The Category Management Category

AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 3): Category Wizards Will Save Time, Add Strategic Muscle [PRO]

In this series, Spend Matters delves into the status of artificial intelligence, with a focus on how AI can improve the sourcing and procuring process. Today the technology is really “assisted intelligence,” which was detailed in our precursor series: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2). The technology of tomorrow promises the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities. In the first two articles, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection and how "ninjabots" can crunch data on buying and automatic opportunity identification. In this article, we'll consider “category wizards” and how they can put a halt to manual tasks — like defining/assessing categories and choosing the best procurement process — thereby adding strategic prowess for even the lowest of buyers.

Commodities Roundup: Aluminum Output Up, Palladium Sets Record and Indian Gold Demand

conflict minerals

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: Aluminum Output Up, Palladium Hits High, India Flooded by Metals, Gold Sales in India Not Festive.

Six Best Practices for Procuring Marketing Services (Part 2) [Plus+]

marketing

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on marketing services, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

In Part 1, we pulled together a number of key learnings (and some personal experience) to come up with six best practice suggestions for CPOs or marketing services procurement leads to consider. We previously looked at three recommendations around category strategy and suppler management. Today we’ll take a look at three more that focus more on the procurement function and individuals in it, how they align with marketing colleagues, and the skills they need to succeed in this area.

Six Best Practices for Procuring Marketing Services [Plus+]

marketing spend

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on category management, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

My personal involvement with procurement functions trying to get to grips with the marketing spend category goes back some 25 years, and I had some successes and failures in my time as a CPO in several large organisations. It’s a category where procurement has been slow to increase influence, but according to figures from the World Federation of Advertisers, we have gradually reached a position where the procurement function is estimated to have between 50%–80% spend coverage in the category (depending on the geographic maturity, with firms in Europe at the top of the scale and South America at the bottom).

This is starting to feel like a coming of age for marketing services procurement, with some very impressive people in senior category roles speaking and a general air that clear best practice is emerging. There are still tensions between procurement and marketing staff in some organisations, but relationships seem to be improving and a sense of where and how procurement can contribute is certainly developing.

In this Spend Matters Plus article, we’ve pulled together some key learnings to come up with six best practice suggestions for CPOs or marketing services procurement leads to consider. We’ll have three around strategic category and sourcing issues today, and three focusing more on engagement strategy and people in Part 2.

A Critical Look at Category Management (Part 4) [Plus+]

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on category management, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

In the last few weeks we’ve looked at some of the drawbacks related to what we might call “traditional” category management (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). However, we should stress that they’re all aspects of the process that can be overcome by appropriate thought and management effort. The lack of stakeholder involvement we’ve sometimes seen — the overly procurement-centric approach — can be addressed by ensuring that the right engagement takes place. The risk of over-standardisation of approach can be mitigated by being aware of that issue and ensuring it doesn’t happen. But today’s discussion will consider an alternative approach that perhaps challenges more fundamentally the conventional steps in the category management process.

A Critical Look at Category Management (Part 3) [Plus+]

We wrote in the last article about the standardised nature of category management process and practice, and the dangers inherent in approaching different categories via that standard approach. Now let’s consider another failing of much “traditional” category management methodology and philosophy. We might define this as an overly procurement-centric approach to the whole task in hand. The buyer is placed in an almost deity-like position, controlling the whole process and with other participants fitting into their scheme and doing what they are told to by the all powerful category manager.

A Critical Look at Category Management [Plus+]

category management

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on category management, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

CatMan’s main impact was in the indirect spending area. Procurement in a manufacturing environment was run on what we might call a category management basis for many years, even if we didn’t call it that, probably since the beginnings of the function. I was the “Raw Materials (EU controlled materials)” buyer for Mars in my first functional role, then Head of Packaging Buying. We would now see those as first a fairly junior then a more senior CatMan role, but that was well before the days of consultants such as Kearney and McKinsey popularising the approach and the associated terminology.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 4 — Sourcing Components) [PRO]

If there is a glue that binds together different areas of procurement workflow, it is the overall program management of both individual tasks and collective activities across the source-to-pay continuum. This Spend Matters PRO series is designed to provide insight into what effective program management technology capabilities encapsulate from a design, platform and functional perspective.

In the last part of the series, we focused on sourcing and the types of sourcing programs that must be enabled by a modern sourcing or source-to-pay platform a modern user experience. In this fourth installment, we explore specific program management solution components that are required to enable the sourcing programs discussed in Part 3. In particular, we describe the specific overlay capabilities on top of sourcing technology to enable category strategy and realignment, re-sourcing, tail spend management, supply base rationalization and supply base expansion.

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization Landscape (Part 3): Key Takeaways and Customer Recommendations [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO series explores the history and current state of the healthcare group purchasing organization (GPO) market. In this third installment, we provide key takeaways for the industry, analyze emerging trends in the market and offer customer recommendations.

For background on the GPO market, we encourage you to start here with our two earlier briefs on GPOs, An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape. Then explore Part 1 (Background, History and Introduction) and Part 2 (GPO criticisms).

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization Landscape (Part 2): Market Critiques and Effects of Consolidation [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO series provides an introduction to the healthcare GPO market. Today in Part 2, we summarize healthcare GPO criticisms and survey the effects of consolidation in two GPO contexts (member consolidation and GPO M&A). We also discuss how models are bifurcating.

For background on the GPO market, review our two earlier briefs, An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape. Then explore the first installment in this series, which provides a background, history and introduction to the healthcare GPO market.

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Landscape: Background, History and Introduction (Part 1) [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO research series provides both an insider’s take on the healthcare GPO market from an industry perspective and an “outside-in” analysis of the market based on norms in the procurement industry overall. For an introduction to GPO models not specific to healthcare, including how they work and ways in which the GPO landscape is changing, see An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape

Part 1 of our coverage provides background, history and definition of the healthcare GPO market. The remaining installments will provide insight into how consolidation (both within healthcare systems and within GPOs) is affecting the market, lessons from other industries and an analysis of the “Big 3” national GPO providers: Vizient, Premier and HealthTrust.

We will also provide a summary of GPO criticisms — including those that are fairly levied and those that are not — and provide a perspective on what changes that we might expect as the GPO landscape evolves. Put on the flak jacket (or should we say take an intravenous sedative) and let’s delve in.

From Talent to Category Management: 4 Critical Development Areas for Procurement

Cybersecurity and access to critical talent are the top worries on CPOs’ minds, according to a Hackett Group report, The CPO Agenda: Expanding Procurement’s Influence Through Change and Innovation. The importance of cybersecurity is compounded by the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25. In addition, cybersecurity and access to critical talent are also expected to be “high risk” in the near future by three quarters of procurement professionals who took part in The Hackett Group’s annual Key Issues Study.