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MEET OUR EXPERT GUEST PANELLIST – Tim Cummins – “Beyond the Bolt” Webinar

MEET OUR EXPERT GUEST PANELLIST

With the 8th February “Beyond The Bolt” Webinar, we are seeking to do more than provide you with timely information on how the digital age will impact your procurement practice. We want to take your experience to the next level through a highly interactive discussion featuring some of our industry’s top thought leaders.

With this in mind, we would like to introduce you to one of the panellists who will be participating in the webinar discussion; Tim Cummins.

PERSONAL BIO

 

Tim Cummins

President and Guest Speaker at IACCM

New York City, USA

Tim’s career included successful growth in corporate banking, automotive, aerospace and technology industries, plus leadership of start-ups. Today, he travel the world, meeting and speaking with major corporations, government officials, politicians, NGOs, academics and entrepreneurs, spreading belief that we can do things better. Tim’s words are backed by the strength of research and practical examples of the benefit that comes from enabling commercial innovation.

 

PANELLIST SOUNDBITE

“I believe that commercial innovation is fundamental to human creativity and the development of sustainable trading relationships. My experience has shown me that academia and business do not invest sufficiently in creating the necessary skills or structure for commercial competence to flourish.”

Be sure to reserve your space for the Beyond The Bolt Webinar

MEET OUR EXPERT GUEST PANELLIST – Sheena Donaldson – “Beyond the Bolt” Webinar

MEET OUR EXPERT GUEST PANELLIST

With the 8th February “Beyond The Bolt” Webinar, we are seeking to do more than provide you with timely information on how the digital age will impact your procurement practice. We want to take your experience to the next level through a highly interactive discussion featuring some of our industry’s top thought leaders.

With this in mind, we would like to introduce you to one of the panellists who will be participating in the webinar discussion; Sheena Donaldson.

PERSONAL BIO

 

 

Sheena Donaldson 

Knowledge Manager (MCIPS Chartered) at CIPS

Nottingham, United Kingdom

Experienced Procurement Manager with 20+ years of global sourcing & purchasing expertise through wholesale and manufacturing industries. Skilled in negotiation, spend analysis, operations management, statistical data analysis, team development and building effective procurement strategies.

 

 

PANELLIST SOUNDBITE

“Digitisation and disruptive technologies is a primary focus for me in 2019 and is a core topic of discussion with our membership following a great deal of interest in 2018.”

Be sure to reserve your space for the Beyond The Bolt Webinar

Onboard with SIM Dojo – Part I


“Following a comprehensive review of the systems available, we decided to move forward with Market Dojo based on their philosophy and development approach surrounding their existing product base. Market Dojo
are very innovative and flexible and have provided us with an excellent level of support; We are excited to be working with Market Dojo on this new on-boarding product” – Tony Ritchings, Procurement Director, PHS

Market Dojo already helps businesses centralise their supplier sourcing activities and negotiate efficiently via e-Auctions with their flagship eSourcing product.

Last year, we embarked on a project to develop a Supplier Information Management (SIM) tool starting with supplier onboarding. This is the backbone of effective supplier management. Companies are often unable to take advantage of critical supplier actions, such as expired insurance policies, because the information is not readily available. By using a SIM tool, companies can avoid challenges that happen as a result of poor supplier governance by storing relevant supplier information in one place and creating approved supplier lists.

The SIM application was developed in partnership with our customer PHS.  After conducting a thorough market analysis they were unable to find an affordable, flexible and easy to use tool.  After seeing our existing product range and understanding our philosophy, they decided to partner with Market Dojo to develop an onboarding tool which would integrate with our existing product set to create a seamless flow of supplier information.

 

The implementation is made as simple as possible. The main time constraints being process rather than system related.  If you already have onboarding questionnaires and you know which stakeholders are involved in supplier assessment then the system can be set up in under a day for immediate go live.

You can then batch invite suppliers whilst defining which questionnaires they will answer and who is responsible internally.  The progress of the team and suppliers can be easily tracked and finally the suppliers can be approved or rejected into groups.  The approved suppliers can be managed whilst automatically tracking expiry dates of documents and questionnaires.

The real beauty of the system is the flexibility and self service model.  You ultimately reduce the internal workload and this in turn makes adoption easier for the suppliers.  Questionnaires can be broken down into manageable elements so the suppliers who maintain your coffee machines for example don’t need to answer the questionnaire for working at heights.  Also it means that time is not wasted internally by the departments scoring questionnaires for suppliers for which they have no bearing.

Pricing:

We have set an introductory pricing for the first year which we will promise to hold for any clients who joins us in these exciting times.

An annual licence costs £5,000 for unlimited users and the first 500 suppliers.  It includes all training and support and we promise to get you started promptly.  Thereafter it is £1,000 for 500 suppliers.  There are no hidden costs and all features such as white-labelling, multi-scoring and versioning are included.

Why choose us:

Our system has been designed with the end users in mind while maintaining a professional and efficient process.  We focus on user adoption.  We have seen many organisations invest in complex and cumbersome solutions that have a huge wealth of functionality (at a cost), but without enough consideration for the end user experience.  In turn, this has can lead to users resisting the uptake of the tool and subsequently sub-optimal performance.

More importantly, such software requires uptake by the supply chain, without which on-boarding has little benefit.  If organisations are not able to convince suppliers that the tool will make their lives easier, this will ultimately lead to less competition and significant time and energy (and ultimately money) diverted to motivate users to adopt the tool.

Hence as a company, we have been approached by many organizations who use such complex tools and are looking for something quicker and easier, yet that can still cater for 95% of the functionality, that will be adopted by all users without complications.  We provide all this at an affordable price with excellent support.

Read Part II of the blog to see some of SIM Dojo in action and check out the key benefits.
If you’d prefer to see a live web demo, please get in touch:
+(44)0117 318 2537.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

eWorld March 2017 – My First Tradeshow Experience

My name is Henry and I’m the business development Executive here at Market Dojo. Part of my role is to help the company exhibit at eWorld, which is a conference based on supply chain and procurement software.

This time around, we decided that we would get up early and drive down to eWorld in the morning from Gloucestershire. 4 o’clock in the morning is the worst type of 4 o’clock there is. I was, however lucky enough to have time for a proper coffee before setting off to meet the rest of the team and drive into London.

When we did get to London, myself and Peter Glass set up our fantastic stand that had been organised by Craig Knowles, our marketing guru, while Alun and Lewis parked the car. This year we had a secret weapon. A fresh coffee machine. After some complaints about the quality of coffee available at the last eWorld, we wanted to offer something that everyone needs in a long exhibition day. Fresh coffee. Simple, aromatic and uncomplicated. A bit like Market Dojo when it comes to eSourcing.

That, coupled with the Bacon Sandwiches available for exhibitors, which made me momentarily forget my almost-kosher diet, helped satiate a growing hunger that had been awoken as I got into the car at 5 am.

We met many fantastic delegates from companies all over the world and fellow exhibitors including the lovely team at Baker Wanless. Many were familiar faces, returning, again and again, to tell us how amazing Market Dojo is and how we’re at the forefront of the industry (true words and a direct quote from one of our lovely customers). Many were fairly new to eSourcing and we got to show them how an event would look like in the tool, which was great.

It’s one of the pleasures of the job, teaching people a better way to do things. Some people weren’t really aware of auctions or what they can do to help hit savings targets within procurement teams. Other people have used them but they were too complicated and thus have avoided them going into future projects.

Just before we started taking stuff down at the end of the day, we have a draw every eWorld for the winner of a month’s free license. This year the winner was Debbie Wright. Watch the video of the live draw below.

The Market Dojo afterparty was held in a lovely Lebanese restaurant somewhere in Knightsbridge. An ever adventure loving company, the entire table had Kafte kebabs, which were delicious. We then packed in the car for a chat about where Market Dojo was headed next. We all agreed it was for even bigger and better things.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

The Trials and Tribulations of a Software-as-a-Service Company

Market Dojo provides an eSourcing solution based entirely in the cloud. And whilst we boast about all the benefits of being a SaaS company, such as pay per use pricing and delivery, instant access, and the ability to try the software before committing to a purchase, it would be beneficial to explain what exactly SaaS really means.

We worked with our knowledgeable partner Kelly Barner at Buyers Meeting Point to discuss what makes SaaS different to cloud computing, how we benefit from working with our SaaS suppliers and how users can benefit from working with us.

Blog Talk Radio: Does Strategic Sourcing via SaaS Lead to Solution Disposability?

Check out the Blog Talk Radio above and get in touch if you have any questions. How do you best utilise SaaS providers? Or maybe you’re part of a SaaS company, what pros and cons have you discovered?

Don’t forget you can always sign up for free here and check out the benefits of a SaaS eSourcing tool.

5 Top Tips to no longer fear Reverse Auctions

This article is to help you overcome what seems to be a very scary concept to organisations – the reverse auction. To many procurement people, or perhaps your stakeholders, the mere mention of the word ‘reverse auction’ can install huge pangs of anxiety, or even terror. There is a misconceived notion that reverse auctions are complex beasts, that only the most experienced, battle-hardened procurement professional is capable of running.

Image result for fear

 

There is a common saying that “People fear what they don’t understand” so we’re here to help you and your stakeholders overcome your fear of reverse auctions. These 5 top tips are designed to tackle any feelings of fear you have towards reverse auctions, and hopefully, teach you that they are something to embrace.

Top tip 1 – Pick your initial categories strategically and prove the value

Our study into reverse auctions showed that 90% of respondents thought stakeholder buy-in was the major barrier to running reverse auctions, (Read our barriers to reverse auctions blog here). If possible, try and choose some non-sensitive categories to run reverse auctions on, to begin with. Office Supplies is a great choice for this (apologies to those of you who are very precious over the type of pen you have). Invite stakeholders to view the auction, showcase the value you can offer and hopefully it will be a springboard for success to attack some other categories.

 

When it comes to choosing which category to run a reverse auction on, look for those which are easy to define, has savings potential, and high liquidity (high number of capable and interested suppliers).

Top tip 2 – Sell the benefits to all parties

This tip applies to both your stakeholders and suppliers. For suppliers, in what other scenario do they have an opportunity to receive some live feedback on their competition and where they sit in the market. Typically, the only feedback suppliers will receive is what the procurement lead offers them, and this can be hard to come by.

Image result for parties

For stakeholders, the obvious benefits to reverse auctions would be price, but there are much more. It can offer insights into bench marking as well as true Market Price. We’ve seen some reverse auctions where 5 suppliers have been within £100 of each other for a £million contract – that is true market compression. It is also a much more efficient negotiation method where you can involve multiple participants over short timescales, and with no geographical constraints.

Top tip 3 – Seek guidance from your solutions provider
Your solutions provider should have seen a wealth of eAuctions completed across their client base, across a huge selection of categories too, and are in an ideal position to help you with construction and strategy for your eAuction. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains, they’ve probably seen your category put through a reverse auction, or something very similar. At Market Dojo, we’ve seen over 10,000 eAuctions across more than 150 categories run through our tool. We want to see our clients succeed, so we offer lite strategic advice included within our licence cost, to maximise the likelihood of success.

 

Top tip 4 – Communication is key – get your suppliers bought into the process
I cannot reiterate the importance of communication throughout the reverse auction process. Communication needs to be clear and consistent from start to finish and will help with any objections you have from suppliers. Explain to your suppliers why you’re looking to do a reverse auction, hold a session with all the suppliers to give them the opportunity to raise any concerns they have and take the time to give them feedback to alleviate those concerns. Inform them about the award criteria you’re going to use (see Tip 5), and ensure that your award method is consistent.

Some suppliers will have a negative perception of reverse auctions, but the way that you communicate will go along way to changing their opinion. Please do not change the award criteria at the last minute, as it will completely undermine the entire process.

Top tip 5 – You are not obligated to go with the lowest price

“We’re not an organisation which buys purely on the lowest price” – Good because you don’t have to! There is absolutely no obligation to go with the cheapest quote within the auction. More often than not, reverse auctions are run under what’s called a ‘buyer’s choice’ meaning you have free reign to award the business to whatever supplier you see fit.

Furthermore, you can actually run weighted reverse auctions, therefore combining the quality aspect to your tender with pricing in the reverse auction. This works in exactly the same way as if you were to run a weighted RFQ, but with live rankings based on a combination of price and quality scores. There is no reason to not run a reverse auction based on the objection of a price.

Image result for lowest price

Don’t forget the importance of communication to your suppliers – make sure you follow through on your actions.

 

For more information on barriers to reverse auctions click here.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Misconception of Categories

There’s often a misconception within procurement and eAuctioning that success with using eSourcing solutions relies heavily on the type of categories. Typically, categories such as stationery and IT equipment are thought to be more suitable for eAuctions than other complex categories. However, the auctions ran through our tool suggest differently.
Here I have listed just a few categories which have been run through our software recently.

Image result for honey

 

Food can often be thought of as complex category as the specifications and health and safety regulations require careful onboarding and strict requirements from suppliers. However as shown, cupboard essentials can be run through eAuctions! So don’t rule them off too quickly, they could reap you some huge savings depending on your specification.

Image result for packaging

 

This is an easier category that is often ran through the tool. Specifications are relatively easily defined, depending on how you limit the specification. E.g. size and shape are much easier to modify, with the ability for suppliers to make this a highly competitive lot, ensuring you get the market price.

 

Items in this category surprisingly have been successfully sourced through eAuctions. However, tight specifications and strict onboarding protocols are essential to make this a success.

Related image

 

An especially easy category to define with a highly competitive market. However, your requirements need to be relatively sizeable to attract participants and gain substantial savings. Numerous Market Dojo clients run these categories frequently through our tool.

 

A highly competitive market depending on specification. Potential to generate high savings if suppliers have been correctly onboarded and potentially allow suppliers to offer next best alternative. However, a company may want to stick with a particular brand, limiting your negotiation opportunities.

 

These types of categories have successfully been run through the Market Dojo tool, producing high savings for many Market Dojo customers. The potential for a loose specification gives it the ability to source from numerous suppliers for increased competition and additional savings.

Image result for market dojo

The benefit of allowing users to customise their requests through questionnaires allows just about anything to be auctioned through our software. As you can see from the list, there is a variety of categories sourced through our tool. Even for more tricky categories, we offer a service to govern the onboarding processes called SIM Dojo to ensure that proper practice is met. So don’t be put off running complex categories through an eAuction tool!

If you are interested in any of the services that we provide such as Market Dojo and SIM Dojo mentioned to help run your eAuctions and govern supplier onbaording click here for more information.

My First eWorld – September 2017

Six months and here we are again, eWorld September 2017. I am sure that for the rest of the team at Market Dojo it felt like a bout of Deja Vu having gone for the past 6 years but for myself, this happened to be my first trade show since starting here earlier this month.

Luckily, this time around we stayed in a hotel the evening before so missed the 4am start which I believe is the traditional Market Dojo eWorld routine.

 

So starting the day feeling fresh at sunrise, we headed down to the QEII Centre in Westminster to set up for the day. I worked my marketing magic to make the stand look pretty great (if I do say so myself) on time for delegates arrival at 8am.
We had the privilege of being situated next to two of our close partners standsProvalido and Per Angusta.

The brilliant Claire Boffey who organises the popular event biannually, ensured all the sponsors had free bacon rolls to prepare us for the big day ahead. Unfortunately, for vegetarians like me, this meant sampling lots of chocolates from various stands which gave me the perfect opportunity to gain an insight into other competitors and procurement solutions on the market.

 

I think for ‘newbies’ like myself, it was interesting to see the range of people which attend the event. Not everyone is there for new opportunity it seemed, which surprised me (just there for CIPS points!) however the ones which were, showed just how applicable Market Dojo is to the market, as many procurement teams are so stuck in old ways and could benefit massively from using a tool to eSource.

The talk given by Interserve, our client for over a year now, grabbed everyone’s attention. The representatives on the day, Kevin Davies and Mandeep Chana, Spoke about changing behaviour through technology, such a popular choice of topic that the room had to be upgraded to a larger space (We hope this had nothing to do with the “free biscuits” title given in the pamphlet!)

 

Interserve gave an honest talk about their experience of implementing an eProcurement solution, explaining their hardships along the way with software, communication and processes. However choosing the right supplier was fundamental to their success, yep that’s right… us (MARKET DOJO) and Per Angusta.

Our prize draw for a free month licence for Market Dojo was drawn from a hat by Pierre from Per Angusta and Pete from our sales team. Our lucky winner this time, was Kunal Khanderia from Hilton Hotels.

As the day appeared to come to a close, we had some of our best conversations with people who were really keen to learn more about the world of eSourcing and also some of our other products such as category analysis. This went down very well with a glass of white wine to finish a fun first day at eWorld.

 

Finally! (nearly finished I promise) before heading off back to Gloucestershire, we went for my cuisine of choice, Italian at Colosseo just a 5 minute walk from the QEII centre for some real food (by that, I obviously mean pasta) before another day back at the office!

 

If you didn’t get the chance to come to the event or missed us for any reason and think Market Dojo could have been of interest to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information or try out our free sandpit tool here!

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

One to One with the newest member of Market Dojo

Market Dojo is pleased to announce the latest member of Team Dojo. Angie will be joining us as part of our growing marketing team, she glided through the Market Dojo interview process and we are really pleased to welcome her to the team. 

What made you apply to Market Dojo?
Interestingly, a path into the world of procurement and software was something which had never really caught my attention, partly because I was unsure of what sector I was ever going to work in and partly because I didn’t have much knowledge on this world of business. However, what I did have was a keen interest in Marketing. A family member with previous experience in procurement services told me about Market Dojo and after a brief phone call with one of the directors what was apparent was the range of opportunity available. Once meeting the team, I realised everyone had a genuine energy for the company which I value highly as a prospectus employee.

What are you looking forward to in your new role?
I am most excited about being able to bring new ideas to Market Dojo on how we can better inform potential customers of our product to encourage more sales.
 
What is different about Market Dojo?
For me, it’s that the service is based around getting other businesses the best deals. I have always wanted to go into a career where I can provide something beneficial to others and taking a commercialised business route being able to do this seemed quite unlikely.

If you didn’t go into marketing, what other profession would you have considered?
I think I would have remained studying for a couple of years to become a Doctorate in the field of Psychology, where I would have pursued a career within the mental health sector specifically to help those with eating disorders. Why I chose to work within a business instead is because the NHS underfund the mental health services drastically and I feel I would not be able to help to the extent I would like. I also was hungry to jump start my career and get into working life earlier, and knowing that I have a keen interest in what makes people tick and how to utilise this, assured me that Marketing was the perfect profession for me.
 
What is your favourite book/movie?
Probably Harry Potter, I recently went to London to watch the final book in theatre, ’Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’. It was absolutely amazing, and you really have missed out if you haven’t had to pleasure to see it. The tickets were impossible to get hold of and I waited for hours online to grab just two a year in advance, so I guess I must be a pretty hard core fan.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?
I honestly have no embarrassing songs on my phone, or maybe I’m too self-assured of my own music taste

What is one thing about yourself that you think others would be surprised to know?
Ummm, probably that I worked in a fish and chip shop. My friends were all shocked because I am quite a girly girl, but I actually really liked the job! Had some very funny work friends and obviously the bonus of free chips, I really couldn’t complain…
 
Have you ever traveled abroad? What was your favourite country?
Yes. Probably Thailand which I visited this summer with close friends. It was a budget/travel style holiday but the food and beaches were pretty insane. I have never been to America, and would LOVE to go! On one hand I want to go all out and splurge on a luxury break in LA, but on the other hand, I kind of want to travel South America and visit the likes of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru! Although a friend of mine did that a couple of months ago and ended up getting Salmonella poisoning, parasites you name it! But the pictures were absolutely amazing, I was very jealous.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Hobbies are definitely eating out (I’m the biggest foodie ever!), binging on a good TV drama, and I guess health and fitness. I’d prefer to say health and fitness is more of an interest as I really care about my diet and ensuring an active lifestyle and 8 times out of 10 make it to the gym and eat super good foods but I do struggle because it’s not always what I want, to slug myself to do a workout or stop myself from eating a whole bar of chocolate!
 
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Okay, not to follow the crowd on this one but for sure owning my own house. I’m super interested in property and interiors always looking for ideas on Pinterest! I have already opened a help to buy ISA so that is for sure in the pipeline for 5 years time. Career wise, I hope to progress fairly quickly, I am a super hard worker and am keen to learn and absorb from the best. I hope to stay in the field of Marketing for several years, working my way up within this field and then maybe digress into product development. But this is just a thought, I’m sure after more work experience and getting a better grasp on business throughout my time here I will be able to better predict my path.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?
Probably a snow leopard – they are super beautiful and are definitely my favourite animal.



What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie?
There are some pretty amazing actresses and actors to chose from. But probably Angelina Jolie cause seriously who the hell wouldn’t want to be her!
Connect with Angie on LinkedIn.
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Market Dojo in Seventh Heaven

What do Market Dojo and these photos of celebrities have in common?

Extra prizes if you can all guess who they are – we’ll tell you at the end.
The answer is that they are all 7 years old at this snapshot in time.  And so earlier this month we quietly surpassed this milestone as well, although we can only aspire to achieve the same global acclaim!

Even in this short time, it’s astounding to witness how quickly technology has moved along on the one hand, yet on the other, it’s equally astounding how slowly it has propagated through the Procurement function where we are still discovering FTSE 250 companies with no eProcurement policy in place.

It reminds me of a previous article we wrote about what life would look like if we all still used all tech from the year 2000 (& not just procurement tech).  Find it here.

Anyhow, here’s a reflection of some of the main highlights of the past 12 months:

New Clients

The past 12 months has brought us some fantastic accounts with some pretty unique challenges, from global roll-outs intended to modernise the entire Procurement function – hear more about that at eWorld this September – through to a series of eAuctions run in the course of a few weeks that resulted in savings of $50m!

Recruitment

It has been another busy year on the recruitment front.  In September we welcomed James to join our Development team, closely followed by Henry in November within Business Development.  We’re also due to welcome Angie in September to join our Marketing team, plus have a couple of available opportunities in Business Development with plenty more to come.

We’re delighted to be able to offer our current Business Development Manager, Lewis, a change in his career path to build up our Customer Success team.  As a small firm, it’s genuinely exciting to be able to offer the team the ability to progress as they see fit.

Product Roadmap
Our customers have been hugely supportive in helping us to improve Market Dojo and allowed us to build many new features. We’ve had another hugely productive year but some of our favourites moments are:

Growth
This year we worked out that we’ve saved our clients over £1.3bn across 25,000 eSourcing events, at an average of 16% saving!  Quite astonishing really.

Inaugural conference
One of the genuine highlights of the year was our debut annual conference held in April at the historic Stonehouse Court Hotel.  The event was a great success with over 100 attendees on the day to listen to insightful talks from speakers including Robert Copeland, UK Procurement Director at G4S; Rob Lees, Commercial Director at the MoD; and Simon Boggis, former CPO at CEVA Logistics.

What will the next 12 months bring?
We’ll continue with our recruitment plans as well as push our brand further overseas to build on the success we’ve already seen to once again bolster our revenues by 50%.  We hope to be doing more with you all in the coming months!
PS:  The photos were of:  Prince William, Beyoncé, Madonna and Robert de Niro.  Well done if you got them all.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Learn to be frugal by eSourcing like Google!

We recently ran a survey to explore the barriers to eAuctions to truly understand why not all procurement professionals out there with 3 bids on the table instinctively progress to eAuction.

It was fortuitous timing that we stumbled across a public interview with the team behind Google’s Global Sourcing Centre of Excellence.

The interview explored Google’s eAuction experience and how they drive adoption to achieve excellent results, with an average rate reduction of 17% being very similar to the 16% that we’ve seen on average through Market Dojo.

They also see an additional 4% saving when RFPs are progressed to eAuction, as well as greatly reduced cycle times. Interestingly Google uses their own intuitive G Suite tools for their general eRFX. We use G Suite extensively in our business so we can see how that could work, with neat features for online collaboration, unlimited cloud storage and a slick survey tool.

Therefore one of their highest priorities is to fuel further adoption, given that a mandate is not the Google way. Their approach is to use the carrot rather than the stick using some of these key approaches; However similarly you could use G Suite as a CRM tool or an Accounting tool, but you’d potentially lack that best-of-breed application.

eAuctions, on the other hand, are much more challenging to replicate using email and online spreadsheets and so Google relies on third-party software.

To date, they have run over 900 eAuctions, yet that has covered only 20% of the total third-party expenditure. Their own objective is to eAuction at least 80% of the expenditure.

When a contract is awarded without concluding with an auction, the team follows up as to why that was. Perhaps the supply market was monopolistic or perhaps the stakeholder was vehemently against the idea. Either way, this closed loop feedback helps the team learn for next time.

Pivotal to it all is the eSourcing Centre of Excellence, as we’ve seen many times before. The Centre ensures continual process improvement, shared learning and promotion of eAuctions throughout the business, providing dedicated resources for doing so. Their work involves changing the minds and attitudes of the business to run eAuctions by helping to run them, freeing up the buyers to focus more on stakeholder relations.

One of our initial clients took a similar approach to this, with their COO storming into procurement meetings asking the team, “Don’t tell me why you can’t do it {eAuction}, tell me how you would do it”. This change in mindset provoked the stakeholders into constructively thinking how the eAuction could be run: quickly presenting a solution when previously there wa a deadlock.

Since mandating wasn’t an option, the next best course of action taken by the Google team was to affect the governance statement, reviewed by board members, that 80% of Google’s third-party expenditure will be competitively tendered every two years. eAuctions have become the preferred option, with business owners that opt out of using an eAuction needing an appropriate reason for doing so.

