Category Management

A Focus on the Category Management Plan

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Devendra Pathak shares how the focus on Category Management can help your organization grow with his very own with a step by step model.


Category management is one of the areas in which I should focus on my organization. 

After the category management session, I understood the importance of category management. A category plan has two main aspects, category analysis, and category planning. However, before starting to work on any category plan, I would like to understand the category maturity. It will give me a real picture of the category and areas where we should be more focused. Once I study the category maturity in terms of spending and contracts, I will then work on the category plan.

Category analysis where I will study the following,

  • Global industry trends,
  • Spend analysis
  • Demand & supply dynamics
  • Porter’s five forces

Global Industry Trend- This is all about the latest trend in the category across all regions. What is the new commodity which has the highest demand globally and where we have less demand due to technological change or updates?

Spend Analysis- I can say that spend analysis is the heart of category management. It has a major role in developing a sourcing strategy. I will analyze category spending to understand the top 10 sub-categories then the top 10 suppliers and top 10 commodities where we have the highest spending in the category.

Devendra Pathak, Senior Procurement Analyst, CDK Global LLC

Sourcing Change Management

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Larry Trawick shares how excellent communication is vital in ensuring success and how important it is to incorporate effective change into your sourcing practices.

Larry Trawick, Senior Sourcing Analyst, Polaris Industries

Supplier Relationship Compatibility

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SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Damilare Adeoye discusses why having a strong relationship with suppliers makes for more compatible businesses.


Successful supplier identification, qualification, and onboarding require a stringent supplier relationship check. This is important because it drives a long-term relationship with the supplier and the client, not based on cost, price reduction, or specification alignment.

This lesson, to me, is the art of any successful supplier relationship.

However, many procurement professionals and their organizations need to gain these skills. No wonder the relationship with the supplier is shabby, and most times, a one-way approach where the client is always looking for ways to save money and still get quality materials, and the supplier is always looking for ways to increase the price. "Any relationship that is not built on compatibility is a relationship that is heading for a crash."

In this essay, I introduce you to "what" a supplier relationship fit is and "how" to successfully develop a supplier relationship compatibility/fit, implementation, and management.

Definition:

  • Supplier: An organization that provides raw materials, products, or services.
  • Compatibility: the state in which two things can exist or occur together without problems or conflict.

Supplier Compatibility is when an organization that provides raw materials, products, or services shares similar strategic approaches, goals, and objectives.

Oluwadamilare Adeoye, Supply Chain Category Manager, GEP Worldwide

Utilizing Team Engagement in Procurement

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SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Shawnie Albritton shares how category management can help with cross-team engagement and its usefulness in procurement.

Shawnie Albritton, Sr. Procurement Operations Analyst, Raymond James

Making Supplier Relationship Management Work

supplier management

SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Indre Ciuberke breaks down the importance of the Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Framework and the four quadrants of SRM communication that adjust the ways of working with suppliers. 


When you think about the Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Framework, it’s not just walking and talking with your Organization partners and having a relationship with them. From my perspective, SRM is based on relationships, however, stressing the communication and information sharing process in the particular relationship. Usually, SRM has corporate attributes such as ensuring the governance, agenda tracking and managing risks associated with the services or products that the supplier provides to the organization.

Every team is focused on bringing value to the organization. SRM can contribute to this is to push the streamlined service delivery by becoming a core internal team in the organization's structure for outsourced service management.

Supplier Relationship Management Team Framework

Supplier Relationship Management Team Framework

I have tried to describe the basic SRM as an internal core team framework in the picture above. The idea is based on communication and information flows:  

Indre Ciuberke, Procurement Manager, Moody’s

Does Your Business Need to Understand Category Management Principles?

Category management tips

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Diana Redwine shares her thoughts on the best way to get business stakeholders engaged.


Ugh, here comes procurement, getting in our way again!

In the Tech world, the role of procurement changes with the transition from start-up to a public company. That transition is full of bumps if not addressed with a support mindset.

Somewhere in the timeframe from growth to a public company, experienced procurement talent is engaged to help move spend activities from tactical to strategic. The notion of this is much more grand and idealistic than the reality.

The Idea

Traditionally, handling contracts, licenses, order forms, etc., have been managed by the person with the need, not necessarily by someone with expertise in contract development and negotiation. With procurement added to their toolkit, the business stakeholders might say, “gosh, it would be nice to hand this off to someone else” or “how do I know this is the best price/terms?”

