Category Management – Guy Allen at Real World Sourcing

Yesterday, my colleague and distinguished ex CPO Guy Allen hosted the latest in the Bravo Solution Real World Souring series, with the topic of “Category Management – A Fresh Look”.

He packed a lot into the hour of the formal presentation, including a bit of revision around the basic principles of CatMan, some practical dos and don'ts for procurement practitioners involved in the field, and a more forward thinking section looking at whether CatMan is likely to continue as perhaps the most central tool in the procurement armoury, and what changes might be needed to keep it relevant in the future.

I liked one of his early comments - "if you are introducing category management for the first time, the stakeholders from their perspective probably perceive there are costs, risks or both, so you have to describe the real returns for them very clearly".

That's true of pretty much any procurement initiative of course, from introducing technology to extending procurement influence into new areas. But we often look at things from the narrow procurement perspective rather than putting ourselves in the shoes of the stakeholders and positioning things appropriately.

And remember the driver for stakeholders is not necessarily cost savings. As Guy pointed out, the IT Director is far more concerned about resilience and security of his or her systems than saving a few percent on the cost of the services being procured. So to build credibility with stakeholders, consider their issues, not ours, speak their language and reflect their concerns.

Anyway, we'll be reporting further on the event and giving some further thoughts on category management next week, when we will look at the future and some of the risks - and mitigation of the risks - for category management over the next few years.

And don’t forget - the next Real World Sourcing event is on June 3rd, when I will be talking about New Approaches to Negotiation – how to approach that vital topic in the context of the latest thinking on behavioural psychology. You can book here.

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