category group planning process resort image

Case study

A new category group planning process and refreshed category management approach for an international hotel group

By Mark Webb |


  • hospitality

Areas of Expertise

  • category management
  • category group planning


  • training
  • coaching

Organisation T/O

  • £4.5 billion

Geographic Spread

  • us / uk / asia / pac

Procurement Spend

  • £2.5 billion

Business situation

The existing category management methodology used by the Procurement team of an international hotel brand had suffered from negative stakeholder perceptions, a lack of detailed application, poor governance and it was not easy to use. As a result, it was not being used.

So, the clear goals for the new Head of Indirect Procurement were to:

  • Transform its approach to category management and introduce the concept of category group planning whilst focusing on the identification and delivery of value to the business
  • Create “agile” processes and toolkits that are easy to apply
  • Quickly improve the skills of the Procurement team in how best to apply the new methodology through high quality training and coaching.

Solution implemented

Future Purchasing successfully implemented a refreshed category management approach by acting as category management experts within the team.

Process design

We set up a client design team to develop ‘fit for purpose’ category management and category group planning processes and toolkits.


We designed and ran training workshops in category group planning for the leadership team and category directors as well as category management training for category managers.


We provided coaching and mentoring for category managers. By being clear on how the processes could be modulated to meet the differing types of projects and activities undertaken by the team, our programme focused on value levers, strategy creation and a sensible modulation of activity.

Category group planning

We successfully introduced category group planning for the first time in the organisation’s 100-year history, with plans completed in 8 weeks.

Category management

40 staff were trained in news way of working, with training feedback scoring an outstanding 5.8/6.

Coaching support

4 x category group planning coaching sessions of 1.5 hours each per category director were delivered over a two month period to ensure the completion of the category group plans to an excellent quality standard.

Benefits delivered

As a direct result of Future Purchasing’s work, our client overhauled its approach to category management and saw immediate opportunities to reduce costs across a number of categories within hotel spend and indirect spend.

The global teams were brought together to achieve a more cross-functional approach to creating category strategies and plans.

By equipping the procurement teams with the necessary skills to embed excellent category management strategies, our client was far more confident in developing strategies with their stakeholder communities.

The introduction of category group planning resulted in the completion of eight category group plans within eight weeks with identified savings of $65-111m (8-14%).

quote mark

“The high standard of Procurement that was taught meant the bar and quality was set very high and everyone aimed for it!”

Head of Indirect Purchasing

“The enthusiasm in the room which was created by the trainers.” “Feel fired up and ready to do it. Cannot wait to get some meetings set up with the team and get cracking.” “Coaching has challenged us to think differently.” “Great presentation materials, high energy and excellent content. Very, very good” “Best workshops I have ever been part of.”

Comments from the procurement team

Related Expertise

supplier management

Our supplier management approach combines excellent tools and techniques across the full range of activity, from segmentation, through performance measurement and improvement and through to relationship strategy development.

category management

Excellence in Category Management gives multipliers of value delivery compared to less effective programs. Our approach delivers a high performing team and process which provides sustainable value over years rather than months.

About Mark Webb

Managing Director

22 years procurement experience in line management
and consulting roles.
Previous employment: Price Waterhouse, Mobil Oil and QP Group
Education: BSc in Management Science and MSc in Business by Research, Aston University
CIPS: member