As we have posted regularly, the first step is to solve the classic Triple T problem:
your organization must have the right talent to properly manage your category-based initiatives
your organization must have the right platforms to capture the right data and support the right processes
- Transition Management
your organizations must have the right processes in place to handle the necessary organizational shift to properly manage the initiatives as markets, needs, and workflows will change over time
Only once the talent, technology, and transition management is in place, will the organization have what it takes to fully embrace the initiative. And do it right. At some point we will revisit each of these requirements in more detail, but today we’re going to outline what these requirements are at a high level so that we can dive into a few key aspects that are important with the looming Trade Wars on the horizon.
So, at a high level, where should your Supply Management Organization start? By focussing on the core capabilities that are required in each “T” category, many of which we are outlining in this post. And, more importantly, finding the right talent, technology, and transition management plan that fits.
Talent for Category Management
Good category managers need at least the following hard and soft skills:
to determine the volume and spend in the category
to determine the major cost components, and cost drivers, of the major products or services in the category
- Commodity Market Expertise
in the major raw materials and commodities used in the production of the major products in the category
- Stakeholder Management
as savings and performance improvement will usually come from consolidating related items with a smaller set of suppliers, which is going to ruffle some feathers when some departments lose their coveted suppliers and supply relationships.
since not only will the individual need to consolidate a set of commodity purchases with a single supplier, but the individual will also need to cut a good deal and maybe even convince the supplier to take some business it normally wouldn’t want
- Change Management
since good category management typically requires changing the way the organization conducts business today
Technology for Category Management
Appropriate technology platforms for category management will have at least the following features:
- Spend Analytics
with extensive aggregation, cubing, and filtering capability
as the category manager needs to not only extract volume and spend, but identify related products and services based on components, raw-materials, and sub/related services
- Should Cost Modelling
which allows the category manager to understand not only what the product should cost but the primary cost components and the appropriate inputs to an optimization model
- (Real-Time) Market Data
which allows the category manager to track historical market trends and predict future prices to time the market if prices are volatile
- Supplier Performance Management
which allows the category manager to track and manage supplier performance
to manage the data collection and track supplier bids and responses before and during negotiations
Transition to Category Management
In order to transition to proper category management, the organization needs to hire someone with good change management skills and give that person the tools he or she needs to get it done. That person also needs to be a natural born leader and someone who can work with teams to get it done. Then, that person needs to identify a change management methodology and adapt it to organizational needs. And, most importantly, get buy in using the aforementioned natural born leader and workforce harmonization skills.
This isn’t a complete (laundry) list of what is required for successful category management, but it’s a good starting point. Get the right talent, technology, and transition management in place, and your organization will be well on its way to category management success. More details to come! Especially with respect to the looming trade war!