“65% of leaders agree that their category managers are excellent at applying the category management process, compared with 29% of followers”
In 2014-15, 80% of leaders strongly agreed or agreed that their category managers are excellent at applying the category management process. This is a notable drop-off in performance and is also mirrored in an increase in leaders disagreeing with the statement – up from 0% in 2014 to 14% today. Followers are broadly consistent in both surveys.
There is a big difference between leaders and followers when it comes to the application of the category management process. The results indicate that leaders have either successfully developed the category management capability of their team, or recruited category managers that already understand the process. Either way, two-thirds of leaders feel confident in the skills of their teams to apply category management – a key acid test.
With only 29% of followers believing their category managers are excellent at applying the process, there is clearly a major competency gap for most organisations. There is a need to improve skills of current teams and ensure new recruits have the required skills and attitudes.
New Year’s resolution no. 23: With a business case that could triple or more the returns from procurement activity, building excellent capability to apply the process needs to be a focus. Create a learning and development programme for your team, building on the competency framework outcomes from resolution no. 9. Don’t be tempted to ‘sheep dip’ everyone in the same training and coaching. Leaders build team competency increasingly by separating out category management activities from routine sourcing and transaction activities – to provide category managers with sufficient time to focus and practice. Focus learning programmes initially on those leaders that need to deliver it. Whilst internal delivery of coaching and mentoring is good, try to ensure a blend between internal and external delivery to challenge entrenched thinking and bring in new ideas. And finally, don’t forget to provide some coaching to the Procurement Leadership Team – don’t assume because they are in senior roles, that they know everything too. Some 121 coaching can work really well to ensure they grow in confidence and help to steer the team on a daily basis in the right way to suit a category management approach.
You can click below to download our 2016-17 Global Category Management Leadership Report Executive Summary.