Category Management-All You Should Learn

25 - April - 2023

Ultimate Category Management Guide

The field of procurement is incredibly broad and for good reason. As a result, many subdisciplines fall under the general category of procurement operations, which are focused on producing the supplies necessary for an organization to function. It requires considerable effort to create and maintain a functional supply chain that can support an organization both now and, in the future, from vendor management to invoice processing.

Are you wondering about category management and how can it help you? Don’t worry about the details and hassle. In this blog, we will take you through the basics of category management, their advantages, problems in adaptation, and the development of the management to help your business flourish through the optimization of the entire procurement process.


Category Management: What is it?

Any organization's procurement operations can make sense of credibility in the process of category management. To make the process of planning for their procurement and use as simple as possible, organizations often segment and organize the supplies they require into different categories.

Perhaps you've reached a turning point where it's becoming more difficult to track inventory entering your warehouse or you're looking for more specific information about where your cash is being used. Planning your procurement operations with the aid of category management will enable you to focus your efforts on where they will have the biggest impact


The Process of Category Management

The process of category management, involves more than just procuring goods and services; it entails segmenting supplies and utilizing data to enhance procurement efficiency. Furthermore, it guides a business's strategy in developing and cultivating a relationship with suppliers, leading to a deeper understanding of negotiation and program development.

A strong association between the company and the supplier is created by category management, balancing the relationship through open communication and fair negotiation, resulting in a mutually beneficial outcome for both parties. In summary, category management alters the entire structure of procurement operations by emphasizing effective communication, honest negotiation, and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers.

A strong Category Management is essential to a business and has the following components:

Internal Assessment:

The internal evaluation of the business's needs should serve as the foundation for category management, and give an insight into the major suppliers, subcategories, important requirements, internal policies, and difficulties that the company faces.

When reviewing your category management strategy with a person who is not familiar with its scope, internal needs analysis is especially valuable.

Spend Analysis:

To have a strong category management strategy, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of historical and predicted spending. Without accurate information, it is difficult to develop a strategy that you can trust to be effective. Therefore, if you have not yet developed a category management strategy, it is recommended to conduct a comprehensive spending analysis before presenting any proposals to stakeholders.

Moreover, it’s critical to be able to visually represent data on spending in a compelling way that conveys a powerful message. This goes beyond simply understanding the data. You'll be able to present influential business insights to stakeholders that can help them make informed decisions.

Category Segmentation:

The right strategic category management for goods and services you are sourcing will be applied with the aid of category segmentation, which will also assist you in setting priorities for where you ought to spend your time.

The Kraljic matrix can be used to segment categories and will help in your evaluation of important elements for your category management strategy.


The previous discussions have provided the foundation for formulating overarching procurement strategies that will govern all procurement activities within the business. These strategies should be aligned with business goals and objectives, and be accompanied by clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess their effectiveness in achieving desired outcomes.

Category Plan:

The only thing left to do is execute your solid category management strategy, which has been created with challenging but attainable goals. This will result in the results you are looking for.

The name, the description, tactic to be used, value, strategy alignment, and timing of the project should all be specified in the category management plan.


The Advantages of Category Management

Organizing the products, you buy from suppliers into categories may appear to be just another effort to maintain extensive records, before doing so. The success of your efforts will depend on how well you manage your categories, which is the key to increasing procurement operations' speed and efficiency. Here are a few ways category management has stepped to help your business in growing:

• Get valuable information to help you make decisions.

Having an assumption about category management is significant because then you would be right in determining "What gets measured, gets managed," as management axiom states. And also how is procurement measurement conducted in the first place? With the help of category management, your procurement team can carefully divide supplies into more manageable groups. Now that complex, unstructured data is broken down, you can access the minute details that have an essential effect on your organization. It is simpler to understand the big picture of what needs to change and where to maximize your procurement operations when supplies are divided into clearly distinct categories.

• Determine any potential supply chain obstacles and take proactive measures to remove or lessen their effects.

When you group all your supplies without considering their characteristics, it can lead to a false assumption that everything is going well. However, this approach is not ideal in statistics because it can hide losses in some areas behind the gains in others.

Category management, on the other hand, classifies your organization's supplies into similar groups and allows you to closely monitor and address any ongoing or emerging issues before they become major problems.

• Give particular vendors and categories the focus they require, in accordance with their importance, to advance organizational goals.

Not all supplies are of equal importance. Whether it's office supplies or essential raw materials for your organization's production process, certain supplies have a greater impact on your organization's success compared to others.

