322: How to Navigate Zero-Based Budgeting & Apply its Principles to Your Category Strategy w/ David Ward


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According to Harvard Business Review, under Zero-based budgeting (ZBB), “Expenses must be justified for each new budget period based on demonstrable needs and costs, as opposed to the more common method of using last year’s budget as your starting point, then adjusting up or down. ZBB is a straightforward, intuitively simple way to aggressively strip out costs that cannot be rationally justified.”

Sounds wonderful, right? Well, as this week’s guest (and the HBR article referenced above) point out, there is no such thing as a ‘one-size fits-all’ silver bullet, even when it comes to aggressively cutting costs.

David Ward is the Director of Global Sourcing & Procurement at a global pharmaceutical company, and has held procurement positions at Ford, Rolls Royce, AstraZeneca, and Unilever. During his time at Unilever, he became the ZBB Programme Leader for Marketing and Business Services, and so he has seen the advantages and disadvantages of this budgeting and management method first hand.

In this interview, David explains how ZBB works and whether it is a strategy that procurement should actively consider in the current economic conditions:

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