A week or two into 2016 many of us are struggling to remember our new year’s resolutions, let alone stick to them. My own wish to shed a few pounds has already been hi-jacked by leftover Christmas cake and wobbly willpower after 9pm. What is it, I wonder, that makes for real success?
It occurs to me that, as procurement professionals, we could let ourselves be inspired by category management. It is, after all, a powerful process designed to deliver sustainable change and there are plenty of parallels we can draw.
As the clock chimes midnight on 31 st December, we all take stock of the past year and wish for something (even) better for the year ahead. In the euphoria of the moment many a new year’s resolution is born. Of course, it isn’t enough simply to wish for something to happen. We have to make it come true. This is the difference between vague intentions and specific actions.
Take, for example, a general intention to ‘exercise more’. How much more powerful is a decision to exercise three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7-8am at the local gym? The more detailed and specific you are, the more likely it is to happen. Even better if you make it easy for yourself. Put your sports bag ready the night before and you won’t find yourself hunting for kit at the last minute. And if you can be crystal clear about your goals and pinpoint exactly why you are going to all this trouble, then you can remind yourself of this when the going gets tough and, best of all, you’ll know when you’ve made it and can celebrate in style!
It isn’t the end of the year that galvanizes us to implement category management, but it will be some kind of trigger: it could be a CPO who recognises the huge potential for improving value from suppliers or a CEO who sees a strategic business opportunity that requires a whole new approach to particular expenditures.
Whatever it is that sets the ball rolling, Catman provides a supportive framework for systematic analysis and robust implementation. I often hear clients say they love the way applying Catman enables them to stand back, understand the big picture, explore what they could be doing better and then make it happen . This contrasts starkly with the knee-jerk reactions they are often required to make to solve day-to-day problems with suppliers. Just as with their New Year’s resolutions, what they want are lasting solutions not sticking plaster.
The reality is that this requires focus, commitment and a clear plan of action and this is where Catman comes in (and where we can learn from it for our personal goals). It breaks the process down into manageable and meaningful steps with distinct milestones. Life is made easy with ready-made templates that save time and effort and maintain motivation. Right from the start the why of the activity is defined, and clear goals and desired benefits are spelled out. Since these are business rather than individual goals, appropriate stakeholder engagement and governance need to be established to achieve organisational traction. This enables relevant targets to be agreed, responsibilities and accountabilities to be assigned and review meetings to be set up to monitor progress. All these initial steps are absolutely critical to success in any change programme. They often require a determined and resilient approach (watch out Christmas cake) but once completed they set you moving towards your goals with every chance of success.
Wishing you a happy and very successful New Year 2016 at home and at work!
Tagged by topic: Category Management