Consider a hosting company that aids companies in launching their websites online. They might purchase a few packs of stationery every few months, but when compared to the servers required for the operation of the company's core operations, it is crystal clear what is more crucial and needs to be prioritized.

Identifying essential supplies and taking action to secure your supply chain are made more straightforward category management. It also helps you identify alternatives proactively and ensure that your organization's needs come before wants and nice-to-haves.

• Enhancing customer-supplier relationships.

Establishing mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers is essential for long-term success, especially with those who have a vested interest in your organization's well-being. Category management can help identify key suppliers who play a critical role in your operations and foster even stronger partnerships that go beyond simple transactions to collaborative partnerships, unlocking new opportunities.

• Economies of scale that can be used to reduce costs.

Improved visibility into various supply categories and specific items is made possible by category management, allowing for precise tracking of procurement spending and budget allocation.

Leveraging this knowledge of your organization's purchasing power with suppliers, you can negotiate volume discounts and customized offers to optimize cost savings through economies of scale.

• Enhanced vendor risk management.

Vendor risk management is crucial in mitigating any potential shortcomings or risks from suppliers that may impact your organization. By analyzing procurement spending, you can identify critical areas where mistakes are not affordable. For example, if a significant portion of your procurement budget is allocated to a specific manufacturer for machinery purchases, it signifies their criticality to your operations. In such cases, creating alternative supply channels with stringent requirements can serve as a contingency plan to ensure uninterrupted operations in case of any disruptions from the critical supplier.

Barriers to Adoption

When implementing a category management program across the organization, a category manager acting as a catalyst may run into resistance. Business units might disagree with prioritizing cost control over the quality, be resistant to change in general, or worry about possible repercussions on current suppliers. By being transparent with stakeholders, outlining the value proposition in detail, and actively engaging and listening to them across the organization, the organization can address these issues and overcome this resistance.

As the entire process is managed from beginning to end, implementing a category management approach to sourcing can result in improved contract outcomes.

This may require acquiring analytical tools for better visibility into spend categories and the talent to effectively utilize these tools. Implementing a globalized spending categories approach also presents an opportunity for collaboration with suppliers to increase agility, innovation, and responsiveness to the business's goals.

Category Manager Responsibilities

A category manager oversees a particular group of products and services, creates strategic plans and category plans, and offers insights into the products that fall under that group. Category Managers must have extensive knowledge of the particular category they oversee because they are in charge of managing supply chain relationships pertaining to it.

Category managers ought to be authorities in their particular field. Furthermore, they must possess the necessary abilities. Some of the abilities a category manager should possess include the following:

• Must have a thorough understanding of markets, providers, spending, and demand.

• Capacity to put into action a strategic plan that is in line with the company's goals and objectives.

• Possess strong analytical skills.

• Have effective communication and negotiation skills for an internal and external stakeholder engagement.

Strategic sourcing is not the same as category management. Even though category management developed from the broader strategic sourcing approach, the two should not be confused. Below are some of the primary distinctions between category management and strategic sourcing:


Distinction b/w Strategic Sourcing and Category Management


Development of Category Management

Category management includes continuous analysis to proactively foresee and react to trends, risks, and changes in supply and demand. Additionally, it has a demand management program that enables the business to effectively prioritize the products and services it uses to reduce wasteful spending.

• There are two approaches you can take to category management. All of your supplies should be listed in a sizable Excel spreadsheet before you attempt to bracket them.

• When you're finished, send them to Doug, your procurement lead, so that he can verify the information.

• To ensure that everyone contributes, continue the conversation by sending this file to everyone via email.

• The process of category management will sluggishly come to a standstill as you send this spreadsheet around via email for approval for each correction that needs to be made.

• The flimsy spreadsheet is duly forgotten after three months, only to be brought up again when the CEO inquiries about the whereabouts of the document at the Q4 procurement meeting.



The fact is that category management is a necessity if your business is to thrive in the quickly evolving world of procurement. Additionally, outmoded tools like spreadsheets are shown to be unable to keep up. On the other hand, tools like BusinessBid can not only automate and streamline your procurement process, but also simplify category management.

BusinessBid provides a comprehensive procurement software solution for businesses of any size aiming to provide clear insights and understanding of the requirements needed for success in their respective industries.

Now is not the time to slack and let your business operations being handled conventionally. Step up to automate the entire procurement process, from sourcing to category management and streamline your business operations.

Visit BusinessBid to explore your options and connect with their chat assistant to understand more on the services you need!

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