Grainger Sr. Category Manager in BUFFALO GROVE, Illinois

Sr. Category Manager

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Date: Aug 16, 2017

Location: BUFFALO GROVE, IL, US, 60089-4525

Company: ZORO

Company Overview

In the past six years, Zoro has grown from a group of 6 people working out of a 2,000 square foot building, offering fewer than 100,000 products to a group of 150+ working out of a 60,000+ square foot building, offering more than 1,500,000 unique products.

Imagine what you could help us achieve as a Sr. Category Manager!

Position Description

Define the portfolio strategy for assigned “Product Categories” that will provide our customers the most attractive and profitable product offering in the industry. Lead a team of Product Managers and Product Specialists who will execute the strategy through supplier management and product line execution while achieving year over year improvement in both revenue and profit.

Product Portfolio:

  • Design a product line structure, for the assigned categories, that maximizes revenue, gross profit dollars and customer relevance.

  • For the assigned categories, determine the role of private label vs. national branded products, the breadth and depth of the offering, and the number of price tiers, all to best drive top-line sales growth while maximizing profitability and asset utilization.

  • Assist in the strategic development; and lead the execution of a Zoro private label offering for the assigned categories.

  • Develop tactics in the product line strategy that will increase purchasing scale and leverage among suppliers for Zoro’s business. Successfully lead the team of Product Managers to drive these tactics and manage the cost structure of the portfolio.

  • Lead efforts to acquire and maintain comprehensive product information for the assigned categories, including product specifications, product images and additional product content (e.g. videos). This effort will require partnership with Grainger’s product management organization as well as direct supplier interaction.

  • Closely partner with the Searchandising and teams as they execute strategies that facilitate an industry leading customer experience in navigating through the assigned product categories.

  • Closely collaborate with the Pricing Team to ensure product pricing strategies are implemented consistently and in support of the overall Zoro pricing strategies.

  • Collaborate with the E-commerce team to maximize the reach and impact of the assigned product categories in all advertising channels, including marketplaces, paid search and PLA.

  • Collaborate with the Marketing organization to ensure that the relevant strategies related to business issues or target customer segments are supported by the assigned product categories.

  • Continually monitor the financial performance of the assigned product categories to ensure there is constant feedback into the success of the product line strategy and execution.

  • May lead cross-functional development and implementation teams.

  • Periodically present product line strategies for the assigned categories or sub-categories to leadership.

Supply Chain:

  • Work with appropriate Zoro & Grainger Supply Chain partners to ensure the Product Managers on the team are executing product line activity in a manner that enhances the company’s inventory/logistics objectives.

  • Partner with the product management teams from Grainger’s international businesses to access expanded product line offerings and create additional purchasing scale and leverage for the assigned categories.

Supplier Relationships:

  • While the Sr. Category Manager will not have direct supplier management responsibilities, he/she will have responsibility for the supplier management effectiveness of the team.

  • Coaches the Product Managers & Product Specialists on the team and assists with escalated issues to ensure the effective execution of the category portfolio strategy.


  • The Sr. Category Manager role has direct impact the company’s revenue, gross profit, customer experience, and supplier relationships through the following activities:

  • Leading the development of Zoro’s product offering

  • Leading the company’s supplier sourcing & procurement strategy. In part, the decision of which supplier use is based on competitive advantage, price point & cost position, availability and supplier performance;

  • Responsible for managing the budget of a team of 4 - 8 people, estimated headcount budget is $250k - $500K.

  • Additionally, must manage the team’s budget for Travel & Entertainment Expenses.

Team Leadership:

  • Direct, review and approve portfolio strategies that are developed by team members for product subcategories. Review to ensure agreement with strategies developed for the larger category and high overall quality of strategic development.

  • Responsible for the effective execution of strategies through the individual contributors on the team.

  • Lead the team’s day-to-day efforts to support product information management.

  • Develop the skills (specifically product line strategy skills) and professional experiences of team members to drive talent development and improve the performance of the team.

  • Collect input on the portfolio strategy from the Product Managers and incorporate feedback into the portfolio strategy for the assigned categories going forward.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.

  • 7-10 years of experience in a related field preferred.

  • Working knowledge of business strategies including best practices for building large product assortments for eCommerce channels and customer requirements with Supply Chain, product information and marketing strategies.

  • Ability to drive action through the activity of others in order to reach stated objectives. Also provides team members with constructive feedback relative to performance and personal development.

  • Ability to drive organizational change within a rapidly growing, dynamic environment.

  • Demonstrated experience in driving results through a diverse set of business processes and problem solving.

  • Demonstrated ability to embrace change, demonstrate agility in relation to change and persuade/lead others through the change to minimize team disruption. Ensure a continuously high performing team.

  • Domestic and possibly some international travel required approximately 10% of the time.

EEOC Statement

Zoro is an Equal Opportunity Workplace and an Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Job Segment: Supply Chain Manager, Procurement, Supply, Logistics, Senior Product Manager, Operations