16 category management skills trafalgar square image

Case study

Upgrading 16 category management strategies

By Simon Brown |



Area of Expertise




Organisation T/O


Geographic Spread


Procurement Spend


Business situation

The procurement leadership team of a UK Government body managing £13 billion of spend recognised that category management strategies were being created in an inconsistent manner, resulting in poor take-up by internal customers across multiple departments. Category management needed improving across the whole organisation.

Procurement required a more strategic mindset, a step-change in strategic content with better storytelling in the category strategies that were to be produced.

The organisation’s category management strategies needed to be client facing documents that sold the potential value available from marrying the internal business requirements with the external supply market perspective.

Solution implemented

Working for the lead category director and in the role of coach, Future Purchasing upgraded the quality of 16 x category strategies.

We coordinated with the category management team to strengthen the strategic insights extracted from the category strategies, to ensure connection to departmental requirements, to improve storytelling and to provide a range of creative options for change with clear implementation recommendations.

Using a mixture of coaching, mentoring and doing, and within a very tight timetable, Future Purchasing improved the organisation’s category management approach with a ‘best in class’ process and toolkit. We also ran a category management training course for 16 category managers focused on attitude and behavioural shift.

Benefits delivered

Within ten weeks a new category management strategy approach and toolkit was developed by articulating short, medium and long term savings of between £0.5b and £1.5bn. This approach was then made available across the public sector.

The procurement team involved in the project became internal category strategy coaches for the rest of the organisation. They were subsequently requested to set the benchmark for category strategies across the public sector. It became a significant part of a longer term journey towards category management excellence.

Importantly, the self confidence and profile of the procurement team also increased substantially.

quote mark

“Great to receive challenge from the FP consultant on the thinking in the strategy.”

“FP consultant meetings were very helpful for me as my category was a late starter. We have identified an extra GBP 600m spend that could be addressed from the process.”

“Template pack is by far the best template pack we have ever used…”

“Well structured document with a more logical flow than before.”

“Right level of detail with commentary & conclusions to make you focus on the key points.”

“Using the CM Processgave us time to think outside of the daily activities. Working in teams is much more productive than working on your own.”

“Value levers was difficult to understand at first but understanding the breakdown of value levers into more detail was a light bulb moment for me.

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 Simon Brown


30 years procurement experience in line management and
consulting roles.
Previous employment: British Aerospace, British Airways, QP Group
Education: MBA, London Business School. BA (Hons) Business Studies.
CIPS: member