Where are my improvements in Category Management?

Retailers continue to struggle to get some real, tangible benefits from their Category Management teams. Although you’ve been getting by all along with your CM team, you just aren’t seeing continuing benefits for this very expensive team. Agreeing on a list of important improvements that go beyond pricing and planograms, will allow your CM team to challenge themselves, solidify their relationships with stores and vendors, and yield those added dollars you’ve been itching to get.


Tackle a quick win, like excessive force-outs. Your store visits are ripe with comments from the Store Manager on the constant influx of ‘gifts’ from Category. These forced distributions may be a necessary evil, but they just see them as evil. Getting to the root cause of this excess product flow won’t take too long. Getting in a room with some talented store directors and category managers can quickly show where the main causes are for these. Use facts, and work with solid goals in mind and you will be sure to have easy, implementable solutions in short order.


Confront a recurring problem, like ad blows. Nobody feels worse about an ad mistake than the lonely front-end associate who must explain to your customer why their favorite laundry detergent didn’t scan at the sale price pictured in the ad. Help them help your customers. Preventing mistakes from showing up in the ad can involve quite a few folks. So many departments handle, proof and contribute to ad production. Using some collected facts and following those facts to the ‘Why’ will be the start to mapping improvements that can help your customers get the prices promised the first time. Plus, the benefits in labor costs to fix these mistakes will more than pay for the effort.


Push your team to an industry leading solution, like Speed to Shelf. Wait, what? Most grocers aren’t even sure what their speed to shelf results are. It’s a shame, because almost every Category Manager hears how bad they are every vendor appointment. But if you don’t know where you are, how will you get any better? Find out. Work with your most trusted vendor partners and get that number. Then go to work. There isn’t a more fascinating and rewarding journey than breaking down the roadblocks to new item speed to shelf. Some improvements will come from the vendor, some from CM, some from data integrity, some from the stores themselves. It’s not easy, but a good, cross functional attack on the end to end process will lead to real benefits in time and money.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started.