Google, like many others, are also conscious that price is just one factor in the total decision, and so post-auction they complete an internal scorecard to look at the total value from each supplier to select the ‘best bidder’ and not the ‘lowest bidder’, mitigating a common objection that eAuctions result in decisions based on price alone.

Finally, to quote the corporate code of conduct from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, “Do the right thing” – which we’d strongly suggest is to find reasons to use an eAuction for all your contract negotiations.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[Guest Blog] Teaching deal making with Market Dojo

Jon Brinsmead has been buying goods and services for clients for over 20 years including Ahold Delhaize, Unilever and Transport for London. Over the same period of time, Jon has been providing training in commercial management. Jon shares his experiences and thoughts on teaching delegates how to conduct an effective sourcing event through the Market Dojo tool.

Teaching deal making with Market Dojo
I’ve been using Market Dojo’s eAuction software for 3 years now, together with a useful buying scenario provided by Market Dojo – to teach deal making to delegates on a commercial management course.

How it works – Delegates are given the role of seller and have to ‘bid’ into an eAuction for commodity items. The course leader acts as the buyer (and the seller’s manager) and runs the auction.

We run the auctions online, and in real-time, and delegates are given the objective of winning the sale and also making a profitable deal.

Outcomes
Delegates learn how to construct and execute a bidding strategy. They see the pressure that sellers can come under in a real time situation and get to practice in a safe playground. They also get to explore the ‘Price arena’ and understand how the deal-making situation affects supplier behaviours.

Benefits
Working with Market Dojo is a great experience, everyone is really helpful and the products have a low entry point for learning how to carry out basic operations. The software and service are rock solid. For a small investment of time, delegates get some great experience of the use of online eSourcing software and take away their experience to use in their own organisations.

Commercial bit
If he can help you with a commercial training needs or indeed any deal situation please don’t hesitate to contact him at Jon@Brinsmead.co.uk.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Join our inaugural procurement event, Thursday 6th April

Market Dojo is hosting its inaugural procurement event on Thursday, 6th April. The event will offer procurement professionals the opportunity to network and learn from the experts.

“Creating Real Value from eSourcing”

 Thursday 6th April at Stonehouse Court, GL10 3RA.
The event will be hosted in the beautiful setting of Stonehouse Court Hotel and feature presentations from CPO’s, Procurement Directors and thought leaders within Procurement.

The full agenda can be found here.

Alternatively, fill in the short registration form here.
Consult with experts throughout the day to discover how you can make real savings on a number of different categories and learn new sourcing techniques.

Who will be presenting on the day?

Who else will be attending the event?
A number of senior procurement professionals from renowned brands will be attending the day including Next, Travis Perkins and McCarthy & Stone.
In addition to the attendees, a range of different procurement solutions will be on hand to offer procurement solutions for Sourcing, Contracts Management, Spend Analysis and Supplier Onboarding.

What do our attendees say?
“We are eager to be attending and finding new ways to generate real savings within procurement. In particular, we are interested in the new strategies that are being adopted within retail and freight procurement. – Philip Corbett, Procurement Manager, Travis Perkins

“It’s great to be invited to the Market Dojo event, for us the major benefit of the day is to find new ways in which we can increase eSourcing adoption with our procurement team and learn new best practice techniques.” – Daniel Higginson, eSourcing Manager, Next
“I’m looking forward to uncovering new ways that we can expand our sourcing categories, in particular Market and Energy procurement as key areas that we can produce further savings.” – Edward Dring, Procurement Manager, McCarthy & Stone

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

What is the best day to hold an auction?

Our ancestors have been travelling to markets to buy and sell since the start of civilisation – literally, that is, civilisation can pretty much be traced back to the time we started buying, selling and bartering goods in an open forum. They used to differ somewhat on when they went to market or held an auction, but traditionally, they have landed on one day. So what is the best day for an auction?

Traditionally in the UK, Market Day has been held on a Wednesday all the way back to the establishment of Christianity in the country. Markets were held in a particular central market town in a region and thus not everyone lived in the town where they sold or bought goods. Farmers and merchants would travel from many miles around on foot or by a horse and cart to market. This meant travel times were on the scale of days rather than hours.

As people had to be at home to attend church on a Sunday, they would leave home on Monday, often arriving at the market on a Wednesday. They would then need to travel home for the weekend. Thus, Wednesday became the de facto market day of the country.
Are Wednesdays still the best days to hold our auctions?

Intuitively, Wednesday seems like a good day for an auction. It’s not at the beginning of the week, where people might be away or playing catch up, and it gives you enough time after the auction to process the results and choose an eventual winner.

So how popular are Wednesdays for Market Dojo? A quick look at some of our statistics from the last year shows that Wednesday is, in fact, the most popular day of the week to hold an auction, technology changes apparently, but the human appetite for buying and selling in the middle of the week seems to stay the same.

The other question we have to ask when working out the best day for an auction, is does it really matter? In the past, auctions and markets were held on Wednesday because that was most convenient for those taking part, but in an eAuction, where people can log on from anywhere in the world, does the day really matter as much?
Well, people still have to prepare for an auction, which might mean finalising the Best and Lowest Offer with directors, and they still have to digest the results, which means procurement teams deciding which bid they would like to take forward.

So, we know that Wednesday is the most popular day for an auction, but is it the best day? We decided to look at the average savings made during each day of the week to see if any particular day was better than another. It through up some interesting results.

Wednesday is in fact not the best day for savings, Tuesdays and Thursdays are. With a 2% swing in favour of hosting an auction on a Monday or Tuesday. We don’t actually know why that is, it could be down to a host of factors. However, it is worth considering if you aren’t sure when you would like to run your auction.

Nonetheless, it still looks like Wednesday, even after 1000s of years, is the most popular day for you to go to market. However, if you’re looking for the most savings, holding your auction on a Tuesday or Thursday might just give you that extra edge.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Why you should budget for an eSourcing solution

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, John Lewis have released their masterful Christmas advert (as usual), the Coca-Cola truck is on its way and we begin the final countdown towards the end of the year.

If you’re anything like me, you might already be thinking about your savings targets and budgets for next year. Hopefully, you’ve reached a point where you are considering introducing an eSourcing solution.

Spending a lot of your time and money on buying goods or services from suppliers? Then we might just have the perfect present for you! Market Dojo!

Wondering just how an eSourcing solution can help?

Centralise your information – Say goodbye to emails and those excel spreadsheets! Take your sourcing activities to a single online portal and you’ll increase visibility amongst your organisation, de-mystify the market, and still have a complete audit history of your activities that your accounts team will love.

Standardise your approach – Have you ever considered inviting more suppliers to take part in an RFQ and stopped yourself because of all the extra emails, questions and different templates you’ll receive back? By utilising an eSourcing solution this is no longer an issue and you’ll be thankful for the extra competition.

You can increase the number of suppliers you invite with no extra overhead. Pre-qualification questionnaires will be centralised through the tool and help you to make more efficiencies of the process. In addition, all of your suppliers will be responding in the same fashion through the system saving you some precious extra time.

Hit those savings targets – Start 2017 off with a bang by aggressively attacking those savings targets. Run an eAuction to determine the true market value. If you’re having to run 3 bids and a buy, then why not run an eAuction to ensure you’re getting the best value. After all, average savings from an eAuction in our tool is an impressive 21%!

Fear not, if you’re just running RFQ’s, then an eSourcing system will allow you to easily invite more suppliers, increasing competitiveness and potentially helping you make those all-important savings.

It doesn’t cost as much as you might think – Market Dojo offers affordable and flexible options. You can run unlimited monthly events from just £500, and there’s no minimum contract duration!

You can even use the software for a couple of months to understand its value before committing to a longer term deal. Simply, the potential ROI is stupendous! We regularly see our clients see ROI savings % in triple figures and yes I did say TRIPLE figures!

Isn’t it about time that you treated yourself and bought that procurement tool that you just know will make your life that much easier and better?
Contact Lewis for more information.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[Case Study] Efekto Pro use Market Dojo to make tremendous savings with their partners

Vlado Prosenik is the founder of Efekto Pro. Efekto Pro are a procurement consultancy that specialises in purchasing and cost optimisation.

How did you first get into eSourcing?
My involvement with eSourcing originally started when I was searching for procurement software that would allow me to centralise and produce savings on the procurement of IT hardware. At the time I was the Chief Procurement Officer for the biggest bank in Slovenia, the NLB Group.

We were looking for solutions that passed specific requirements such as cloud-based, easily usable, inexpensive and would take little to implement across a large organisation. It was also at this time that I was founding my own procurement consultancy and specifically searching for a solution that matched.

I first heard of Market Dojo through a Gartner report an IT vendors, which identified Market Dojo as one of the upcoming newcomers to the eSourcing sector and I remember thinking at the time that they would be a great potential fit.

When did you first consider using Market Dojo?
Market Dojo was the obvious option because of their weighted auction functionality, Software-As-A-Service design, their ability to change language preference and their support team. While we were trialling the software, we noticed that unlike some of the others, Market Dojo was always willing to help and immediately investigate any problems that I faced.

How have you been using Market Dojo?
Since then, I have been using Market Dojo to identify and run eSourcing events or opportunities on behalf of clients. I have ran events in industries such as oil and energy retail, telecommunication, FMCG, insurance, steel industry, construction and the automotive industry, etc.

What do you expect from the eAuction?
Typically I would expect a 12% savings on average from an event. However, I have found in the past that savings from an event can range from 3% on direct materials sourcing to 75% savings on when sourcing indirect materials.

It’s not unusual for me to discover that previously clients have been buying from a vendor at a rate which is much higher than the market price. Especially if it’s maverick spending (purchases made outside of agreed contracts) and with an incumbent supplier that they have been working with for a number of years. In these cases, there is typically the potential to generate a very high level of savings.

Lastly, what are your favourite aspects of Market Dojo?
One of my favourite things about Market Dojo is the improvements that they are constantly making to their software. One of the challenges I faced with a client early on was using Market Dojo with a Slovenian business. My client knew very little English, however, with the german language setting that was available at the time, it allowed them to use the software on their own to a passable level. Shortly after raising the issue and some collaboration on my part, Market Dojo promptly made the addition of Slovenian as a language to their user interface.

Having used Market Dojo for a number of years, I have always found them to be highly responsive with their support. Any issues or bugs that have been raised are quickly eliminated and they are always willing to propose solutions to any problems that I have faced. It’s their weighted auction and scoring functionality, in combination with the software being hosted online, that has allowed me to work with numerous clients across Slovenia and achieve successful savings.

You can read more about our work with Efekto Pro here.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Supply Management Awards 2016 – congrats to Odesma!

It is with a fuzzy head that I am writing this blog to commemorate the fantastic evening that we enjoyed at the Supply Management Awards courtesy of our consultancy partner Odesma.

Odesma were rightly shortlisted for “Best Procurement Consultancy Project of the Year” for the fantastic work their team did with Aggreko over the past 12 or so months. Considering how early Odesma is on their own journey, it’s an amazing achievement, particularly as they faced tough competition with Efficio and Jaguar Land Rover.
However….

…they won!!! Nick Ford, one of the Directors of Odesma pictured holding the award above, made the comparison between them winning the award and Leicester City Football Club winning the Premier League last season – if only I had taken a bet!

A huge proportion of the success was of course down to the incredible team of experts that were rapidly assembled to deliver the project, a few of which were able to make it on the night to join comedian Ed Byrne on the stage.
Ed Byrne was pretty good actually, making some oft-heard jibes at us Procurement folk for cost cutting such as not turning the Air Con on for the enormous room that held over 1000 of us. He also called out the Heathrow Airport table for wanting to expand into the neighbouring tables!

Anyhow, back to the celebration:

We also felt special to be a part of this as we got a call-out in this winning project for the “use of a cutting-edge eSourcing tool”. More of that to follow at our seminar at eWorld later this month.

There was also a band with a cracking singer, provoking plenty of Dad dancing – I won’t name names!

I’ll leave you with one more photo from the evening, most likely snapped once most of the champagne had been consumed!

A huge thank you to Ed, Nick & Steve of Odesma for inviting us to join in their revelry, and to all the guests on the table that helped make it such an enjoyable evening.

Congratulations once more and look forward to what may transpire in the next 12 months!

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[Guest Blog] The Importance of Perspective on Consultants – Part 3

Today we are pleased to welcome a guest post from Terri Hudson. Terri is the Managing Director of Baker Wanless. They are a UK based procurement consultancy who have been shortlisted for the ‘Best Business for Customer Service’ at the prestigious Croydon Business Excellence awards.

This is the third part of a series on how consultants can add value, you can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.

“Diminishing returns should be a natural result of the success of a procurement consultant”

Diminishing returns are the principle that the additional value gained progressively decreases with the increased input over a period of time. For example, if a client is paying inflated values for electronic components and they bring in a sourcing solutions specialist. The consultant may be able to gain a large savings value from a supplier as he gains an offer closer to the market value for a single year contract. However, in another year’s time when the specialists attempt to broker a deal for further savings with the renewal of the contract, the savings value may be perceived as lower. Because it would seem as less of a saving on their existing contract, unlike their contract from the year before.

However, the consultant might be winning a contract that presents the best possible value for money. In summary, it is important to note that savings should be perceived over a longer period of time and from the initially inflated value that the client was paying rather than just the percentage savings on the latest contract.

“World records are often broken on the biggest of stages”

In the modern era of globalisation, the ability for suppliers to compete for business has increased. In terms of sourcing, if your client has numerous suppliers competing for their business, it increases the likelihood of getting a value that is closer to the market value. In some cases we would have invited up to 500 suppliers at the start of a tender, taking them through a detailed and thorough questionnaire and qualify only suitable suppliers to participate in a single tender. This would increase the chance of us finding the best value for the cheapest price and best quality.

At Baker Wanless, we offer global coverage for both our clients and suppliers with our team speaking additional languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch and Polish to name a few. Ensuring that language is not a barrier to trading with our clients and that we taking advantage of this new stage of globalisation.

At Baker Wanless our services include:
– Developing Supplier lists – including client specific questionnaires
– Spend Analysis
– Category Management
– Managing eSourcing Events
– eSourcing Software Implementation, Support and Training
– Interim Procurement Support

We are able to draw on a team of consultants with a wealth of experience in procurement practice across all industries. Our managed database of suppliers stands at 16,000 entries the list continues to grow year on year is coupled with our strong relationships with suppliers in the sector enables us to gain value by increasing the competition for a product or service.

At Baker Wanless we use the eSourcing platform; Market Dojo. It’s an easy-to-use and affordable eSourcing solution that has a wide range of capabilities. The beauty of an eSourcing tool is that it allows users to maximise competition for a given product or service. This, in turn, generates values that are closer to the market level than might be gained otherwise.

Terri Hudson
Managing Director of Baker Wanless
Twitter: @BakerWanless
Website: BakerWanless.co.uk
LinkedIn: Terri Hudson

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[Guest Blog] How to find top procurement talent

We are pleased to welcome a guest post by Adam Maidment from Portfolio Procurement, a market-leading procurement recruitment specialist. Discussing the unique challenges to recruitment in the procurement industry.

How to find top procurement talent
Genuine procurement talent can be hard to find. To succeed in the industry, procurement professionals need to be good negotiators, forward thinking and have a keen eye for detail.
Working in the procurement industry has a lot of advantages, yet is still an extremely challenging career choice. New employees have to prove their worth by taking charge of their own projects from start to finish. They also have to deal with senior members of staff including MDs and CEOs, difficult suppliers, manage through drastic company changes and work in an industry that is constantly evolving with the development in sectors such as eSourcing.
For such a vital and challenging role, do you know what you should be looking for in procurement staff? How do you know if you are hiring the right people?

Look out for non-learned skills
Learned skills, such as financial management, contract management, and cost reduction are all vital to anyone working in the procurement industry, but these can largely be learned on the job. When hiring talented procurement staff, a candidate’s personality is just as important.
Procurement staff deals with almost every department across the business. They regularly speak to suppliers to negotiate good deals and work closely with customers to ensure they get what they want. Good staff know the type of skills that help them thrive in this environment are not taught in a classroom; skills that include listening, understanding, empathy and communication.
Ask your candidates about times they have had to use these skills and try and discover if they have developed them throughout their course of their working life so far. They tend to be easy to spot – interviews are all about communication, so ensure you test their listening and understanding skills.

Have they been relationship managed before?
Relationship management is arguably the most important skill for procurement professionals. Even if a candidate has no background in procurement, there are many roles where they would have been able to develop this skill. Project managers, account managers and candidates with experience in customer service will have experienced relationship management in some form. Relationship management as a skill can be used in any sector of procurement, such as eSourcing.
Ensure anyone you hire understands the importance of good communication and can demonstrate times they have had to use relationship management in their previous experience.

Do they keep updated on changes in technology?
The use of technology is playing an increasingly large role in the procurement industry. With the rise of eProcurement helping businesses consolidate supplier information and the use of technology in both the approval and the transaction process, it’s now important for procurement professionals to have a strong grasp on technology.

Do they have a forward thinking attitude?
Other departments spend a lot of their time looking backwards; finance, legal and HR have to analyse and interpret what has already happened.
Procurement professionals spend their time looking forward; it’s their job to help shape the future of the company. Whether it’s choosing next season’s stock or designing more effective supply chains, you need to ensure your procurement staff has a forward thinking attitude, always with the end game in mind.

How to pick the right person
Procurement can be a great career choice for people looking for a varied and exciting role with good career prospects. You need to ensure you hire suitable candidates as the role can be largely independent and high pressured.

During interviews, ensure candidates demonstrate the soft skills required to succeed in the role, evidence of being able to manage relationships and their ambitions for the future. This way, you can be confident that you have found capable and talented employees, who will be able to handle the senior staff, various departments, and suppliers.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

“We’ve always done it this way”

One obstacle that many businesses face is changing the mindset of those that have a “We’ve always done it this way” (It even has an acronym! WHADITW) mentality. As an eSourcing provider we are always looking at ways we can challenge outdated mindsets and find innovative ways to save money especially in a constantly evolving industry such as procurement.

Recently one of my colleague started a Procurious Discussion on “We’ve always done it this way” and asked about others experiences.

Below we have highlighted some of the WHADITW mindsets that we have encountered in procurement professionals with regards to eSourcing and our viewpoints:

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[New Release] Making Market Dojo more productive

Our development team have been working hard to bring you the latest improvements to Market Dojo. This month, we have focused on productivity issues which our customers have told us about.

Participant Filters
One advantage of using an eSourcing tool, rather than email and spreadsheets, is that it is much easier to process responses from a large number of participants. Inviting more participants means that you can be more confident of finding the best value offer for your tender.

Although the average is 27, our customers have invited as many as 600 participants to an event. To help manage all these participants, we have added the ability to filter them.

The event participants view, with new filter options displayed.
The filters make it very simple to find all the participants who, for example, have not accepted the invitation or answered the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire. You can also filter on their name, email or company and various other aspects of their current status.

We believe that Participant Filters will make it even easier to use Market Dojo to manage participants in a sourcing event.

Currency Selection
We have also made it easier to choose the currency or currencies you want to run your event. Previously we had a drop down list which had become quite lengthy as we added different currencies from around the world, as well as some non-standard items, such as Rate. We have replaced this with an ordered, categorised list which also a search feature. Here it is in action:

Other Changes
In addition to these two features, we have also made a number of smaller improvements requested by our customers. These include:

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Are Japanese auctions a lazy mans tool and what’s the fuss?

A Japanese Reverse Auction is an auction type that requires all suppliers to bid at a continuously decreasing price (the value of which is set by the buyer/host). The bidders may choose to either bid at the current value or drop out of the auction. Rather than most reverse auction types which finish in principle when the second-to-last bidder drops out of the auction, a Japanese auction ends when the single supplier left has offered their lowest value they wish to bid or their time limit has elapsed during that individual price level.

The fundamental aspect to a Japanese Reverse Auction is limiting the information available to the suppliers. For example when using Market Dojo software if a bidder drops out of a Japanese Reverse Auction, the only information available to that bidder is; the values that they have bidded on, the value at which they refused (and therefore dropped out of the auction) as well as the time that elapsed while they participated in the auction. Unlike typical auctions types in which they may have visibility to see the winning value of the auction or at the very least their rank.
Another important difference to typical auction types, is that with a Japanese Reverse Auction the bidders aren’t directly competing against each other’s bids. For example in a Ranked Auction, bidder 1 would bid against the value of bidder 2. Whereas in a Japanese Reverse Auction, bidder 1 and 2 would both have the option to bid for value X without the knowledge of each other’s bid. Thereby stopping a bidder from directly bidding to oppose the value of another bidder.
What’s so special about a Japanese Reverse Auction then?

But what’s the benefit to me?
By limiting the level of information to the suppliers, it encourages suppliers to offer at an affordable price they can supply for. Rather than just offering a value that is better than their competitor. It also stops suppliers from bid shadowing (offering a value within a small margin of the lead bidder potentially still including them in consideration after the end of the event even if they didn’t win).
Japanese Auctions are particularly effective in a situation where there might be price fixing between suppliers, especially in a market with a limited number of suppliers. For example if 1 or 2 companies hold a monopoly on your market, a Japanese Auction would encourage them to offer their best value rather than just to offer a value that beats that of their competitor.
Do you have any examples?

Homeserve recently saved £1.4 million through Japanese eAuctions, while shortening their negotiations process from weeks to hours. In this case the eAuctions were for various subcontractor services across the UK and had over 140 suppliers participating.
For more information on how Homeserve used Japanese eAuctions
Has it been labelled as a ‘lazy mans tool’?
In the past Japanese Reverse Auctions has been seen as a ‘lazy mans tool’. This could be due to Japanese Auctions being able to function with a very limited number of participants.
However Japanese Reverse Auctions require the hosts to set a number of different conditions for the auction. Such as the predetermined price decreases, the time limit of each predetermined price decrease and setting the range for the qualification bid. And as with other eAuctions you need to correctly create the specification of the item/service and SLA’s. Not to mention getting the suppliers engaged. Meaning that although it might be a simple way to generate competitive bids from both the incumbent supplier and new suppliers, it requires some effort on the part of the host to create the right environment to get the most competitive result from a Japanese Reverse Auction.
Additional information on Japanese Auctions is available on our website
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Sourcing New Recruits for Team Dojo

Market Dojo are very excited to introduce the latest members of Team Dojo. Helping out on the Business Development side, Peter and Lewis, both Cheltenham based, passed the Market Dojo interview process with flying colours and we are really pleased to welcome them both to the team.

We asked Lewis and Peter some questions to help you get to know them better.

Where did you go to university?
Lewis:
I went to Cardiff University to study Human Geography and Planning.
Geography was my favourite subject and I had always enjoyed learning about the world and concepts and our relationship with it.

Pete:
I attended UoG at the Park Campus in Cheltenham. I studied Marketing and Advertising as part of a sandwich course which included a placement year in Reading working for a Marketing Agency.

What made you apply to work at Market Dojo?
Lewis:
I liked the idea of working for a new, vibrant company, which had made impressive steps in its short time. I also wanted the opportunity to work within the technology/software sector, with co-founders who had an infectious passion for the product.

Pete:
Working directly with the Co-Founders of Market Dojo was a huge attraction. Hearing Alun’s passion for Market Dojo in my initial phone interview cemented my decision in applying for the role.

What aspects of the Business Development role do you find most appealing?
Lewis:
I’m interested in talking to and meeting with new people, I like the sense of achievement and satisfaction you receive when assisting clients to meet their needs and I also like the challenge and competitiveness of securing new business.

Pete:
Hitting targets is something that I have always enjoyed, whether this be academically throughout education or physically at football each Saturday. Bringing a level of competition (winning new business) into the workplace was a natural step in my career path.

What is different about Market Dojo?
Lewis:
The in-house expertise of the founders, the passion which they have for the business and the product, and the friendliness of the whole team. The benefits of using the software are also clear. On our first day, we got to observe a real e-auction event where the cost savings to the client were monumental. To the extent where if I hadn’t have seen it, I would not have believed it, but it certainly helped with understanding the features and benefits of the product.

Pete:
The honesty and transparency of the pricing. Too many businesses hide costs and add-ons, Market Dojo operate a ‘what you see is what you get’ policy throughout the business which is refreshing to see in a SaaS environment.

If you didn’t go into sales, what other profession would you have considered?
Lewis:
I think I’d have been a teacher, either geography or sport. I’ve taught children sports previously and having a direct impact on people’s future is pretty cool and rewarding!

Pete:
I’d have liked to be a personal trainer or nutritionist. During a bad two-week school placement at a local gym my days consisted of cleaning and admin. After thinking this was all the industry could offer me, I avoided healthcare and from that day I decided to pursue a career in business.

What is the most unusual job you have ever had?
Lewis:
Not really an unusual job, but with my last role, I got to do lots of travelling across Africa which was really interesting and something which I believe enabled me to grow both personally and professionally.

Pete:
While living in Scarborough, I helped organise and promote two UK hardcore raves. As the work was for friends the jobs were unpaid, but it was certainly an exciting experience.

What is your favourite book/movie?
Lewis:
Book and movie… Harry Potter!
Pete:
My favourite book is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography. If Arnold wants to do something, he does it, whether it’s bodybuilding, acting or politics. He has always achieved what he set out to do – the book is great proof that hard work really pays off.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?
Lewis:
Unsure – although Britney Spears – ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was the first single I ever bought as a besotted early teenager!

Pete:
If by embarrassing you mean amazing, and by song you mean album then It’s Justin Bieber’s Purpose.

