Management consultant, educator and trainer,
creative communicator,
award winning author and broadcaster

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About Jonathan O’Brien

Jonathan O’Brien is CEO of the international purchasing consultancy and training provider, Positive Purchasing ( He has over 30 years’ experience working with global blue-chip organizations, helping to increase their procurement and negotiation capability through education, training and specialist tools. He works directly with practitioners and executive teams to drive in the adoption of proven best-practice Category Management, Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Negotiation, Sustainable Procurement, and other strategic purchasing methodologies. With a career spanning many sectors, he has a wealth of specific experience within the electronics, aerospace, utilities and broadcasting industries.

Jonathan has helped pioneer some of the core methodologies that are used in today’s global organizations including the 5i® Category Management approach, the Orchestra of SRM®, the 5D Power Buying® framework and the renowned Red Sheet® Negotiation planning tool.

Following his early career as an electronics engineer, Jonathan moved into supplier quality assurance and a supplier auditing role. He became a qualified Lead Assessor and has audited more than 300 companies across multiple sectors. From here, he transitioned into a change manager role, then senior procurement, and finally procurement consulting.

Jonathan holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Plymouth University, a HNC in Electronics. He is also an NLP practitioner and best-selling author of a trilogy of books regarded by many as instrumental in defining best practice strategic procurement and negotiation. This comprises Category Management in Purchasing, Supplier Relationship Management and the award-winning Negotiation for Procurement Professionals – plus The Buyer’s Toolkit – all published by Kogan Page.

Jonathan lives with his family in Plymouth, UK where the operational headquarters of Positive Purchasing is also located. In his spare time he paints, writes, is a keen amateur photographer, and enjoys cycling and swimming.


Sustainable Procurement by Jonathan O’Brien

A Practical Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility in the Supply Chain

Sustainable Procurement explains the vast topic of sustainability and the imperative to act for procurement and supply chain practitioners. Based around the OMEIA® Sustainable Procurement process, this book provides a step-by-step and highly practical methodology that embeds sustainable procurement into existing proven procurement approaches. It also provides some crucial new tools that equip and enable those in this field to drive highly effective supply-side sustainability.

Written by our CEO and leading procurement and sustainability expert, Jonathan O’Brien, this practical guide outlines how to establish sustainable procurement as a key strategic enabler to reduce supply-side risk and understand and drive in programs of action to respond to detrimental impacts in the supply base. It also explains how to seize the incredible future opportunity that the next generation supply base can offer to unlock new competitive advantage, and brand, social and environmental value from sustainable procurement.

Get 20% off list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the buy now button and enter the code WEB1SP20 at checkout

The Buyer's Toolkit

In order to buy well it is important to understand a few basic principles and apply a series of tools and approaches in given situations. The Buyer’s Toolkit distills all the best practice tools for professional buying and negotiating into a simple, jargon-free framework that can be picked up and applied by anyone who buys. The book seeks to transform how individuals view and practise buying so they know when to influence a situation and what to do to buy well.

The Buyer’s Toolkit has a simple chapter layout, contains graphics and models, and a simple flow of tools through the book with an overarching framework, that glues them together. Covering different buying scenarios, understanding and defining the requirements, choosing the right deal and supplier, negotiation, managing the contract and the suppliers, fixing problems and sustainable buying, this comprehensive guide will help you boost your advantage as a buyer.

Save 20% on list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the Buy Now button and enter the code WLGPP20 at checkout.

Supplier Relationship Management 3rd Edition by Jonathan O’Brien

With practical tips and a proven approach, this is the guide to understanding how to maximize the potential of suppliers to gain a competitive advantage, get more innovation and drive sustainability.

Written by our CEO, Jonathan O’Brien, Supplier Relationship Management explains the importance of ongoing supplier management, how to measure and improve their performance, and for the critical few that can make a dramatic difference to our organization, drive in and future-proof strategic collaborative relationships.

The Orchestra of SRM® framework, coupled with expert tips, tools and resources, delivers clear guidance on how to design an effective supplier relationship management program, with maximum return on time and investment.

Get 20% off list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the buy now button and enter the code WL3SRM20 at checkout

Category Management in Purchasing 4th Edition by Jonathan O’Brien

Category Management in Purchasing is a comprehensive guide to strategic category management which provides a step-by-step guide to its implementation and use, and enables readers to deliver value and cost savings when sourcing and purchasing. Now in its fourth edition, this text has cemented its place as the essential reference for category management practitioners.

In this new edition, Jonathan O’Brien shows how a strategic approach needs to integrate with other approaches, such as supplier relationship management and how the procurement function negotiates. Additionally, this new edition includes some new insights, based upon the experience of senior practitioners in industry, on how to make category management a success in the organization. It also includes some general updates and contextualizes the future procurement function and an ever increasing digitally enabled, de-globalized, post Brexit world. There is also additional material on the effect of international developments on procurement, updated tools and templates, and examples of how these have been successfully used in industry.

Category Management in Purchasing, 4th edition connects theory and practice and provides readers with the tools to analyze complex sourcing situations quickly and clearly, and so develop innovative and creative proposals for sourcing.

Get 20% off list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the buy now button and enter the code WLGPP20 at checkout.
  • Jonathan O'Brien has managed to encapsulate everything that organizations must put in place to deploy effective category management. A quality read and a great reference manual to keep on hand.

