According to Gartner, the typical requisition-to-order cycle time for simple categories is just four hours while that of more complex categories is 30 days.

Procurement teams are always on the lookout for ways to reduce source-to-pay timeframes, maximize value, mitigate sourcing risk, and efficiently manage to spend.

Meeting these targets is paramount to ensuring a healthy bottom line.

The sourcing methods that many CPOs make use of include low-cost country sourcing, global sourcing, prime arrangements, captive service operations as well as conventional agreements.

In this blog, however, we’re going to discuss a lesser-known method which when harnessed correctly can significantly bolster your procurement efforts.

What’s that strategy you’re asking?

Enter category profile sourcing.

What is Category Profile Sourcing?

We cannot talk about category profile sourcing without first mentioning category management as the two are intertwined.

When the term ‘category’ is used in procurement it is used to refer to the grouping of similar items for procurement. For example, pens and pencils can be collectively placed under the ‘stationery category’.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) conveniently provide us with the following definition for category management:

“…Category management is a strategic approach to procurement where organizations segment their spend into areas which contain similar or related products enabling focus opportunities for consolidation and efficiency.”

Now, turning back to category profile sourcing, this is the process of finding, selecting, and qualifying vendors based on their category profiles.

Category profiles are simply documents that consolidate information regarding particular categories.

Now that we’re aware of what category profile sourcing is, let’s explore how you can take advantage of it to better your procurement efforts.

Strategy 1: Use Category Profile Sourcing to Thoroughly Appreciate Each Spend Category

Did you know that data-driven enterprises are:

· 23 times more likely to get new customers,

· 6 times more likely to keep old customers and,

· 19 times more likely to make more money than their competitors?

When it comes to procurement, having access to exclusive spend category information is priceless as it gives you a competitive advantage.

Data is the new oil and having the latest and most up-to-date metrics will enable procurement teams to make the best possible decisions. 

From category profile sourcing you will discover specific details regarding spend categories and get nuanced information that will assist you in developing risk profiles for each category.

Strategy 2: Use Category Profile Sourcing to Understand the Marketplace

If you have hopes of improving your procurement efforts, having a good grasp of what’s happening in the supplier marketplace is critical.

This will aid you in knowing which suppliers to choose. And it is also part and parcel of efficient category management tactics.

Category profile sourcing will facilitate this understanding of the marketplace and the vendor selection process as you will get a very clear idea of the major category players as well as each supplier’s unique dynamics and best practices.

Strategy 3: Use Category Profile Sourcing to Create a Reliable Network of Suppliers

One of the major key takeaways from the disruption in supply chains that affect the majority of enterprises in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was the need to have a reliable network of suppliers on hand to turn to when things go south.

Disruptions are costly as any CPO will tell you. Not being able to access raw materials can be devastating. This is why having several trustworthy suppliers that you can do business with especially in emergencies is extremely important.

Thanks to category profile sourcing, you can build and maintain favorable relationships with a variety of suppliers across your main categories. In the event that you need them, you won’t have to start the sourcing process from scratch as you have already qualified them. 


Category profile sourcing can assist you in ameliorating your procurement efforts.

While adopting category profile sourcing as a procurement improvement strategy is certainly a step in the right direction, there is still something else you should do to better your procurement activities – integrate procurement software.

Take your procurement campaigns to the next level by coupling category profile sourcing with innovative robust procurement software such as RFX, spend analysis, and contract management solutions from ProcurePort. 

ProcurePort prides itself as one of the leading providers of procurement software on the market and is trusted by enterprises and organizations such as UNOPS, HUD.GOV, and conEdison.

If you would like to discuss procurement software with a consultant, or to schedule a demo of our solutions, contact us today.