What is one thing about yourself that you think others would be surprised to know?
Lewis:
I had never drank a hot drink until the age of 26!

Pete:
At the age of 13 I got through to the final of the North Yorkshire Amateur Boxing Association Championships.

What’s your biggest claim to fame?
Lewis:
After watching Gloucester playing rugby, I got Jonny Wilkinson to sign my trainer.

Pete:
In 2015 I got all the way through to the live interviews to appear on The Island – Channel 4 Reality tv programme.

Have you ever travelled abroad? What was your favourite country?
Lewis:
Yeah I went to South Africa in my previous job. I attended a conference and had the best steak I’ve ever had. I can still taste it if I close my eyes!

Pete:
I haven’t actually traveled out of Europe but I went to France as a toddler and was speaking French to the locals when I was 12 months old.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Lewis:
I like to think of myself as a fit and active person, I play a lot of sport; football and cricket, but I also like to get lost in a good TV boxset; I’m currently watching The Walking Dead and I’m excited for the new season of Game of Thrones to begin very soon!!

Pete:
I’m currently training twice a week for a charity boxing match which is raising money for Cancer Research UK. The 8-weeks of free training has been supplied by a local boxing gym and the black tie event is being held at the Cheltenham leisure centre.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Lewis:
The attraction of working for such a small company is the possibility of shaping your own career destiny. Hopefully through my business development efforts the company continues to grow, and in 5 years time I’d like to still have some involvement in business development but perhaps with more of an influence on strategy and future innovations. Personally, I’d like to be a homeowner, and hopefully a parent too.

Pete:
I see myself as an eSourcing specialist with my own Business Development team at Market Dojo. On a personal outlook, I’d also like a newer car and a mortgage on my own house.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?
Lewis:
Cat – they have such an easy life but are still independent with a great sense of adventure. Plus I have 2 cats!

Pete:
Lion – nothing to worry about as lions are top of the food chain, plus it’s lovely and warm in Africa.

What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie?
Lewis:
Leonardo Di Caprio because he’s my favourite actor.

Pete:
Will Smith because he’s gifted. Will can sing, act and dance. That portrays my life philosophy quite well. Also, we look quite similar, right?

Connect with Peter and Lewis on LinkedIn.
A HUGE welcome to you both! 🙂

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[NEW RELEASE] Here’s what our developers have been up to…

One of the many beauties of providing SaaS technology is that our clients don’t need to spend time mass updating their systems and reinstalling the latest release of our software. We are a multi-tenanted application, meaning that there’s always one version of Market Dojo available to everyone.

This doesn’t mean that new features and benefits aren’t being released. Any little nuances you find with our software are all logged via our support portal (check out this article on how to log issues and the processes we follow to deal with them).

Our development team have been working very hard for this release to bring you a list of new features which we hope you’ll love…

Hyperlink documents in Questionnaire export report
Within Market Dojo, there are a number of types of question you can ask your suppliers. One of which allows you to reference a document. After the event has ended, the host is then able to download a report of the event.

This update allows the event host (buyer) to click on the specific document that has been referenced and easily see the related one. This can save reviewers a lot of time, as it makes it much easier to check the documentation before giving a score.

Re-invite participants in SIM Dojo
This update allows you as a host to resend the instructions to a supplier on how to onboard to SIM Dojo so as to prompt a Participant who has not answered.

This feature exists in Market Dojo, and will now work in a similar way within our onboarding solution with an option to ‘re-send invite’ to participants. The option will not be visible after participants accept the invite.

For suppliers, this will improve their experience by creating a reminder for them to respond. For hosts, this makes it much easier to chase up late suppliers.

Enter in participant email addresses manually
Market Dojo has a number of ways to add participants to an event. Until now adding them by email address manually could be quite slow, as it needed to be done one by one. Now, you can enter (or copy and paste from Excel) several email addresses in one go. The system will even suggest addresses from your participant database. This is something several customers have requested, and will mean event setup can be completed faster.

Along with that, many other issues that you’ve kindly raised with us have been fixed. And as ever, we love showing you how proud we are of these features. Keep the demo requests coming in so we can hear your feedback and show you how to get the most out of our intuitive eSourcing tools.

Don’t forget to BOOK A DEMO NOW!

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Latest Recruit for Team Dojo

Market Dojo are pleased to announce the arrival of our newest member of Team Dojo. Working as part of the marketing team Craig adds his buzzing personality to the mix.
We asked Craig a few questions to help you get to know him better.

 

What made you apply to work at Market Dojo?
I wanted to work for a company that had a real passion for what they did and after meeting the directors knew that it was a place I wanted to be.

What are you looking forward to in your new role?
I’m very keen to work with the team, developing the brand of Market Dojo as well as learning more about the procurement industry. I am also looking forward to working on some of the interesting marketing campaigns that we have planned!

What is different about Market Dojo?
The passion of the team. When you speak to any of the guys at Market Dojo, you know that they want to do their very best to help their clients. Whether it’s assisting their clients with eAuctions using ‘Market Dojo’ or helping them to use the on-boarding tool ‘SIM Dojo’. They have a real desire to help.

If you didn’t go into marketing, what other professions would you have considered?
I think I would have been looking at a professional career as a male model, I heard that Southern Comfort were looking for younger, rounder model for their latest beach body advert and I think I might of been the right man for the job (see the video here).

What is the most unusual job you have ever had?
During a six month period where I was working in America, I also helped coach for a youth football team in North Carolina. I call it unusual because I was pretty much teaching them the rules of football.

What is your favourite book/movie?
I will shamefully admit that my favourite film is ‘What Women Want’, a rom-com with Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson. When I was young, I liked the idea of influencing what people are thinking.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?
I once ‘had’ a one direction song on my phone, It’s not something I talk about anymore.

What is one thing about yourself that you think others would be surprised to know?
I broke my back when I was 16 and had to wear a back brace for last few years of my teenage life.

What’s your biggest claim to fame?
I once met the entire Chelsea football team. Had a chat with John Terry, got snubbed by Jose Mourinho and was kissed on the cheek by the lovely Eva Carneiro (controversial ex-physio at Chelsea Football Club).

Where have you travelled abroad? What was your favourite country?
I have been to a few places around the world. I once went on safari in South Africa when I was young and I still remember most of it to this day.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I’m a big football fan and like most sports but I also have a bit of a geeky side. You can often find me enjoying a good fiction novel or playing video games.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?
A domestic dog, they get to live a pampered life and don’t have to worry about being someone else’s dinner. They also spend their lives making others happy which I think is a good motto to live one’s life by.

What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie?
Probably Simon Pegg, as someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously he would probably be a good fit. My life also seems to have a few Mr Bean elements to it, such as chasing miniature ponies around a field (yes this really happens on a frequent basis and these are the culprits).

What are you hoping to bring to Market Dojo?
I hope to bring an extra bit of creativity and perception to the team. Hopefully influencing future marketing campaigns with my personality and my own brand of humour.

Connect with Craig on LinkedIn.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

What Procurement can Learn from Sport

Whilst putting together our article ‘Are Procurement Professionals stuck in the Stone Age?’, which looks at B2B technology in comparison with B2C, myself and Ed got on to the topic of sport. And it became clear that we are both very driven, not just in terms of our work ethic, but also in our passion for our chosen sports. We then thought about how this passion and determination translates to our work, and how important having a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset is. And what better time to write this article than in the run up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, with less than 100 days until the Opening Ceremony.

[RADIO PODCAST] Check out the radio interview with Kelly Barner of Buyer’s Meeting Point.

Triathlon and training have become somewhat of a compulsion for Ed. Others might call it an all consuming passion. It all started 8 years ago as a means to get fit and stay healthy – having not competed since school in athletics; “it started as a goal to encourage me to stay fit and eat and drink sensibly”. It has culminated in Ed racing IronMan triathlon’s across Europe and a growing ambition to represent GB at Age Group level, and the opportunity to be coached by a professional Ironman Triathlete – Harry Wiltshire.

Anya took up Olympic Weightlifting around a year ago and fell in love almost instantly. Being naturally strong and with a gymnastics background as a child, the move to weightlifting was pretty natural. Fortunate enough to visit the Europa Centre, home of the British gymnastics and weightlifting teams, she had the privilege of learning from the best in the sport in the UK.

The determination and drive to succeed in sport follows through to our passion for procurement and success in business with the same principles being applied in both areas. We believe having a positive attitude and determination to succeed is the ultimate key.

The picture below shows how and where attitudes can change and we relate these to specific examples we have come across in sport and industry:

1. I can learn anything I want to.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day  Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime But teach a man to learn and he can do anything!
-Jeffrey

The brain is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it will become, this is an interesting analogy given our respective sporting pursuits. For Anya lifting heavy weights is not just about pure strength as technique plays a key role. For Ed, swimming was not his discipline – in fact he cannot float – this initially stopped him thinking (!) about triathlon racing – because he did not believe he could master swimming. This was not a physical limitation, instead a mental / mindset issue on his part. It was overcome by using his brain, deciding that he could learn to swim well, and persevering with the help of others at a local swim club and ultimately with Harry Wiltshire.

Similarly in the work environment, and whilst at Xchanging Ed took on responsibility for the EMEA business, which had a large French operation. In spite of failing French at school, and a self perception that foreign language learning was not his forte, he ignored his thinking and decided to learn French in an effort to create a stronger bond with the French team. ‘Je décidai que je pouvais apprendre le français.’

2. When I’m frustrated, I persevere.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
-Calvin Coolidge

Procurement involvement and interference with the decisions of stakeholders is not always welcomed, to say the least. Often misunderstood, and sometimes seen as a function which slows down action, many stakeholders are not greatly supportive of the procurement team getting involved in their spend. This has a range of reasons, which we won’t go into here. Across the last 30 years in procurement Ed has seen the good and bad of procurement’s relationship with stakeholders inside and outside the organisation. The common change management thread to securing involvement in stakeholder programmes is ‘not giving up’, simply to keep knocking at the door, and showing the stakeholder that you are persistent And at the same time looking for different angles to showing that procurement value can be brought to bear – perseverance will bring results.
To quote Albert Einstein “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

3. I like to challenge myself.

Target setting in procurement – if you really have to get the money…what would you do….

There are two ways to operate in procurement, sport and life in general. You can either coast along, doing things the way you’ve always done them, avoiding change and new ideas, or you can embrace innovation and search for those challenges.
Sales is notorious for being very target-driven, and procurement professionals are often given savings targets to meet. However, aside from these challenges set by management, we have to be able to set our own personal goals.
At Market Dojo, we talk about the ‘eSourcing Hero’. This refers to someone within a procurement function with that extra drive and motivation to work harder. So that they can say to themselves, their friends and family (really!), on their CV or LinkedIn, ‘I identified and then delivered savings of £4m in 6 months’. #betheeSourcinghero

4. When I fail, I learn.
James Dyson interestingly has taken learning from failure to create a World beating multi-billion pound business. Interestingly Dyson excelled at long distance running:
“I was quite good at it, not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learnt determination from it.”

It seems this determination coupled with the openness to learn from failure – drove Dyson to work for 5 years building 5127 prototypes of what became the World’s leading (cyclonic) Vacuum cleaner. He is now estimated to be worth £3bn personally.
“Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee says brother Jonathan threw away the world triathlon title by being a “complete tactical numpty” during his battle with Spain’s Javier Gomez at the Grand Final in London.
Alistair says the younger Brownlee got his tactics wrong by trying to outsprint the Spaniard from 200m out instead of sitting on his shoulder.

Gomez won his third ITU World Triathlon title as he beat Johnny in a dramatic sprint finish in Hyde Park.” – BBC Sport [Read Article]
BBC iPlayer – The Brownlees – An Olympic Story [Watch Now]
Both Brownlee’s have been World Champions at Triathlon, and have both been selected for the Rio Olympics.

Check out this TED talk for more info on learning from failure.
5. I like being told that I try hard.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
– Stephen King

Success can be achieved through a combination of effort and intelligence. And whilst many may think that being intelligent is the highest priority here, studies have shown that being called intelligent can act as a de-motivator, rather than something to encourage people to try harder.
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
– Thomas A. Edison

When you think about this, it makes sense. If one is deemed as ‘intelligent’, it suggests that they already have the full capability to get to where they need to be without having to exert effort. However, being told that you try hard suggests that there is more you need to do to succeed. Positively reinforcing someone’s efforts motivated them to try even harder. Studies on children have even been used to prove this theory. [Read more here]

6. If my classmates succeed, I’m inspired.


The very best example of this is the recent injury that Jack Oliver faced at the European Championships. This could be applied to so many of these points such as ‘when I fail, I learn’, and ‘my effort and attitude determine everything’, but the most predominant is definitely Jack’s attitude to watching his team go on to represent his country where he should have joined them. Read the quote from Jack’s instagram below:
“This was the moment my Road to Rio became a road to recovery. … It couldn’t have been any more disappointing for me, as the lift where I injured myself would have qualified me for the Olympics and set 2 British records at the same time but that’s sport and we have to move on. I’m massively proud of the guys for qualifying a spot for Rio and as much as I wanted it to be me going, I’ll still be cheering whichever guy does go. The men in the UK aren’t funded. We get no money, no medical treatment. Nothing. So for us to even qualify a spot at the Olympics is a big deal.”

7. My effort and attitude determine everything.

I (Anya) hadn’t trained consistently for 6 months. Work was heavy, my 2 year old decided sleep was really uncool (which, as a full-time working, single mother isn’t the easiest!), and unfortunately, the gym had taken a lower priority. Training one day a week, on my only child free evening, after a long day in the office, energy levels were low.
On this particular occasion, I’d had a really productive day at work and was generally feeling very positive. I walked into the gym, as I normally do, took out my training log and thought ‘I’m going to make today count’. I’d written quite an in-depth workout involving ‘cleans’, ‘front squats’ and ‘jerks’. For those of you unfamiliar with these, check out this video.
After warming up, I loaded the bar with a 5kg weight on either side to do my initial drills moving from 30kg – 55kg. I tripled 55kg and stood there for a minute to recover and thought about this article and how I could stop at 55kg, my comfort zone, or I could embrace the positive mindset I was in and aim for more. So I did. I loaded 60kg on to the bar and cleaned it with ease. Why stop there? I loaded a further 5 kg and cleaned 65kg for the first time in a LONG time. And it felt great. I wasn’t back to my peak, but I lifted a lot more than I had in a long time. And why? Because my effort and attitude determine everything.

The Growth Mindset verses Fixed Mindset was introduced to Ed by Harry, after Ed had a wobble following a late season Ironman race in Turkey. In short his run did not go as well as he hoped (10 minutes slower than expected), and Ed questioned his own capability to improve his race performance. Sage words from Harry and this graphic put Ed back in the right place.
Harry kindly provided us with some thoughts in relation to attitude in sport and business:

“Ed, like a number of high achievers I have worked with was fixated with measuring his improvement as an athlete. After the race in Turkey he asked me if he was capable of being faster; he said he did not want to do something if he wasn’t going to be good at it. I have found people who are successful in their field are often scared of exposing themselves to new situations where they risk being less successful.
Common comments when working with professionals trying their hand at sport are

“I don’t want to do it unless I am going to be good at it” or “I’m wasting my time, this isn’t working.”

Whilst there is of-course a genetic ceiling on athletic ability, these people have got nowhere near that ceiling. I find it useful to ask them to think about the process rather than the outcome. If you follow the best process that you are able to, you will achieve the best outcome that you are capable of. Invariably those who enjoy the process and show long term consistency and dedication to it far surpass what they thought they could achieve. Ed has been a fantastic example of this, he is still desperately competitive, but has made huge improvements by accepting that it is a long term journey to find out how good he can be at something he enjoys rather than an activity he will only do if he can achieve immediate success.

These themes come up time and time again with athletes who are successful in the long term. It is the difference between young athletes who show huge promise then disappear and those who go onto have successful careers. It is the difference between the athletes in my training group who will be competing for their second Olympic medals this summer and those with comparable natural talent who left the sport 10 years ago. It is the grit, which I know makes the difference between success and learned helplessness in sport and I would be prepared to bet that it is the same in business.”

Do you have GRIT or Learned Helplessness?


Ed is co-founder of Odesma, a new breed of business advisory firm, one that is uniquely on demand providing virtual procurement through the Procurement PeopleCloudTM. He is a results orientated executive level business leader with 25 years global professional services, consulting and functional experience in procurement, supply chain and change management. Previously with Xchanging plc, Ed had Executive leadership responsibility for running the global procurement and HR outsourcing businesses. He has also held senior level consulting and functional roles with QPGroup, ShareMax Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Ed can be contacted at edward.cross@odesma.co.uk or at:
Odesma Limited, Woodrow, Off Snape Hall Road, Whitmore
Staffordshire ST5 5HS
Tel: +44 (0)161 433 7833
www.odesma.co.uk
Having joined the team in early 2015, Anya manages marketing and market analysis at Market Dojo. Market Dojo is the only e-Sourcing software provider to offer an easy to use, professional solution with completely transparent pricing. From creating content and managing social platforms, to attending networking events and building client relationships, Anya is the first point of call for any questions you may have about Market Dojo.

If you’re interested in hearing more, get in touch:
Anya McKenna
anya.mckenna@marketdojo.com
+44(0)117 318 2537 | +44(0)792 337 6307
Instagram: anyamckenna
www.marketdojo.com

[Case Study] Specsavers: ‘Should’ve gone to Market Dojo!’

Jasper Raby is an interim procurement pro, currently based at Specsavers. With his wealth of experience in Procurement and sourcing, Jasper was brought in to Specsavers at the point when they were looking to move away from email and spreadsheets to a more centralised solution. Through Jasper’s expertise, and sharing the Market Dojo philosophy of ‘making eSourcing simple’ to drive adoption, he was able to strategically implement new technologies at Specsavers, identifying hidden savings.


How did you hear about Market Dojo?

I met Market Dojo at eWorld in 2013 and first spoke to one of the co-founders, Nick Drewe. I had just left Kingfisher and was looking for another role. Nick and myself chatted for a while at the conference and it went from there.

What do you like about Market Dojo?

The company and people are intuitive, young and of an enthusiastic nature.

What made Specsavers choose Market Dojo over other providers?

Market Dojo is very easy to use, a true SaaS application meaning it can be accessed anywhere as data is stored in the cloud. But more importantly, makes it a very cost-friendly solution.

How do you use Market Dojo?

We started off by running a few low risk, low value auctions. The first auction was for the provision of cleaning services. We chose to start with this as it was relatively low risk, we already had quotes from suppliers, and simply conducted the negotiation phase via eAuction. The requirements were different to the previous contract so unfortunately we were not able to claim savings, although we definitely drove some of the costs down. Thus proving to both the Specsavers team and our suppliers that reverse auctions are feasible.

We then moved on to a slightly more complex category – security guarding for offices. We weren’t 100% satisfied with our incumbent, so needed to negotiate. We ran an end to end process involving: RFI > RFP > RFQ > Auction. The process worked well, initially selecting known companies, plus sourcing new ones online.

The tender itself involved sourcing security personnel for two locations: Hampshire & Nottinghamshire. The auction was made up of two lots reflecting these locations. We saw a saving of 10% which was a good success due to the contract being labour-based and the fact we had not seen any price movement for a few years.

The biggest barrier we faced from suppliers was that they weren’t comfortable on a price-only negotiation. We stated that business would not be awarded to the lowest bidder, and that price, quality and service were all factors.

What is your most notable success using Market Dojo?

Specsavers ran an auction in November 2015 for the supply of components for glasses with a multi-million pound value. The auction duration was set to 30 minutes with a five-minute dynamic close. A total of five suppliers participated in the auction, with a couple being rejected prior to the auction as their qualification bids were not sharp enough. The auction ran for 35 mins in total with 19 bids received. On a direct category, this saving of 16% was brilliant, amounting to nearly one million dollars!!!

How will Specsavers continue to use Market Dojo?

Specsavers is running a full value of tenders online varying from services through to products. Where appropriate, these will be run through to eAuction. Specsavers will be looking to use Market Dojo as a ‘business as usual’ tool and regard it as an integral part of their negotiation toolkit.

Lastly, what is your favourite thing about Market Dojo?

The name!

“Market Dojo helps bring simplicity to a complex procurement environment”
– Jasper Raby

We’ll just finish with this advert…


Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

How we do Customer Support…

We love our customers. We want to make sure they are happy with the service we provide to them. This means customer support is VERY important to us. So, how do we do it?
Track everything
To make sure everyone knows what is going on (customers and ourselves alike), we use a support portal to record all the information about support tickets and solutions. The portal integrates with the Market Dojo application, our Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), Live Chat and Bug Tracking systems. This means it’s easier for us to tell who needs help, and track the progress of a ticket. All our customers also have access to the portal which they can use to find solutions to common problems, review their tickets and log new ones.
Make it easy to report a problem
Our customers can use a range of ways to contact us these include email, telephone, Skype and web chat. About 50% of our support cases come via web chat; email and phone each account for 20% with the remainder split across other channels. Our goal is to provide the same high standard of support, regardless of the channel.
Everyone on support
At Market Dojo, support is shared amongst the team. This approach has become really popular among Software as a Service companies over the last few years. Although doing support can be hard to juggle with other tasks, it means that we remain connected to what our customers want, and put this at the centre of everything else we do.
Classifying the problem
We see several types of support issue, and we always try to carefully categorise it. This allows us to set priorities and also create useful reports.
We categorise problems according to who can help – Market Dojo Support, Operations or Development teams, or is it a question for the person hosting the event? We also identify which area of the system the problem affects. Currently about 61% of our support tickets can be solved by the front line support team.

Finding a solution
Once we fully understand the problem, we may be able to resolve it straight away. For example, by giving advice on how to reset a password or a suggestion on where to find the correct information. For problems which need help from the development team, we will log the issue in our Bug Tracker.
Bugs are prioritised according to their urgency and importance. This means that we would work on a problem which is preventing customers from running events, before we looked at a suggestion to move a button.
Customer notification
After a bug has been fixed, we will notify the affected Customer and close the case.
Improve
We are always looking for ways to improve our support…
If we answer a support query which is likely to be asked again in the future, we create a solution. This solution is then shown on the Support Portal so all our customers and the support team can see it. This concept is called Knowledge Centred Support and helps to keep our solutions up to date.
Once a month we review the new cases and look for trends and ways to improve. We recently found that many Live Chat requests were questions for the event Host and not for Market Dojo. As a result we are experimenting with changes to our Live Chat buttons to make it clearer whom to contact.
We love our customers. We want to make sure they are happy with the service we provide to them. We use systems and processes to ensure we do the best we can to support them.
I hope this insight into how we support our customers is interesting. I would love to hear any questions or ideas about how we could do better. If you are a customer, please do try the support portal next time you need help.
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[NEW RELEASE] Buenos dias from Market Dojo!

Mid-week saw us release a couple more enhancements to the software, as well as many more general improvements to meet our growing customer demand. However two main highlights stood out that we would like to share with you in this blog…

Spanish language

We’ve seen increasing demand from Latin America and other Spanish-speaking regions across the globe and so we’re really excited to add Spanish to complement our numerous other language options.

As one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, it really does increase our potential user base and across several continents to boot. Give it a try today and let us know what you think!

PS: a huge thank you to our wonderful partner in Latin America, Bruno Alvarez, for all the time spent on helping us perfect this release.

Questionnaire templates
Another exciting release driven by a customer request is the ability to save existing questionnaires as a template to re-use in future.

A superhost can keep tabs on which templates are created to ensure the library remains organised. There’s also the scope in the future for the Market Dojo team to pre-load our customers’ libraries with some useful templates to help them get started. This particularly applies to the SIM Dojo tool where we can provide some best-practice on-boarding questionnaires.

We hope you enjoy these new features, brought to you free of charge and immediately available to all. Keep the ideas coming as we really do listen!

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

6 Important Life Lessons You Need to Learn

Alun, one of the founders of Market Dojo’s intuitive eSourcing platform, shares his experience of his recent stint as a mentor and some of the knowledge and lessons he has learnt throughout his career. Alun’s wealth of experience has played a massive part in getting Market Dojo to where it is today, so read on and benefit from his wonderful expertise…

My father once said the best time you will have in life is at university. Another friend also said you won’t be around so many similar people of the same age unless you end up in prison!
Recently, an opportunity arose to mentor a student from Bristol university. Given my previous memories I thought it was a great chance to give something back. My career progression was always built on my previous choices to end up starting my own business.

I was set on that path however from my original summer placement at Rolls Royce. An obvious option for a Bristol Aeronautical Engineer. Followed by a graduate job at the same site, then falling into procurement as many do. After a short stint in consultancy, software sales, and finally a boutique procurement consultancy, I felt I had gained the skills and confidence to create our own business. Along with a couple Bristol Graduates, Market Dojo was born.

However, if someone had been there to mentor me when leaving university, would I have taken the easiest option? Would I recognise my negotiating position and look at other companies? Would I understand where I really wanted to go? (Not that I would change anything mind you).

One of the benefits of mentoring is that unlike managing, there is no impact on yourself or your workload (except for a small amount of your time). It is completely up to the mentee as to whether they act on your advice or take advantage of your time. However the challenge is that you also feel the need to motivate and inspire. So in some ways more difficult than managing and in others more rewarding.

My previous mentoring experience was assisting a fellow engineer to become chartered with the IMechE. I can gladly say that he became a fantastic engineer (congrats Simon!) although that was a structured methodology, unlike mentoring a Bristol undergraduate which has a less defined remit.

As I first met my Bristol mentee, I realised how underprepared I was and I thought to capture a few points you might ponder if you end up in that position.

