category management and strategic sourcing consulting

A strong category management approach helps you ensure that your organisation is achieving best value for money and maximising the returns.

We help you achieve the benefits of category management through a wide range of services, from delivering your initiatives, to assessing and designing your approach to category management (in its totality or partially).

We have a strong track record of delivering value from category management initiatives for many large corporates and public sector organisations. 
Our category management and strategic sourcing consulting solutions include:
Our category management and strategic sourcing consulting solutions
Our team has extensive category management and strategic sourcing experience, with a strong track record of working with large corporates and public sector organisations. 

Category management and strategic sourcing assessment

Category management diagnostic

The category management diagnostic involves conducting a full capability assessment of your procurement function across key disciplines of the category management cycle (see below), reporting performance in the following areas: 
  • People
  • Governance
  • Process
  • Technology

Category management lifecycle

Category management
The category management diagnostic assesses the maturity of existing practices of your procurement function against our maturity model, and identifies gaps and opportunities, including quick wins and longer-term fixes.
A systematic benchmarking process is carried out which involves:  
  • ‘As-is’ assessment: We conduct stakeholder surveys and interviews. During this phase we also review all your existing processes, documents, templates, and systems to assess your current approach to category management, against our maturity model.
  • Recommendations: Based on the findings from the ‘as-is’ assessment and your organisation’s business objectives/expectations of procurement, we provide a prioritised list of the gaps and opportunities for improvement, which will include quick wins and longer-term fixes. 

People skills and competencies assessment 

We can help you ensure that your teams have the right skills and capabilities to do their job effectively, and provide you with training and development recommendations at a personal and team level.
Capability assessments include:
  • Review your current competency framework to ensure it reflects contemporary and relevant procurement performance criteria.
  • An online competency assessment of team members followed by individual face-to-face presentations. This is a tailored assessment aligned to your competency framework; in addition team members work through a case study based exercise and presentation.
  • Individual and team reports which highlight strengths and areas for development, along with training and personal development recommendations. We host a workshop to discuss the findings at team level (trends, overall team abilities etc) and recommended next steps. A team report is provided. 
People skills and competencies assessment

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Category management and strategic sourcing design

Category strategy and governance

We can help you define category governance and category management strategies that best align with your business needs and external market environment. We ensure you have the right tools and templates in place to effectively support the development of category strategies.
To help you improve your category strategies we:
  • Develop or revise your category structure to ensure spend in categories best reflect the way your organisation buys, taking into consideration the external market environment. 
  • Define a category governance model including category business plans which will feed into your sourcing projects pipeline. 
  • Review and improve, or create, your category strategy documentation, as well as the tools supporting the development of category strategies.
We provide you with an approach to category strategy and governance which is fact based, aligned to best practice and encompasses the entire category management cycle.

Sourcing policy, governance and process improvement

We have worked with many clients across private and public sectors, to update and rationalise their sourcing processes and governance framework which are key enablers to implementing category strategies.  
We can review, design or refine sourcing policy, governance and processes. This can be tailored to your needs and may include some or all of the following: 
  • Review of your overall approach to sourcing (tactical purchasing to strategic sourcing), which is a high level assessment of the current approach to sourcing against best practice and business requirements. 
  • Detailed review of existing policies governance and processes which includes conducting interviews with key stakeholders to identify gaps, risk and opportunities for improvement.
  • Develop improvement recommendations. (Alternatively, if the assessment was previously undertaken and the scope for improvements pre-defined, we validate and test our assumptions at this stage by conducting a shorter and high level assessment.) 
In addition to the initial assessment we can help you implement recommendations for improvements such as: 
  • Updating your policy documentation to ensure these are aligned to, and support the achievement of your business objectives.
  • Developing a governance framework and detailed sub-processes, supporting documents and templates; and guidance.
  • Preparation of a multi-channel communications plan to roll out the new processes, including training if required. 
All our process improvement projects are accompanied by a robust change programme to ensure buy-in to the new governance model from the organisation and end-users.
We leave you with a robust yet flexible set of sourcing approaches, which are aligned with sourcing best practice and tailored to the needs of your organisation.
Find out about our decision tree, an interactive and automated process flow tool that guides you through complex business processes in an easy way.

Templates and internal documentation

The benefits of using templates at different stages of category management are well recognised by procurement professionals (e.g. increased consistency and effectiveness, better controls, etc.). 
We help you leverage internal knowledge and resources, and supplement with best practice to refresh or develop useful material for your teams. This may range from a review and re-design of all your internal documentation across the whole category management process, or just particular stages. 
When undertaking documentation review and re-design initiatives, we carry out activities such as:
  • Helping you understand the existing documentation used across teams
  • Assessing the effectiveness of current documentation, identifying gaps and developing recommendations to improve quality.
  • Re-designing templates and documents to ensure they are consistent, engaging, easy to use, relevant and logically ordered.
  • Supporting the selection of an appropriate document repository (unless one is already in place) so that communication and information retrieval is easy and effective.


