The Category Management Category

Is the Tail Spend Problem Solved with Technology or with Managed Services?

Tail spend is a thorny problem — and an important one.

Tail spend is an amalgam of more granular spending: one time, low dollar, maverick, tactical by design. It doesn't even have a common definition understood by all, and it is generally a mess.

So, how to solve this problem? The design ideal is the concept of guided buying, where you start with the end customers (i.e., employees who need something) at the time of need and then guide them down to get what they need to accomplish their goals (but also within corporate policy). It’s an entryway to all procurement, not just the procure-to-pay (P2P), process, so you need to get it right and make the experience count.

But, who is the guide? Is it a tactical buying group in shared services or outsourced provider? Or is it a technology solution? Let’s discuss.

Designing a Spend Category Taxonomy Properly is Harder Than You Think (Part 1: Do This, Not That) [Plus+]

category management

We had a question from a client of ours about whether there were any guidelines or an overall methodology to coming up with a spend category taxonomy. It’s a simple question, but there isn’t a simple answer. So, we thought we’d offer some insights to help guide your efforts. But before we say what to do, there’s a quick recommendation on what not to do. In this first of a two-part Spend Matters Plus series, Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell explores how to think about creating a spend category taxonomy, pitfalls of incorrect approaches, and how to embrace an approach that cuts across categories and spend types.

Procurement and Travel: How Healthy is Your Relationship?

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Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Katie Virtue, director of category management, travel, at Corporate United.

You probably know that corporate travel programs offer a significant cost savings opportunity and, as a result, are a high priority for most organizations. What you may not know is that the successful management of your travel program relies heavily on the relationship between procurement and travel teams. Although financial goals are important to all organizations, you must not forget the customer experience component that comes into play with these offerings, and also make sure that company travel policies protect employees.

Improve Your Category Management Performance: Report and Webinar From Future Purchasing and Spend Matters

category management

The Future Purchasing Category Management survey and report is now in its third edition, and has established itself as the definitive piece of research work in its field. Future Purchasing, as a consulting firm specializing in “CatMan,” bring its own insights to the results. That means the final report is far from just being a presentation of the data from the several hundred survey respondents, representing organizations from many different sectors and countries.

Mega Spend Aggregation: 10 Ways to Supersize your Market Basket (Part 1) [Plus+]

category management

Most procurement organizations complain about diminishing savings on re-sourced categories – and rightly so. But rather than beating the same horse, why not hitch up more than one, and in new ways that you may not have considered? In this Plus piece, we’ll outline five of them, with the first one being "expand the 'lots' in your current market basket."

Why It’s Important for Logistic Category Managers to Be the Gateway to Emerging Disruptive Technologies in the Marketplace

trade

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Rodrigo Sánchez, consultant in strategy and operations management at GEP.

Procurement strategies aim to identify the service providers that can offer the products and services an organization requires at the most competitive prices. At the same time, they also need to meet the requirements established by the different departments across the company. Logistics, however, defines the strategy that will allow companies to move raw materials into manufacturing plants and distribute its finished goods across its supply chain. And all of this aims to be cost efficient. So how is it possible for procurement to identify additional opportunities for logistics, since it does not own the logistics strategy?

ICYMI: Tackling the Complex, Multifaceted “Hairy Beast” of Risk Management

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Last Friday, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch and Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell teamed up to present the webinar Risk and Compliance Management: Embedding Risk Management in Procurement and Supply Chain. Busch and Mitchell began with a segmentation of the types of supplier and supply chain risk and compliance management technologies out there, before moving into the topics of how to embed these technologies throughout your procurement and supply chain functions. They discussed the best ways to create linkages with other areas of procurement technologies, as well as how to create a procurement culture that is risk-aware.

Category Management Survey and Report: Groundbreaking Results and Webinar Next Week

category management

Consultancy Future Purchasing completed late last year the largest category management survey of its kind ever attempted (as far as we know). With more than 300 respondents from a range of sectors and countries, the results provide much fascinating material to help understand just what differentiates the best exponents of “CatMan” from the pack. And if you have any interest in the topic, as a category manager or a procurement leader looking to improve performance, or indeed as a less mature organization in the field, we are confident you will get something useful out of our upcoming webinar next Tuesday, March 14, at 11 a.m. EST.

Shining a Light on Dark Procurement: Getting Complex Categories Under Control

category management

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Brian Miller, vice president of services at Proactis.

“Dark” procurement, a new label for a well-known challenge in the discipline, is elevating concerns over purchasing waste and threatening efficient, optimized procurement. This is especially apparent in complex spend categories, particularly business services. Characterized by a lack of procurement awareness and process transparency in these categories, “dark” purchases leave organizations exposed to inefficiencies, greater costs and more risks.

Top 10 Ways to Radically Expand Category Management Value Creation [Plus+]

category management

In the never-ending quest to deliver more value, procurement organizations are trying to squeeze more savings and innovation out of spend categories. But, eventually the well starts to run dry, and when that happens, you need to either get more out of that well (fracking for spend savings, perhaps?), dig a deeper well, find another place to dig, or find another way to get the water.

My point? To improve category management, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as CatMan, you sometimes have to expand it or blow it up completely. Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work elsewhere that can hopefully give you some inspiration and raise your category management game.

BravoSolution: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

BravoSolution, a procurement technology suite provider, has undergone significant transformation on the product level in recent years. It emerged from a replatforming effort in the source-to-contract area, after which it expanded the breadth of its suite by acquiring procure-to-pay from Puridiom (this followed a time of partnering with providers such as Basware and Verian). While Q1 2017 will see the introduction of BravoSolution’s first integrated source-to-pay suite under its own control, the more important differentiation in capabilities and approach arguably comes not from P2P but rather its core analytics, sourcing and supplier management capabilities (as well as integrated contract management).

This third and final installment of the Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot series on BravoSolution provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to BravoSolution and offers provider selection guidance. Lastly, this installment provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that may consider the BravoAdvantage suite or individual modules. Part 1 of this Vendor Snapshot gave an in-depth look at BravoSolution as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 provided a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

BravoSolution: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

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BravoSolution currently delivers a benchmark set of capabilities for procurement organizations in the “upstream” procurement suite area. It is not without weaknesses, (which we will also explore in this analysis), but BravoSolution stands apart in how it has constructed and how it delivers integrated suite components to support real-world procurement needs by country, industry and procurement organizational structure. With an emphasis on analytics, sourcing (core and advanced/optimization) and supplier management, BravoSolution provides one standard by which to measure the market from an upstream suite perspective. The provider also offers P2P capabilities (“downstream”) today and will be releasing its own solution, gained through acquisition, in 2017.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores BravoSolution’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.