1. Have a think about what form the mentoring will take. Having some structure about next steps will at least make the mentee think about the value of your time and what the expectations are.

2. What questions can someone think about at an early age which will allow them to question their career path. Do they want their own business? What do they love doing and can they do that for work?

3. What life lessons have you learnt that you can pass on? Such as the importance of networking, your own power in negotiations, how such small things can drastically effect your career path…

All in all it is about inspiring the mentee to reflect on choices they have made and will make and their implications. Maybe that won’t change their decisions but as long as they question them, it is the best you can hope for.

Here are some life lessons I have learnt over the years:

Prioritise first what your boss asks of you.
In my first role at Rolls Royce, my manager told me this. Although sometimes hard to prioritise everything, it certainly helps with a more hassle free life

Don’t stress, life’s too short.
When working in Brussels, there was a German gentleman who was about to give a very important presentation. The only issue was the printer didn’t work and he couldn’t print off the slides. If I was in his position, I would be simply panicking off the scale. He calmly replied when asked that it simply doesn’t achieve anything. He will either have the slides in the end or not. Easier said than done although you can see the sentiment.

Pay attention.
Interestingly I thought more about this watching a remake of the ‘Day of the Jackal’ as, if I remember correctly, he (the Jackal) was being taught a lesson on observation. And if you really pay attention, there are many clues out there that can be missed. For example when you go to a negotiation, looking at the type and quality of the decor, what was written on the whiteboard through to what questions aren’t being asked can give you a simple advantage

Want to do the job.
Or at least pretend you do. Enthusiasm comes across and it is true when people say it is contagious. You create a much better first impression if you can show passion.
You’re in charge of your own destiny.

Without trying to sound too melodramatic, or like a script from Star Wars, you meet people in life who can be quite negative and always say the cards are stacked against them. In fact, generally speaking, no one is working against you, and no one for you, you are in control of what you can and can’t do and where you ultimately end up..

Make eye contact.
It shows respect and if you ever going drinking with a French person and say ‘Cheers’ (or in French – ‘A ton sante’) then they will remind you that you should look into their eyes to show sincerity.

Do you have any life lessons to share?

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[Radio Interview] Jon Hansen and Market Dojo on the future of eSourcing technology

We recently had the great pleasure of taking part in a radio interview with Jon Hansen of Procurement Insights in one of a series of interviews as a follow up to Market Dojo being identified as one of the ‘New Wave Companies’ to watch in 2013.

Jon was interested in hearing our thoughts on 3 main topics:

We had the opportunity to talk to Jon about how the original philosophy of making eSourcing simple remains the same today. How we’ve experienced great growth and moved into overseas markets. How the buying behaviour of clients, and procurement professionals has evolved to allow for the integration of SaaS tools such as Market Dojo into their eSourcing processes.

You can listen to the interview in full here:

Procurement Unplugged: A New Wave Era Company Talks About The Future
Lewis Barnard
Business Development Manager
t: +44 (0) 117 318 1514
e: lewis.barnard@marketdojo.com

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Market Dojo predict tighter supply chain constraints for the Procurious Big Ideas Summit 2016.

For the second year in a row Market Dojo has entered Procurious’ Big Idea Summit. This year, our big idea is that companies are going to pay more attention to compliance within their supply chain.

With new regulations and policies such as the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Read more from CIPS here) and the Living Wage Policy 2016, companies have been forced to have a greater understanding of how their suppliers operate.

Market Dojo predicts that the larger companies will carve the way in obtaining and maintaining this information. The smaller companies will hopefully follow suit. So what does the procurement team need to do to stay on top? How will companies be adapting?

We found that to enable increased supplier compliance, supplier onboarding tools need to become more adoptable and easier to use.

We can already see companies starting to implement this:

Apple released their 2016 supplier responsibility progress report. Most interestingly, they stated that nearly 140 of the audits last year were for the first-time, showing their transition to becoming a more responsible company in relation to their supply chain.

But where does this end? Where does it stop when it comes to compliance with these new regulations?

What measures are your company taking with the impending regulations coming into place. We would love to hear your opinions, please comment below or contact us directly.

Peter Glass
Business Development Manager
t: +44 (0) 117 230 9047
e: peter.glass@marketdojo.com

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[NEW RELEASE] Improved Public Events

We have improved the Market Dojo eSourcing platform to make publishing and responding to tenders easier.

For some time, we have had the ability for our customers to publish their tenders on a portal page in Market Dojo. We learnt how customers used this feature, and improved it.

Why might you want to do this?
Including more appropriate suppliers helps to increase competition and ensure you find the best value.

Using Market Dojo, you can advertise your tender in a range of different places which refer people to your portal page. Some clients even use Twitter to advertise their tenders. You can then process the applications in an efficient and auditable way.

One example of our clients successfully implementing this method is seen below with City of Wolverhampton Council. They wanted to find an easy to use solution for sub-OJEU tenders listed on Contracts Finder, so enlisted Market Dojo to help. They created a domain by which suppliers could find opportunities and linked it back to their Market Dojo portal. By clicking the sub £50K option, you are then taken to the City of Wolverhampton Council portal with Market Dojo where you can see all the current opportunities in this region of spend.

How does it work?
When you make your events public, anyone can visit your portal and see a list of Current Opportunities.

If participants see an event they want to bid for, they can sign up, or login, and will then be able to click a button to apply.

At that point, the event host will be notified and can decide whether to accept them.
We are really excited about how this feature can be used by our customers to make life easier. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[NEW RELEASE] Improved document uploads

Last weekend we released the latest batch of improvements to Market Dojo. The most notable of these is improved support for document uploads.

We made this change in response to requests from our customers. They want to receive more than one document as the answer to a document question. Previously customers had zipped the documents into one file, or asked several questions. This wasn’t always convenient. Now, you can simple drag and drop the documents into your answer, and you have control of how many documents you include.

Here is what it looks like for someone answering a questionnaire.

A participant adds two documents to their answers.

As part of this design improvement, our development team also suggested we enhance the User Interface, to make adding documents even easier. This means you can add several documents in one go, and even drag and drop them from your file explorer. This is available when answering questionnaire or creating events.

Our testing suggests this will make using documents in Market Dojo even quicker and easier.
We hope you like this new feature, and would love to hear your feedback.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

[NEW RELEASE] Introducing the New Analytics Dashboard for Market Dojo

Users of Market Dojo may have noticed an extra tab located on their dashboard named ‘analytics’. This section is one of the latest features to be added to Market Dojo and gives a graphical representation of your history using the tool. Created by Vibhuti Laroiya as part of her Masters at UWE, who has kindly written this wonderful guest article detailing the features and benefits. Thank you Vibhuti!

Let, Market Dojo Do the Hard Work for You!!

Year 2016, kicked off with the technological and functional advancement of Market Dojo and an objective to make eSourcing more informative yet simple. Our mantra was “Business Intelligence (BI)”.

In agreement with the late Peter Drucker, a management guru, I too believe in “What gets measured, gets managed!” And, with a vision to improvise the management aspects of e-sourcing we kick started the Project called “Intelligent Market Dojo” in April, 2015. It all started with YOU as the centre:

“How can we help you to manage your events more efficiently?”

“How can we empower your decision making process to host an event in a most simplistic way?”

And, my experience and research led to the conclusion that BI / Analytics is the answer to the above questions.

Now, you must be wondering, how will you benefit from BI / Analytics?

Here are some of the benefits of Market Dojo’s Analytics:

Specially customised for you.
This dashboard will give you an insight to your events; moreover, the events you have been given access to, by other users. This feature, intelligently picks up the events “just for you” to generate summaries of your events, your suppliers and your average savings.

Simplified view of complex data.
The background data which might take you hours to calculate the desired summaries, is now converted into a millisecond affair.

More control of your data
You can easily and thus, remove the challenges to finding answers to complex queries like “How many suppliers have responded to my invitations, so far?” or “who to invite for my next event, based on the responses from your past suppliers.” This feature, will empower you to decide the reliable suppliers for your events which in-turn is expected to get you a quote from a highly competitive event / auction.

Another added benefit is a better understanding of Market Dojo’s capabilities. Once you have run an event with Market Dojo, you will be able to access the analytics tab. Your events are then summarised by ‘Event Type’, giving an overview of not only your activities run, but all your available options, and ‘Auction Type’, letting you see what Market Dojo offers here.

After a yearlong collaborative effort with a vision to enhance your experience of event hosting, we take pride to announce that this feature has been released for you to explore. So, let’s make the best use of Market Dojo and let Market Dojo do it all for you!!!

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

The 3 Stages of Face-to-Face Negotiation

In many cases where a reverse auction can be used, we recommend that you (the buyer) reserve what is known as buyer’s choice. This means that, although the outcome of the auction is important, it is not necessarily the only factor you will consider when awarding the business.

One option you have, that we see many of our clients do, is bring the top three suppliers in to further discuss the tender opportunity. But what do you do then?

We’ve put together a guide on Face-to-Face negotiation strategy to help assist you with this. You can download the full guide for free by signing up to Market Dojo here, then clicking this link.
This can also be applied should you choose not to run an auction and go straight to the f2f stage of negotiation.

A negotiation can be broken down into three main phases:

Preparation, Discussion & Review

Preparation
The preparation phase of a Negotiation is where you:

Discussion
The discussion phase consists of three elements:

1. Opening
This is where you declare your objectives and opening positions. This should obviously be a position from which you are prepared to move and thus should be a relatively high, yet sensible, list of demands.


2.Probing
Here you will gently probe each of the negotiation issues, gaining an overall understanding of the position, without making any commitments.

 

3. Bargaining
This is the critical point. At the end of this phase you will either have the makings of a final agreement or negotiations will breakdown.

Review

The review is where you will work out the next steps, which will either be obtaining a signed agreement or looking at alternative options.

It is also a good time to understand what went well ,what didn’t, and what could be done next time to improve.

The guide itself was put together by the Market Dojo team, combining their 20+ years of procurement experience to bring you a true value-adding document to ramp up your negotiation skills.

For the full strategy behind face-to-face negotiations, simply register (as a host, for free) here first, then click the link to begin the download:
Face-to-face Negotiation Strategy

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

How to Save €1500 in 37 Minutes on your Next Car Purchase

This is a guest post by Vlado Prosenik from Efekto Pro. Efekto Pro are our consultancy partner in Slovenia.  They help customers make purchases more efficiently.

A few months ago, I realized that it was time to replace my car. I was treating it very well; feeding it with the best fuel and oils, getting it serviced regularly, changing it’s tyres when needed, etc. It was returning my kindness with safe routes, comfort, excellent radio sound, and it was not greedy at all. We were good friends. I thought it would be upset to be sold to a new owner. However, as soon as the first potential buyer showed the money, my friend forgot about me.

Quite sad, my friend left me just because of money. I had to find a new car. Since it served me well, I wanted a new one from the same litter. Since I unfortunately hadn’t won the lottery that week (even now, I cannot understand how I didn’t win!), I started searching for the most economical way to purchase a new car.

I checked the range of vehicles to suit my needs, demands and preferences. I found six such cars. I tested all six, obtained bids and negotiated the price for all of them. Some sellers were friendly, others were professional, some were arrogant, some funny, and some were misleading. Nevertheless, all the cars were beautiful, powerful and clean. For each of them I found both positives and negatives. However, all would give me safety whilst driving and all would bring me to a desired destination at the same time. Provided there is a road to get there, of course.

I found a favourite quickly. The preferable order of the other five was also defined quite soon in my head. I was negotiating the price of my favourite very hard. I even used help of some acquaintances to come up with the best price. At a certain stage, even acquaintances were not able to help me with lowering the price. I said to myself: “That’s it.” “Unless … “ “No, stop dreaming, who will participate in an auction for one car, come on, be serious.” “However, it is not a sin if you try!”

Reverse auction! If I can run reverse auctions for my clients, why could I not run a reverse auction for  my car?!

The decision was made. I ran a weighted auction, meaning the winning supplier was chosen for more than providing the cheapest price. If I had set the only criteria of price, I would most likely have not been satisfied with the winning car.

Here are the statistics from the auction:

Invited participants 30
Participants registered on Market Dojo 18
Participants that accepted invitation 14
Qualification bids placed 11
Number of participants actively bidding 6
Total bids placed during auction 34
Auction duration 37 mins

A participant who I had not contacted personally submitted the winning bid. The next day I went to meet the winning bidder and to sign the contract. They were very professional and friendly. I saved about 1500 EUR according to the best offer I have managed to negotiate before the auction. I had received the car more than one month before the promised deadline. And after a few months of driving the new car, we are getting better and better friends.

It is also interesting that quite a few unsuccessful vendors called me after the auction. They were asking which car I bought, and if they can offer the service. Not one negative comment I have received regarding the selection process. Mostly they commented that they could not give a better price and that it was good to have an opportunity to see their rank during the auction.
If I managed to run a reverse auction to purchase a car, for my own personal use (as erratic and tedious as that process can be), then surely there is great opportunity for reverse auctions to bring savings in areas where the competition between providers is developed. You just have to take it the right way!

+386 41 38 00 37
vlado.prosenik@efekto.si
EFEKTO PRO d.o.o.
www.efektopro.si

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Are Procurement Professionals Stuck in the Stone Age? – Part II

Market Dojo and Odesma partner to combine their intuitive eSourcing softwareand expertise in offering business advisory services to offer clients a winning procurement solution. Read Part I, where Ed (one of Odesma’s co-founders) and Market Dojo initially ponder the neanderthalic ways of B2B software…

Slowly and surely, not only do we see B2B companies adopting these B2C ideologies, but some B2C companies are jumping in and filling the gap left by B2B providers. Granted, the complexity of B2B companies isn’t completely covered by the consumer oriented companies, and so they are aiming more at the smaller companies, but all the same it still highlights a shift in the market.

By taking a couple of examples, we can see where these changes are happening and examples of B2C solutions doing it right:

The transportation networking company Uber originally focussed on the B2C space by bringing together people looking to travel in the same direction, aggregating the demand and sharing out the cost of the journey to charge a lower price. Targeting those traveling for personal reasons and commuters, they are paying special attention to the business sector with their latest development of business profiles.

More recently, focus has shifted to the freight industry where they hope to achieve similar by introducing mobile-based freight brokering technology. Not only will there be a reduction in number of ‘empty miles’ travelled, mobile-based freight brokering technology can help lower operating costs, improve fuel efficiency, boost asset utilization and enhance resource productivity.

Benefits which Uber have been reaping since they formed in 2009.

Amazon touched briefly on the B2B side with Amazon Business. With benefits like integration with Purchasing systems and order approval workflows, they have adapted Amazon to create Amazon for business.

This could have extreme effects on the current technology providers should Amazon develop an eSourcing/eAuction aspect and it would not be that difficult for them to make the shift.
Another area in which Amazon has moved to a B2B focus is with their hosting options. This isn’t an adaptation of their B2C offering, but an entirely new market for them. (more info)

Airbnb, for example, provide a marketplace that allows one to search for and/or offer accommodation. Their sleek design, mobile-optimisation, carefully thought-out filters and simple sign-in methods are something to be rivalled. Having relied heavily on investment, they have been able to afford the development costs and created a really neat SaaS product.

Procurify is another such example of improved, B2C-esque usability. They aim to provide P2P technology without the presumed “boring” grey-scale color scheme and clunky design that we have seen (and expected?) for so long. They have responsive design and mobile applications available. With their bright colours and simplistic design, they are very appealing.

But will this new technology, mainly adopted by new companies, only appeal to the millennials of today? Will previous generations appreciate this or seek their old faithful, familiar, providers.
Jive is also an interesting example. Marketed as THE NEXT LEAP FOR SOCIAL INTRANET SOFTWARE, their user interface is very similar to that of Facebook… Facebook 3 years ago.

The concept is brilliant – provide companies with an internal social platform to share company news and collaborate. However the user interface still leaves something to be desired. Granted it’s one of the best on the market, and I am in no way criticising them specifically, but overall, there is still a lack of ease-of-use in B2B social platforms in comparison with B2C. Is this because we expect it, because more complexity is required, or because the design needs to remain colourless and simple.

LinkedIn have recently redesigned their ‘groups’ making them more user-friendly and appealing, so increased usability is something which they pay attention to. But the creativity of design is definitely lacking in the B2B world. Why does business have to be so boring!?

The procurement community is lucky to benefit from the industry specific social platform Procurious which, with its bright colours and easy interface has a very B2C feel – which differs greatly from LinkedIn. In the picture on the left, you can see crowded text and pictures with no clear direction of what to look at next with a few small tabs at the top to interact with.
On the right the information on the profile page is broken down into tabs and the contact information on the left-hand side makes it easy to see details of an individual.

It seems that Procurious, being a more recent development, has taken learnings from other solutions (in its space) to create a more user friendly social media platform. Whilst LinkedIn (above left) is busy and cluttered, Procurious provides a more simplistic, clearer view. If you haven’t done so already, definitely recommend getting involved there and signing up to the tool.

Alibaba provides an online platform for global wholesale trade. They launched in 1999 and attempt to make sourcing of goods and suppliers more simple for businesses, working with millions of suppliers across the globe.

Within the tool, they have a categorised search option for buyers with the ability to ‘get quotations’ from the approved supplier list within Alibaba (AliSource Suppliers).

As B2B technology companies are beginning to realise the benefits of being easy to use etc., what changes do we think will happen? How do we envisage the B2B tech space evolving within the next 5-10 years?

Market Dojo put an article together examining what we will look like in 10 years time and how we will have to adapt and change to remain ahead of the game. With a focus on us as an eSourcing company, we came up with a few conclusions, most of which can be applied not only to eSourcing, but to B2B technology companies as a whole.

The table below looks at different functions of technology and predictions on how they might change within the B2B landscape.

Function Change
Mobile Technology Whilst consumers are ever increasing their use of mobile tech, are businesses going to become more reliant on this in the workplace? The simple answer is yes. B2B companies need to be aware of becoming even more responsive, searchable and usable across the mobile technology of the future?
Google (power of the web/search) Will this develop enough and become intelligent enough to make other applications obsolete? Such as developing  more intelligent supplier search function and becoming the de-facto supplier database though their categorisation.
APIs The ability to integrate between solutions is already possible, but in the future it is set to become even more simple. We expect it becoming ever easier to integrate with any (software) component through standard connectors, so that best of breed becomes as attractive or even better than ERP solutions.
Amazon/Google/Apple B2B platform Established companies moving into other areas (E.g. developing eMarketplaces) and threatening the smaller providers with their ability to quickly develop technology. This is already happening.
Procserve, for example, have built links with Amazon for B2B purchasing. (See full article here.)
Eradicating the user interface Moving from slick user interface to ‘no user interface’, as per this Coupa article.  A rather controversial idea, but we can see some logic that instead of having to log into a tool every day, instead it fits around your life so you can interact with it outside the tool via Voice Activation such as Google Voice, Siri, Cortana, etc.
True commoditization The final stage of the technology lifecycle is commoditization. (See Market Dojo’s video on the four stages of technological growth taken from a TED lecture.)
Integrated market information How global news stories affect various aspects of your business and what technology can do to make companies more aware and faster.
Also how tech can keep companies updated with what’s being said about their brand. (Ref. Owler.)
More focus on AI & Automation/robotics The software could take actions when it ‘thinks’ it is needed. e.g. within eSourcing – delay an auction due to lack of liquidity, or suggest a better lot structure based on the bids received.
Public Sector Procurement A big shake-up in the public sector software market to disrupt the legacy tools with their complex workflows and procedures to be a slick tool that people enjoy using. E.g. Matrix SCM
IT involvement & Security barriers IT’s function is changing from an in-house design/build/implement function to a strategic business partner who guide business stakeholders in the selection of appropriate SaaS systems.
Marketing How will people find us in the future, compared to how they find us now?
How will the power of search change in the future?
At the minute, the focus is on Content Marketing, but what next?
More personalised, more interactive marketing?

As you can see, we expect the Market Dojo platform to become more intuitive and user-friendly over the next few years. Is this true of all business softwares? Will we (realistically) be able to prioritise usability and design over functionality and features?

The authors have pondered long and hard the question of when the B2C approach will catch on in the B2B World. We think it is progressively changing, but will for the reasons listed earlier take some time to change. New suppliers with easy to use solutions are coming to the fore, Coupa and Egencia come to mind. But we postulate that it will be a slow change process, with perhaps another 5 years before the whole B2B solution market feels like today’s B2C environment – at which point the B2C landscape will possibly be different again! To stay at the forefront of technology, can B2B companies look to B2C arena as a gauge of what’s to come?

What are your thoughts?

THE AUTHORS
Ed is co-founder of Odesma, a new breed of business advisory firm, one that is uniquely on demand providing virtual procurement through the Procurement PeopleCloudTM. He is a results orientated executive level business leader with 25 years global professional services, consulting and functional experience in procurement, supply chain and change management. Previously with Xchanging plc, Ed had Executive leadership responsibility for running the global procurement and HR outsourcing businesses. He has also held senior level consulting and functional roles with QPGroup, ShareMax Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ed can be contacted at edward.cross@odesma.co.uk or at:
Odesma Limited, Woodrow, Off Snape Hall Road, Whitmore
Staffordshire ST5 5HS
Tel: +44 (0)161 433 7833
www.odesma.co.uk

Market Dojo is the only e-Sourcing software provider to offer an easy to use, professional solution with completely transparent pricing.

If you’re interested in hearing more, get in touch:

info@marketdojo.com
+44 (0) 117 230 9200
www.marketdojo.com

Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden.

Go global with our multi-currency update

The technical team have been extremely busy of late, upgrading and maintaining our 4 distinct products covering category planninginnovationeSourcing and supplier information management.
This week was the turn of our flagship eSourcing tool, Market Dojo, to receive a new feature: multi-currency.
By this, we don’t mean simply the ability for clients to run their sourcing events in a currency of their choice – we’ve had that since the beginning. This actually refers to enabling participants to select their own preferred currency from a pre-defined list. Hosts can pick which are available to participants and what the corresponding exchange rate is to convert back to the Host’s own currency for bid comparison purposes.

The exchange rates are established per sourcing event, so you don’t need to fear an accidental change in the future that would distort your past results. You can even change the exchange rates during your sourcing event, up until participants submit their bids.
The multi-currency feature is only available as part of our Advanced Lots setup, given the few extra steps that are required. However this also means that you can combine Lots, or even Line Items, of different currencies, which is very neat.
For example your Lot may consist of a UK tariff, an EU tariff and a US tariff. You can stipulate that each element has it’s own currency that you want to see the bid in. No problem!

Should you then have an event total that needs to sum up the various elements, all in their own respective currencies, again no problem. You can even decide what currency you wish the total to appear in.
The same applies to the participants as well, even during the course of a live eAuction where all this maths is running behind the scenes to present everyone with the latest converted results.

So the next time you run a sourcing event using spreadsheets to convert bids into a single currency, know now that there’s a better way to do it by using Market Dojo.
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Market Dojo’s Thoughts From eWorld

With the first eWorld of 2016 having been and gone, it’s time to reflect on the day and think about what we took away.

A huge thank you to the team for organising the eWorld event. As usual, the delegates seemed to enjoy the day as much as the sponsors- a hard balance!
Our competition winner for this year was Gareth Cale of United Biscuits. We look forward to catching up with Gareth to find out how he wants to implement his month’s licence of Market Dojo software.

The day was, as ever, a success! With our new stand position (next to the lunch buffet!), we had a wonderful number of visitors throughout the course of the day.
Unfortunately, that did mean we were so busy we didn’t get to attend any talks!
So we’re asking YOU. What are some of your key takeaways from eWorld this time? What was missing that you’d like to see next time and what could we, as a sponsor, do to help ensure you leave feeling enlightened and innovated to try new technologies and improve your current ways of working?
Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Are Procurement Professionals Stuck in the Stone Age? – Part I

Market Dojo and Odesma partner to combine their intuitive eSourcing software and expertise in offering business advisory services to offer clients a winning procurement solution. Together, Ed (one of Odesma’s co-founders) and Market Dojo ponder the neanderthalic ways of B2B software…

The peculiar thing about business technology is that generally it is not very easy to use. I might exclude here email, but the rest of it seems to need a training course and some sort of super user or a training provider or even worse a consulting firm to come and show you how or work it for you. Whereas the most used technology that we interact with outside of work generally does not require any support. The irony here is that business technology came first, and the use of technology first appeared in the office, long before we all had tech at home or on our person. Yet, it remains unintuitive, expensive, and as a result does not get utilised fully or at all by a lot of people at work.

Compare this to B2C technology, how hard is it to work ? Ebay for instance or Facebook or Candy Crush. The simple answer is they are intuitive, straightforward and certainly do not need any training or consulting support to get the benefit of them. In fact even Generation X (us older types) can work them on any number of portable or fixed lumps of technology. And a lot of them are free to the user.

So what’s gone wrong? For this let me replay an anecdote (Ed speaking here) from 1999, when I worked for PwC I presented to a local CIPS event in Staffordshire on e-commerce, this topic was perceived as very much the new kid on the block and a whole host of new tech start ups were receiving incredible valuations. At this session I laid out the view of the future described by the firm, ignorant to the nay sayers. In fact there were quite a few in the audience, most notably those with a few more years under their belts than me. One or two challenged my hypothesis on the topic. I later left PwC to set up a Private Equity backed branch of a US e-Sourcing firm Sharemax. A year or two later the dot.com bubble had burst and I was back in Consultancy, and the nay sayers were proven right.