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Category management and strategic sourcing delivery

Spend diagnostic

A spend diagnostic is recommended before carrying out strategic sourcing projects to identify and prioritise opportunities early in the process. This enables you to focus time and effort on the right categories. 
We offer a detailed diagnostic of your current spend, helping you achieve spend visibility across all categories. A spend diagnostic provides you with clearly defined opportunities and savings expectations.  This informs potential sourcing projects, investment required and savings benefits. 
We achieve this through a series of tried and tested techniques, templates and working practices, which deliver business focused reports identifying new opportunities. A typical spend diagnostic includes two work-streams:
  • Data cleanse and analysis. We manipulate your raw spend data, from the creation of a spend cube from key data sources to spend cleansing, validation, categorisation and analysis. This provides you and the wider business with visibility and understanding of your spend trends and characteristics.

Spend diagnostic

  • Opportunity assessment. Based on the data analysis and interviews of key stakeholders around your business, we identify and plot savings opportunity in a wave plan using three key criteria: saving effort and difficulty (saving opportunity versus spend, and ease of implementation considering the potential cost of realising the savings). For each area, we then create an opportunity sheet identifying the resource and investment expected to deliver the saving, including findings from the diagnostic, and key market trends and opportunities based on our market expertise.

Strategic sourcing

State of Flux delivers purchasing solutions aligned to your business needs and objectives. We work with you to understand your internal demand, challenge the status quo, and advise on an appropriate sourcing strategy using our market knowledge and expertise. We can manage your initiatives to market, undertake contractual negotiations and support contract implementations to maximise value for your business.

We follow a systematic strategic sourcing process for all sourcing activities, either using our standard approach or aligning to your internal processes, as required. We provide you with a variety of tools and templates to assist you in delivering effective ‘one-off’ sourcing events or a pipeline of sourcing initiatives.

We focus on offering you flexible support models and pride ourselves on being simple to do business with. We support you through:

  • ‘One-off’ sourcing initiatives. Our pool of consultants bring the supply market expertise you require to effectively manage sourcing projects you do not have the time, resources and / or expertise to run in-house.
  • Sourcing programmes with a pipeline of sourcing events. If you require additional support to conduct a number of strategic initiatives falling outside your teams business as usual workload, or need support to achieve a savings target with a pipeline of quick-win initiatives, we help you manage and deliver a programme of sourcing initiatives.

Our experience ranges from supporting sourcing initiatives for medium-sized firms, to multi-million pound deals for large organisations in the private and public sector, covering a wide number of categories, mainly indirect such as IT and telecoms, facility management, professional services (e.g. legal panels, recruitment and consultancy), marketing, print, travel, fleet, stationery, outsourcing services, etc.

eSourcing and eAuction services

eSourcing has a proven track record of increasing savings and shortening sourcing cycle times. However, our eSourcing survey found that over 62% of respondents had been using eSourcing tools for less than 5 years. This confirmed our suspicions that although these systems have been around for 15 years, they are still far from core to the average user’s sourcing process.

Request our eSourcing survey report.

Request report

State of Flux has worked with numerous clients on eSourcing projects during the past five years, conducting hundreds of eRFx and eAuctions with a combined value of more than £1 billion. Whether you need help in designing, implementing and managing a full eSourcing programme, or just want ad-hoc support for a specific event, our experienced eSourcing team provides a flexible solution tailored to your exact requirements.

We offer three models of support:

  • eSourcing implementation programmes - This model is supported by robust change management initiatives. Our strategic and advisory services include tool selection and implementation, and template design. 
  • eSourcing outsourcing - Outsource your eSourcing services to State of Flux as either a long-term or transitional strategy.
  • eSourcing / eAuction ‘one-off’ projects - Leverage our sourcing and eSourcing knowledge on a short-term, tactical and individual project basis. 

We also offer eAuction training.

State of Flux promotes the exchange of knowledge through our peer-to-peer eSourcing forums held every three to six months. Fill in your details above if you are interested in attending our next event. You can also join our LinkedIn eSourcing practitioners group.

Market intelligence services

We deliver timely and bespoke ‘so what’ analysis that enables you to gain prompt insight on how market dynamics impact your strategic sourcing. Our expertise in strategic sourcing and our global network of external resources provide unique insight into categories.


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