Category Management Is Getting Modernized

MINNEAPOLIS — Category management is one of the most successful business processes of the 20th century. It is used by virtually all major consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers and manufacturers around the globe, but it has gotten long in the tooth. There has been no major modernization for nearly 20 years — until now.

The Category Management Association (CMA), working with a blue-ribbon executive committee of leading retailers, manufacturers and solution providers, has developed CatMan 2.0, the first comprehensive improvement in this important process in two decades.

One of the major contributors on the CatMan 2.0 committee was Dr. Tom Burkemper of 7-Eleven Inc. Moreover, one of the two leaders of the CMA team was senior vice president of best practices, John Drake, who served for seven years as director of strategy and merchandising at 7-Eleven, and was a part owner of the highly successful Stripes c-store chain.

Why was it necessary to modernize the category management process? The answer is simple: Everything in the CPG environment has changed in the last 20 years. We have more data and more advanced analytical tools. We have a whole catalog of success models; things that have worked in assortment, pricing, in-store merchandising and promotion.

But most importantly, the shopper has changed. Today’s shopper is more knowledgeable about brands, banners, new items and pricing than ever before. The internet and mobile devices have truly empowered the shopper.

The CatMan 2.0 executive committee attacked the challenge of modernizing category management by dividing the work into 17 separate work streams. These work streams covered subjects such as internal alignment, scorecarding, strategy development, assortment rationalization, pricing optimization and measuring the return on investment of category management.

Each of the 17 work streams went through a comprehensive three-step improvement process that started with the identification of issues, then moved to improvement input from the team members, and finally resulted in a series of drafts aimed at capturing everyone’s ideas on best practices for that specific work stream. The final product includes case studies, as well as links to websites including even more detailed information.

These work stream documents comprise more than 200 pages and are the most comprehensive source of category management information on the planet. These documents will be hosted on a searchable database and be free to members of the Category Management Association.

The CMA is partnering with Stagnito + Edgell, publisher of Convenience Store News, to deploy this revolutionary, new category management process across the CPG landscape. A series of webinars, conferences, handbooks and white papers are in the works.

The CMA has made sure that CatMan 2.0 is applicable to the convenience store industry, as well as other major CPG retail formats – all of whom were represented on the CatMan 2.0 executive committee. Stay tuned for further announcements about CatMan 2.0 in the pages of CSNews, on, on other Stagnito + Edgell websites, and on the CMA website.

Editor’s note: This article was contributed by the Category Management Association. 

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