SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Prateek Jindal describes how the course helped him and his team increase value from improving their strategic sourcing strategies on down through your category playbook.
As a Sourcing Director, I manage Category Playbooks and drive effective sourcing strategies within our organization. Coming from Facilities Management (FM) organization, my directives are to manage over 20 key categories primarily in the services procurement domain, including Elevators, Janitorial, HVAC, Security, Snow Removal & Landscaping, Waste Haulage, Electrical, Key Trades, and many more. Each category is unique and requires substantial knowledge and understanding to ensure client requirements and expectations are met, both qualitative and quantitative. Combining a portfolio of over 40 clients and management of over 20 FM categories, it is imperative to have robust Sourcing Strategy Planning and regular review of Category Playbooks.
While our existing processes to develop Sourcing Strategies and Category Playbooks were functional, I recognized the need to elevate our practices to industry-leading standards. To address this, I recently completed the Certified Sourcing Practitioner course SIG (Sourcing Industry Group) offered. This essay highlights how the concepts and techniques learned during the certification course enabled me to enhance our Category Playbooks and elevate our sourcing strategies significantly.
Prateek Jindal, Director of Strategic Sourcing, BGIS Global Integrated Solutions
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Stephanie Clark shares an excellent analysis of the category management process from a strategic lens and notes when a well-designed program is enabled, it is equally effective for direct and indirect spend and across spend categories.
Stephanie Clark, Category Manager, Maxar Technologies Holdings Inc.
SIG University Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program graduate Lisa VanBuskirk shows how she connected the dots between legal and procurement and became aware of gaps to show how the two roles working together is so vital.
Before I took this SIG U course, I worked in finance and legal roles for the biotech industry. Much of what I have experienced involves the last few lessons in this course: How to protect our company legally and financially. I have never worked in a company that had a formal governance program from the start. Usually, an internal stakeholder would come to me saying, “We like this vendor. Please get them set up,” and I would make contingencies for the relationship’s failure. After this class, I now understand the importance of being involved even before the contracts are ever written and being involved with choosing each supplier.
I am very used to setting up legalese in master service agreements that cover things like performance metrics and termination clauses. This was a natural part of my day-to-day, which I always thought was enough. However, there was a part of me that thought, “Sure, the legal department understands our terms, but what is being communicated to the supplier project leads so they also understand?” This course helped me understand that, especially after recently terminating a relationship with a critical supplier. It would have been much less work from the beginning if we had a supplier governance program in place to lay out our expectations to all from the beginning to all stakeholders. Being involved with occasional meetings to stay aligned with the process would be very helpful for the continued relationship with each supplier.
Lisa VanBuskirk, Procurement Specialist, Sage Therapeutics
Cost reduction continues to top the list of priorities for procurement. As nations engage in trade wars and protectionist policies and extreme weather continues to cause disruption in supply chains, procurement will need to adopt new strategies to meet business objectives and goals.
Procurement can efficiently manage spend and continue to achieve cost savings through the adoption of category management, which is the process of categorizing goods and services and then managing these categories as "business units" to achieve improved outcomes in the most effective and efficient way.
Category management was developed in the 1980s and takes a project management approach to sourcing to achieve improved outcomes, which is structured, measurable and drives continuous improvement. It is used in both the public and private sector, and while there is no standard categorization or grouping requirements, a general rule is to group goods and services that have similar characteristics. Organizations can use the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code to group categories or it can develop its own homegrown models.
Category Management is Not Strategic Sourcing
Category management is not to be confused with strategic sourcing, although category management evolved from the overall strategic sourcing approach. Some of the main differences between category management and strategic sourcing include the following: