The two critical factors that define what makes Category Management work

Posted 11/10/2018

Future Purchasing has run a survey looking at how category management works across 350 businesses globally and across more than 12 sectors, in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The output of this is a comprehensive report that identifies a whole series of factors which are critical to get the best outcomes from category management and is essential reading for anyone engaged in category management.

The analysis which sits behind this is comprehensive, utilising a range of statistical techniques to derive the most significant linkages between skill, behaviour and outcome. It allows those accessing the report to build a picture of what needs to be addressed in their own organisations to get to the outcomes they most want.

All this is important, as we know that there is a degree of variability in the ultimate success of category management programs; all produce dramatic insights, but some are more successful than others at generating the long lasting benefits required, and running repeating cycles of creative category management activity.

The survey results have helped us demonstrate conclusively some issues which we have always felt are critical, but that are hard to otherwise justify. The two critical factors identified are firstly capability in category management - being excellent at the technical delivery of category management. The second factor is capability in stakeholder management - being excellent at bringing the organisation with us on the journey, using a range of behavioural tools and techniques to do so.

It is absolutely clear from the information gathered that being good at one without being good at the other dramatically reduces the success of category, and indeed supplier, management strategies and projects.

Our 2018 edition of the survey is aimed at extending our understanding of that fundamental observation, and testing the approaches being used to drive improvement in category management overall. The survey has been further developed to utilise better analytical techniques and to allow some additional areas to be tested.

Our reporting from the survey is comprehensive, with a wide range of recommendations developed across all aspects of the report. This is a very powerful tool for the astute reader to understand and develop improvement approaches. This year, we will be making the outcomes, analysis and recommendations even clearer, to ensure that all potential value can be extracted.

Of course, the survey is only as potent as the input made by the participants in the survey. We are very grateful to everyone who participates, who all get immediate feedback on how they are performing in both an overall and a sectoral position, and an opportunity for an extended discussion on their results.

Our aim is for category management performance to improve over time, with users of the approach being able to improve consistently and deliver ever stronger outcomes for their organisations

To participate in the survey, and to get a deeper understanding of how to improve your category management performance, please go to .

Further Reading

Knowledge Hub: Browse the Category Management section of our Knowledge Hub for more findings from our surveys

Blog Post: A range of blog posts related to our Category Management surveys

Tagged by topic: Category Management , Category Management Survey

  by Mark Hubbard

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