Future Purchasing Advent Calendar Window Twelve

Posted 12/12/2016

“Organisations where Procurement Line Managers support their category managers with expert coaching get better catman results”

This may feel like an obvious statement but there is a world of difference between the Line Manager that mentors, or worse, just tells the Category Manager what the next steps are, versus a Line Manager that coaches through open questions, and encourages individual thinking and creativity from his or her team.  Through our analysis we identified this as one of the top 10 drivers of category management performance and success.

Overall 48% of organisations felt this was something that was done relatively well in their business.  However the gap between Leaders and Followers is substantial.  Only 40% of Followers agreed that this was something they recognised in their organisation, compared to 67% amongst the Leaders.  Given that only 28% of respondents classified themselves as Leaders, and they are on average achieving nearly 3X more benefits than the followers, this represents a real opportunity.

From our experience, category management success starts with the Procurement Leadership Team. All too often training and coaching is given to the category teams only, under the false assumption that the Procurement Leadership Team are themselves experts.  It is worth noting that we should not assume that the Procurement Leadership Team are expert in Category Management, as their career to date may not have relied on it.  And even if they are, they may not be expert coaches and mentors.  And yet, for the organisation to be successful this is a vital skill.  The overall team success depends on it.

New Year’s resolution no.12: Calling all Procurement Directors and CPOs to do some naval gazing.  Are you genuinely an expert in Category Management or do you just understand the principles of it?  Are you an expert in coaching and mentoring?  Look around your Leadership Team and ask yourself the same question for each of them, and then discuss as a Leadership team what learning programme could be helpful for you specifically.  A blended learning programme of some group work as a leadership would be good, coupled with some 1-2-1 coaching.  Consider using external support to facilitate group work and for the 121 coaching and mentoring as this will offer your Leadership Team some challenge and some new perspectives.  The programme could focus on 2 key areas: Firstly close any ‘technical’ category management gaps – and ensure your Leadership team speak the same language to the rest of the team (this is vital). And secondly, to work on understanding the difference between coaching and mentoring with their teams, and when to apply both techniques.  And how.  This could be the most significant and best investment in training you ever do – as with this, you are truly building up sustainable capability within your organisation.

You can click below to download our 2016-17 Global Category Management Leadership Report Executive Summary.

Tagged by topic: Category Group Planning , Category Management , Category Management Survey

  by Allison Ford-Langstaff

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