Future Purchasing Advent Calendar Window Twenty One

Posted 21/12/2016

“88% of Leaders mandate some of their category management activity”

Making some of the category management activities mandatory is a Top 19 driver of category management performance and ultimately a firm’s performance. It’s just in, at number 19, but it is in!

There is a notable gap between leaders and followers in terms of their willingness to mandate some of their category management activities, with 88% of leaders versus 53% of followers strongly agreeing or agreeing that they make some of their process mandatory.

None of the leaders strongly disagree with the statement that they make some of their process mandatory, compared with 32% of followers.

In the 2014-15 survey, 87% of leaders and 62% of followers strongly agreed or agreed that they made some of their process mandatory. This demonstrates that over the past two years the levels of mandation used by leaders has remained the same, whilst dropping for followers.  This is sometimes a sign that implementation is failing or has failed, and so a drop in standards demanded has been allowed in order to satisfy some discontent within the business or within procurement .  It is a cycle I have seen many times before, sometimes with a shout of glee that now we are free from the category management ‘binds’ we can become ‘entrepreneurial’ again. 

However what successful entrepreneur could you think of, that didn’t work with clear purpose and intent and backed down when the going got rough? There’s a fine line between scarpering to the hills when the going got tough, versus making a change because you’re following a ‘Fail fast’ philosophy.

New Year’s Resolution No. 21:   It is a fact that category management has never been embedded in an organisation that has half-hearted commitment to the approach and there are many examples of toolkits “sat-on-the-shelf” gathering dust. Ask yourself are you fully behind this – with the business case and possibilities that window 2 opened, and if so commit fully to it.  You need a process, you need to develop the resources, you need to educate the business, and you need to provide enough time for the team, and enough enablers for the team to do their job.  But first, decide in your process what to mandate to raise standards.

All approaches to mandating specific activities and outputs must be customised to the environment in each organisation. Leaders categorise projects into specific types and decide the small number of tools and activities that must be used for each project type. Leaders document their mandated activities, measure compliance levels and review mandated activities at formal reviews and decision gates. If you’re not doing that, put in place a plan to do that.   If you still don’t have a process see Window 18 for another New Year’s Resolution!

Remember where there is no framework or leadership commitment to a category management way of working, there is always going to be limited adoption of the approach and coverage of the total spend with category management. The survey results show that leaders are more likely to prescribe tools and activities, and the leaders save nearly 3 times more than followers.

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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