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 Ltd He has over 27 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 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.

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.


Negotiation for Procurement Professionals

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 by Jonathan O’Brien

Supplier Relationship Management enables organizations to secure vast value from their supply base by determining the suppliers that are important or hold potential and, based upon what makes them important or even strategic, put in place interventions unique to each supplier to unlock real benefits.

This second edition delivers a framework of resources for anyone who manages or interfaces with important suppliers, for contract management, to understand and manage the supply chain or to establish joint, collaborative relationships with the critical few strategic suppliers who can help bring new competitive advantage. A proven approach for supply base segmentation is included, together with tools and approaches for measuring supplier performance and driving improvements.

Supplier Relationship Management clarifies links between procurement and supply chain management, and explains how the Orchestra of SRM® approach can produce a highly effective SRM program that will give the greatest return for our efforts.

Get 20% off list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the buy now button and enter the code WLGPP20 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 Professionals is a practical guide written specifically with the purchasing professional in mind. It provides a step-by-step approach to delivering winning negotiations and getting game changing results shifting the emphasis away from relying on personality and tactics to a more structured and planned approach that enables anyone to negotiate effectively, even when up against a formidable opponent.

Negotiation for Procurement Professionals provides a wealth of insight and information on the process of negotiation together with 100 different tactics and techniques to use. It provides guidance on body language and verbal communication and features the proven Red Sheet® methodology.

Save 20% on list price when you buy through Kogan Page. Click the Buy Now button and enter the code LONPP2 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 inspirational 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 high impact and effective classroom training, digital learning, self-study programs and personalized one-on-one 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 brand name companies in category management, supplier relationship management and negotiation. 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 range of standard or bespoke in-house and online training courses including:

Standard Courses

Category Management – Based upon the unique 5i® process, training can be delivered at four levels. Choose from Half-Day Executive, 1-Day Introduction, 2-Day Intensive and most popular 3-Day. 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. Options range from 1-Day Introduction, 2-Day Intensive and 3-Day workshops. Delivered by Positive Purchasing Ltd.

Negotiation – Based around the Red Sheet® negotiation planning tool, this training is designed to build confidence in negotiation outcomes and boost business results. A broad range of courses are available at four levels to develop capability amongst those involved in simple, everyday negotiations through to collaborative team-based or complex events requiring advanced skills. Delivered by Positive Purchasing Ltd.

The Buyer’s Toolkit – Workshops comprise a 1-day “Introduction” to successful buying and a 2-day “Proficient Buyer” option which explores the approaches and techniques that deliver positive results for individuals or organisations applying the 5D Power Buying® process.

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 Ltd

Royal William Yard