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Product Manager - Category Team Manager
Grainger | Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin
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Job Description

Help us drive record-breaking, double-digit growth!

Imperial Supplies, a W.W. Grainger company, is a national distributor of quality maintenance products. Serving the fleet maintenance industry since 1958, Imperial has formed lasting relationships with customers by tailoring our services to meet their changing needs.

With more National Account Programs in the fleet industry than all of our competition combined, we are recognized for innovative technology and solutions that reduce costs through efficient ordering methods and stringent controls.




The Category Team Manager (CTM) is a newly created position responsible for team performance, strategic direction and specific product lines. Responsible for determining what to source and from whom, negotiating, securing inventory, and assisting sales teams in selling our products.   Partners with Sales and Operations to manage key metrics associated with growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. Accountable and responsible for the end to end product performance, associated supplier performance, management, as well as comprehensive product inventory management for assigned product categories.


  • Manage assigned product lines with complete Profit and Loss (P&L) direction.  P&L responsibility is highly cross functional.  It includes influencing sales, collaborating with marketing, pricing, and distribution, strategic partnerships along with managing cost of goods, supply chain and other areas of the business. 
  • Responsible for cost of goods, negotiating final pricing with assigned suppliers, and be totally responsible for Gross Margin management as it relates to product line management.
  • Introduce products to the offering by applying their own initiative or input from Sales to achieve specific revenue and gross profit objectives.  Develops marketing plans on key product groups and communicates to all vested departments. Supports training on new products.
  • Researching customer needs, competitor product lines and adding or deleting product while exceeding targeted objectives.  Have a strong awareness of total company offering and product sales strategies and provides leadership to Category team on product blend and completeness of offering.
  • Provide supervision and general direction to Product Manager and Category Support Specialist to include work assignments, performance evaluation, individual development and prioritization of their workload to support departmental objectives.  Provide team direction and interaction for the CTM buyer. 
  • Perform supplier management for assigned product groups and source selection.  Owner of the supplier relationship.  Work closely with team Category purchasing member on new products and ongoing supplier management during the product lifecycle to optimize lowest total cost in product and supplier relationship.  Support supplier change initiatives (including Global Sourcing where applicable) ensuring product meets all requirements of the offering.
  • Drive supplier performance to meet inventory / logistics performance metrics working with other internal stake holders including the Purchasing team and Distribution Management.
  • Utilize Project Management skills to simultaneously manage their team and their respective multiple projects to maximize product support to sales groups on new and existing opportunities, may include interaction with WW Grainger.  Follow up and reporting on status is critical to key team members and other functions. 
  • Understand market pricing and coordinate with the Pricing team new product pricing while meeting gross profit objectives.
  • Resolve quality / service issues and ensure best customers experience though working with suppliers and internal business partners.
  • Lead cross functional Line Reviews to ensure we have the most current and best offering, quality, and cost available.  Process may include Supplier(s), Sales, Marketing, Purchasing, Distribution, Quality, Customer and WW Grainger for assigned product categories.  
  • Support Global Sourcing team in identification and evaluation of product opportunities.  Possible international travel required.
  • Challenge existing processes and procedures leading towards leaner and simpler processes, better service and lower cost through Continuous Improvement.  Demonstrate a sense of developing and taking initiative as appropriate to job responsibilities.  Demonstrated proficiency in working across business functions (knows the business) including basic understanding of revenue, gross margin, operating expenses as relates to product portfolio management.
  • Demonstrate expertise, or aptitude to acquire related expertise, in assigned products and product categories from a technical, product application, and product FAB's (features, advantages, and benefits) perspective as they relate to the Fleet industry.


MINIMUM EDUCATION:  4 year degree in Business, product related engineering or Marketing or equivalent work experience.

MINIMUM EXPERIENCE:  2-4 years of product management experience or related category management, Marketing Segment equivalent work experience.

PREFERRED EDUCATION:   Bachelor's Degree.

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE:   5 - 10 years of Product Management.  Category Management or Product Marketing experience in industrial distribution.

SKILLS:  Effective verbal and written communication skills.  Strong project management, organization and product management skills.  Attention to detail and follow through on all assignments. Ability to use PC, with proficiency in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Ability to handle multiple priorities and frequent reprioritization of priorities.

Imperial offers

  • A competitive wage, annual bonus opportunity and industry leading benefits including immediate health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance.
  • Excellent work-life balance, 18 days paid time off plus paid holidays
  • Generous profit sharing and 401K programs
  • Education reimbursement and opportunities for internal advancement & professional growth


Imperial is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

About Grainger

W.W. Grainger, Inc. (Grainger) distributes facilities maintenance products, and provides services and related information used by businesses and institutions primarily in the United States, Canada and Mexico to keep their facilities and equipment running. Grainger is the supplier of facilities maintenance and other related products in North America. Its operations are managed in three segments: Grainger Branch-based, Acklands - Grainger Branch-based (Acklands - Grainger), and Lab Safety Supply, Inc. (Lab Safety). Grainger Branch-based is an aggregation of the Grainger Industrial Supply (Industrial Supply), Grainger, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico), Grainger Caribe Inc. (Puerto Rico), Grainger China LLC (China) and Grainger Panama S.A. (Panama). Acklands - Grainger is the Company's Canadian branch-based distribution business. Lab Safety is a direct marketer of safety and other industrial products. (Source: 10-K)

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