Category Management and Procurement Consultants


I do have time for Category Management

By Mark Hubbard |

The follow up to Mark Hubbard’s article “I don’t have time for Category Management” (linked below) a Director at Future Purchasing, the Procurement Consultants.

I do have time for category management. It is my job. I have to work with a stakeholder to understand their forward plan and make sure our category strategy aligns with it to make sure there are no big surprises. I don’t have any requisitions to process, so I’m spending time understanding a key supplier’s performance. This will give us the chance to tune some areas so that we’re all delivering more value. I need a coffee.

I do have time for category management because the RFP for those services was easier to create as I’d spent time with stakeholders to help define their requirements in ways we all understood. I’m building our net zero-carbon business case into my category strategy – I can see just which areas it will impact. I’m spending time looking at where else value might come from, including looking at the impact of late deliveries and the associated costs that go with that. There’s a supplier who wants to stop providing non-profit making items, and I’m helping stakeholders look at the implications for that. Payment terms are built into the category strategy.

I’ve got time to plan for the future because the present does not consume me. I’ve already looked at the risks from the external impacts, using our old friend PESTLE, and I’ve baked the risk mitigation factors into the strategy and into implementation plans. I knew we were buying a business because my stakeholders value my input, and I already have a plan for contract novation. I’ve got plans for supplier changes because my category strategy allows me to game several scenarios. I’ve already reduced my suppliers. SAP.

Some days, working in procurement is like watching a ballet, where well-structured teams co-create programs to deliver more value for our business with our supply chain. We do get pushed and pulled, but we’re working on it together, and we’re all pulling in the same direction. We are resilient enough to deal with the knocks and flashing lights that sometimes appear. Of course, there are still unexpected events, but it is easier to deal with because we act as a team.

The longer-term work we do that identifies and delivers new value is our focus, along with ensuring the initiatives that deliver the value are managed to a conclusion. We measure across a broad range of areas to ensure we are getting to the value delivery we want, and we watch progress and delivery closely. So we know we’re spending most of our time on that longer-term value delivery, even though 20% is spent with our hair on fire, fixing the problems we haven’t anticipated, and learning from those fixes.

So, the big question for our leaders is, how we can continue to sustain this approach, to make sure we maintain delivery of value and improvement for the business, keeping the balance right and making sure that we don’t get to a place where I don’t have time for category management.

While your here we would appreciate your participation in our Global Category Management Study, over a 1000 Procurement Professionals have participated since its conception and we would love you to add your opinions.

Future Purchasing are a leading Procurement Consultants specializing in Category Management.

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