The AI-driven category management approach that dramatically accelerating the delivery of category strategies


AI accelerates category strategies’ delivery

By Mark Hubbard |

We have been utilising an AI-driven approach that dramatically accelerates category strategies’ delivery with some of our most progressive clients. 

AI analyses your category managers’ view of the marketplace, existing and future spending, and your business needs to deliver a draft category strategy in hours of work, not weeks.  This approach frees up your category managers to focus on activity that sets your procurement operation apart, such as innovation, stakeholder engagement and business alignment.

The system and supporting approaches provide:

· Full overview of all development activity, from spend analysis to initiative tracking and delivery which integrates with established team and stakeholder management approaches. 

· A consistent approach and methodology in place.

· High-quality stakeholder engagement, backed by excellent AI-derived analysis, means that discussions are fact-based and meaningful; meaningful planning and execution of delivery brings more significant value. 

The integrated approach; Procurement, AI and Expert Coaching 

This approach will transform the procurement sector by realising the promise of high-quality category strategies that influence most of your spend. By blending an AI system and expert coaching, we see high-speed delivery and overall value beyond just sourcing activity.

The AI system’s use is optimised when category managers understand the fundamentals of the approach and how the category strategy is derived. Category managers also need support in interpretation, co-creation and communications throughout the development of the strategy. This integrated approach, delivered through excellent and time-proven training and coaching, gives maximum returns on the investment you make.

How does this work?

As with all category management, understanding the areas that the business needs to focus on is critical. There is no point in delivering excellent strategies in areas that the company gets no real benefit. The process of strategic alignment ensures that any activity undertaken will deliver genuine value where it matters most.

Once the best areas to address are identified, the category teams’ skills and capabilities need to be at a level where the development of category strategies is fully effective. This usually involves targeted training looking at both procurement, system and change management skills and behaviours.

At this stage, the category teams are encouraged to utilise the system to its full extent, deliver category strategies with broad value delivery, excellent insight, and a full link to business requirements and onwards into initiatives that deliver value.

The system tracks the progress through all category strategies in the organisation – current status, strategies developed, initiatives by strategy and type and more. This complete overview of activity is the program management offices dream, and it is delivered automatically. It is always up to date. Again, this saves considerable time in reporting and allows that time to be spent looking for ways to unblock areas where progress has stopped or accelerates areas where success is vital.

The whole system drives consistency in delivery, record-keeping, an analytical approach, and consist output. Once in place, this consistency helps communication, planning and review. This overall approach integrates with best practice team and stakeholder management practices.

Co-creation of strategies with stakeholders remains a critical success factor and will maximise category strategy adoption and value delivery effectiveness. 

Future Purchasing has years of experience working with teams to co-create strategies and understand how to blend the AI system and the necessary in-company activities to maximise success.

If you would like to talk to me about an AI-driven approach that dramatically accelerates category strategies’ delivery email me below or click on the “Let’s Talk “button below to get direct access to my diary. 

About Mark Hubbard


30+ years experience in procurement and supplier management, in line and consulting roles
Previous employment: Positive Purchasing Ltd, SITA,
QP Group, BMW, SWWS, Rover
Education: BSc in Engineering Metallurgy, MBA University of Plymouth
CIPS: Current Member