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Introduction and challenges

Category management is the operational implementation of the company’s procurement strategy. It covers the entire life cycle of the supplier relationship: from its identification and qualification to its exit from the supplier panel. Category management constantly moves back and forth between highly operational activities such as tender management, supplier evaluation and more strategic activities such as panel formation and strategic partner management. Buyers must also juggle inconsistent requests from senior management: from generating ever-increasing savings, controlling risks (especially during transfers between suppliers), identifying supplier innovations to being agile enough to adapt to the company’s new business models. Reconciling short- and long-term requirements is a key challenge. 

To face these changes, category management must be more agile, based on ever more accurate and dynamic data, and involve at the earliest possible stage functions such as quality and procurement, and aim for more effective communication both internally and with suppliers.

Finally, the new supply channels, driven by marketplaces amongst other things, are changing the very notion of category management, pushing buyers to change their DNA to take full advantage of these new buying methods.

How we can help 

We support our clients in several areas of category management:

  • Assessment of the maturity of a company’s category management
  • Implementation of category management processes and tools (direct, indirect) 
  • Building IT targets for effective category management
  • Definition of roadmaps and implementation of category strategy and plans
  • Redesign of internal collaboration methods and rituals