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Category Manager Senior

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

Summary:

This Senior Category Manager is responsible for key categories of indirect spend and lead strategic sourcing initiatives across the business. This role will lead efforts to optimize the supply base, generate cost savings and support transformation initiatives. In this role, you will develop/manage new and ongoing relationships with business partners and suppliers to build long-term business alignment; influence those interacting with suppliers on management and assessment of supplier performance; develop sourcing and negotiation strategy; lead supplier negotiations to achieve optimum results (i.e. cost, quality, , terms, etc.); anticipate client needs and recommend options that align with strategic direction; support strategic sourcing strategies to achieve return on investment and build longer term relationships; and support ongoing innovation and process improvement, identifying efficiencies in supplier-related processes and practices.

  • Category Managers work in a collaborative environment with senior leaders and other internal stakeholders (e.g. Legal, Compliance, Risk). Excellent influencing, analytical, communication and presentation skills are a must.

  • Develops strong relationships with key stakeholders / groups for their respective category and with key providers in current and future markets

  • Acts as a trusted business advisor providing thought leadership and consistent customer service whilst delivering qualitative and quantitative value to the organization

  • Provides subject matter advise to internal and external stakeholder groups addressing current/future business needs demonstrating marketplace and category knowledge

  • Leads and influences stakeholder groups with sound and articulate business case recommendations (i.e. build vs buy strategy) with quantifiable financial benefits

  • Champion of Productivity efforts within stakeholder base

  • Provides consultation and guidance to business units around strategic sourcing and supplier management. Support sourcing strategies, contracting and governance to achieve return on investment and build longer term relationships.

  • Provide supplier briefs to summarize supplier investments, risks, and opportunities.

Sourcing Expertise and Category Strategies

  • Demonstrates connected thinking and strategy beyond the category with pull through in understanding how to drive value within the category of responsibility and multiple functional areas

  • Execute procurement/sourcing strategies and drive standardization of processes and procedures, supplier selection processes and ongoing supplier management.

  • Solid understanding of procurement/sourcing/category management methodology around all lines of business and able to drive value for internal stakeholders leveraging the right sourcing levers

  • Develop negotiation strategies using cost/benefit analysis, should-cost modeling, market research, etc., lead negotiation efforts on new deals with cross-functional teams to achieve optimum results (i.e. costs, quality, terms).

  • Ability to incubate, develop, communicate, obtain support and implement business cases.

  • Manages, minimizes and mitigates supply/contractual/regulatory risk leveraging key functions where appropriate (Legal, Compliance, Data Privacy, Cybersecurity, Audit etc.)

  • Build strong working relationships with various cross functional groups across the enterprise, monitor stakeholder satisfaction, and establish partner relationships to create synergies across accounts.

  • Drive the identification and delivery of financial impact for category or business area.

  • Support ongoing innovation, process improvement and identify cost optimization opportunities to deliver increasing efficiency in supplier related processes.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree with an emphasis in Business, Accounting/Finance, MIS, Engineering or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and work experience.

  • At least 7 years of experience in supplier management, category management, strategic sourcing, and supplier management. Strong negotiation, communication, planning, project management, and influencing skills, as well as ability to quickly and creatively respond to change.

  • Strong customer focus and interpersonal skills. Previous contract negotiation, contract development, and risk mitigation experience preferred.

  • Excellent research, analytical, problem solving, planning and organization skills required as well as a high degree of personal initiative and motivation.

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This job is not covered by the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Required Certifications:

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We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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