Category Management


Category Management – What next?

By Mark Hubbard |

Future Purchasing is a leading Procurement Consultancy who regularly publish blogs on category management and related subjects which reflect our expertise.

One of the challenges of using category management to maximise value delivery from our supply chains is to improve what we do. How do you focus on critical areas and understand the effect of getting them right? As the approach used is internal to the business and the methodology has been around for a number of years, it is often true that the way it all works is assumed to be OK, and a lot of the improvements are around systems that input into category management.

However, it is evident to those who have seen many category management approaches over the years that some work a lot better than others. As Procurement Consultants we see that it is rarely the core content that is the issue; it is usually a lot of the hygiene factors which surround the implementation of category management which cause the issues.

We run a regular category management study to describe the critical areas to focus on and the effect of getting them right. The study asks a whole series of questions about how category management works within your organisation and the sorts of outcomes you achieve with that. It is a global survey with many participants, which allows an excellent picture to be constructed of the most effective efforts and what delivers the best results.

Of course, there is a lot of design and analysis work needed to make this happen, and we’ve been delighted to work with Henley Business School to ensure that the rigor necessary to make the study a world-class program is in place.

Participants in the category management study get satisfaction from contributing to a broadening of knowledge about the application of category management and early feedback on their performance, along with a complimentary copy of the study report.

Armed with these key insights, you can develop improvement programs to ensure that the way you activate category management is as effective as possible and addresses the factors known to deliver better performance.

For example, a clear outcome from the previous category management study was the link between high-performance results from category management and a structured and effective approach to stakeholder communication. If we know that being great at stakeholder communications delivers better results, it would be reasonable for us to have a program in place to ensure that our category leads are fully enabled with the tools and behaviour’s to be great at stakeholder communications. Further, we’d probably be running some reviews on how that is going, providing coaching to ensure that it is working well, and possibly peer group reviews to encourage in-house learning.

Those that address the main factors identified in the study and its supporting report demonstrate better performance; the research shows that the gap in performance between the high performers and the rest is roughly 3X. That is a big prize. More savings, more coverage, more value contribution, less risk, better contribution to overall business strategies and targets.

To participate in the 2021 category management study, get early access to results, and accelerate your journey to better performance, follow this link.

Read more about our Category Management Expertise

Future Purchasing are leading Procurement Consultants.

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