Marry In Haste, Repent At Leisure – In Life And In Category Management

Posted 03/07/2017

It's not just marriage that the saying refers to though is it - I'm sure there’s many things where making decisions in haste has consequences. Whether from the day to day “oh that sandwich will do” because it's the closest and doesn't require the additional 5 min walk to the much healthier food establishment. To the more major decision to overtake because you're running late and realising for years to come that those extra few minutes were just not worth it.

Extreme perhaps, not necessarily related to procurement either, but you get the idea – we’re making decisions all the time without giving ourselves the appropriate time to determine the best course of action. I'm sure many examples of procurement horror stories are repenting their haste too.

I wrote a post earlier in the year quoting Einstein “if I had 20 days to solve a problem I would take 19 days to define it” which discussed the merits of adequate planning and preparation.

The challenge is we don't often do it – in the recent Future Purchasing category management report , 61% of respondents admitted that their category managers did not have sufficient time for category management.

I wonder though, is not having enough time the effect or the cause?

I'm sure we’d all like to think it was the cause, which in turn means that more time is the antidote.

I’d like to hypothesise however that not having enough time is the effect.

That is, not having enough time is the effect of:

  • Not analysing and prioritising your current workload
  • Time being absorbed by transactional tasks and activities
  • Allowing low level sourcing activities to fritter away yet more precious time
  • Getting caught up in operational supplier management
  • Believing procurement have to do it all themselves
  • Believing stakeholders can not be trusted to do any of it

On a category management for excellence workshop last year someone said, “we can't let people down” when discussing the multitude of contracts they approved every week, where they added limited or no value. I'd counter “you can't afford not to” especially if you want to take procurement to the next level.

It seems that in many organisations CPO’s, their teams, and stakeholders need to go on a journey where agreement is reached on how best to utilise the procurement skills within the Procurement department. That way category managers can get on with the task in hand of managing categories, and delivering real value, innovation and transformation to the business

In the category management report earlier in the year ‘providing category managers with sufficient time for category management activities’ was number 17 in our top 19 practices that drive category management and business performance. If you'd like to discover how Future Purchasing can assist you avoid the need to countenance repentance by utilising your time more effectively instead, do give me or any of the FP directors a call. You never know it might just be a match made in heaven.

Tagged by topic: Category Management Survey , Procurement Transformation

  by Alison Smith

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