More likely, they have been advised that a new policy is being implemented that requires procurement involvement. However, in my experience, many stakeholders view procurement as an impediment to progress and do not willingly hand off their contract needs. Hence the need to truly consider this question of just what the stakeholders REALLY need to know about category management.

Diana Redwine, Senior Procurement Manager, Smartsheet Inc.

Trending in the SIG Resource Center – February 2021

In early December 2020, Google published its trends for 2020, listing the top searched terms, people, news stories and more. It is no great surprise that "Coronavirus" was the top searched term and news story. Nor that Tom Hanks, Kobe Bryant or Kamala Harris were high on the list. What I found remarkable is that these trends were not reflected in the top searched terms for SIG's website in 2020. In fact, it was business as usual on our website. Sure "COVID" and "resiliency" and "remote work policies" made the list. Website traffic and searches increased in volume, but our visitors were searching for the same topics and downloading some of our best case studies for help.

Here's just a short snapshot of some of the trending searches in 2020:

Category Management

Most sourcing professionals know what category management is and a critical mass of our members practice category management at varying levels of maturity. This SIG blog summarizes our resources in one location and is one of our most visited pages. Members frequently download our Template for Building a Business Case for Category Management.

Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics

Complex Services Procurement and Technology: A Spend Matters and SIG Survey

Procurement technology

Each year, organizations spend over $20 trillion globally on all kinds of services, according to some estimates. Services in the U.S. make up, on average, nearly 60% of organizations’ total non-payroll external spend (and that can be significantly higher in some industry verticals). The effective management of services spend has been a perennial topic of discussion (and limited action) over many years. And technology used to address complex services in an organization is not well understood.

Spend Matters and Sourcing Industry Group have partnered to field a survey of procurement professionals (CPOs, procurement directors, category managers, etc.) that is described briefly below.

The purpose of the survey is to better understand how and to what extent procurement is using enterprise procurement technology and other solutions to process and manage an organization’s service categories and with what level of satisfaction.

For this survey, the term "services" encompasses a broad range of spend categories, like consulting, facilities management, legal, temporary staffing, marketing and so on.

>>Take the Survey<<

Procurement of Services — The Puzzle

Despite the size of this mega-spend category, procurement leaders we talk with have agreed that most categories of services are not, to put it kindly, optimally managed and there are few best practices.

There also seems to be agreement that purpose-built technology for specifically managing different services categories, strategically and tactically, is lacking.

Andrew Karpie, Research Director for Services and Labor Procurement, Spend Matters

Benefits of a Strategic RFx Process

RFx is a term used to describe multiple types of requests.

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Karina Swanson discusses the RFx process and how it allows you to analyze real-time market dynamics to ensure you are receiving the right service or product.


There are several reasons you may be considering  an RFx strategy as the correct process to pilot for your business. If so, I highly recommend taking a closer look at your portfolio and ask yourself these questions:

-        Have you seen a pricing change in the last 12 months?

-        Do you have a diverse number of suppliers?

-        Do you see small gaps in pricing from dual or multi-sourced products or services?

-        Is your portfolio consolidated?

-        Have you eliminated all risk factors from your portfolio?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, then launching an RFx will bring value to your business.

Defining RFx

RFx is a term used to describe multiple types of requests. Choosing the right requests for your business is dependent on your end goal. Start by having discussions with your team and stakeholders to identify what you aim to accomplish.

If you are looking for a general understanding of services or products, you can launch a Request for Information (RFI).  Most people use this as the first step in their RFx strategy to evaluate their suppliers’ capabilities. An RFI is a useful tool to involve new suppliers on a new project, assess the market for better suppliers, create a short list of suppliers for your portfolio or the next phase of your strategy.

Karina Swanson, Sourcing Manager, Sherwin-Williams Corporation

Smash Sourcing Silos with Category Management

Smash Sourcing Silos with Category Management

SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Silver Chaudry discusses how category management takes sourcing initiatives out of silos to create shared objectives and continuous processes across business units that drive efficiency.


Category management is a strategic and collaborative approach to procurement involving the segmentation of related goods and services to proactively manage and consolidate spend, track savings and identify areas of improvement. Category management was first developed in the 1980s, evolving from strategic sourcing but differing as it is an end to end process where the analysis is continuously refreshed to keep up with changing market trends. (Strategic sourcing was typically reactive in nature, conducted for immediate requirements and taking place as a one-time event.) Category management also places emphasis on supplier development, where category managers work closely with suppliers to foster innovation and achieve superior outcomes.

>>Get the Guide to Understanding Category Management<<

Silver Chaudry, Sourcing Manager

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