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Category Management– Eliminating Redundancies, Increasing Efficiency and Delivering Value and Savings in Acquisitions

June 2, 2020 | By Matt Lane


NAVSUP is buying smarter, saving money and helping meet the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) goals by using Category Management (CM) principles for acquisitions.

CM is a federal governmentwide approach to buy smarter and more like a single enterprise. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) CM memorandum of March 2019 defines CM as a “business practice of buying common goods and services as an enterprise to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver more value and savings from the government’s acquisition programs.”

NAVSUP Assistant Commander for Contracting Mark D. Bennington noted CM “is a framework the Navy is employing to manage procurement in a very competitive environment where the federal budget is often constrained and becoming more dependent on service acquisition as business and weapon systems requirements grow technically challenging. [CM] is a tool to ensure NAVSUP can execute our naval mission for the warfighter for many years to come.” He emphasized that CM tools and contract solutions shift execution focus from management of common acquisition to higher-level mission priorities. This nets quick win opportunities, solving today’s mission challenges while meeting OMB goals.

OMB’s CM goals include to (1) increase small business utilization, (2) drive spend to contract solutions with mature, crossagency and governmentwide management or best in class (BIC) contracts that reflect the priorities and initiatives of each category, (3) use more BIC solutions, (4) reduce the number of duplicative contracts, and (5) train more employees in CM.

CM “will help agencies shift time, effort, and funding currently spent performing repetitive administrative tasks toward accomplishing mission outcomes,” said Margaret M. Weichert, deputy director for management at OMB. “The expected result is more effectively managed contract spending through a balance of governmentwide, agencywide, and local contracts; reduced unnecessary contract duplication and cost avoidance; and continued achievement of small business goals and other socioeconomic requirements.”

NAVSUP is a CM lead for the Navy. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Procurement) (DASN (P)) is re-chartering the NAVSUP Strategic Sourcing Program Management Office (SSPMO) as the Department of Navy Category Management Program Office (NCMPO). The new NCMPO will leverage the NAVSUP SSPMO infrastructure, while incorporating CM principles into the DoN’s policy, process, and oversight of CM. The NCMPO will functionally align to the DASN (P) chaired DoN Program Executive Leadership for program direction, oversight and guidance, and to communicate strategies across the DoN.

The NAVSUP based team is working in many directions and levels within government and industry to implement CM, including helping DASN (P) develop and execute the DoN annual CM plan for OMB. The NCMPO staff supports the common spend CM strategy teams while others develop tiered and BIC business cases for OMB approval. They also develop contract and department level demand management strategies, work on data teams to identify vendor management opportunities, work policy development, and provide CM field training. These tasks are aimed at achieving DoN’s annual plan and out-preforming OMB’ CM goals.

A significant Navy CM contract managed by NAVSUP is the Navy wireless solution; a multi-agency OMB authorized spend under management (SUM) solution with a $993.5 million ceiling. The multiple award vehicle is a cost effective, best value contract for sustained wireless services support for the military and enhanced communication capabilities for the warfighter and federal workforce.

The Navy wireless solution meets OMB’s CM requirements through a simplified and standardized carrier offering while providing customers a demanded management tool. This streamlined vendor-processing time resulted in savings for all federal buyers. These best practices set this solution apart from other existing contracts, and based on an Office of the Secretary of Defense IT reform team assessment of more than a dozen contracts, resulted in a DoD mandate of the Navy solution.

Other noteworthy contracts applying CM include implementing mandatory SeaPort consideration policy and transitioning this solution from tier 0 to tier 1 agencywide solution (over $4 billion annually); Next Generation Enterprise Networks, designating as a tier 1 solution; a DoN led business case within the facilities and contraction category; Employee Assistance Program (EAP) contract with the U.S. Air Force; and transitioning Technical Assistance for Repairables Processing (TARP) from a single contract to a SeaPort task order.

These actions helped the DoN successfully navigate turbulent CM waters by corralling SUM goals. During fiscal year 2018, the DoN achieved 133.5% of SUM goal and reduced tier 0 contracts by 23%. This past fiscal year, the DoN’s performance again tracked toward surpassing both the SUM and tier 0-reduction goal, 133.8% and 26.4% respectively.

Notwithstanding the awards and achieving SUM goal two years running, the DoN has more work to do to optimize DoNwide CM implementation. Naval personnel should employ the acquisition gateway to conduct market research when possible to resource existing common spend solutions to shift that time and effort currently consumed performing repetitive administrative tasks to achieving mission outcomes. If you’re involved in acquisitions, attend CM training to better understand this evolving governmentwide concept to fully implement and benchmark CM practices in your command.

For further information see the CM page on the MyNAVSUP intranet site https://my.navsup., or contact the NAVSUP NCMPO at DoN.SSPMO.fct@navy. mil.