    Marc Magistrali, Senior Vice-President Global Outsourcing, KONE Corporation

  • Category Management in Purchasing fills a need in the literature available on this topic and provides the reader with a thorough insight into the principles and application of category management.

    Ken James, former CEO of the Institute of Purchasing and Supply

  • The definitive guide to strategic category management in modern organizations.

    Patricia A Whitehouse, Global Learning & Development Manager, Procurement Supply Chain Management, BP Plc


The first edition was Winner of the 2013 Paris ACA prize for best business book

Negotiation for Procurement and Supply Chain Professionals allows the purchasing professional or the buying team to evaluate the supplier in advance, assess the sales team, and tailor their negotiation strategy depending on concession strategies, cultural influences and game theory. It provides a strong framework for discussion in advance of the meeting, allowing the negotiator to plan their agenda, objectives and tactics.

Based upon the Red Sheet® Methodology, this book is a proven and collaborative technique used by many companies globally. The new edition includes supply chain planning, updates on multi-party negotiation for supply chain negotiations, Brexit as a retrospective example of negotiation, and how negotiation capability will need to change in the future.

Save 20% on list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the Buy Now button and enter the code PWLG20 at checkout.
  • The book provides a novel, detailed and comprehensive approach to the art of negotiation in a practical, easy-to-digest format.

    Gerry Tominey, CPO, Associated British Foods

  • I suspect it will become a classic of our profession for many years to come.

    Peter Smith, Spend Matters UK/Europe

  • A great source for the strategic sourcing professional in understanding and developing the skill of negotiation.

    Bryan Fuller, Vice President Sourcing & Supplier Management, MasterCard Worldwide


Jonathan O’Brien is a highly acclaimed trainer and speaker with vast experience of delivering impactful and memorable learning and development programs worldwide. He is a specialist communicator who combines his business, creative and broadcast experience to design and deliver high-impact, live, online and classroom training, self-study programs and personalized training experiences.

Jonathan leads workshops all over the world and has helped transform procurement capability by training many thousands of purchasing practitioners in today’s leading global organizations in effective Category Management, Supplier Relationship Management, Negotiation, Sustainable Procurement and Purchasing. He also teaches leadership, communication and facilitation skills, and runs team-building workshops designed to enable high performing teams realize their strategic goals.

Training by Jonathan O’Brien

Jonathan is available to deliver a wide range of standard or bespoke high-impact courses to individuals and procurement teams. Training can be delivered either online as a series of instructor-led workshops, as classroom events, or as blended learning solutions. Our most popular courses are also delivered as public courses for individuals to attend – click here to view our public course schedule.

Standard Courses

Category Management – Based upon the unique 5i® process, our Category Management training is available at four levels. Choose from Half-Day Executive, Introduction, Intensive and Advanced. Delivered by Positive Purchasing Ltd.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) – Built around the Orchestra of SRM® methodology, our SRM training is supported by a range of proven tools and resources to help reinforce the learning experience. Options include Introduction, Intensive and Advanced training workshops. Delivered by Positive Purchasing Ltd.

Negotiation – Based around the proven Red Sheet® negotiation planning tools, this training is designed to build confidence in negotiation outcomes and boost business results. A broad range of courses are available to develop capability amongst those involved in simple, everyday negotiations, through to collaborative team-based or complex events requiring advanced skills. We combine the theory, tactics and practical experience of negotiation, including team-based roleplay, to enable outstanding results. Training options include an Introduction course based on the Red Sheet Nano planning tool, a Lite course based on the Red Sheet Lite tool, and Intensive and Advanced courses both built around the original Red Sheet planning tool for complex negotiations. Delivered by Positive Purchasing Ltd.

The Buyer’s Toolkit – Our Buyer’s Toolkit training will help you realize your purchasing power, and buy and negotiate more effectively. Workshops comprise an Introduction to successful buying and a Proficient Buyer course which explores the approaches and techniques that deliver positive results for individuals or organizations applying the 5D Power Buying® process.

Sustainable Procurement – Built around the DAPPITM Sustainable Procurement approach and building upon our proven 5i, 5S Orchestra of SRM and 5A methodologies, our Sustainable Procurement training will equip and enable your team to implement Sustainable Procurement as a contributor towards overall organizational sustainability goals. We offer Awareness and Advanced level courses.

Finance – We offer Introduction and Intensive courses aimed at those who want to understand how to use financial data and indicators to assess a supplier’s position, and interrogate what is presented to support key decision making.

New Course design

Specialist course design to meet specific requirements using a blend of high-impact communication and learning approaches to encourage interaction and participation. Perfect if you need to develop and deliver a unique learning and development plan for your team to uplift their capability in the areas you need, or to bring to life your own corporate methodology or approach.

Coaching & Facilitation

Jonathan O’Brien is an experienced facilitator, coach and mentor with experience of working closely with senior individuals and teams to help determine effective purchasing strategies, drive in transformation programs, and help secure the necessary results.

He has extensive experience of facilitating key meetings and workshops and is much in demand to help both internal and external teams work towards key outcomes and achieve business goals.

Jonathan also has experience of one-on-one coaching programs, working with individuals to help develop their capability in a senior role. Jonathan combines his experience of training, partnering with organizations to drive change and his NLP expertise to provide coaching support that can help an individual accomplish their corporate and personal goals and aspirations.

Get In Touch


+44 33 00 94 0000

Jonathan O'Brien

Positive Purchasing Limited
Suite 4
Plym House
3 Longbridge Road