So, what was or still is the problem. From an historic perspective the leading market insight companies and so forth focused heavily on functionality, as did many buyers of solutions. And ignored the user experience, the maturity or demographic of the population expected to use the technology. Many people in senior or middle management positions did not grow up with computing technology and when making selection decisions focused on elements outside of ease of use, and considered technology against an historic understanding; one where tech is always hard to use. They therefore condoned supplier behavior where training and consulting support were deemed acceptable costs of enablement. And this thinking has not much changed given the demographics of leadership.

Of course, the existing providers have not been driven to step up because the customer has not demanded it of them. Whilst in the B2C arena the demographic, is younger, the expectation is of instant gratification, solutions have to be compelling, easy to use and free or very low cost. Though with Generation Y coming through in business I expect this is about to change.

The question is why big B2B software solution providers have not changed and emulated B2C? I would postulate the following reasons:

Expanding these points out:

1. Customer demand or acceptance
Interestingly there does not appear to be a huge clamour amongst B2B customers to secure simpler easier systems. Take SAP or Oracle for example, they continue to dominate their sector, SAP acquired Ariba for $4.3bn and continue to thrive making little effort to simplify and re-invent with ease of use at the heart of their solutions. Whereas in the B2C arena customers there is no choice for the providers, millions of users voices are being heard and all leading solutions from Amazon to AirBnB are simple and easy to use. Perhaps the imperative to change amongst B2B players is just not being voiced by action.

2. Drive for consulting revenues by providers
The prevailing model for providers is to maximise (after all they answer to shareholders) revenue and they have predominantly built models that support this goal. They do this by securing licence annuity and augment this with implementation, training, consultancy and delivery services. Take a leading and long established eSourcing provider, for example, they provide a complicated and unintuitive but effective solution for e-Sourcing which they support with a very large consultancy practise (600 professional staff delivering revenues of greater than €70m) Though figures are not available we might hypothesise that at least 50% of the revenues are consulting and support related. Clearly it is not in any legacy B2B providers interests to simplify the user interface due to the resulting loss of support revenues.

3. Decision makers equate complicated to valuable
Is it human nature in business to expect business solutions to be inherently complicated? Look at Jive, a sort of Facebook for business, whereas FB is really easy to navigate and personally manage intuitively, Jive is not. Given FB came first, and Jive built a similar tool albeit for a closed company environment, is that those that select it measured its value in terms of its complexity?

4. Industry Research organisations are in the pocket of those who pay and report as such.
A rather contentious point perhaps, but when looking at Gartner’s report on the e-Sourcing market a few years ago they had only just added a 7th criteria to their analysis; Ease of Use. They had historically focused on functional components i.e. spend analysis, contract management etc. (4 of 7 criteria) alongside technology platform and business services. Additionally the analysis of providers only lent itself to generally the bigger or more established players. The 2013 report included less than 30 suppliers, with the leaders in their opinion being the likes of IBM, Bravo, Ariba, GEP, SAP. Very few emerging and new players are included, this may be due to time constraints, but clearly is at the detriment of newer and easier to utilise solutions.

5. Existing suppliers balance sheets stifle innovation or change due to the impact on profit of asset write downs
It is a fact of business that the balance sheet plays a large part in driving companies behaviour, especially if they have many millions of $/£ intangible asset value. SAP had Intangible Assets of €25.6bn on revenues of €17.6bn in 2014. A write down in an asset results in an equal write down in profits. Institutional shareholders typically take fright (and flight) at write-downs. Therefore re-inventing the hegemony of existing solutions requires a potentially significant investment and potentially a write down in previous investments – this is not something the neither executive nor board will countenance. Is it therefore a surprise that existing solutions lack innovation in the user interface which may well require re-programming in a newer language?

6. Big business inherently do not trust small innovative start ups / CIOs don’t get fired for selecting the old guard
When was the last time the CIO of a large corporate suggested taking a risk? Corporate behaviour is typically risk adverse, it is much safer to select a proven provider such as IBM or SAP, than take an opportunity to shake the tree? This therefore precludes newer start up technologies that will be deliver often much more cost effective, easier to use solutions. Coupa are making real inroads here, but few others are.

7. B2C companies are not interested in selling to the B2B customer base.
The question is will this change, we postulate it is slowly shifting, with B2C principles slowly coming into the B2B World. In our follow up we will discuss this shift in some detail.
The question is why don’t Amazon or Tesco for that matter move into the B2B space, they provide a huge range of products that businesses use. Yet they generally haven’t, other than grudgingly – it is not part of their strategy.Though we understand this is changing at Amazon! They believe their market is the consumer not business, possibly because they are much simpler to deal with, pay immediately and do not add massive administrative, process and management burdens i.e. contracts, risk questionnaires etc., which corporates do add as a matter of process.

But will this change? We postulate it is slowly shifting, with B2C principles slowly coming into the B2B World. In our follow up we will discuss this shift in some detail.

THE AUTHOR
Ed is co-founder of Odesma, a new breed of business advisory firm, one that is uniquely on demand providing virtual procurement through the Procurement PeopleCloudTM. He is a results orientated executive level business leader with 25 years global professional services, consulting and functional experience in procurement, supply chain and change management. Previously with Xchanging plc, Ed had Executive leadership responsibility for running the global procurement and HR outsourcing businesses. He has also held senior level consulting and functional roles with QPGroup, ShareMax Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ed can be contacted at edward.cross@odesma.co.uk or at:

Odesma Limited, Woodrow, Off Snape Hall Road, Whitmore
Staffordshire ST5 5HS
Tel: +44 (0)161 433 7833
www.odesma.co.uk 

Market Dojo is the only e-Sourcing software provider to offer an easy to use, professional solution with completely transparent pricing.  If you’re interested in hearing more, get in touch:
 +44 (0) 117 230 9200
info@marketdojo.com
www.marketdojo.com

5 Reasons Why You’d be a Fool to Miss eWorld!

The eWorld Procurement and Supply summit is one of our personal favourites in the events calendar.
At Market Dojo, we’ve been showcasing our on-demand eSourcing tools there for the last 5 years now and we think you’d be crazy not to go. Here are our top 5 reasons why procurement professionals should join us there…

1. Informative sessions
The day begins with a bacon roll, breaks for a tasty lunch and ends with a drinks reception (sold already, right?)

Sandwiched between all the delicious cuisine are informative seminars and workshops hosted by guest speakers and sponsors. The organisers go to every effort to ensure that delegates aren’t hit with sales pitches and the majority of seminars provide great detail on specific topics. Speakers of note include Tania Seary from Procurious (such an influential lady in the procurement space!) and the opening keynote from Martine Wright, 7/7 Survivor and Paralympian (another inspiring female!).

2. Ideal Location
The Westminster area of London is the heart of The City. Surrounded by iconic features such as Big Ben and the London Eye, what better place to host the leading eProcurement technology event?
And, as Market Dojo is headquartered in the idyllic Gloucestershire countryside, the novelty of taking the tube is always enjoyed!

3. FREE! So, why not!
You work in Procurement, spending your days collaborating with suppliers, trying to get the very best product/service for the lowest price. Trained in effective, efficient negotiation, you’ll be delighted to hear that eWorld is in fact FREE for delegates to attend. No haggling on this one, just signup and show up. Of course it does cost you your time, but the ROI is definitely there. You’ll leave feeling inspired with a whole range of extra tools in your procurement toolkit!

4. Atmosphere
From a sponsor’s point of view, there’s a real camaraderie between the neighbouring stands. We normally get the joys of chatting with the lovely team at State of Flux and the guys at Spend 360.

It’s also great to catch up with all the familiar delegate faces that return each year to stay up to date with eProcurement technology.

5. …Market Dojo will be there!
We definitely won’t be missing eWorld this year and we’d love to see you all there. Showcasing our tools focussing on eSourcing, category planning, innovation and, our latest development, our supplier onBoarding tool. Read more about that here.

We’ll be offering live demos on the day to anyone who would like to bring eSourcing in-house and find out how our easy to use, on-demand solution could help them.

For more information on this event, feel free to get in touch with one of us at Market Dojo, or simply register for eWorld on the 2nd March 2016 at the QEII Building, London.
Look forward to seeing you there. Make sure you pop by and say hello!

Anya McKenna
anya.mckenna@marketdojo.com
+44(0)117 318 2537
+44(0)792 337 6307
www.marketdojo.com

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Onboard with SIM Dojo – Part I

“Following a comprehensive review of the systems available, we decided to move forward with Market Dojo based on their philosophy and development approach surrounding their existing product base. Market Dojo are very innovative and flexible and have provided us with an excellent level of support; We are excited to be working with Market Dojo on this new on-boarding product”

– Tony Ritchings, Procurement Director, PHS

Market Dojo already helps businesses centralise their supplier sourcing activities and negotiate efficiently via e-Auctions with their flagship eSourcing product.
Last year, we embarked on a project to develop a Supplier Information Management (SIM) tool starting with supplier onboarding. This is the backbone of effective supplier management. Companies are often unable to take advantage of critical supplier actions, such as expired insurance policies, because the information is not readily available. By using a SIM tool, companies can avoid challenges that happen as a result of poor supplier governance by storing relevant supplier information in one place and creating approved supplier lists.
The SIM application was developed in partnership with our customer PHS. After conducting a thorough market analysis they were unable to find an affordable, flexible and easy to use tool. After seeing our existing product range and understanding our philosophy, they decided to partner with Market Dojo to develop an onboarding tool which would integrate with our existing product set to create a seamless flow of supplier information.

The implementation is made as simple as possible. The main time constraints being process rather than system related. If you already have onboarding questionnaires and you know which stakeholders are involved in supplier assessment then the system can be set up in under a day for immediate go live.
You can then batch invite suppliers whilst defining which questionnaires they will answer and who is responsible internally. The progress of the team and suppliers can be easily tracked and finally the suppliers can be approved or rejected into groups. The approved suppliers can be managed whilst automatically tracking expiry dates of documents and questionnaires.
The real beauty of the system is the flexibility and self service model. You ultimately reduce the internal workload and this in turn makes adoption easier for the suppliers. Questionnaires can be broken down into manageable elements so the suppliers who maintain your coffee machines for example don’t need to answer the questionnaire for working at heights. Also it means that time is not wasted internally by the departments scoring questionnaires for suppliers for which they have no bearing.

Pricing:
We have set an introductory pricing for the first year which we will promise to hold for any clients who joins us in these exciting times.
An annual licence costs £5,000 for unlimited users and the first 500 suppliers. It includes all training and support and we promise to get you started promptly. Thereafter it is £1,000 for 500 suppliers. There are no hidden costs and all features such as white-labelling, multi-scoring and versioning are included.

Why choose us:

Our system has been designed with the end users in mind while maintaining a professional and efficient process. We focus on user adoption. We have seen many organisations invest in complex and cumbersome solutions that have a huge wealth of functionality (at a cost), but without enough consideration for the end user experience. In turn this has can lead to users resisting the uptake of the tool and subsequently sub-optimal performance.

More importantly, such software requires uptake by the supply chain, without which on-boarding has little benefit. If organisations are not able to convince suppliers that the tool will make their lives easier, this will ultimately lead to less competition and significant time and energy (and ultimately money) diverted to motivate users to adopt the tool.

Hence as a company, we have been approached by many organizations who use such complex tools and are looking for something quicker and easier, yet that can still cater for 95% of the functionality, that will be adopted by all users without complications. We provide all this at an affordable price with excellent support.

Read Part II of the blog to see some of SIM Dojo in action and check out the key benefits.

If you’d prefer to see a live web demo, please get in touch:
+(44)0117 318 2537.

Market Dojo helps procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Reverse Auctions

Reverse auctions are a bit like Marmite, some people love them, boasting the success they’ve seen to friends and colleagues, utilising them when and where they can. Some people however, such as Phil Ideson, are more sceptical. For Phil, this was due to personal bad experiences with the process. For others, it may be similar or it could be as little as a lack of understanding giving this means of negotiation such a bad reputation.

We wanted to set Phil straight and demystify the reverse auction for him, leaving a more positive image of how you can really use reverse auctions as a buying tool to leverage great savings and success in your procurement negotiations.

Did we manage to turn Phil around? Find out in the podcast in the link 

Market Dojo help procurement professionals negotiate better with our on-demand eSourcing tools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch or register for free and play around with our software for yourself!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

What Star Wars Taught Procurement

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Star Wars was born.

And with the exciting news that Star Wars Episode 9 will feature the use unseen footage of the late, great Carrie Fisher as Leia, the Market Dojo team (mainly Alun?) wanted to harness the power of the Jedi to learn a few lessons for Procurement.
So what CAN Star Wars teach us…

1. Star Wars taught us that when negotiating, it is important to have something of value to barter with. Anakin Skywalker went to extreme lengths, building a ‘podracer’ to secure his freedom from slavery and secure essential parts to Queen Amidala’s ship.

2. Star Wars taught us that ‘turning to the dark side of the force’ is not an effective way to achieve savings…

3. Star Wars taught us that it is important to have a really good understanding of complex categories. How else can you build a Death Star!

When conducting a reverse auction, the lotting structure needs to be able to account for this…

4. Star Wars taught us that keeping your stakeholders aligned throughout the process and clearly defining the specification of a tender are all crucial to ensure that your military does not end up dressed in ridiculous red ‘armour’ with zero protective properties (as stated by We Are The Mighty in their article here.)

5. Star Wars taught us the importance of Procurement  within any organisation, regardless of culture. See this quote from the Star Wars Wikia page:

“Procurement and Supply was a branch of the Rebel Alliance that worked to free material from Imperial-occupied worlds. Individuals working for Procurement and Supply included SpecForces technicians (from the 7th Regiment) known as “Procurement Specialists” or “Scroungers.” Winter served as a Procurement Specialist on Averam and other worlds under the alias “Targeter.” Procurement specialists who specialized in acquiring ordnance were known as “Ordnance Procurers.”

6. Finally, Star Wars taught us that if you look like Princess Leia, you get whatever it is that you want in life.

Has Star Wars taught you anything else about procurement? Let us know!

Or get in touch to hear about how you can save money without “Turning to the Dark Side”!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

The Trials and Tribulations of a Software-as-a-Service Company

Market Dojo provides an eSourcing solution based entirely in the cloud. And whilst we boast all the benefits of being a Saas company, such as pay per use pricing and delivery, instant access, and the ability to try the software before committing to a purchase, it would be beneficial to explain what exactly SaaS really means.

To do this, we involved the help of our knowledgeable partner Kelly Barner at Buyers Meeting Point. Myself (Anya) and Nick had a chat with  Kelly to discuss what makes SaaS different to cloud computing, how we benefit from working with our SaaS suppliers and how users can benefit from working with us.

Check out the Blog Talk Radio above and get in touch if you have any questions. How do you best utilise SaaS providers? Or maybe you’re part of a SaaS company, what pros and cons have you discovered?

Don’t forget you can always sign up (free) and check out the benefits of a SaaS eSourcing tool. Feel free to get in touch for more info:

Anya McKenna
Marketing Manager
Market Dojo
anya.mckenna@marketdojo.com
+44(0)117 318 2537
+44(0)792 337 6307

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com in Share

The eSourcing eVolution Part II – The Present

This is part two (read part one here) of a three piece blog providing an in-depth analysis of the evolution of eSourcing around the question:

“What would Market Dojo be like today if it had started 10 years earlier?”

Following on from the previous post 10 Years Older, “The Past”, we examine what we would look like in this day and age as a bold 15 year old, as opposed to the playful 5 year old that Market Dojo is today.

Market Dojo today provides a cloud-based eSourcing solution. Having been created by procurement professionals with a wealth of experience in consultancy, the tool really addresses the issues of usability that were seen with competitors. The Market Dojo co-founders were able to draw upon their experience of running managed auctions to create an application that was really easy to use not only for the hosts of the online negotiation events, but for the suppliers participating too.

But what if Market Dojo was not the Market Dojo we know and love today? What if Market Dojo had started 10 years earlier? How would having this extra 10 years of market experience define it today?

In the previous article we established that the eSourcing market in 2000 in comparison with that of 2010 (when MD formed) was a completely different kettle of fish! i.e. eSourcing in the year 2000 was in its infancy. Complex SaaS applications did not really appear until 2005 and therefore, Market Dojo as it stands would most likely not exist in the Millennium. If it had formed, we would have started with web-based single-installed version of Market Dojo, but the delivery model of it would have been very primitive in comparison to today’s. We would have had to use a multitude of different means of communication and our growth over the 15 years until today would have shaped us into something else entirely.

The table below shows a comparison of what we would look like today being 5 years old and today being 15 years old. As you can see the differences are quite substantial.

Market Dojo today as a…
5 year old 15 year old
Business
Saas SaaS but sold as if it is on-premise, i.e. multi-instance with support fees, implementation fees, long-term contracts, contingent fees etc.
Best of breed/niche provider Swallowed up by a bigger company
Focus on self-service Huge consultancy arm within Market Dojo
Working with a number of partners, resellers and consultants Conflict of working with partners/consultants since that competes with our own staff.
Virtual offices to support clients & our employees across the globe. Local offices required to sell and support the product.
Licencing
On-demand Long term contracts to claw back high cost of sales & support
Single fee called ‘licence cost’ Licence cost, support cost, implementation cost, training cost, managed services cost, hosting cost
Keep the philosophy and focus on customer self-service, as this is the future. Protect interests of keeping it complex to ensure survival of the business model, or totally revamp/sabotage the business model to move with the times.
Development
Instant upgrades and maintenance Periodic client roll-out and separate fees
Version control = Market Dojo, that’s it. 100% same from one client to the next. Market Dojo v10.1 then v10.2 then v10.3 then v11.001 then…..
Agile development team in 2 week sprints Complex waterfall development routine with releases every 6-12 months
Very low overheads and high degree of R&D Low R&D and high overheads.
Keep enhancing the software and develop new tools to make them even easier to adopt and use. Keep enhancing the service provision to protect the staff or let staff go to focus on the software.
Usability
Colourful, playful, attractive software that’s enjoyable to use Grey, grey, grey with lots of tick-boxes and drop-downs.
Compatible with many browsers plus tablets and smartphones You must use Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 please.
Benefits for the end user and enhanced dashboards for management Thrust of application about managerial reports with little thought for end user usability.

Today we offer a cloud-based solution with a focus on adoption and self-service. As a niche provider, we are able to focus on providing a best-of-breed solution, allowing us to form links with a number of partners, resellers and consultants. Customers are able to use us ‘on demand’ and we have a pay-as-you-host’ option. Our monthly/ annual fee is all inclusive, covering all our services from the software licence itself to implementation and support costs.

With our overheads being low, we are able to invest more in Research and Development so we can keep enhancing the software in line with our current philosophy and focus on customer self-service and ease of adoption. This is where the future lies and with our current framework we are in the perfect position to move with the times and stay ahead.

Market Dojo as a fifteen year old would be a completely different creature.

We would either operate as an on-premise model or with a very simplistic SaaS structure that still encompassed elements of on-premise such as support and implementation fees, long-term contracts etc. We would most likely have been swallowed up by a large provider and have a huge consultancy arm with a myriad of offices across the globe to support local implementation..

There would be a need to protect the complexity of the model. Failing that, we would have to invest heavily in completely reshaping the structure of the product to be more ‘online’ and similar to what we have today. These could easily create large divisions within the company as you see with some companies today in splitting development resource between On Premise and SaaS teams.

The Market Dojo of today would be what a 15 year old Market Dojo would ultimately inspire to be: a new and improved version of itself. The initial concerns when developing Market Dojo in 2000 would have caused many complications for us today, and we would be unrecognisable in comparison with today’s model.

The potential ten years of market experience may have been detrimental to us today with regards to the opportunities that we were presented with when starting out in 2010. (Thank goodness for good timing! (?))

However, there are obvious disadvantages in starting when we did, namely that we need to enter a market where there are already some big players with an established customer base of large multi-nationals. Although as we focus on adoption with a different price point, there is a whole new layer of medium-sized companies open to us. This is a very similar strategy to how Google entered the application space by focusing on business applications for the small and medium sized companies where Microsoft failed to capitalise. And, as mentioned already, the larger companies are also able to look at Best of Breed. With the separate artistic nature of eSourcing, this sometimes can work very well alongside the larger ERP applications.

The next part of this series will investigate what the future of Market Dojo will hold. How can we use the benefit of looking back at the drivers of the technological movements of the past and apply these to potential future changes.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Teaching the new breed of eSourcing heroes!

Over the last week we fulfilled our invitations to host lectures for several business schools, specifically those of Bristol and Greenwich.

We’ve always enjoyed presenting our talk on ‘Reverse auctions in industry’ and it’s something we’ve repeated every year since the foundation of Market Dojo in 2010.

Bristol Business School even use Market Dojo as a case study for their Virtual Business module, which in turn contributes to the overall degree. It gives us some useful insight from fresh sets of eyes who may highlight that we’ve missed a trick along the way!

We’re always on the look out for bright, enthusiastic graduates to join our rapidly expanding team in the areas of sales, marketing, design and development, so it’s a good opportunity to build some bridges with potential recruits as well.

Nevertheless, the real highlight for everyone is our renowned eAuction game.

What began as a fun way to showcase professional reverse auctions to university students, it has since been used successfully in CIPS-accredited training courses for procurement professionals!
The game is very simple in design yet completely equitable and unpredictable in who will eventually win, thanks to a few simple rules; rule #1 being “don’t go bust” (yet there’s always one….)!

With the students split into 5 or more teams, we ask them to bid for the 4 office supplies Lots. It is up to the students to plan their bid strategy and that’s usually where the teams are divided.

Unsurprisingly for newcomers to the reverse auction process, we saw a couple of rookie mistakes, particularly the team in yellow above who their dropped their margins to the full extent in just one bid! Clearly this wiped out any opportunity they had to react to the market information granted to them by the auction. It was also interesting to note the speed off the starting block – obviously some eager participants – which we don’t usually see in the real life auctions.

You may be able to guess by the bid history above that our eventual winner was the team ‘SeaHawk’. How could you tell? They applied a clever bid strategy of using small bid decrements and reserved enough margin for the end of the auction to decisively place their final bids.
On this occasion, we had time at the end to re-run the game with the same set of students, which is something we’ve never done before.

Their willingness to learn had certainly paid off. There was a slow start to the auction, much like we notice from seasoned bidders, and most teams adopted the gradual, iterative bid strategy used effectively by winners of the first game.

As it happened, despite adopting an even more progressive strategy with nearly twice as many bids as any other team, SeaHawk were not able to reproduce their previous success. Our glorious winners this second time round were ‘Tiffany’, using the tiebreaker rules to their advantage.
It really is a great way to educate future eSourcing Heroes on how to conduct professional eAuctions, so please do reach out to us if you’d like to try it yourself.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

How to Create a Sourcing Event Using Market Dojo

If you’re new to eSourcing and unsure of where to start with creating an event, this article from Tony Verheggen should help clear things up. As the Sourcing Process Owner at Air Products for 10+ years, Tony is a true expert in his field having run many auctions. He kindly went through the process of creating an event on our eSourcing platform and knocked up this article to give you an understanding of how simple eSourcing can be.

Step 1 – Creating the Questionnaire
To create a questionnaire you will need to check the following checkbox:

Questionnaires can be used to to gather information throughout the Supplier Engagement Process. Surveys, RFI’s, Assessments are all types of questionnaires. In the early stages Questionnaires can be used to assess one or more suppliers capabilities, be that manufacturing or services. They can be used to understand the offerings in the marketplace, by providing a mechanism for suppliers to present the full breadth of what they do, because they can upload brochures as attachments in answering questions. They can be used to narrow in on the right specification that fits your specific need. Technical details and ideas can be exchanged through questionnaires. Terms and conditions can be finalized and agreed to before an auction actually takes place, so the only thing left to settle is pricing, and this is preferred. Even after contracts have been signed and the supplier begins performing under the contract, questionnaires can be used to monitor performance periodically.

Questionnaires constructed properly can save you time and money by getting the answers you need. Here are a few examples of why one may use a questionnaire for a particular type of tender, with some example case studies of where these have been used within Market Dojo.

Tender Type Reason for Questionnaire Case Study
Pharmaceutical To ask your supplier about which regulatory good manufacturing practices they are following, so you understand their compliance to those regulations. Regina Maria
Metal Parts You might need to ask about compliance to US conflict minerals regulations, where you would survey your entire manufacturing base about the origin of their materials. Jenatec
Software You might ask questions about the capabilities of the software to see if it does exactly what you expect. n/a
Construction Use a survey to verify how tight the labor market is at the moment. ABM

Doing the questionnaire before the RFQ or Auction is preferred because getting the answers later after the pricing is settled can lead to re-opening pricing discussions. This destabilizes pricing, because now potentially you are asking the supplier for something different or additional, changing the scope or specification. Change may be unavoidable, but much of it is preventable. Settle all questions first before pricing.

A questionnaire can limit which suppliers participate in further events. There is a checkbox that allows you to change the questionnaire into a pre qualification survey. A pre qualification survey is one that acts as a gateway to all suppliers responding to the questionnaire, before it allows them into the full questionnaire. They must give the correct response or they are denied access. An example might be; suppose you wanted to make sure you kept the information in the questionnaire confidential, you could ask them if they intended to maintain its confidentiality, (yes/no). A no answer would deny them access to the rest of the information and questions.

Additionally, there is a checkbox each for scoring and weights.

