What does … a Category Manager?

Job Title: Category Manager

Name: Jan Baumgartner

Age: 33

Education: Master of Arts in Architecture, Münster University of Applied Sciences

Company: Plan.One

What do you do?

I have been Category Manager at Plan.One since August 2018, and I co-ordinate technical cooperation with manufacturers of construction products in this role. Brief background: Plan.One is a search and comparison platform for building products, where architects and planners can find construction products and compare them across manufacturers – similar to Check24, only with construction products.

In concrete terms, I define the categories according to which planners and architects filter our product range online. On the other hand, I create common names for the characteristics of characteristics with which manufacturers describe their products. If possible, I follow international standards – but these are often missing.

In these cases, I set generally understandable terms. This makes it easier for users to navigate and navigate our platform.

An example: Adidas calls the color blue ‘Petrol’, Nike calls it ‘Marine’ – in such a case, I seek a generally understandable name and describe all with the color blue. In this capacity, I am in close communication with our developers. These translate categories into both front-end and back-end.


How did you come to this task?

I’ve worked for several years in architecture offices and learned first-hand that the construction industry is lagging behind in digitization. For example, I spent a large part of my day selecting suitable products for my projects from printed catalogs. No joke! The vision of Plan.One inspired me immediately. Being part of a start-up that helps the construction industry to be more digital and therefore more productive, excites me and motivates me every day.

Which feature helps you the most in your everyday life? Why?

Quick decisions are easy – probably because I come from a craftsman family. A pragmatic approach helps a lot in a start-up, because there is always a lot to do here.

In addition, I can pretty well empathize with others. This is extremely important for my job. Because I have to meet the needs and interests of two very different target groups: those of the manufacturers who list their products with us and those of the architects, ie the users of the platform. Of course, having worked in architecture offices for a long time is also an advantage.

Describe as clearly as possible a project that has particularly impressed you.

I am most enthusiastic about the big picture at Plan.One, because such a young company gives a lot of room for personal development, creativity and own ideas. The fact that I deal with the smallest detail with products such as floor coverings or windows, my know-how grows immensely – especially in terms of construction products. It’s a lot of fun to watch that. At the same time, there are many opportunities for actively shaping processes and developments in a young start-up. There is little motivation for me to see things grow that I have initiated myself.

What is most important to you in your job? What is the most fun?

I am particularly thrilled to be part of a digital initiative that offers tangible added value to construction stakeholders and makes their work easier. Through my close contact with the manufacturers, I can feel the positive effect of our platform on their everyday work even up close. That motivates me.

My job is indispensable because …

… correctly defined categories and logical structures are the core of our platform. Only in this way does it bring the greatest possible benefit to all target groups. Our developers provide the technical platform that I fill with content and bring to life along with the other category managers. In relation to the entire construction industry, together with other innovative start-ups, we are helping to make our still very analogue industry the path to the digital age.

If you were not Category Manager, what would you be?

Then I would certainly still be an architect – and would spend a third of my working time looking for product information in catalogs.

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