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Successful Category Management

Techniques to define and manage your strategy for category expenditure

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  • Format: Bespoke training

Course overview

Category management started in the retail trade in the 1980’s. It wasn’t intended as a purchasing tool but as a technique to define a retailer’s strategy for a category of expenditure. It was picked up by procurement organisations in the 1990’s, and has met with differing levels of success. There are two clear reasons behind the successful or unsuccessful execution:

1. Different organisations have different definitions of what category management is and what it isn’t
2. There are a number of inherent pitfalls which organisations fall into

This programme is intended to help understand how to make sure category management is successful for your business and give you the skills to identify and avoid the pitfalls.

Why you should attend

This programme covers proven methods and techniques that, when skilfully put to use, will put you in control of the future of your retail business.


1. What is category management?

Category management involves more than procurement and requires an integrated approach across the business with the buy-in of key stakeholders:

  • An overview
  • Building blocks
  • Horizon
  • Attitude and mind-set

2. How does it differ from strategic procurement?

Category management is not just a re-badging of strategic procurement or lead buying. There are some key fundamental differences in the way organisations approach procurement and supplier management as a result of implementing category management.

  • Team based approach
  • Parameter based sourcing
  • Fitness for purpose specifications

3. How do you define a ‘good strategy’?

Much is made of the importance of strategy and strategic thinking but there is little agreement as to what a good strategy is and how it should be presented. This session demystifies strategy and sets the scene for developing good category strategies.

  • A brief history of strategy
  • The little black dress
  • Horizon and scope
  • Detail and level

4. Building a best practice process

Using the experience of some of the world’s leading brands we can compare and contrast different category management models and decide on an approach that is right for your organisation and culture:

  • Best practice examples
  • Stages and gates
  • Analyses and outputs

5. A case study

This session is an opportunity to review with hindsight the implementation of category management in a global company and critically appraise the result.

6. Category management value levers

What do we do in category management that makes a difference and how do we extract maximum value? This session explores the key levers that make category management a success, for example:

  • Rationalisation and simplification
  • Bundling
  • Lean techniques
  • Aggregation

7. Category management tools

The toolbox of the category manager needs to be more diverse than that of the strategic buyer or purchasing manager. It needs to incorporate business-thinking and leadership, and not just procurement thinking:

  • Value mapping
  • Following the money
  • Cost modelling
  • Target costing

8. Setting up the category team

Getting the category team up and working is central to successful category management. For category management to succeed, you need to make sure stakeholders are on board and understand what is required of them to deliver the benefits in order to create the right environment for success:

  • Make up of the team
  • The team charter
  • Skills and attitude
  • Resources and resourcing

9. Why do organisations fail?

The final session examines some of the reasons why category management fails and what we can do to learn from the mistakes of others and increase our chances of success.

  • Benefits not savings
  • Benefits capture
  • The budget trap
  • Q&A

Rob Maguire

Rob Maguire runs his own consultancy and his experience spans the full range of issues from developing an appropriate contract strategy and building a performance dashboard, to negotiation and conflict resolution to dealing with the inevitable management issues that arise in any long-term relationship. Through his consulting, coaching, mentoring and skills development interactions, he helps major organisations transform their approach to their commercial relationships.

More details

We don't have any currently scheduled dates for this course but we can customise it to your requirements and deliver it on an in-house basis for any number of your staff or colleagues.

See below or contact us to discuss yor requirements.

Multiple colleagues?
Talk to one of our training experts to discuss how to:

Run this course conveniently and cost-effectively in-house for your staff and colleagues

Aleksandra BEER
Training expert

+44 (0)20 7749 4749