Future Purchasing – Category Management Survey

Future Purchasing have started to publish results from their 2012 published their Category Management Surevy. FP (as they’re known to their friends) are a relatively small but high-octane procurement consulting firm who not only do lots of good work, but put an impressive amount of their considerable intellectual property into the public domain via their excellent website. And their Chairman, Jon Hughes, did his thing in front of the Public Administration Select Committee recently as well.

Their review is based on a survey of over 200 respondents, with average sales revenue of €2.6billion, average procurement spend of €650 and 70 procurement staff – so that’s a pretty top-end sample, I would say. Annual savings claimed by procurement are on average 4.6%, although we all know how difficult it is to achieve robust savings measurement.

The Future Purchasing report that is now available has a lot of good material, although it is worth pointing out that the survey results are only a small part really of what is also a marketing document, as well as a source of some very good CatMan advice, guidance and thinking.

But getting onto the results – the first surprise is that only 27% of respondents – as we said, generally big firms – have embedded or optimised CatMan.  After all these years of this being the dominant process methodology in our profession, that seems low. That may be in part because of the quite “tough” definition provided by Future Purchasing:

Embedded: Fully standardised approach to category strategy creation and implementation. Toolkits and training are consistent and available. Most stakeholders are supportive. Category strategies are given same focus as RFPs and negotiation”.

More reassuringly, CatMan is a key priority for people – true in the case of 96% of the Leaders (defined as those who rate themselves as having CatMan “embedded” or “optimised”) and 80% of the Followers (the rest).

But there’s a huge difference though in the proportion of spend covered by CatMan within an organisation between the leaders and followers, not surprisingly. Almost 40% of Leaders have over 75% of spend covered, whereas only 10% of Followers are in that position.  Remembering that Followers are in the majority, around 70% of them have less than half of spend covered, which again suggests that CatMan doesn’t have the coverage that you might expect from the amount of talk about it over the years.

So, a long way to go for many organisations. And taking advantage of this and other material Future Purchasing have made freely available is a good place to start if you’re looking to improve the current situation in your organisation.

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