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KEY SKILLS OF A CATEGORY MANAGER


What do category managers do?

A category manager’s primary duties include identifying customers’ shopping behaviours and promoting the growth of the company through facilitating product purchases. Their responsibilities include creating point-of-purchase plans as well as working with suppliers and providing them with valid reasons to include their products within the category offer.


Managing Suppliers: One of the most important skills for a category manager. It is on a category manager to ensure flow of products/services is unhindered. He or she should be a part of the mandatory supplier due diligence procedure that checks if a supplier has all required industry certifications and financial viability to sustain a business. Without a strong foothold in supplier management, a category manager will fail his organization leading to a compromise in its end product.


Commercial Awareness: Datum line for a category manager to be able to negotiate commercially successful deals with suppliers. It requires a category manager to take understand maverick spend, pricing models and variables, investment outcomes, and other procurement related risks. Although it is the legal team that approves a contract to execution, category managers are in charge of ensuring if all aspects of business commercials have been covered. Besides this, a category manager knows that while pricing is a key determinant, it is not all of it. There are other commercial aspects that need to be considered while finalizing a deal.


Project Management: For category managers it is necessary to be able to manage complex projects involving multiple stakeholders with varying degree of expectations, cross-functional working style, and diverse cultural backgrounds. Project management, needless to say, also implies completion of projects within stipulated time and budget. Category managers with project management skills win the trust of its people and make desirable business impact.


Domain Knowledge: This is a key requisite to the making of a successful category manager. Often a misconception rules this aspect that any person with a sourcing background is capable of sourcing for a particular category. If a company has to be strategic about its procurement and take it to the next level, then its category managers must know about each category thoroughly to be able to add actual business value. This in-depth domain knowledge encourages insightful discussions with stakeholders and propels trust.


Digital Nativity: With the world gone digital and businesses leveraging it for global foothold, category managers can harness the digital to the advantage of procurement functions. Category analytics is one such aspect that can be exploited thoroughly to the interest of better procurement.


Supplier development: The impact of strategic sourcing is declining and the need to create savings is growing. Consequently, the final component of SCM is arguably the most important: Supplier development means leveraging category expertise and supplier relationship management tactics to identify the opportunities that create total cost savings above and beyond piece-price reductions.


Adaptable and Tactical Approaches: Furthermore, strong category managers are able to formulate adaptable and tactical approaches based on their effective data interpretation skills. They must be able to analyze data pertaining to customer behaviours and draw conclusions on which techniques would result in more sales for their companies.


Strong Communication Skills: Finally, another key skill that you need to be an effective category manager is communication. Communicating with suppliers and other stakeholders requires the powerful ability of persuasion, especially through logic.



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