Five Ways Category Managers Can Save Time

June 19, 2023
By Julie James, Director, Space Planning Services, Cantactix

Enhance Your Productivity with Time-Saving Strategies for Summer

Ready to make the most of your summer while staying productive at work? Implementing these time-saving strategies can help boost your efficiency, improve decision-making, and focus on high-value activities that drive organizational success.

  • Strategic Planning: Dedicate time to strategic planning to identify long-term goals, prioritize initiatives, and allocate resources effectively. A well-defined category strategy enables category managers to focus on high-value activities and avoid wasting time on low-priority tasks. Continuously review processes and workflows to identify areas for improvement. By optimizing processes consistently, category managers can eliminate inefficiencies and save time overall.

Tip: Develop a comprehensive roadmap outlining your goals and desired outcomes. Focus on the end destination and execute the plan in manageable steps. Consider seeking an assessment from a third-party specializing in category management to validate and create a customized roadmap for your organization.

  • Standardization: Streamline process flow and templates to consolidate and manage data from multiple sources effectively. This enables category managers to work more efficiently and reduces time spent on repetitive activities. Establish standardized processes for category management tasks, such as assortment planning, pricing, and promotional activities. Clearly document these processes and ensure that all team members follow them consistently. Standardization reduces confusion, enhances collaboration, and saves time spent on unnecessary discussions or rework. Develop a library of templates, checklists, and best practice guides that can be readily used for common tasks and projects. This saves time by providing a starting point and ensuring consistency in approach.

Tip: Document the process flow to ensure consistent handling of repetitive data. Process standardization is crucial for improving new hire onboarding and reducing training time. Regularly update templates and toolkits to reflect new business rules or updated processes.

  • Automation: Leverage technology and software tools to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as data collection, analysis, reporting, and process execution. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and manipulation, saving you considerable time and reducing the risk of errors. Look for tools that can integrate with your existing systems and streamline the data management process.

Tip: Explore automation tools specifically designed for managing planograms, which can automate tasks like item additions, deletions, and swaps. This saves considerable time when working with large amounts of data or planogram changes, while ensuring consistent application of changes throughout the assortment and planogram process.

  • Outsourcing: Consider outsourcing to help evaluate whether industry standards are being met and to provide valuable insights for process improvements. Consider implementing category management software specifically designed to streamline and automate various tasks, such as planogram creation, space allocation, and performance tracking. These tools offer features like data visualization, automated reporting, and collaborative workflows, enabling you to manage categories more effectively and save time.

Tip: Engage with online forums or industry organizations that focus on best practices and industry standards. Cultivate relationships both within and outside the organization to share insights and stay updated.

  • Streamline Communication: Improve communication channels with internal stakeholders and cross-functional teams involved in category management. Utilize digital collaboration tools, such as project management software or other platforms, to share updates, and gather feedback efficiently. Clear and concise communication helps avoid misunderstandings and delays. Foster collaboration with other departments, such as marketing, sales, and operations. By aligning efforts and sharing insights, you can reduce duplicative work, leverage resources more effectively, and accelerate decision-making processes.

Tip: For example, establish regular meetings with sales teams to align goals and tactics for retailer presentations. Follow a strategy where category managers communicate category trends and opportunities while sales teams concentrate on your organization’s item specific goals.  And finally, leverage AI technology such as ChatGPT, Bard, etc. to aid in quick, clear, concise & consistent communication to avoid misunderstandings and delays.

At Team Cantactix, we have dedicated our careers to optimizing category and space management processes. Whether you are just starting out, looking to improve existing practices, or in need of a major overhaul, our experienced solutions and delivery team is ready to support your category’s maximum potential.

Enjoy a productive and fulfilling summer by implementing these time-saving strategies.