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May 6, 2023

Cirtuo Procurement Forum 2023


The Cirtuo Procurement Forum 2023 was a unique event focused on Category Management. Hosted by Cirtuo, the global leader in guided category strategy creation, it bought together a broad mix of procurement professionals, industry experts and Cirtuo clients and partners.

With a mix of keynote presentations, expert panels, and round-table discussions, participants explored best practices in category management and discussed ideas with peers and industry experts. To all those who attended – the experience was truly unforgettable.

See you in Dubrovnik in 2024!

April 18-19, 2024
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik Hotel

Day One

Keynote: The future of Category Management in the age of AI

Dr. Elouise Epstein, Partner, Kearney

Dr. Epstein is known for her thought-provoking and uneasy perspectives on the future direction of Procurement and the technology that surrounds it. The opening keynote “The Future of Category Management in the Age of AI” was a tour de force and set the scene for two days of discussing best practices, exploring industry trends, sharing experiences, and, most importantly, networking with Procurement peers.

Panel discussion: excellence in Category Management and how to reach the top quartile

The panel including Dr. Epstein, Drasko Jelavic, CEO of Cirtuo, Sam Achampong – GM CIPS Middle East, Mark Webb – CEO of Future of Purchasing, and Stephane Morel – ex-Head of S2P Processes, Novartis, and Danijel Banek, Executive Director of Central Procurement at Atlantic Grupa discussed the impact of digitalization on the profession and the evolving requirements towards practitioners.

Day Two

Keynote: how to make Category Management relevant for the business

Stephane Morel – ex-Head of S2P Processes, Novartis

Stephane Morel brought full attention to the key factors for successful category management programs with this keynote. He hits a nerve with the audience when he proclaimed that understanding the needs and requirements of internal stakeholders and reflecting them in category strategies is a priority that will ultimately enhance stakeholder alignment and collaboration. This presentation combines over 25 years of experience with different companies.

Panel discussion: competing business objectives and how to align procurement with business objectives

Jim Abbot of AstraZeneca, Josip Stopic of Xellia, and Lisa Harris of Baringa next to Stephane Morel (Ex Novartis) share perspectives on “How to drive acceptance and adoption of Category Management throughout the organization”, Procurement working in isolation and focusing on itself rather than business objectives was the key theme and issue of the morning.

Keynote: the digital revolution in Category Management: building strategies that elevate procurement to the C-level

Drasko Jelavic, CEO & Founder, Cirtuo

Drasko Jelavic, CEO of Cirtuo, drilled even deeper into the misalignment of Procurement with the business as the root cause for not getting the proverbial seat at the table. In his keynote “The digital revolution in Category Management: building strategies that elevate procurement to the C-level”, he laid out his framework for embedding business objectives throughout Procurement.

Fireside chat: reflections on Walmart international’s Cirtuo partnership

Travis Johnson, Sr Director, International Procurement & Technology Enablement, Walmart International

Travis Johnson, Sr. Director, ISM Procurement & Technology Enablement at Walmart International reflected on Walmart’s partnership with Cirtuo. He provided examples of his colleague reducing the time required for creating category strategies from 60 hours down to 30 hours and eventually 8-12 hours by using Cirtuo, which led to a discussion around the ROI of Category Management and the cost of doing nothing.

Keynote: Category Management in action: a study of implementation and impact across industry

Mark Webb, CEO, Future Purchasing

Mark Webb, CEO of Future Purchasing, provided a glimpse into the current state of adopting Category Management in his session on “Category Management in action: a study of implementation and impact across industry”. Based on a 2022 survey conducted globally, he shared some statistics on the overall adoption and maturity of category management that were hard to digest. 75% of respondents were classified as Starters and only 5% as Leaders.

Experience session: the importance of Category Strategies in today’s transforming environment

Marcel Stalder, CEO, ChainIQ

Marcel Stalder, CEO of ChainIQ, picked up on the current state of category management in his session “The importance of Category Strategies in today’s transforming environment.” He made a case for offering ‘Category Strategies as a Service’ through empowering humans with technology, namely ChainIQ with Cirtuo. Attracting talent, fluctuations in resources, retaining knowledge, and limited experience in non-core categories might result in missed opportunities, especially considering the frequency of market-moving events.

Panel: The ROI of Category Management: how to measure the impact of implementing Category Management

Breno Jung of Corning, Andrew Speck, and Ganga Siebertz of Cirtuo, next to Mark Webb of Future Purchasing and Travis Johnson of Walmart highlighted the difficulties of defining what ROI means for Category Management and how to measure it. With Return On Investment being a financial indicator that is required at the time of investment, telling a complete and convincing story becomes especially difficult.

Article: The Future of Category Management – Reflections on The Cirtuo Procurement Forum

“Category Management is dead”, said Dr. Elouise Epstein of Kearney. This is a bold statement for kicking off the only event entirely focused on Category Management. The Cirtuo Procurement Forum 2023 on April 27th and 28th in Dubrovnik, Croatia, brought together over 120 category management professionals, industry experts, Cirtuo clients, and professional services providers from across the world and from various industries like Pharma, Retail, Automotive, or FMCG to engage in a mix of keynote presentations, expert panels, and round-table discussions.


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