In early questionnaires you create, it is best to leave these unchecked, until you are thoroughly familiar with how they work, and have practiced in the sandpit. This is a more advanced functionality, that helps resolve subjective differences in questions as well as internal team imbalances and avoid disagreements. For example, a technical team member may weight the technical questions more than the commercial questions while a commercial team member might do the reverse. As the Purchasing Leader, your role is to make sure the team works together and achieves an objective result they can live with. Scores and weights help do this. But in most cases where these are not concerns, it is best to begin creating questionnaires without scores and weights to simply gain maximum information from your suppliers. Use scores and weights to settle disagreements objectively.

Once you have received answers back from the Questionnaire to help you thoroughly define the specification or scope of work, now you are ready for the next stage.

Step 2 – Request for Quotation (RFQ)
The RFQ is used to define pricing in various stages of the process. You can do an RFQ to define budgetary estimates so you can plan ahead. Also, you can obtain early estimates of pricing to establish where the market price is. Or you can use the RFQ to obtain confirmation of the final pricing, in which case if no auction is done, it would be the final stage. It depends on what your strategy is and often what kind of time pressure you are under. The RFQ can also be used to define where the auction prices will start from. Usually you want to know the range of prices among suppliers before you go to auction, Then the auction will use this information to set the initial pricing. This information is essential in choosing the right kind of auction.

Typically an RFQ also includes questions that were not on the questionnaire. These might ask suppliers for clarification of answers provided in the questionnaire, or obtain agreement to final terms with their final bid. If you are in a hurry, or what you are buying is well defined, sometimes a quick RFQ can include simply an attachment with the specifications, and a terms sheet and a single item requesting pricing. Turnaround times for these kinds of RFQs can be very rapid.
Qualification bids

If you progress from a RFQ, straight to an Open or Ranked Auction, then their bids will not be pulled through. This is because during an eRFQ process, if there is no mention of an eAuction it would be unfair to assume those bids will be become the suppliers starting bids.

However, if you have an eAuction without an eRFQ process, then you will have a qualification bid process. This is exactly the same as a RFQ process but the bids will be pulled through as the initial bids in a open or ranked eAuction. The benefit of these initial bids is that it lets you understand if the suppliers can log on, bid in the system, find mistakes in the specification, understand initial savings and let you know if your strategy is correct.

Step 3 – Auction

The final stage is an auction. There are several types of auctions available through Market Dojo which you may select from. We’ll cover each type of auction separately. They are: Ranked, Open and Japanese auctions. Let’s cover them one at a time and take care to examine the differences so you know which to use and when to use it.

Direction of price in a reverse auction driven by competition.

Ranked Auctions
These type of auctions receive multiple bids from suppliers and then as the bids come in, suppliers are ranked from lowest bid to highest bid. The only information revealed to all suppliers is his/her rank in the bidding. The key then for the supplier is to bid lower and lower to improve his rank until he is in first place. If the supplier remains in 1st place at the end of the auction, then he is considered the winner of the auction.

The advantage of this kind of auction is that revealing rank creates a very dynamic and highly competitive atmosphere where suppliers must bid aggressively to discover and win the lead. If many suppliers are bidding, it can lead to true market price discovery. The other advantage is that it communicates to suppliers that there are many qualified suppliers who want this business. Sometimes this message is critical to convincing suppliers, particularly the incumbent supplier that this material or service is a commodity, not a specialty and hence deserves commodity pricing not premium pricing. Often times the incumbent will be in denial about the possibility that he will lose the business to others, even if the buyer tells him this is so. But seeing is believing, and when the incumbent sees he is in 9th place, it goes a long way toward changing denial into a willingness to negotiate and reduce his price. Sometimes it even takes more than one auction loss or loss of the business before the incumbent changes his view of pricing.
One of the disadvantages of this type of auction is that you need to have 3 or more suppliers. If you have fewer, it leads to less vigorous bidding action. Since the price is hidden, another disadvantage is that it takes somewhat longer for the bidders to find and reach the lead. They may be cautious and try and creep up on the lead with many small bids, rather than jumping to the lead with one large bid, because they don’t want to overshoot the lead by a large margin. They may also decide that second place is good enough, hoping that the lead bidder is later disqualified in some way, leaving them to pick up the business.

Open Auctions
In these types of auctions the suppliers see the lowest bid alongside their own bid. This allows them to see and take the lead by bidding lower immediately. They know exactly what they need to do to take the lead. This speeds up the pace of the auction as long as the suppliers feel they can meet or beat this price. However as suppliers drop out, the competition may slow.
One of the advantages this auction type offers is that suppliers don’t know if they are bidding against one supplier or many other suppliers. You can run this style of auction with only 2 suppliers. If your incumbent supplier already has a very low price and the other suppliers have much higher pricing, this auction style gives no incentive to the incumbent to move even lower. He can take first place, and may remain there for the entire auction. So it is important to have some idea how far apart the incumbent is from the other suppliers. Also, by running this type of auction, you may reveal to the incumbent, not only is he the lowest price, but he may learn that he is significantly lower if none of the competitors can beat his bid. This may be information you do not want him to discover.

Japanese Auctions
In this type of auction, the price ratchets down by a fixed increment every few minutes and the suppliers are presented with the offer price and an accept/decline button to push. As the auction proceeds and the price drops they are asked to accept or decline each incremental price shown. Continually accepting the prices shown means that the auction for that supplier will continue. If the price drops below a price the supplier can accept, he must push the decline button. If the supplier declines, fails to accept, or time runs out, the auction ends for that supplier. It does not however end for other suppliers. They may continue to accept the pricing as it lowers until they too drop out of the auction. The auction ends when all suppliers have dropped out, or time runs out.

This type of auction reveals nothing to other suppliers, which is important when you do not want suppliers to discover market information or their position relative to the competition. It provides an incentive to all suppliers to accept bids until they no longer can. This overcomes one of the disadvantages mentioned in Open bid auctions. It can also be run when there only a few suppliers available. It does not however necessarily convince suppliers, especially the incumbent that they have significant competition in the marketplace. They may even suspect they are bidding against themselves. One of the other advantages over a ranked event is that a Japanese eAuction will help prevent bid shadowing. This is where an incumbent will follow first place to be close but not to win the event knowing that a switching cost might negate some benefits of a small price saving. A Japanese auction gives no indication to the incumbent how the others are doing.

Summary
It is important to decide in advance what information you want to reveal in auctions before you select the auction type. Also, what kind of market and competition do you want to stimulate during the auction process. Once you have decided these factors, you can select an appropriate auction strategy.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

How Top eSourcing Professionals Develop Lots

To help you get the most savings from your eAuctions, one of our partners, Dave Henshall, has written an article providing all the information you need to create an effective lotting strategy.

Lotting is the activity of grouping items efficiently and effectively to maximise participation in reverse auctions. How you structure your lots can have a huge effect on the overall savings achieved due to how easy/hard it is to bid in an event.

The article provides a wide breadth of information covering:
1. An Introduction to lots and lotting
2. Why Lotting is Important
3. How to Develop Your Lotting Strategy
4. Lotting strategy Summary

You can find this article in full on Purchasing Practice here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

The eSourcing eVolution Part III – The Future

This is the final part (read part 2 here) of a three piece blog providing an in-depth analysis of the evolution of eSourcing around the question:

“What would Market Dojo be like today if it had started 10 years earlier?”

In this section, we’re going to use what we’ve learned about the past to think about the vision of the future. Through analysing what we’ve learnt so far, a touch of market knowledge from the directors at Market Dojo, and a dash of foresight as to what we think the future holds for eSourcing, we should be able to adapt to any changes in the market/technology.

So how do we prepare ourselves? How do we mitigate the risk of becoming “just another” large provider? There are many interesting aspects we need to look at in regards to this and a number of potential concerns we need to be aware of.

Alun Rafique and Nick Drewe, co-founders of Market Dojo shared some thoughts on areas to watch out for in the future:

Mobile Technology

There have been recent changes in how Google perceives websites for ease of use with mobile devices. With respect to this and the future of design, we need to make sure we are responsive, searchable and usable across the mobile technology of the future.

Google (power of the web/search)
This is the biggest unknown and potentially the biggest competitor (at the moment, our biggest competitor is still email). Will this develop enough and become intelligent enough to make eSourcing applications obsolete?

To mitigate this risk, we must do as any other successful modern SaaS provider and focus on the last ‘S’, not to mention being dynamic in our R+D.

We must ensure that our support is second to none on areas where strategy is crucially important. We predict that long gone will be the days of short-sighted support functions. Instead the main differentiator in industry will be support personnel who focus on resolution of queries instead of simply noting them. Training/help desk/light consultancy is where the battle may be fought. Although this does not mean there is a need for consultancy alongside our offering.

APIs
The ability to integrate between solutions is already possible, but in the future it is set to become even more simple. We must look at ways to make it even easier to integrate with any product through standard connectors so that best of breed becomes as attractive as an ERP solution.

Silicon Valley investments

There seems to be a current trend at the moment within procurement software for Venture Capitalists to throw money into investing in particular areas such as P2P and eInvoicing.
To help us stay ahead of this, we must keep focussing on our USPs by continuing to provide an easy to adopt, completely transparent pay-as-you-host pricing model. That is how we will aim to combat this type of competition along with our friendly one-to-one service.

Amazon/Google/Apple B2B platform
eSourcing and P2P are fundamentally different. One is strategic. One is operational. It is unlikely that these eMarketplaces are going to be in direct competition with our focus on eSourcing.

However, diversification is very important. And we have our own eMarketplace concepts (focussing on sourcing rather than fulfilment) which should help protect us in the future. Watch this space…

Eradicating the user interface
Moving from slick user interface to ‘no user interface’, as per this Coupa article. A rather controversial idea, but we can see some logic that instead of having to log into a tool every day, instead it fits around your life so you can interact with it outside the tool, e.g. suppliers responding to events via email with auto-doc upload/download, auto-messaging, auto-comparison of bids, etc.

True commoditization
As technology develops and the knowledge of eSourcing expands, the number of people using eSourcing will increase. We will hopefully begin to see true commoditization of the process and tools, so it really does just come down to price in the lower end of the spectrum. Eventually, it won’t just be large and medium sized enterprises utilising eSourcing, the smaller SMEs will be aware of and embracing it too.

Centralised eSourcing teams move in conjunction with local self-serve teams who even use the tools to get quotes on low value tenders of a few hundred pounds.

(See our video on the four stages of technological growth taken from a TED lecture.)

Not game changers, but here are some other areas to be aware of:

Voice Activation Keeping up to date with developments eg. Google voice, Siri, etc. and how this may possibly impact us.
Geo-locational sourcing So you can find better suppliers locally and search locally.
Integrated market information Such as global new stories and how they affect your sourcing events.
More focus on AI The software could take actions when it ‘thinks’ it is needed. e.g. delay an auction due to lack of liquidity, or suggest a better lot structure based on the bids received.
More automation So the software will actually create and publish events without you needing to do anything.
Newer, more flexible technologies As technology continues to grow and develop, we need to ensure we keep up to date with the latest news and trends  and ensure that our product move in line with this.
Commoditized combinatorial, expressive and transformational eAuctions Making this usable to the majority.
Interactive content In relation to how we market ourselves, we must ensure our content stays in line with technological changes and becomes more interactive.
Developing Countries Competition from these countries is vastly improving and we must not overlook them. We can counteract this by keeping our development dynamic and increasing our brand marketing strategies. We must also market to these countries and think about ways to collaborate with as well as repel competition.
Public Sector Procurement A big shake-up in the public sector software market to disrupt the legacy tools with their complex workflows and procedures to be a slick tool that people enjoy using.
IT will no longer play a part in the selection of SaaS tools No more 100-page RFIs asking what software stack SaaS software is using and what the data hierarchy looks like.
Security barriers Utilising new technology to address these and make eSourcing even more accessible.
Marketing How will people find us in the future, compared to how they find us now?
How will the power of search change in the future?
At the minute, the focus is on Content Marketing, but what next?

Exciting times lie ahead of us at Market Dojo.

In hindsight, with what we have learnt from looking at the past and analysing the potential future of an older Market Dojo, we must continue to pro-actively develop, adapt to and overcome any fluctuations in the ever-evolving technological environment, whilst remaining true to our brand values.

The latter is very important. By embracing new technologies to enable more seamless integration with other providers, we should be able to remain true to our original ideologies of putting the customer at the forefront of everything we do, whilst making our product as easy to adopt as possible and bringing eSourcing to the forefront of every business.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Odesma and Market Dojo Win New Global Client

At the beginning of the year, we announced our partnership with Odesma. Odesma is a new breed of advisory business who help drive business performance through a combination of experience and application of the best talent and technology in the market.

Market Dojo and Odesma have been working together to bring onboard a new global company*. Odesma will work with the new FTSE 250 client using the Market Dojo platform.

A highly experienced UK based company, Provalido, who we regularly work with, have been chosen as the preferred savings tracking tool.

Nick Drewe, co-founder at Market Dojo stated:
“We were really pleased to announce the initial partnership with Odesma and this new client is evidence of what a hard-working, innovative company they are. We look forward to securing many more deals alongside them.”

Competition was tough, but the Odesma team with their wealth of knowledge and expertise managed to secure the deal.

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Ed Cross, cofounder at Odesma stated:
“This is the first of many deals to come. Market Dojo will play a key role for us in working with this exciting new global client.”

*This global client can now be named, as Aggreko.

If you‘re interested in hearing more about Odesma, please contact:

Ed Cross, Co-Founder.
Steve Trainor, Co-Founder
Odesma Ltd
Tel: 0161 433 7833
www.odesma.co.uk

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

eWorld 30 – Cake, Quizzes and Competitions

Arriving at QEII in London for eWorld Procurement and Supply Summit, armed with a plethora of marketing materials, we set up our stand by the entrance next to the lovely Baker Wanless ladies and began dishing out flyers for our competition to all those that passed.

Although the footfall didn’t seem as large as it did at eWorld in March, we had really engaging conversations with everyone who visited us. It was great to meet you all, thank you for stopping by. If you didn’t get a chance to stop and take a look at our eSourcing solutions, please get in touch for a demo.

Our #BeTheEsourcingHero

campaign went down really well with our giant hero attaining celebrity status as delegates got their pictures taken with the handsome figure!

Per Angusta, another of our partners whom we thoroughly recommend for savings tracking, flew in from France for their first ever eWorld. With French wine and cheese being given away in a prize draw, they weren’t short of visitors either!
Nick and Alun from the Market Dojo team gave a seminar on ‘Strategies to maximise eAuction success’. If you didn’t manage to stop by the stand to pick up a copy of the infographic, you can register on our platform (for free) and download it here.

 

At 3pm we announced the winner of our Lowest Unique Bid Competition. Congratulations to Matt Hird from the University of Lincoln who bagged themselves an iPad Mini and a month’s licence for Market Dojo’s eSourcing software with a winning bid of £0.13.

Once again a huge thanks to the eWorld team for another wonderful event. Despite the unreachable allure of a free bacon roll, we all had a really great day.  And the cake at the end, celebrating the 30th eWorld event went down a treat!

 

 

 

If you didn’t make eWorld, don’t worry, we’ll be at the CIPS event on 8th October.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Market Dojo: The Past, The Present and The Future.

“What would Market Dojo be like today if it had started 10 years earlier?”

That was the question posed by Jon Hansen of Procurement Insights one fine day in April.

Having only been part of the Market Dojo team (and the world of eProcurement!) for around 10 weeks at that point, analysing the history of an industry I barely knew existed at a time when I was just 10 years old seemed a daunting task. However, as I’ve been researching and writing, my knowledge and understanding of procurement has developed and I have learnt a lot from the process.

Originally this was going to be one article, but three defined sections have shaped up nicely into a series of posts.

The three sections of the article will look at 3 different periods of time:

2000 – “The Past”
2015 – “The Present”
2025 – “The Future”.

The first part revolves around what life was like ten years prior to Market Dojo, bringing us to the year 2000. After gaining an understanding of technology, especially eSourcing, (See Nick’s blog highlighting important technology of this era) we thought about what would have happened if we had formed then: how would our ideologies and objectives have differed from those of today?

Next we asked ourselves, ‘what about now?’, how would we look today as a bold, brash 15 year old? How would we have grown? In what way would having an extra 10 years of experience shape who we are today?

The last and most important aspect of this series is ‘The Future’. What does the future look like for Market Dojo? Looking at what’s ahead and using the value of hindsight in assessing how we would have succeeded or failed 10 years ago, can we carve a path for us for the next 10 years?

Next week, we shall be releasing the three parts of the blog, so keep your eyes peeled…

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

CIPS 2015 – Procurement, Biscuits and Emotional Inteligence

The Market Dojo team arrived at the Grange Tower hotel for the annual CIPS conference just in time for registration and the keynote speech from Dr John Glen of the Cranfield School of Management. We setup next to the main lift, stairway and mostly importantly the lunch area. Once the stand was setup, it looked very cool with our #BeEsourcingHero accompanying us.

The delegates were kept busy with the very interesting programme of events that CIPS had lined up such as the one from JCA Global entitled ‘The Hard Case for Soft Skills’ and covered  what it means to be  emotional intelligent within the workplace.
Being a proactive company we maximised every opportunity we could to strike up some very interesting conversations with our neighboring stand Supply Management such as  ‘Is a Twix a biscuit or a chocolate bar?’ (More on this to follow…)

We ran our competition for a month’s licence of our eSourcing software as a prize. The lucky winner was the delightful Kay Lee from Northamptonshire Police. We look forward to seeing her achieve some huge savings with our intuitive eSourcing platform!

The conference ended with some welcome drinks, kindly sponsored by RS Components.

It was great to make some great new contacts and we appreciate the time everyone spent chatting to us. If you didn’t get a chance to visit our stand at the conference feel free to request a web demo ASAP or have a browse over our website or blog to learn more about what we do and how we can help you.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Market Dojo and UNIC ONE partner to strengthen our offering to the German Market

We are delighted to announce our partnership with UNIC ONE in Germany.

UNIC ONE brings a wealth of procurement experience in Europe’s largest economy.  Marianne Haack who leads the procurement organisation at UNIC ONE, has previously worked for organisations including Novartis and Sun Microsystems.

This will greatly strengthen the portfolio which Market Dojo offers to customers in Germany.
It means that UNIC ONE can also offer to their customers the Market Dojo solutions. This will compliment the consultancy and training service already provided by UNIC ONE.

Nicholas Martin; Co-Founder of Market Dojo said:
“Market Dojo has seen strong demand from the German market this year. We have been working closely with UNIC ONE and our existing German customers. As a result with have made a number of improvements to our product. We are very excited about the potential to build on this success and having a local partner will be a huge benefit.”

 

Marianne Haack; UNIC ONE said:
“We chose to partner with Market Dojo as we were attracted by their ease of use and simplicity. We believe the combination of our expertise with Market Dojo product will give a great solution for our customers in Germany’.

About:
If you would like to learn more about UNIC ONE, you can get in touch via their website – www.unic-one-procurement.com
Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Enter Our Sept 2015 eWorld Competition

It feels like only yesterday we packed up our stand at eWorld in March, but with just 31 days to go until we gather again to hear about the latest innovation and technology in the procurement landscape, it’s time to dust off the old suit and tie for the 30th eWorld conference.

The Market Dojo team will be there in force and lots has happened since we last met at Westminster.

We also had an intern, Alex Mahe, who spent 10 weeks with us and created some really cool new designs. We shall reveal these at the upcoming conference, not to mention SIMdojo, our impending On-boarding tool.

We also decided to shake things up a little by borrowing the newly popular ‘penny bid’ auction concept from the likes of MadBid, DealDash etc. in which the last person to bid wins.
We’re holding a ‘Lowest Unique Bid’ competition via our eSourcing platform in which entrants will be asked to place a bid between £0 and £2 (inclusive).

The lucky winner will have the (uniquely placed) lowest value bid and shall be announced at eWorld, bagging themselves an iPad Mini and a month’s licence for our eSourcing platform.

How to enter:

Prizes:

For full T&Cs visit  our competition page.
Good luck everyone. Look forward to seeing you at eWorld!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Top 5 Most Common eAuction Questions Solved Using Real Data

EDITORS NOTE: eWorld have kindly invited us to host a seminar on eAuction strategies at the conference in London on 22nd September. Check out our video for a sneaky preview…

What success have others had with eAuctions?

How can I make great savings with my events?

Using real-life information from thousands of tenders run through our software, we’ve analysed our data to give you proven solutions to a number of the most commonly asked questions:

Whether you’ve never heard of an eAuction before or are a seasoned pro, we’ve put together a guide filled with really informative graphics that is guaranteed to improve your eAuction success.

You can download this infographic (along with other great resources) from our resource centre. All you have to do is register (for free) with Market Dojo.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Does Cost Plus Encourage Lazy Procurement?

Cost plus:
(definition, adjective)
“relating to or denoting a method of pricing a service or product in which a fixed profit factor is added to the costs.”

You could argue that every item or service sold is cost plus. In other words you need to make a profit to stay in business so that everything purchased has to have a margin added to the final sale value, which will be more than the sum of their parts.

The area of cost plus that I would address is where the client has agreed to buy products or services from a supplier and the final price for those products bought is not known. This unknown value will be created from a cost plus relationship to ensure a profit is maintained.

However, if the client continues to pay, where is the incentive for the seller to ensure they are procuring the goods or services at the market price? Surely the client should be ‘on the ball’ and focus on year on year cost reductions although many times complex and varied builds on a contract prevent this. ‘Should cost’ exercises would be a useful tool in a perfect world if we all had the time but isn’t that why you are together with a trusted supplier? Surely the supplier would focus on procurement costs so their sales exercises would be more competitive? You would think so, but what if the market is not so competitive.

In fact, does the cost plus model mainly arise in non-competitive markets dominated by larger players? If this is the case you could draw the conclusion that procurement is not being driven in the right direction due to a number of unbalanced forces (cost plus, lack of competition, lack of customer focus). This bad practice could easily spiral downwards. However will increased globalism be enough to shake up these suppliers or will the customers drive better value? Either way it often seems that procurement in these type of industries can be an after thought that is of little importance. Viva la procurement revolution.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Dear UK, Please leave. From France

This article was a challenge to write and should be viewed with good humour and in an amicable fashion. As a good French and European citizen, I am obliged to defend our interests and evaluate yours. For all our sakes you must stay in the European Union.

The UK Government is planning a referendum to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the EU. French media rarely broadcast information about this referendum at the moment, which is maybe the reason why French people don’t seem really concerned. I asked my friends and family in France if they thought Britain should remain in the EU. Many responded with disinterest, stating they did not care either way.

While doing research on the web in a BVA survey (French society of opinion polls) I discovered that 52% of French people are in favour of the the UK leaving the E.U with 73% falling in the 18 to 24 years old category, however I think that it would be a huge mistake for the UK and France.

Mainland Europe is still the UK’s main partner with more than 50% of your international trade. This includes Germany with their reliable cars and us (France) with our excellent wines. Although both may be exorbitantly priced, can you imagine living without them? In France, we use an expression that would perfectly describe this situation “se tirer une balle dans le pied”, which can be translated as “shooting oneself in the foot” {I believe you have the same expression }

Let’s be more serious. According to a research project carried out by the London School of Economics, if the UK were to exit from the EU, your GDP could decrease from anywhere between 1.1% to 3.1% (which equates to roughly £50 billion). The idea of leaving the EU immediately appears more far-fetched…

And if prices do not increase, perhaps its because you copy this powerful nation once known as the “Kingdom of Norway” by spending billions to buy your participation ticket to the free exchange within the European Union. Of course, this position would allow you to remain in contact with E.U members, who are by far your biggest clients and suppliers. However, you will be subject to E.U rules and no one will take your opinion into account. Was it not one of the reasons which push you to leave?

E.U isn’t a “jail”, it’s your ally. Getting together and applying common rules makes the EU the leading world power allowing us to negotiate widely favourable agreements.

A prime example being The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a potential new agreement allowing free exchange between the EU and US. Should the UK disassociate itself from the EU, where does that then leave it? Would they still get to reap the benefits of this unique partnership opportunity between the United States and the European Union?

Hopefully we won’t see another situation arise similar to the ‘Banana Wars’ of 1997.

If unfortunately I am wrong and leaving the EU is beneficial, who will help Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel to pay for all those countries whose economies are in worse shape than ours?We would have to find more than £6 billion to offset your departure. Then, what would we do if all immigrants stayed blocked on our coasts? In reality, we need you in the EU, our unemployment rate is already nearly 5 points higher than yours (…although apparently this makes our productivity higher due to the higher wages and the need to be competitive on a global basis.)

I, therefore appeal to the sharing and mutual aid between United Kingdom and the E.U.

Nick Drewe, co-founder of Market Dojo, comments that this break-up will have little impact on Market Dojo’s software as it is designed to not depend on particular legislation, which is a considerable advantage. Indeed, some competitors would need to change some parts of their applications in order for them to adapt to the new UK market and so could actually help us. However, the impact on sales is unknown.

This situation may even have some advantages for Market Dojo. Indeed you British buyers could be subjected to particularly difficult negotiations due to an increase of Incoterms. Looking for solutions to reduce these additional costs would be a priority and I know where you can find some great software to help you negotiate…

However more serious constraints also appear with regards to French internships. As Alun Rafique, co-founder of Market Dojo mentions, French interns may encounter more difficulties to work on British soil. In addition to all the good work the interns produce, we would be left without anyone to make such excellent tea, and who would ensure the office was maintained to such a high standard?

Nick and Alun recently visited France with great ease, but in the future, should Britain depart from the EU, booking flights may not be as simple as it once was and lengthy Visa applications could unfold. This would make the current ease and simplicity of popping to France a thing of the past. Lets hope not!

