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Category Specialist - IT

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Job Description

Direct Energy is a leading energy and energy-related services provider with nearly five million residential and commercial customers in North America. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit www.directenergy.com.


The Category Specialist is an important role within the Procurement team in ensuring that value is delivered to the Centrica business. The role works closely with in the IT Services Procurement team, internal stakeholders and external third parties and continuously seeks to improve value delivery through a framework of Category Management. The role ensures Procurement is perceived as a positive, significant, value adding integral partner to the Centrica business.


  • Pro-active, flexible, resilient, motivated and results oriented.
  • Excellent influencing, communication and relationship management skills.
  • Ambitious with a desire to succeed.
  • Proven analytical skills including ability to gather, interpret complex data, summarise and communicate simply and effectively.
  • Imaginative and creative.
  • Clear understanding of Category Management principles.
  • Knowledge of end to end Category Management including market insight, business partnering, negotiation, on-going supplier management and governance.
  • Understanding of general and contract law and applying said knowledge to the review of contract
  • Commercial Know-How: Managing for value, is the external market, 
  • Degree educated or appropriate relevant in work experience.
  • Membership of CIPS (or equivalent).
  • Ability to influence stakeholders and manage conflicting views. Effective networking and business partnering skills.
  • Experience of working in a global matrix organisation.
  • Evidence of managing a category through the whole life cycle, ensuring the value created in the negotiation stage hits the bottom line.
  • Confidence and credibility with excellent communication and relationship management skills.
  • Advanced influencing, persuading and negotiating skills. Ability to present complex ideas/concepts and take a consultative approach with stakeholders and peers.
  • Team player with an ability to manage complex relationships and matrix teams.
  • Excellent analytical skills with the ability to identify and expeditiously exploit commercial opportunities. Advanced skill using MS Office including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Ability to meet deadlines/deliver on promises


End-to-end Category Management

  • Undertake (in conjunction with and or with the agreement of the appropriate Category Manager) category assessments to generate innovative opportunities and robust strategic sourcing plans. Ensures value is maximised from the contract negotiation through the whole life cycle of the category.
  • Working with key internal stakeholders, manage all procurement activity across expenditure categories. This includes the creation and implementation of category plans that will ensure delivery in line with business objectives, regulatory requirements and the landing of all value negotiated.


External Market Expertise:

  • Understand the category and provide leadership and insight for the business on all aspects of market dynamics, regulatory framework, suppliers and technical innovations.
  • Report changes and updates through proactive governance.



  • Source and procure a range of goods and services across one or more expenditure categories ensuring optimum value for money within defined service and quality criteria.
  • Identify opportunities for, lead and evaluate competitive tenders and proposals for the supply of goods and services negotiating with suppliers on all commercial and contractual matters and applying judgement as to what constitutes an acceptable level of contractual risk and supply resilience.
  • Provide support to the IT Services Category Manager in complex negotiations through data, market or other analysis.
  • Review of IT Services Statements of Work



Draft, negotiate and obtain agreement to commercial contracts ensuring that operational and commercial risks to business are fully understood and minimised.


On-going improvements & delivery of value add:

  • Achieve defined improvement to the bottom line and cost saving targets by examining total acquisition costs and working closely with internal stakeholders and suppliers.
  • Forecast future expenditure patterns within key business segments, developing appropriate strategies to ensure budgeted value improvements are proactively identified and implemented.
  • Challenge business plans where alternate opportunities exist to deliver higher value outcomes, ensuring all options have been duly evaluated.


Supplier Management

  • Within the Category Management framework, support the Category Manager in the development, building and maintenance of supplier engagement through appraisal and performance monitoring, value analysis, continuous improvement, supplier / supply base development, compliance and demand management.
  • Coordinate multiple stakeholder interfaces/touch points across the business to ensure a consistent approach.
  • Ensure compliance to contract terms, both legal and commercial (including value delivery) and management of contractual risk. Agree with the Category Manager, and/or stakeholders steps to ensure remediation or reduction.
  • Provide an effective overview of supplier performance to contract and support operational teams, if performance issues arise.
  • Support the Category Manager in resolving contractual and supplier disputes where they occur, protecting the interests of the business at all times. Engage legal team if required and gain remedial/recompense for the business if appropriate.
  • Consult in the budgeting process in relation to supplier spend and engage on supplier cost saving initiatives, leading where appropriate.
  • Challenge requirements and re-negotiate contracts in life and at renewal to optimise value and drive cost savings.
  • Ensure robust working relationships with any pre-existing business-embedded SRM functions, creating an efficient and seamless flow of activity between the teams for the projects or categories being managed.


Team and Tools

  • Be a constructive integral member of the wider Procurement team, actively supporting the development and delivery of the Procurement strategic plans and objectives.
  • Identify and implement opportunities for the appropriate use of e-sourcing techniques and e-technologies to increase commercial value and/or process efficiency.


Safety and Compliance

  • Identify any operational and regulatory risks, escalating as appropriate.
  • Operate information systems to the required standard to maintain accurate and secure records.
  • Understand and adhere to the company and department standards, policies and procedures.
  • Adhere to the Competence and Training procedures, in particular, to promote a culture where customers are treated fairly and are properly informed.

Develop and maintain strong positive working relationships with internal stakeholders, ensuring their requirements are understood and being addressed and that communication channels with them are clear and effective.

The IndividualDirect Energy and its subsidiaries are an Equal Opportunity Employer - EOE AA M/F/Vet/Disability