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Understanding culture and stakeholders - Why category management needs to be aligned and flexible

Posted on 08/10/2018 by Matt King in Category Managed Services
This year we co-authored a briefing paper alongside Peter Smith from Spend Matters.There are three sections to the paper. In the first we look at what procurement and category managers need to understand about their organisation and their stakeholders if they are to develop effective category strategies and ensure they turn into successful delivery. That includes not just the overt goals and objectives of the organisation, and of stakeholders, but also the less tangible yet often important “cultural” factors.

Secondly we consider how that should play into the development of category strategies, and what should be considered to make sure they are appropriate and flexible enough to meet the various needs. Technology for instance has an increasingly important role to play in delivery for many categories; but “one size fits all” rarely works in larger organisations, and that must be considered when choosing solutions, as well as in other category-planning decisions.

Finally, in the third section, we describe a couple of (imaginary but realistic) businesses and consider how all this theorising might apply in practice, taking the contingent labour category in these firms as an example.

The overall message for procurement leaders and category managers is really two-fold. Understanding what makes your organisation and your stakeholders tick is key, and must go beyond just reading the “formal” corporate statements. And category approaches, including the use of technology, approach to governance and the role of procurement (amongst other factors) must be flexible enough to deal with different needs, cultures and goals even within the same organisation.