with you in person. To get that opportunity, it may depend on what they "see" based on what your business card says about you what does your business card tell them? Credentials behind your name reflect your dedication to your craft, e.g., your industry, and can set you apart from other people, e.g., your "competition"! A credential says you will go the extra step to get the job; you just want it that much more!

    What does a company look for when they put out a RFP? Besides the natural inclination to obtain the lowest possible costs, they want the best, most comprehensive service. Customers want knowledgeable professionals to run the business better than they currently do, remove fixed costs and drive results. An industry credential acknowledges that you've committed the time to learn about your business; that you have invested in yourself to become more than just a passive employee; are engaged and ready to partner with your client to achieve their goals. You bring the best of what your industry has to offer to the table - that is what companies are looking for when they distribute an RFP.

    The primary objective of the Mail Systems Management Association is to continuously promote the importance of education and certification. Our ongoing mission is to provide educational opportunities and recognition of achievement to all mailing industry professionals through three sponsored certification programs available to the industry. The Certified Mail and Distribution Systems Manager (CMDSM) for Mid to High level Mail Center Managers, the Certified Mail and Distribution Systems Supplier (CMDSS), for Suppliers to the Industry and the newly released Mailpiece Design Consultant or MDC, designed for front line to mid level managers, to verify one's knowledge and specialization as it specifically relates to mail and distribution services.

    I encourage you to visit our website; and explore this open-book exam as a first step to certification. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments on this or any of our education programs.

    The MDC program is the culmination of work of several industry professionals including Erik Warner of Pitney Bowes, Gordon Glazer of SD Postal and Shipping Equipment Inc., Elizabeth Lombard of Pitney Bowes, and Laine Ropson of Ropson & Associates. MSMA acknowledges their support and participation.

    Karen Cornelius, CMDSM is the Executive Vice President of the Mail Systems Management Association serving on the National Board of Directors.