By Alex Mahe.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Market Dojo listed as a Supply Chain Brain

As the most comprehensive supply chain management resource, we feel incredibly privileged to have made the cut for Supply Chain Brain’s honourable list.

Supply Chain Brain seeks out emerging trends, technologies and best practices, forward-thinking ideas and cutting-edge solutions. The go-to place for senior-level supply chain executives, they collate this knowledge across a range of platforms to provide an informative resource for true professionals.

With last year’s vendors being selected for excelling in Reliability, Expertise and Global Reach, it is exciting to be chosen as a provider that addresses these issues accordingly.

Image result for supply chain brain

Brad Berger, Supply Chain Brain’s publisher, stated:

“Each year, our list of 100 Great Supply Chain Partners features a select group of companies whose customers are recognizing them for providing outstanding solutions and services.
This year we received nominations for literally hundreds of solutions providers in every aspect of supply chain management, as a result of our six-month on-line poll: in which supply chain professionals were asked to nominate vendors and service providers whose solutions have made a significant impact on their company’s efficiency, customer service and overall supply chain performance.

Market Dojo Ltd. will appear in the 2015 July/August issue of SupplyChainBrain magazine as a celebrated member of this year’s 100 Great.”

A huge thanks to Supply Chain Brain and to all who voted for Market Dojo.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

French Trainee – A last blog from the way back

Last week we bid a fond farewell to our intern Alex who spent 9 glorious weeks at Market Dojo HQ. Whilst here he worked on translation of the website, wrote content for the blog and spent a lot of time creating wonderful graphics for us.He was a great asset to the team and we wish him all the best in the future. Thank you Alex! Here is his parting blog:

I will have long-lasting memories of my experience at Market Dojo. In addition to the relaxed and enjoyable working atmosphere, the team often liked the work I did.

After leaving, a part of me will stay with Marketdojo, and for a while, through my design creations, a part of Market Dojo will also stay with me.
Nicholas, Alun and Nick set up a marketing campaign called “Be the e-Sourcing HERO”.  One of my tasks was to put a face into this idea and create various marketing materials. Very soon, you will discover this campaign at the e-World exhibition on 22nd September 2015 where Marketdojo will unveil its new hero.

Anya McKenna (Sales and Marketing Executive) will also take care of spreading the word through various social networks, such as Linkedin, Twitter, or even Facebook .

Here is a small foretaste of the appearance of the hero:

Creating the hero, the banner and the poster was simply a part of my internship. However, my CAD knowledge has been truly tested. Dozens of tests and patterns were needed in order to achieve a result satisfying all Market Dojo members.

This experience enabled me to understand how the validation process of a communication support in the professional world is long and rigorous. Everything can still be improved.

Some of my other missions, such as the translation of the website in French, could appear as less cool. Nevertheless they were just as beneficial as the design stuff. In my opinion, it is one of the best ways to learn English and especially procurement vocabulary. Which has been useful in every day life in Marketdojo. Even if I was not there long enough to become “The e-Sourcing HERO”, I was able to come up with a commandment for procurement: “Buy French.”

My main objective was to write “Fluent in English” on my CV at the end of my stay in the UK. Although, I may have set the bar too high. A future experience will be required to reach this expected level. However, and fortunately the next exam to to join a top Business School should now be achievable.

My internship at this small Start-up has allowed me to interact a lot with people. I had my first opportunity to participate in a professional meeting (party? Congress? I don’t remember the word) where I discovered another interesting side of the English business environment.

I would like to thank every member of Marketdojo for their welcome, for their help and for their happiness.. I know that this experience will have been incredibly beneficial for my career. I definitely recommend this Start-up to any motivated young Business graduate.

Alex – former CED (Chief Executive Designer) of Marketdojo

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

HomeServe Identify Savings Opportunities of £1.9 Million following the Implementation of Market Dojo’s eAuction Platform.

Market Dojo strive to make procurement professionals’ lives easier by providing innovative cloud-based eSourcing tools. Founded in 2010 by procurement professionals, and having received three grants for innovation, Market Dojo’s main focus is enabling better adoption for both the buyer and the suppliers.

Jadon Silva, Director of UK Procurement, spearheaded the implementation of this software at HomeServe with the first auction taking place in April 2015.  Following HomeServe’s first three auctions, savings of £1.9 million have been identified.

HomeServe was formed in 1993.  Its mission is to be the UK’s leading home assistance company. The scope of services they provide ranges from plumbing and drainage emergencies, locksmith services and gas boiler repair.

With a growing network of experienced engineers, HomeServe provide a reliable service across the globe, with operations in the UK, US, France, Italy, Spain and further afield.

Jadon Silva and the team at HomeServe have identified a number of reverse auction opportunities by using Market Dojo. Through these, the home assistance experts plan to generate even greater savings, which will hopefully carve the path for a fully adopted eSourcing approach.Two separate categories have so far been auctioned. The first was for the supply of envelopes which took place in a single day and comprised of three ranked auctions to supply the UK, France and Spain. Ranked auctions allow participants to see their position in the auction, relative to other participants. They really encourage competition amongst suppliers and are the most commonly known and widely used e-auctions that take place.

Market Dojo attended  HomeServe’s head office in Walsall for the first auctions where a phenomenal value of £500k was saved, working out at 30% of what the company were previously paying.

The second category was for the supply of various subcontracted services, which encompassed four auctions across 20 different regions of the UK. The slightly more aggressive Japanese auction style was used and over 140 suppliers were invited to take part in each auction. Each of the suppliers were able to bid on any of the regions, which were created as separate Lots. Japanese auctions involve the buyer setting various bid levels for each lot, which the suppliers then have to accept within a certain time period. Once this time period passes, a lower price level is designated. This process repeats until the last participant declines a bid level or the time runs out.

Through Jadon’s resilience to push the Japanese e-auction agenda, HomeServe saved a staggering £1.4m.  Additionally, negotiation processes which may have taken weeks or months, were completed in a matter of hours.

With success resonating across HomeServe, Market Dojo looks forward to continuing to build a long-standing relationship with the home assistance provider.

Commenting on the savings achieved, Jadon says; “It is great that we can extract this value from smarter procurement initiatives.  The subcontractor network may have fallen into the complex category, which often doesn’t favour e-auctions.  However, with the correct communication, due diligence and controls, we have proved that the e-auction methodology can still be a success.”
Alun Rafique, co-founder of Market Dojo mentions ”We are delighted to see another company bring eSourcing in-house with such ease and uncover large savings.  Jadon has shown how eSourcing can be successfully adopted by his team of buyers and their diverse range of suppliers.”

When asked what HomeServe would do with the savings, Jadon replied; “The savings we make allow HomeServe to invest in what is really important to us as a business.  Customer experience is at the heart of what we do. We aim to be at the forefront of new technology, which aligns with providing our customers effortless service.”

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Some more generous client feedback

In case you missed it, we recently enhanced our Case Study page.

This included a neat filter option to help our visitors zone into the segment of interest, be it Private or Public sector, Charities or Consultancies.  Give it a try here.

We’ve also added a number of new case studies for you to read.  Some highlights include:

Our partner eQuiddity / BakerWanless talk about how we’ve forged a close partnership over the last few years helping both our companies grow stronger.

Milla Harloff-Bernyk from Creative Education shares her insight into the challenges faced by procurement teams within an SME and how user-friendliness drove the adoption within the company.

And lastly ABM Global Solutions‘ advisory team discuss how important support and frequent developments are to the on-going success of the eSourcing approach.

We hope you find them useful and of course should you have any specific questions about our clients or the eSourcing process in general, we’d love to hear from you.
About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

UWE and Market Dojo collaborate

By working closely with the Bristol Business School of the University of the West of England (UWE), Market Dojo, a young business in the South West, is able to form a very real synergistic relationship.

As a local company, founded in Bristol, partnerships are seen as a very important strategy with respect to accelerating growth. And there are rarely better opportunities than partnering with academic institutions. Apart from forging stronger relationships with the local community there are powerful bilateral benefits for this type of bond.

Two of the co-founders of Market Dojo, Alun Rafique and Nick Drewe presented at a local CIPS (Chartered Institute of procurement and Supply) event in the Street Cafe and were looking to work more closely with UWE. This opportunity was afforded to Market Dojo though Dr Amit Mitra from the Dept of Strategy & Operations Management.  This was an opportunity to present a guest lecture at one of his courses and also to write a real life case study based on Market Dojo that the students are able to pick from a variety of other cases.

Now in the fourth year, Market Dojo has a very popular lecture slot in the module for virtual business and the now compulsory case study is worth 50% of the marks and involves a video submission.

One of the focal points of the course, and probably the most memorable parts for all concerned, is the game that Market Dojo have devised and run during the second half of their lecture.  The lecture is based around a specific part of their solution – eAuctions – and how they help industry negotiate quickly and efficiently for goods and services.  The game is focused on using the platform to bid for a variety of Lots and by using some very simple conditions, and a sliver of game theory, the winner is decided by the team that wins the most Lots.

Nick Drewe explains “This game brings a high level of interaction to the lectures and drives home how Market Dojo uses innovative technology to help businesses reduce their costs. We would encourage this type of interaction between local business and universities as all parties benefit.  We gain fresh insight on how our tool is used by newcomers, whilst the students learn how professional organisations can negotiate via auctions“

Dr Amit Mitra says “This is the opportunity to give the students not only a real life and current case study, but by reinforcing with a guest lecture, it gives the students a very real backdrop for their submission.  The students also enjoy the ability to interact with a company going through rapid growth and gain an understanding of the practicalities in overcoming the challenges that are faced”.

Alun Rafique from Market Dojo highlights “We have the opportunity to share our experience with a group of young minds and we have the ability to understand many different views which quite often provide insightful feedback on potential solutions to our dilemmas.  On top of this the course has a pool of talented students that will go into business with the ability to spread the word, perhaps even as employees of ours!”

It has been a real success and this type of co-operation should be encouraged.  It results in many more benefits for all parties than simply giving students a stale or unrealistic case study.  And the students are the real winners with practical assignments and a greater understanding of becoming entrepreneurs themselves.

Market Dojo offers easy to use, professional e-sourcing software as a service.  Founded in 2010 and based in Bristol their aim is to provide accessible solutions to procurement professionals enabling them to save time and money on their purchasing activities.

UWE is one of Britain’s most popular universities, with more than 30,000 students and is the largest providers of higher education in the south west of England.  Bristol UWE is consistently one of Britain’s leading new universities for quality in teaching and has a strong research tradition.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Greenwich University and Market Dojo collaborate

Market Dojo, a start up specialising in e- procurement Software – as – a – Service (SaaS), is constantly looking to expand its sphere of influence through short, medium and long term relationships.  A viable business needs to be based on all three to have a long term future. Working closely with academic institutions is an ideal vehicle for satisfying all three conditions.

Market Dojo, who work in the eProcurement space have forged a close relationship with the University of Greenwich in their International Procurement and Purchasing course led by Dr Li Zhou.  For four years, two of the co-founders of Market Dojo, Alun Rafique and Nick Drewe, have presented and currently help with a key lecture in the MA of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

The lecture is based on Market Dojo’s initial proposition on which the company was founded four years ago.  This focuses on an innovative technology for negotiation called the reverse auction, which Market Dojo have made more accessible through an easy to use, on demand solution that lets procurement professionals more readily negotiate their goods and services.

Embedded in the lecture is a game that Market Dojo has developed which combines the elements of using Software-as-a-Service, negotiation and game theory.

Alun Rafique reveals “This game gives the students a background into a key element of an emerging technology which is at the heart of their course.  On top of this it shows how Market Dojo developed its original strategy and shows the benefits and challenges that companies face when adopting new technology.”

Dr. Li Zhou, who is a Reader in Operations Management at the department of Systems Management and Strategy, readily saw the advantages in working with a real life start-up based in the procurement space. She says “Market Dojo has given my students an insider view to how a start-up in this area can create value for businesses whilst also showing them how a small company can grow and challenge much larger competition through innovative on-demand technology”
Market Dojo often works with academics to help provide real life examples to students and there are many reciprocal benefits. The feedback from the students is very insightful and can help shape Market Dojo’s product and even provide answers to their own challenges.  Further to this it helps spread awareness and can help with recruitment.

Nick Drewe mentions “It is key for small businesses as well as large multinationals to work with academic institutions to give students a holistic view of all elements of the modern company.  We find that students are especially interested in our entrepreneurial view as many want to start a business themselves.”

Market Dojo hopes to expand their relationship with the University of Greenwich and is looking at other research opportunities there.  They are also working with more diverse training providers by offering their software to help with general training in the field of eSourcing.  It is by working with this area of education where there are obvious benefits for both parties that help Market Dojo forge strong relationships and a real long term strategy.

Market Dojo offers easy to use, professional e-sourcing software as a service.  Founded in 2010 and based in Bristol their aim is to provide accessible solutions to procurement professionals enabling them to save time and money on their purchasing activities.

The University of Greenwich is one of London’s largest universities and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2014. The university has three iconic campuses in London and Kent, and a heritage of education, discovery and technological innovation. An ambitious institution, it takes an innovative and modern approach to teaching, research and enterprise, and is thoroughly committed to making sure that students achieve their potential.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Top 3 Tips on Creating Compelling Case Studies

Writing a case study is easy.

Writing a case study that is engaging, compelling and entices the reader to do more is another matter altogether.

Companies structure their case studies in different way in terms of paragraphs, bullet points or a combination of both. Which one of these is correct is hard to say and maybe does not matter. However the actual content of the Case Study does.

I’ve put together some points to consider when you’re writing a case study:

1.      Follow a Formatting Framework
Reading big blocks of text can be boring. Make sure to break this up with compelling images and screenshots and informative bullet points. Make your case study easy to read and therefore easy for your reader to get involved in the story.

2.      Encourage Empathy

If someone has clicked on a particular case study, that must mean they have drawn some form of connection to it – a bond if you will. This may be because they share something similar, the reader feels they may be able to relate to the particular industry for example. To do this, it is important to retain the reader’s attention. Tell a story and make it personal. Highlight how the needs of the industry your share have been met by this particular product /service.

3.      Focus on Facts, Figures and Benefits
People like facts. Fact.

Including specific figures such as ‘achieved savings of 25%’ allows one to see real-life, specific examples of what they could expect to obtain. Giving your readers examples of quantifiable, tangible results alongside a story they can relate to makes for a very powerful case study.

I feel that these are a few of the important points to consider when tasked with creating an interesting case study. There are many more elements to think about, but this should provide a sturdy base to start you off.

What other elements should be taken into consideration?

Have you come across any other key factors that you would like to share which have made your case studies interesting for the reader?

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Bringing the ‘e’ into ‘eSourcing’

You are an experienced procurement professional. You have been completing tenders via phone and email since 2001.

When you need a quote, you simply pick up the phone, call your suppliers, get a few prices and go with whichever one can deliver first. Sometimes you find yourself asking; is this the most profitable way of operating? Is there a better way of working which could allow me to include more suppliers? If I want to find out what was paid and from whom the last time I bought a specific item, do I have to scroll through hundreds of emails to find out? Your current way is clunky and frustrating at times, but that’s just how it’s done… or is it?

One day, you leap up from your desk and cry ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! There must be another way.’, after plugging ‘eSourcing software’ into Google, you go in search of a more simple, more accountable way of sourcing what you need. Due to the easy to adopt, pay as you host SaaS Model offered, you opt for Market Dojo.
After signing up for free on the site, you log in and head to the Sandpit to create your first eTender. But what is all this jargon? Your comfort blanket of ignorance has been removed and now you have to learn a whole new world of terms and phrases, varying processes, different types of auctions, and strategies to make your event successful. Quite overwhelming really? Nope.

The Market Dojo team are a kind breed and want to make the transition from prehistoric tendering to suave eSourcing as smooth as possible.

Not only have we made our system really easy to adopt for yourselves and your suppliers, all of the fields which may cause confusion are marked with an ‘i’, when you hover over this, you are provided with in-depth details of  what it means. If you’re still feeling bamboozled, we have also provided you with a wealth of resources and videos which you can access for free after registering on the site.

Our resources really allow you to get to grips with how the tool works. From demystifying jargon to providing you with templates for uploading lots, the resource page is a great means of finding out what you need to know. And you can access them in your own time, for free.

With over 30 video tutorials, divided into supplier support and participant advice, you can really find out all you need to know without even having to pick up the phone. If your suppliers get confused, you have a host of knowledge at your finger tips ready to pass on.
The video by the students at University of Gloucester sums up this blog post nicely:

Before you know it, you’ve signed up to Market Dojo (Did I mention it’s free?), watched a couple of tutorials, created 3 RFQs, a PPQ and a £10,000,000 auction on stationery, all ready to go live once you purchase your licence. You’ve done it all by yourself, without having to arrange any meetings with the Market Dojo team, no complicated supplier webinars across differing time zones. And if you did need to ask for help, you can always pop us a question on live chat where one of the very knowledgeable team can offer you some light consultancy advice.

Well, what are you waiting for? Head over to our site, check out our resources for yourself and make the easy move to eSourcing.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Sun, eSourcing and Strategic planning- UWE and Market Dojo.

Through fortunate timing yesterday (14th April), Market Dojo was able to escape the confines of the office and make the most of the glorious sunny weather in Bristol. The purpose of our visit to Bristol was to give an informative (and fun!) lecture to the MBA students at UWE Business School involved in ‘Systems, Structures and Operations’.

We arrived at UWE business school and met with Dr Amit Mitra from from the Dept of Strategy & Operations Management for a bite of lunch in the cafeteria (and very tasty it was too) before heading to the lecture room to meet the students.

A presentation giving an overview of Market Dojo, how the company was formed and plans for the future made up the first half of the lecture. A lot of the students had experience in areas which could be applied to Market Dojo, such as procurement, software development, business strategy. This made for some very interesting questions and great interaction throughout the afternoon.

The final hour of the session encompassed our game. In essence, the group of 26 students were split into teams of 6 and all invited to take part in a dummy reverse auction made up of 4 lots. Each student represented a supplier and their challenge was to bid on all four lots, winning the event for their company without falling below the minimum value threshold. The winning team won with two lots, still managed to make a bit of profit for the company and on top of that, received some chocolate as a prize.

Overall it was a great day for Market Dojo; we got to meet some of the next generation of potential business leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs- maybe even some future Market Dojo employees, there were a lot of questions about our product and we struck up some good debate, we also learnt a bit about how eSourcing operates in different cultures.

The students gained some insight into the application of eAuctions and eSourcing and hopefully enjoyed learning about Market Dojo’s journey as much as we enjoyed hearing from them.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Do’s and Don’ts of eTendering

We all owe it to the participants for an Online Negotiation Event to be run in a fair, open and expedient fashion.

To help you out, the Market Dojo team have created a guide which outlines the important factors you should have in mind whilst hosting your Event. The guide (which is free to download from the Market Dojo site) contains many more pointers, but here are our Top 3 Do’s and Don’ts to get you started.

Image result for dos and don'ts

Do…

1. Have honest intent.
As a Host moves forward with an Online Negotiation Event, there must not be an underlying motive to push one participant, but to be genuinely open for any participant to be successful. Participants will only be willing to commit themselves to an Event if they feel there is something to gain. Without your participants, you have no Event.

2. Include your internal stakeholders in the process.
This process is highly visible and auditable. Many people in the organization may be affected by the outcome and the last thing you need is difficulty in implementing the final decision. To avoid this, best practice dictates that you should involve your internal stakeholders early in the process, canvas their views and input to the process to gain their confidence and buy-in. Then any conclusion will be theirs as well and implementation of the final result will be easier. Compound this by inviting them to watch the online negotiation when it takes place.

3. Create a clear specification.
The creation of a clear specification will benefit all that take part in the Event. By clearly defining what is being negotiated via the Event will strengthen the Hosts position and help obtain the best possible result. All parties will be bidding on a like-for-like basis and since the risk is minimized, the Host can obtain the best solution.

Don’t…
1. Change major details just before an event.
We understand that anything can change as a Host moves through the process. Any major changes will be automatically communicated to the participants. However, in the interests of everyone, try to avoid changing major details in the closing stages before an Event. Not only will this de-motivate your participants, it might create an unfair playing field and affect your chances of obtaining the best result.

2. Change your process after the event.
Stay true to your process. For instance, if you have communicated that the lead bid wins, you must hold true to your word unless that participant has demonstrable flaws. If you are concerned about the final price, then set your qualification bid carefully or leave the choice of the final participant at your discretion, i.e. Host’s Choice.

3. Let participants bid after the event.
You have initiated a fair process which is clear and open to all. By letting participants bid after the event ruins your credibility, the professionalism, can affect your future events, and gives Online Negotiation Events a bad name.

If you follow this advice then your participants will appreciate the professionalism and courtesy with which you have conducted your Event and so will be more willing to extend the favour back to you. If, however, you don’t take heed of any of this advice, then be prepared for your participants to walk away.

For more Do’s, Don’ts and some fundamental Not Allowed, download the full guide from our resource page at marketdojo.com.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

The Making of our Viral Videos

Working with a local horror film producer we made a series of light-hearted videos to inject some humour into a procurement professionals day. The basic premise was based on various ways for a business to save money.

A Script and a Storyboard
As the raison d’etre was very simple, this was probably easier than most.  We would film a ‘before’ and ‘after’ sequence with different crazy ideas for savings money before realising that Market Dojo is the answer.

A Director and a Cameraman

Luckily we found someone who was all in one.

Lee is an Award Winning freelance Writer, Director, Camera Operator, Video Editor and Motion Graphics Designer. He has some great showreels that you can see here.

An Actor
We were very fortunate with Geoff Prewer stepping into the breach. A consummate actor with versatile skills. As you can see, not someone shy to put on some eyeliner.

A Crew
Made up of  Alun, Nick and Justyna from the Market Dojo team!

A Set 
It is amazing what you can do with a couple of plyboards, a lick of paint and photoshop.  By simply moving the boards we gave the impression that he is working in an office with no doors or windows for the ‘before’ shots.  if you look carefully you can see that the photo of Geoff’s family is made up entirely of Geoff!

The Production
We started off with a lot of ideas which were a lot of fun to come up with but in reality you just have to practice.In truth it is not our first effort to go viral.

Our first effort was the Ninja Lizard based on the Ninja Cat!

Maybe not subtle enough though.  Our second foray into the area was using the lovable ‘Cactus’ (a friendly Bearded Dragon) who comes up with some fancifulideas with an analogy to show Market Dojo is a new way of thinking.  Slightly more ‘off the wall’.

And this brings us on to the latest set of videos on saving money using our lovable but slightly deluded Andy Cipher (the name of our character).

Originally all our videos had a script although we found it far easier to keep it as simple as possible with no script.  Not quite the silent movies of Charlie Chaplin although they seem to work well.

We filmed them over two weekends.  The first weekend representing the ‘before’ shot with the hapless Andy Cipher thinking of some weird schemes to save the office money. The second weekend involved shooting the scenes where he has seen the light.

It is truly amazing to see what how much can be achieved with so little.  It really is contained within the eye of the beholder.

One of our favourite videos is using the force.  Why not have a look and tell us how we got the cup to move.  Was it magic?⇨

Another saw us manage to expertly place a pair of pants on poor Andys head. In 10 years time I am not sure what I will say about this episode in my life.

As Horror is Lee’s special forte, we couldn’t possibly leave out the obligatory zombie scene. You can see Nick makes a pretty mean undead… although which is which? ⇨

By far the most challenging was creating the scene where we created an office outdoors.  You might think that any field would do. However, driven by our more experienced director we were led to understand that for the right composition, the right lighting, the right background we had to carry all the equipment through the woods for the ultimate scene…

It didn’t help that we forgot the chair but pictured above above, the guys faithfully went to retrieve it. And as you can see from below, it did make a great final video.

The whole experience was incredibly rewarding and lots of hard work. Did we manage to create a viral sensation? Given our views it would seem not.  Have we brought a smile to the drudgery that is know as procurement, perhaps you can tell us?

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

What’s the Difference Between the 6 Nations Final and an eAuction?

This Saturday (21st March 2015) is a very important day in the world of rugby. Not only are the final three games of the 6 Nations impending, the ball is literally in anyone’s court as the title of champion could go to one of three contenders- England, Wales or Ireland. After England smashes France in the final game (kick off 5pm), we shall be crowned victor (fingers crossed!), and I shall celebrate with a pint of cider in the pub across the road!

We British are notorious for our love of sport, as pointed out by a French intern at Market Dojo a few years ago, who wrote a blog post for us, singing the praises of the British culture in one paragraph then calling us ‘rosbeefs’ in the next! (Just kidding Camélia. We know you love England really.)

Having spent the past month becoming au fait with all things eSourcing and eAuction (like my use of the French language there?), I can’t help but draw parallels between sport and eAuctions. The thrill of watching your home team scoring a try at the deciding game of the 6 nations and the excitement of viewing a reverse auction in real time as suppliers bid on your product/service of requirement- in both results, you become a winner.

As the final gets underway, Ireland, Wales and England all have a chance at becoming victor- this really is anyone’s game to win. The same also applies to the eAuction process were all of the players (suppliers) enter the event with equal chances of winning the tender, determined by how they perform in the auction.

You can be a hero whether it’s scoring the winning goal at an all-important match, achieving the best result for your company and hosting a successful auction (or even as a supplier, winning a huge tender through an open and transparent auction process).

Hopefully England will be able to pull it out of the bag and give England that win we deserve this weekend. If they don’t, I’ll embrace my Irish heritage and cheer for them next year instead!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

CIPS Middle East welcomes Market Dojo

Some exciting news fresh off the press is that we shall be attending the CIPS Middle East conference on the 11th May 2015 in Abu Dhabi.

