Top 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Better Manage Your Categories

Q4 is right around the corner. Are you ready?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
BY: Henrik Balslev, Senior VP of Operations

Summer is over, vacation is but a memory, and the end of the calendar (and likely fiscal) year is right around the corner. There’s a chance that your savings target is “in the bag” and you get to take the rest of the year easy. Congratulations. For the rest of us, it’s time to determine how best to allocate your limited resources and attention for the remaining four months to make sure you hit your business goals.

Given how much there is to do, and how little time you have to do it, make sure you’ve got a structured approach to get the best results:

  • Revisit
  • Learn
  • Ask for help
  • Prioritize
  • Act

1. Revisit

This time of year is precisely the reason why you put all that effort into building your annual category plans (what seems like) so long ago. Before jumping into any tactical activities just yet, set aside some time to review your category plans and identify some areas of interest that may have slipped through the cracks earlier in the year. You are almost guaranteed to find some opportunities by which you can profit now.

Additionally, now is the time to reach back out to your business stakeholders. There’s a good chance you that you’ve had conversations over the course of the year where you discussed potential savings opportunities but couldn’t act on them at the time due to competing priorities.


2. Learn

One of the great things about the procurement industry is the wealth of information sharing, much of it available for free. Whether it is category-specific intelligence (MetalMiner), macro-economic trends (How Will the “Gig Economy” Impact Procurement in 2017?) or Scanmarket’s own eAuction data, you can quickly find information.


3. Ask for help

If you have a set of intriguing savings opportunities available but just don’t have the resources to execute them, now’s the time to ask for help. You can be sure that your CFO has the end of the year in mind as well and is looking for every Euro, Dollar and Kroner out there. Go to him/her with a simple equation: X additional resources to my team = Y benefit by the end of the year. Where the CFO was focused on controlling costs earlier in the year, you can bet they are focused on profit now.


4. Prioritize

Once you find the savings opportunities, use a structured approach to stage them and allocate your resources. One good example that will help, especially for eAuctions, is the Scanmarket Suitability Matrix. In this way, you’ll be using data to prioritize your activities over the coming months.


5. Act

Most importantly, act on the opportunities you find. The best approach is to use a centralized management system such as Scanmarket Project Management to get tasks assigned, monitor progress, and identify potential timing issues.

It may seem like extra work at a time when you’re already busy. But by following these five steps, you’ll be able to put your team in the best position to finish the year strong, meet your goals, and not leave any easy “wins” on the table.

For more information on these approaches or to learn more about how Scanmarket can help you achieve your business objectives, please visit us at

Easy. Proven. Results.