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Category management report

Capability and mindset – Why is it important?

By Future Purchasing |

Capability and mindset is about building the technical and behavioural skills for procurement teams so that they can successfully apply category management.

It includes developing a blended learning programme that delivers through classroom training, coaching, peer learning and most importantly real projects to practice skills. At the team level it includes developing an approach to category and skills knowledge sharing as well as measuring the impact of investments.

The importance of capability and mindset

Individuals learn in different ways. Some learn through visual means such as diagrams and pictures, whilst others prefer to see the written word. Some will learn by reading detailed materials before trying new tools. However, most adults learn through coaching input from line managers and peer review sessions.

These different learning styles and approaches need to be carefully considered in the learning design and the major preferences need to be incorporated and catered for.

At its best, category management is a business process and category managers, stakeholders and line managers all need to know how to apply the process to be successful.

In this year’s research we have asked how well applied are seven specific category management technical and behavioural skillsets that category teams should possess. Interestingly, behavioural skills are slightly better applied than technical skills with building trust and confidence, collaboration and cross-functional facilitation plus listening, influencing and better storytelling skills were the most crucial.

Overall, behavioural skills was the number one practice that had most impact on overall category management performance.

What our global category management survey tells us about capability and mindset

In summary

The overall score for capability & mindset across all respondents has increased marginally from 41% to 42% compared with the 2019-20 survey.

The highest scores were Q4.3 at 57% and Q4.2 at 54% covering behavioural and technical capability building for procurement teams. This reflects the value of developing high-performing teams who understand the technical skills of procurement such as supply market analysis as well as behavioural skills such as collaboration and cross-functional facilitation.

The lowest scores were for Q4.7 about providing excellent training at 26% and Q4.8 on tracking the impact of your training over time at 27%. Focusing time on developing a more comprehensive learning programme has real benefits to the teams and delivers better results.

Capability and mindset - why is it important? Graph

Key recommendations

Leaders v Starters performance gap

1. Embed a range of behavioural capabilities across your team that include building trust and confidence, improving collaboration, developing influencing skills and better storytelling.


2. Instil a range of technical capabilities across your team that include developing business requirements, value levers & options, spend & supply market analyses and strategy documents. (Quick Wins)


3. Ensure procurement line managers actively support their category managers with expert coaching throughout the whole category strategy process including implementation.


4. Use real category projects to accelerate learning for category managers after their training has been completed and include targeted coaching support from line managers and external experts as required.


Further reading

Blog post: Category Management process and technology – Why is it important?

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