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Managing Complex Categories; Beware the Complexity of Standardisation!

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Published:  March 3, 2014
Access Level:   Free
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In this paper we look at the issue of standardisation in the context of complex spend categories (such as Marketing Services). Standardisation can bring benefits, but there are hidden dangers. Will standardisation lead to unhappy stakeholders, who now aren’t getting the goods and services they really want, which in turn can lead to poor compliance with the category manager’s preferred suppliers or contracts?

The issue is particularly important for complex and international category situations. Regulatory or social differences between countries can for example kill the chances of standardising on products or services. We look at these issues in the paper, and suggest that care must be taken to understand thoroughly the internal requirements for particular goods or services, and the external factors such as local or national preferences or regulatory issues, before a category approach is implemented.

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