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Category Manager – Smart Electricity and Lighting

The Role

  • The Vertical Category Manager is responsible for developing the strategies to grow the Smart switches, sockets & lighting product categories within the parameters of the Buster + Punch brand and the business objectives established by senior management.
  • You will have financial and brand KPI’s for the categories you manage, which could include sales (by key region), gross margin, SKU productivity, category growth, inventory turn, and customer satisfaction.
  • The role is both strategic and tactical in nature, with a heavy reliance on both quantitative and qualitative analytical skills.
  • Primary responsibility is to grow sales and gross margin contribution within existing (and any designated new) channels of distribution. This must be done by analysing existing product ranges and identifying opportunities for new styles and collections, underpinned by thorough research of the market, region and of competition, with validation from key customers/sales teams/focus groups. New Product Introduction Proposals must also consider any required phase-in phase-out of SKUs, with proposals on how to manage to minimise disruption and do what is best for the customer.
  • You will be the driving force behind new product development. You will be responsible for taking ideas which have passed Innovation stage and validate the project with the business case for stakeholder sign-off, as well as outlining the Product Design Specification. Therefore, an enthusiastic and hands-on attitude to get the job done is a must.
  • You will be responsible for stewarding new development through the New Product Introduction (NPI) process to ensure new products are introduced on schedule, with the appropriate features, with the appropriate marketing, training, and other support, at the correct price and gross margin and with adequate inventory to meet sales goals.
  • You will work closely with the Product Development functions to make sure development of new styles and collections meet the functional needs specified in the design briefs.
  • Additionally, you must work closely with the brand’s creative leadership to ensure the aesthetic treatment of the categories are consistent with those of the same collections in other categories. You will be responsible for assuring that collections do not overlap each other to the extent where they cannibalise each other.
  • You will be expert in your categories, and on the B+P customer, constantly monitoring the industry and the competition to maintain complete awareness of new developments and introductions by key competitors. You will interact and collaborate extensively with the sales team to gather qualitative and quantitative feedback on sales and product performance as well as with the marketing function to ensure proper positioning and support for the categories.
  • You will report to and work closely with the Head of Product Management to define and develop the overall product strategy of the Buster + Punch brand and sub-brands.
  • International travel will be required.

Responsibilities

You will be fully responsible for:

  • The products in your category: you will be the go-to person for the existing and new product developments and ensuring all task owners remain on track with milestones.
  • Regular (weekly and monthly) review of PowerBI reports to assess performance trends of both existing and new items within your category.
  • Ensuring that sales, margin, and profit expectations are achieved, whilst maintaining market competitiveness. This includes regular range reviews to maximise revenue-generation and profitability.
  • Report on and respond to significant differences in new product performance vs. plan in order to review and discuss with sales, marketing, forecasting and production planning to either increase or decrease inventory and/or create mitigation plans.
  • Develop and update plans for categories and monitor performance of specific lines across all channels to identity product gaps or exit strategies.
  • Develop adoption and deletion criteria specific to the categories managed.
  • For stocking dealers, shop-in-shops and showrooms develop recommended assortments by customer type and potential sales volume to optimise sales. Consider geographic and location differences.
  • Develop Commercial Business Cases for projects, and Product Design Specifications.
  • Work closely with marketing to gain relevant consumer information (demographics, psychographics, lifestyle needs/trends) to underpin the design briefs.
  • Monitor the Product Development Plan to ensure deadlines are being met, and any changes from the plan are being communicated and managed throughout the company.
  • Provide Design, Product Development/Engineering specific information on features and benefits that need to be included in new products, both in the design briefs, as well as on an ongoing basis.
  • Working with Design, Product Development/Engineering, Sourcing, Compliance and QC to ensure new development will meet performance criteria, and company objectives e.g., retail prices, gross margins, quality, and performance standards.
  • Presenting new product introductions to internal and external stakeholders prior to market launch, including rationale for introduction, product features and benefits, phase-in-phase-out plans, marketing support materials as appropriate (including POS and displays).
  • Deliver training on your categories to understand them strategically and technically.
  • Developing inventory reduction/ phase out strategy for discontinued product lines.
  • Interacting and collaborating with sales team on a formal and informal basis to collect information on product performance and industry/ competitive trends.
  • Working closely with the Head of Product Control to monitor product quality and facilitate resolution of problems when they occur.

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