Issue 6, January 2012

The Category Management revolution is happening now

The recent Faculty Category Councils benchmarking survey reviewed the maturity of Category Management across three key categories – Maintenance, Repairs and Operations (MRO), Capital Projects and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in a bid to highlight best-practices in use, as well as opportunities for improvement, in leading organisations. 

Contractor and supplier management was a key highlight of the survey, with Category Managers reporting that this was performed at a high level in their organisations. However, senior management recognition of the benefits of Category Management remained an issue across all categories, with Category Managers often struggling to sell the value of their activities to the business. 

Another notable outcome of the research was the broad spectrum of responses for each area of the survey. According to research author Susannah Thelander, “the results show that despite there being pockets of expertise in Category Management, these do not appear to be consistent across an organisation, let alone a whole category, indicating the Category Management revolution has begun, but still has a long way to go”. 

The challenge now, Susannah says, is for Category Managers to establish consistent practices across their categories and to effectively prioritise their activities. This will help to manage competing demands and focus on areas offering the most value, which will in turn help push activities from purely reactionary to more strategic and long-term. 

Category Council members will debate and discuss the research findings at upcoming Category Council meetings. If you are interested in participating in further research or the Category Councils please contact us about membership for 2012.