The story of how procurement transplanted the concept of category management from the world of grocery retailing is a fascinating one, and too lengthy a tale for us today. But "CatMan" is now the predominant procurement methodology used in organizations around the world. Even the public sector has picked up on it in recent years, adopting the principles pioneered by major blue-chip firms in the pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and automotive sectors.
Pretty much every consulting firm has its own process and tool-kit, too. Whether it’s seven steps, nine steps or 17 sub-processes, there is plenty of advice from those who will tell you how to implement CatMan successfully. But there is less in the way of hard, evidence-driven thinking and research that can bring objectivity to the questions around how organizations can succeed with CatMan. That's why the Future Purchasing Category Management survey is so valuable.
Future Purchasing is a U.K.-based but internationally operating specialist consultancy that punches way above its weight in the CatMan field. The firm is a genuine thought leader in that area. There's a lot of great information and knowledge, articles and practical guide included, freely available on its website too, if you’re interested.
The international survey is the biggest in the world of its kind, and it is now entering its third iteration. Previous results have provided real insight into what makes the best performers in terms of CatMan into leaders. As the firm says, the survey aims to look at:
- Identifying and quantifying the value delivered by category management
- Understanding the different approaches to category management design and implementation across organizations
- Identifying the resources needed to deliver value through category management
- Assessing which category management practices have most impact on procurement performance
The survey looks at areas such as skills and capability, process, technology and stakeholder involvement. Perhaps the most valuable output for participants is that results and analysis identify the differentiating factors driving success and tangible results from effective category management. Those benefits include savings, but also stakeholder buy-in, better supplier relationships and innovation from the supply market.
If you complete the survey - which should take you around 15 minutes - you will receive a copy of the results and a benchmarking analysis of how your organization compares against the norm from all the responses. There's also the chance to win the latest iPad if you respond before the end of July. You will also be contributing to the procurement "body of knowledge" — a worthy cause in itself, we think!
You can click on this link to take the survey. Please do consider contributing to the study, as many hundreds of your peers will do.