Future Purchasing Category Management Survey – Open For Business

Future Purchasing is a consulting firm that over the ten years or so has consistently punched above its weight in terms of contribution to wider thought leadership and knowledge in the procurement world. Founded by Jon Hughes and Mark Webb, it has also drawn on input from Professor Marc Day at Henley Business School. Hughes retired a couple of years back, but the firm has continued to produce strong content as well as delivering successful projects for dozens of clients, mainly across the UK and mainland Europe.

One of the core areas of expertise for the firm is category management. We have not seen any consulting firm, even the biggest of the global giants, who are now comparable to Future Purchasing in terms of depth of understanding of the topic and process, or in the suite of tools available to help clients.  That is reflected in their category management survey, the biggest of its kind in the world, which is now entering its third cycle with the launch last week of the survey document.

We’re delighted to be working with Future Purchasing on this survey, from the launch right through to the publication of the findings (and no doubt some discussion about what it all means) at the end of 2016. Delighted not just because we’ve known the key people at the firm for years and have great respect for the team, but also because the IP produced from the survey and FP’s analysis is really useful, interesting and relevant for procurement professionals.

Category management remains the predominant methodology within procurement, and whilst there are valid questions about exactly how it is best used (we’ve asked questions about how it fits with the growth of “market informed sourcing” technology, for instance), the basic concept of looking in a structured, analytical and proactive manner at the main spend areas for our organisations will always be central to procurement. Even if a firm decides to dis-aggregate spend and ignore approaches such as consolidation and leverage, that still must start with an analysis of the options for that category.

We’ll come back to some of the aims of the survey in our further coverage, but for now, we’d suggest and hope that anyone interested in the topic takes the survey - here is the link and it should take you around 15 minutes to complete. Participants will receive the full survey results of course, ahead of general publication, and also benchmarking of your own organisation’s situation based on your response.

There’s also the chance to win an iPad if you complete the survey by the end of July. But really, you should do this because you will be both helping the procurement profession generate useful knowledge and intelligence, and helping your own organisation improve performance in this critical area.

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