Category Intelligence

Achieve category management excellence with timely, contextualised intelligence covering supply market dynamics, price forecasts, spend and demand insights

End-to-end Category Intelligence at a glance:

  • Robust, unbiased, contextualised intelligence and analytics across all stages of the category management lifecycle
  • Self-service access to 560+ critical supply market insights for 26 category groups and 110+ sustainability, innovation and mega trend reports looking in-depth at the latest trends
  • Custom intelligence and impact assessments from our category specialists answering your specific questions – with actionable recommendations
  • Proactive news and alerts on relevant developments in key categories and supply markets defined by you
  • Pre-built templates and custom tools to help you build world-class category strategies quickly and easily

Cut through the noise with category intelligence you can trust

Procurement teams are challenged by increasingly volatile supply markets and continued pressure to cut costs. But with huge swathes of unreliable public information and diverse datasets from procurement and finance systems, it is harder than ever to build and optimise effective category strategies, and identify valuable opportunities.

To deliver the strategic value their organisation demands from them, today’s procurement teams must be able to:

  • Identify emerging opportunities to cut costs, improve sustainability and lower risk before their competitors

  • Translate major trends and industry events into actionable innovation strategies that drive value in their categories

  • Understand the underlying drivers behind sudden price changes, and use that insight to mitigate the business impact

  • Provide timely guidance on the levers that can be employed to reduce long-term risk and drive sustainable cost savings

  • Understand evolving business needs and stakeholder demands and ensure category strategies and approaches are fit for purpose

We do more than just provide category and market data…

Every organisation and procurement team has unique category intelligence requirements. So, we’ve designed a modular solution where you define what you need, based on your specifications. With Category Intelligence from The Smart Cube, you can select capabilities and insights from across four modular elements:

  • Self-service Standard Insights
    Self-service Standard Insights

    Our proprietary platform Amplifi PRO contains 120+ category insights dashboards, 560+ insights reports, 12,800+ cost structures, 8,500+ commodity price datasets, and innovation intelligence for key categories.

  • Custom Intelligence
    Custom Intelligence

    Request contextualised intelligence in the form of alternative sourcing destinations, supplier capability assessments, negotiation fact packs, should cost models and spend optimisation opportunities.

  • Category Monitors
    Category Monitors

    Get proactive, custom insights on opportunities and risks for your strategic categories, including analyst alerts, commodity price forecasts and key supply market developments.

  • Self-service Tools and Templates
    Self-service Tools and Templates

    Get everything you need to enhance category decision-making in one place – including should-cost models, strategy development tools, critical supplier frameworks, and more.

How your business benefits

With end-to-end Category Intelligence from The Smart Cube, you can:

  • Use robust, unbiased and contextual insights to build successful category strategies that deliver not only cost savings, but also highlight collaboration and innovation opportunities.
  • Model various scenarios using advanced analytics and proven forecasting models to proactively build smarter price and supplier strategies.
  • Free your talent from laborious manual research tasks and give skilled people more time to focus on supplier collaboration, negotiations, business partnering, and building effective category strategies.
  • Uncover untapped opportunities that standard industry reports don’t surface, and gain a competitive edge with intelligence that highlights unexplored synergies, new opportunities and hidden risks.
  • Mitigate risk with greater visibility of everything from supplier dynamics and new sources of demand, to socio-economic change and regulatory developments.
  • Leverage the powerful combination of internal and external data to gain the deepest, most tightly contextualised view of opportunities and developments across your key categories and markets.

How we work with you

The Category Intelligence solution we deliver is built around you. Through close collaboration and a custom, modular approach, we create a bespoke intelligence solution, designed to support your specific goals and needs. Here’s how our process works:

Step 1

We work with you to collaboratively scope and define your category intelligence needs and solution requirements.

Step 2

We deploy pre-built modules, including our on-demand procurement intelligence platform Amplifi PRO, to deliver insights, results and value immediately.

Step 3

Your team can quickly and simply place custom intelligence and analytics requests directly through Amplifi PRO, and manage projects with a user-friendly workflow.

Step 4

We develop and deploy category monitors, and custom intelligence projects are delivered on an ongoing basis by our category specialists.

Step 5

We review and revise your Category Intelligence solution to ensure it’s meeting the right needs and delivering the right ROI.

Why choose The Smart Cube?

When you choose Category Intelligence from The Smart Cube, you always get:

Deep category expertise: Our category management specialists are exceptionally experienced in the direct and indirect categories they cover – combining a wealth of existing knowledge, research skills and advanced analytics, to uncover the intelligence you need.

17 years of procurement excellence: Unlike generalist market intelligence firms, The Smart Cube has a 17-year track record in procurement intelligence – so we know what information you need, and how to help you gain maximum value from it.

Complete category lifecycle support: Through actionable, contextual intelligence and analytics, we help you optimise performance and manage risk across all stages of the category management lifecycle so you can build stronger, more effective strategies.

Access to diverse data sources and experts: Our world-class resource base – including a global network of 11,000+ subject matter experts, numerous subscribed databases and a huge volume of internal knowledge assets – drives  our exceptional primary and secondary research.

Holistic integrated intelligence: By integrating external data on supply market dynamics, cost trends, innovations and potential disruptions, with predictive analytics on internal spend, savings, compliance and contracts data, we create a holistic view of your opportunities and risks.

Robust evidence base: We create a robust evidence-based foundation to drive more informed decisions, including specification rationalisation, supply base consolidation, make vs buy, and more.

Category Intelligence in action

Category Intelligence helps global top 10 pharma company save $2 million on thermoforms


    The client’s category team was unable to control the rising spend on thermoforms due to a limited understanding on the evolving dynamics on supply, visibility on cost model and supplier base.


    We assessed the supply chain and stakeholders bargaining power;  different end-use market demand; level of vertical integration and cost model to devise a better negotiation strategy for sourcing raw material and finished goods for thermoforms within the packaging category.


    The negotiation strategy helped the category team achieve 10% ($2 million) savings on a spend of $20 million.

Custom category intelligence dashboards deliver key insights for global top 5 food company


    With access to multiple subscription sources, category teams were struggling to curate insights from all the clutter, making it difficult to meet their business needs and sourcing priorities.


    We created custom category monitors for 35 specific ingredients (including colours, fruits, enzymes, flavours and nuts) based on spend and priorities. The monitors included price forecasts, correlation calculators, supplier risk, new innovations, cost structures and supply demand outlooks, all to identify key opportunities and risks.


    The category monitors helped the category teams easily access critical information on a self-serve basis, and identify key levers to manage their categories better, ultimately saving time and money for the business.

Category Intelligence on scrap metal helped this steel manufacturer save millions


    The client wanted options to achieve cost savings in sourcing tin can bales in Europe so turned to The Smart Cube to investigate how it could improve its sourcing processes.


    We studied the recycling process of tin cans and evaluated the supply chain of scrap processors in Europe to gauge scrap capacity, and key locations and suppliers in the region. We recommended altering certain sourcing practices and shifting to few ferrous scrap processors with robust supply chains.


    The client improved its sourcing process and switched suppliers to save £4.7 million per year.