This is courtesy of a generous invitation from our regional partner, ArcBlue / PMMS Consulting, who are sponsoring the event.

Their Dubai-based team provides a range of support to clients including training, organisational assessment, process development, coaching and mentoring, capability assessment and general advisory.   PMMS are also the sole provider of training services for CIPS in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and have been using our tools as a training aid for the workshops.

We feel that the Middle East is an exciting market for us, given the extreme ease of use of our tools to benefit those who are less familiar with eSourcing.   Coupled with our very low entry price of just £500, there is a real opportunity for companies to give it a try with negligible downside.

So, if you are also due to attend the event or shall be in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi over that period, please do let us know so we can arrange to meet.  We have a few days spare during our flying visit and would welcome the chance to speak with as many of you as possible to lure us away from the pristine beaches!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

‘What’s the first thing that comes into your head when you hear the word ‘eSourcing?’

It is obvious that eSourcing adoption has increased in larger organisations as they implement software to bring eSourcing in-house or use consultants to conduct eTenders on their behalf.
eSourcing comes with a huge number of benefits and companies are aware of these.

Recently I started a discussion asking the lovely members of Procurious:

‘What’s the first thing that comes into your head when you hear the word ‘eSourcing?’

They all responded positively with the majority stating ‘efficiency’ as the key factor of eSourcing. Other thoughts that people had around the topic include:

All great reasons to start using eSourcing. However, as touched on by one responder:
Why isn’t everyone utilising eSourcing?

Our biggest competitor is not an all bells and whistles ERP system- it is email… still!
What is it about email that keeps procurement professionals tied in? Or is it just a matter of being stuck in their old ways, unable to see the wood for the trees? People are notoriously opposed to change, but it doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

How can we promote eSourcing to our fellow procurement professionals, who may still be stuck sourcing goods and services without all the benefits of eSourcing mentioned above?

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

AND THE WINNER IS…

At eWorld on Tuesday 3rd March, visitors that came to our stand entered their businesses cards into our prize draw to be in with a chance of winning one Market Dojo Licence, encompassing an ENTIRE MONTH of full access to Market Dojo for one user with a value of £500!

At the end of the day, I pulled the lucky card from our jar (as you can see from the video featuring Alun and myself).

And so, our winner is…

…. Zael Prestel from Barclays bank! CONGRATULATIONS Zael! We hope you enjoy using our eSourcing software and can’t wait to see how your first eAuction goes!

If you entered our competition and unfortunately were not succesful, there will be another opportunity to win a license on 22nd September when we return to eWorld. So make sure you pop by the stand and say hello!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

The eSourcing eVolution: Part I – The Past

This is part one of a three piece blog providing an in-depth analysis of the evolution of eSourcing around the question:
“What would Market Dojo be like today if it had started 10 years earlier?”

The Year 2000. The Millennium.
Throughout the year and across the globe, monumental events were taking place such as George Bush becoming president of the US by a slim margin, the Olympic Games being hosted in Australia and in the UK, Big Brother graced our screens for the first time (Yay).

One event (of even greater relevance than Big Brother) which cannot be ignored was the collapse of the dotcom bubble.

Mesmerised by the sweet bliss of dotcom, eCommerce companies such as Boo.com, Pets.com and Toysmart.com were thriving from investment. Little did they know that their demise was swiftly encroaching and soon they would become mere ghosts of their former triumphs.

Amazon and Ebay were entering their 5th year with seemingly little hope for the future. On 22nd June, the Lehman Brothers Inc. debt analyst Ravi Suria released a scandalous report on Amazon’s predicted loss and the future of the eMarketplace, and the entirety of the World Wide Web at that point in time looked pretty bleak.

The price of technology was just too much to sustain at that point, the price of marketing was far too high and the volume of people using the web was simply not great enough. The business world had got carried away and over-invested in the dotcom concept at a time when demand was simply too low.

So what was happening in the procurement world? What was eSourcing like?
Until 2000, the emphasis had been on on-premise software solutions. These came with many benefits at the time such as the company having ultimate control over all their systems, potentially sensitive data being stored internally and having a dedicated team of IT staff available for support. However on-premise solutions did come with its own set of problems. One main concern was integrating the various software vendors. One solution to this was that companies merged together or were bought out to form a few major software suites who could provide an all-in-one solution that met every purchasing need a company could possibly desire. For example, Ariba acquiring Freemarkets (who pioneered managed eAuctions) for $493 million in 2004 (who later sold it to Accenture for $51M, showing how eAuctions became more commoditized).

With the formation of these large conglomerates, the intrinsic values (such as usability and maintenance) of the original software providers were somewhat lost, as the companies were stretched and their focus moved away from the customers’ needs to company growth and management. The phrase “one throat to choke” was coined as users gradually became more infuriated with the amalgamated giants and sought one person to blame for the myriad of problems that occurred. Fortunately, alongside this thunderstorm that was unfurling, the dawn of cloud computing was on the horizon and the sunshine of a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution was the prize at the end of the rainbow.

The Cloud
Cloud computing refers to the ability to host applications (software) online. Surprisingly, the Millennium did not provide the first emergence of cloud technology. As early as the 1950s, cloud computing was present in the form of large-scale mainframe computers, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) encompassed cloud technology in the 90s, but the most recent is the Millennium version which we use today which has revolutionised technology as we previously knew it by driving on-premise platforms to a slow demise.

There are many benefits of implementing cloud tools such as reduced costs, reduced on-site support, and eradication of long-winded clunky updates with difficult roll-outs. The latter, being the most note-worthy in the B2B environment, has enabled companies to quickly and easily attain best of breed solutions from niche suppliers due to integration issues being drastically reduced. The majority of us use single sign-on as consumers with Gmail, Twitter and Facebook when signing in to third-party applications. Market Dojo itself uses this today to easily toggle between our different tools: Market Dojo, Category Dojo, Innovation Dojo and SIM Dojo.

As the cloud began to re-form, the procurement world started to analyse the ‘one stop shop’ solution and was able to look at the new areas and take advantage of integrating best of breed P2P, eSourcing and ERP solutions. So what would Market Dojo have done if it had started in the year 2000 instead of in 2010? Who better to ask than a Market Dojo co-founder…

I asked Alun Rafique, one of the co-founders alongside Nick Drewe and Nicholas Martin, a series of questions around eSourcing in the year 2000 and Market Dojo’s position had they formed the company then.

In summary Alun hypothesised:
Market Dojo as we know it today would not have been possible. Technology at this time was not advanced enough to allow the SaaS model that Market Dojo has adopted to be easily designed, built, hosted and used in a profitable way. Realistically, SaaS only became reliable for these types of application around 2005 and this would have prohibited the accessibility of the tool. Obviously you did have some players who started in SaaS such as Salesforce around the year 2000 but this type of application (CRM) avoided some of the challenges with eProcurement such complex events set up with interaction in real time between many parties and also the type of data that would be securely held would generally be less critical. Also eMail programs like Hotmail were around before this but again their reach into the B2B IT infrastructure was limited. Companies, with large IT departments and internal layers, were just not set up to take on the paradigm shift and use online eSourcing programs in lieu of on-premise, at least not in the volume that would be needed to make a SaaS company grow.

eSourcing at the time was only adopted by huge companies within the framework of large procurement software packages with EDI links to suppliers. As Market Dojo is very much a best of breed solution, this was not something that was desirable at the time as the technology to easily integrate these tools was simply not there.

In 2000, eSourcing, as done through these large providers, used a strange mix of electronic and paper-based solutions. While elements such as the tender itself were carried out electronically, the fulfilment to the supplier was carried out via paper. The full advantages of eTendering would therefore not have been fully utilised with this multi-channel approach.

If Market Dojo had started at this time, it would have most likely been an on-premise solution, there would have been a need to form EDIs with suppliers (specific electronic links) and as it moved forward, it would have had to use email as a means of communication. There would have been large implementation and training costs, limiting the software to large MNCs and creating barriers for smaller companies. Also large consultative part would have been necessary.

It would have been possible to perhaps form Market Dojo in 2005 with SaaS developing at this time and communication with suppliers would have improved in that 5 year period, however the SaaS-based model at this time was extremely expensive and less flexible than it was in 2010 when Market Dojo formed. Web development costs would have been exorbitant due to the complexity of what would be required compared to the skill base and programming options available at the time.

Nick Drewe, fellow co-founder of Market Dojo stated:
“We rely heavily on clever plug-ins and external tech (OAuth, Highcharts, etc.) that may not have been around then, so our product would not have been as slick.

In turn this means we wouldn’t have been able to address what we wanted to: adoption. Our offering would have been a consultancy service with some neat in-house kit as opposed to a self-service software solution. We would have been focusing on a different pain, be it lack of resources or experience to run strategic projects or failure to hit cost reduction targets. Our time would be largely spent on educating the market and getting to engage with pioneers in the space.

This means it isn’t really a software model but a consultancy one. Our entire philosophy would be different.

We would have to charge high fees to offer a bespoke service per client, and the software would play second fiddle, as we see with software packages today that were designed in the late nineties.”

It seems like the year 2010 provided pretty good entry to the SaaS eSourcing market for Market Dojo due to the paradigm shift in the market to bring these technologies in house, allowing an affordable model with a focus on ease of adoption and bringing the benefits to the end user.

Had the co-founders sat down in the year 2000 to create Market Dojo, there would have been various options in terms of releasing an on-premise version or a primitive SaaS solution. Although it can be agreed that neither outcome would come anywhere close to what we have in place today.

In the second part of this 3 piece feature, we shall examine the current eSourcing market and what Market Dojo would have been like today if born in 2000, and how different it would look in comparison with the Market Dojo that actually exists today.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

What’s great about our auction platform?

We are very proud of our eAuction platform.  It was our initial business proposition and still draws in the crowds.  We have users from companies ranging from one million in turnover to many billions, running tenders on all types of goods and services from values of thousands to hundreds of millions.

No other platform gives gives you the ability to call in in the morning and run an auction in the afternoon without the need to train the suppliers.  We recognise that preparing for an eAuction can be challenging, and the system should help with this challenge, not be an additional hurdle to overcome.

Our platform also has many capabilities from including a Pre Qualification Questionnaire to weighted auctions. See more of our functionality here.

However, in this blog we really wanted to show you the cool parts of our interface. (Click here for the video)

Overview:
This is an overview of the eAuction screen. Colourful, compact and nearly everything is ‘click-able’ for further information, which can be seen in the following images.

Settings
These can be changed live during an auction.  You can see the pause button and also the ability to change the heart of the eAuction settings such as the duration, the dynamic close, changing who it applies to and also altering the min and max bid decrements.

Live feed
We have a great live feed to keep you up to date with the goings on without the need to look at all the lots individually.  It is also there for the suppliers so they can see the latest and greatest.

Lot Matrix – ‘The summary’
See an overview of the event from a lot perspective with bespoke total calculations.
Notice the ‘stock market’ type updates highlighting where the bids have been placed.

Lot Matrix – ‘The lines’
See the event overview from a line item perspective with a click of a button.

Lot Matrix – ‘The suppliers’
See the line items by supplier.

Lot Matrix – ‘The detail’
Lastly, with another click, you can see the suppliers, by component, by line item in real time during the eAuction

Other features
See who is active, send messages, place proxy bids and you have the ability to delete bids all from within the auction interface

See the graphs
Check out your results graphically displayed in real time.  No need to wait for a periodic refresh as we use new technology to display bids as soon as they come in.

If you want to see this for yourself then you can simply sign up for free and try everything out in our sandpit.  Welcome to the Dojo!

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Which is better? SaaS or On-premises software

When we started working on Market Dojo, we decided early on that we would use the SaaS model. This was an obvious choice for us, and has helped us and our customers throughout our history. Because we often get asked about this, I wanted to share the reasons for our decision in a bit more detail.

Google Trends – comparing interest in SaaS, Enterprise Software and On-Premises search terms.

History
Over the last 15 years, enterprise software has undergone a radical shift. In the 1990’s, customers would usually install software on their own servers. Today it is now usually hosted by the application provider, and delivered over the Internet. For a more detailed definition of the two terms – see Wikipedia articles on On-premises Software, and SaaS.

So what are the benefits of SaaS?

Running Costs
Running and support costs are lower, in all except the largest on-premises implementations. This is because all clients share the cost of servers and operations staff. On-premises software would duplicate these costs for each installation.

Time / cost to implement
Implementation for SaaS software is almost always much faster than for on-premises.
Staff must install an on-premises solution at the customers data centre and integrate it with an existing IT infrastructure.

In the case of Market Dojo a new customer can enroll themselves and setting up licences can be done in a few minutes.  Here’s an earlier blog post of our’s that shows how you can set up your organisation and be fully operational in 21 minutes.

Support cost and time to resolve issues
Support is simpler, as access to log files and identical system environment is available to the support team. This leads to a cost reduction and also to faster resolution of issues.

Contract length / agility
Because of the reduction in time and cost to install, SaaS vendors can be offer shorter contracts. It also means that they can add or remove users faster. Market Dojo can be purchased on a month by month basis with no minimum contract length.

New versions
New versions are immediately available to all users, without the need to be installed on customer systems.

Maintenance
On-premises solutions tend to be bespoke to each customer. This increases the maintenance costs and ability to roll out new features.  A SaaS application usually has only one version, which means these issues do not arise.

Software costs
Due to all the efficiencies that come from true multi-tenanted SaaS applications software companies can supply their SaaS solutions at a much lower cost than on-premises applications.

So why isn’t everything SaaS?
Great question!

There are some good reasons why not everything is SaaS. SaaS (as it exists today) is a newer concept, so some older software solutions are on-premises for historical reasons.
There are applications which are not so well-suited to a SaaS. Video editing software involves processing huge volumes of data, and is often done more efficiently on a powerful workstation, rather than across a network. This may change as technology improves.

For some classes of applications (e.g. Bank Networks) the risks may outweigh the benefits.
Here are some points that a buyer should consider when evaluating a SaaS product.

Data Security
Data security is a key issue with SaaS software. It has made the headlines due to events such as revelations about the US Government PRISM programme. These are valid concerns. SaaS companies are taking steps to secure their products from these risks, but a wise buyer would consider this point.

System availability
SaaS solutions usually have less downtime than those hosted on-premises, but relying on external vendors is a risk which should be considered.

Dependence on high-speed internet
SaaS applications depend on an internet connection to function. Several factors will affect actual network requirements. These include number of users, type of application, level of interaction.

Conclusion
We believe that most enterprise software is moving to the SaaS model because the benefits of this approach outweigh the disadvantages.

The preferred architecture for computing has swung like a pendulum between a centralised and distributed approach. In the 1970’s a mainframe computer with many dumb terminals was state of the art. In the 1990’s a distributed, client-server model ruled the roost. Long term, we cannot be sure if the pendulum has settled or will swing again. Will current innovations such as MS Office 365, Amazon AWS and Google Chromebook continue? Will the end of Moores law and the Internet of Things give rise to new and better tools and usher in a return to a more distributed model?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball*. However, we do believe that, in the short and medium term, at least, SaaS will be the preferred choice for most applications.

*For more information about the Moores Law and accelerating technology, these links are a great place to start:
https://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_on_how_technology_will_transform_us
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9wFXHYJgdo

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

See what the Doctor says…

We would like to thank Sourcing Innovation for two great blog posts on Market Dojo. The Sourcing Innovation blog was started in June of 2006, is authored and edited by Michael Lamoureux, aka the doctor, a Computer Science PhD who has been heavily involved in the Sourcing and Supply

A Dojo Where You Can Walk Your Own Way
marketdojo is a company that many of you haven’t heard of and a company that I’m sure many of you who have heard of them dismissed because of the Western notion of what a dojo is. In western thought, a dojo is believed to be a training school for Japanese martial arts where students to to learn from a sensei. So when you hear marketdojo, the first thing you probably think of is a training school for (e-)commerce best practices and a services company — not a do-it-your-self SaaS e-Sourcing platform.

But that is what marketdojo is — a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

Read more here

A Dojo Where You Can Plan your Own Path
In our last post, we introduced you to marketdojo, a state-of-the-art do-it-yourself e-Negotiation suite that supports complex RFX and e-Auction events as well as integration with their categorydojo product that helps a user determine appropriate sourcing strategies for each category and prioritize those categories based on the expected size of the opportunity.

In yesterday’s post, we described their basic marketdojo product which consists of an RFX and e-Auction offering (which supports multiple RFX types and Auctions). Today we are going to discuss their categorydojo product, which is one of the two real differentiators between them and the other players targeting the low-end of the e-Sourcing market (in an effort to bring smaller companies out of the Purchasing Dark Ages where some still remain).

Read more here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Complex eSourcing with our Lot Matrix, what do you think? (see our videos)

Two years of development has resulted in our most ambitious release yet. The Lot Matrix allows you to build very complex sourcing events, very easily. Here are some videos, please have a look and let us know what you think?

Introducing the Lot Matrix – General overview

Creating advanced lots – How to create a complex sourcing event

Managing an event with advanced lots – What does a live event look like

Bidding in an advanced lot – How does a participant bid

Lot Matrix Demo – See the whole process to music

Our Lot Matrix allows you to build complex lots with different line items, components and include totals with bespoke calculations. You essentially start with a cell and grow a full matrix around this to cope with almost any scenario. You can create different unit of measure sets, chose which cells are ranked and we will be releasing mutli currency very soon and transformation bidding close after. As always we make things simple from the participant bidding side with excel upload and the host has the ability to see all the detail in real time during an auction. You can read more here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Communication with suppliers key to driving innovation

(Editor’s note:  this article was first published by Supply Management and is a review of a seminar given at eWorld Purchasing & Supply by a client of ours, Milla Harloff-Bernyk from Creative Education.)

By understanding suppliers’ needs, teacher training provider Creative Education has been able to reduce procurement spend without compromising on quality.

When faced with squeezed budgets as a result of the economic crisis, the firm’s procurement manager Milla Harloff-Bernyk said she used innovation to make sure the company could still offer the same service.

She said she was determined not to drop quality – for example using budget hotels as venues instead of Marriot Hotels – because she knew how much the customers valued the experience.
Harloff-Bernyk told delegates at the eWorld Purchasing & Supply conference in London yesterday she made use of an e-sourcing platform from Market Dojo to free up her team’s time for “human interaction and communication”.

“I believe the data is good, software is brilliant but without adoption it’s not going to happen,” she said. “So that’s why we have used something that suppliers will find very user-friendly and easy to interact with.”

Please read the full article in Supply Management here.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more atwww.marketdojo.com

Mini-competitions to drive Savings within Frameworks

Many senior professionals in the public sector feel that mini-competitions in Frameworks are not used enough, resulting in “less than competitive” pricing compared to wider external markets.

Like many other providers, Market Dojo has tried to address this market gap with careful developments. To date we have had considerable success with Bedford Borough Council, Kent County Council and Shropshire Council.

There is an opportunity for the new breed of eSourcing providers to evolve their functionality in order to broaden their appeal beyond the Private Sector. Essentially to apply their methodology and provide low-cost, EU-compliant and fully auditable tools that can assist Public Sector organisations across all member states of the European Union. One particular problem area to address is where Frameworks have underperformed (amongst other things).

The majority of orders raised within the frameworks are from ‘call offs’ for which there is obviously scope for increasing their competitiveness by using mini-competitions. Mini-competitions, and hence weighted auctions, are currently not readily used due to the complexity of current systems, so this represents a massive opportunity.

Please read more here on procurement Insights

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Introducing the Lot Matrix: Simple Lots

At Market Dojo, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make e-Sourcing simple for our customers.  We believe that software must be easy to use, and give access to the right information at the right time. So we made some changes which we think will help us do those two things even better.

Market Dojo is a Software As A Service product. This means that all our customers will see the benefit of these changes the next time they use the software.

Connecting suppliers and opportunities
Many of our customers have a large supplier base, and don’t always know every supplier who is right for a particular event. To find the widest range of suppliers, customers can make their events visible on their own Market Dojo Portal.

To make events visible, there is a new option on the Display Settings Administration area. First, ensure that you have created a custom portal URL, and then tick ‘Make events publicly visible’.

Now, when people visit https://myportal.marketdojo.com , they will see a list of events, underneath the login box.

Hosts – creating lots
One of the first things that Hosts have to do is create the Lots for their event.  We have made the initial view more welcoming, with easier access to the two main options.  We are soon adding a new option to create ‘Advanced Lots’.  We now show the new option here, but it disabled for the time being.

Before

After

The changes continue here, as you now don’t need to leave the main Lots screen to add or edit.  This makes it easier to refer to the Lots you have already added,  making the process quicker and easier.

Hosts can now also choose to add quantities which are not whole numbers.  In the examples below we have specified a quantity of 15.25 metres of table cloth.

Before

After

Hosts – running an event
When an event  is in progress, the host will want to track the bids as they get placed, and analyse what is happening. To make this easier, we now provide more information on the main screen. This includes details of each participants’ latest bid.  Having this information makes it easier to identify the differences and take appropriate action.  In other words you can now see the Lots by participant and the participants by Lots.

Before

After

After – with participants visible

Participants – placing bids during an auction
Participants now place their bids on the main screen, rather than in a popup. This makes placing bids simpler, especially when the event contains a large number of lots. If the Participant is permitted to see their rank, we have made that information more prominent.

Before

After

Conclusion
We have improved the user interface for both host and participant users. We ensure the right data is available when needed. These changes will make running or participating in an e-Sourcing activity even simpler.

These changes are the first results of our ‘Lot Matrix’ project.  The next stage will give users the ability to provide several data points for each Lot. This data will more accurately express the requirements and offers under negotiation.  We look forward to sharing more of these changes soon.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com
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Category Dojo now has user management

Building on the rapid success of our latest product, Category Dojo, we are now proud to announce a new enhancement to the tool to help our enterprise customers.

User hierarchy

Our Category Dojo clients can now allow their colleagues to have various permissions over each others’ categories, be it to create new categories, edit existing ones or just to view the results.   Trusted colleagues can also be given the right to manage their own user permissions.

We see the real benefit of this feature as being the one-stop online tool for procurement teams to collaborate together when scheduling their tender activities or sourcing plans, as it gives excellent visibility on what the team is working on and aspiring to achieve.

Furthermore any users that are added into Category Dojo are also synchronised with the users in Market Dojo, so you only ever have one central database of users to manage across your organisation.

The tool also adopts the Market Dojo heirarchy rules in that whoever is the first to register with either Market Dojo or Category Dojo becomes the ‘Superhost’, i.e. the person with the default Admin rights.  Rest assured this can be transferred if one of your colleagues beats you to it!

So, for those of you with multiple members in your procurement team, please log into Category Dojo today to set up their respective permissions.
About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Be the eSourcing hero

Targets. Based on savings, number of eSourcing events, other contract KPIs? What do you do? In procurement you quite literally have a myriad of different ways you can be assessed. This is an endless debate. Do you base on number of auctions? We have seen this carried out very well but we have also seen this abused where auctions are run with no thought. Sometimes you get what you measure. Target contract KPIs are a great way to move forward but add many layers of complexity to the process. There is no right or wrong way. However, this is not the reason for writing this article.

We have spoken to many organisations where they set targets for eSourcing. Mostly we find these are based on either savings, user adoption or number of eSourcing events. These targets are normally not stand alone and there are other areas where the professionals are measured. However what we have seen over and over is that these targets can be limiting. eSourcing is easy to use. Most people use Amazon and eBay so why not eSourcing. The point is that these targets should not be something to aim for but they should be something to smash. We have seen many organisations that strive for adoption and ask for quotes for many users when year after year they only increase by one or two. We believe with an accessible platform, you should look at everyone using it, 100’s of eSourcing activities instead of just a few on the big ticket items. Why do this? Well, quite simply to ‘Be the Hero!’.

Too cliche? Well think about it. If you smash those targets you may have a higher bonus but more importantly higher recognition. A better CV. Move up or even move on. To make this statement for a sales person would be more challenging given the competition and maturity in the market and the profession. However eSourcing is a perfect arena for this over-achievement. Saving several percent on purchasing spend puts many percent on profit, perhaps as much as a 1:10 ratio. It effectively makes you the salesperson and we know how much recognition they get. The time is right and you should be looking at exponential growth given the timing and the accessibility of the technology. So come on, what’s stopping you?

eSourcing returns

We recently met up with a small french consultancy, Effixens at cafe Lala in Hammersmith. On the menu was some fantastic mediterranean food as well as a healthy dose of eSourcing discussion. Over the obligatory espresso, conversation turned to whether the majority of procurement professionals really understand the returns of eSourcing. To put this in perspective, in France eAuctions are not very popular so the primary use of eSourcing is for eRFx’s (such as Request for Information/ Proposals/ Quotations).

(Source iSource report by University of the West of England, 2010)

Earlier that day I had had a discussion with our insurance company who asked to confirm that our software is a back office operation. And as you can probably guess, it isn’t. This is a very pertinent point.

eSourcing is a more complex beast to Contract management for example where the Return on Investment (ROI) is more difficult to judge. The difference being that contract management is more of a back office operation whereas eSourcing is used for collecting prices and information from the suppliers and also negotiation in real time. It is on the front lines, the vangard of the procurement department. The knock on effect is that eSourcing has the potential to deliver a much higher ROI more quickly. Thus the adoption of eSourcing is crucial for any organisation.
Even if eSourcing is only used for eRFx’s, rather than eAuctions there are many benefits over the traditional approaches.

1. Scalability and efficiency
Processes can be standardised. This enables repeatability and especially scalability of any tender activity delivering higher savings without an increased workload.

2. Centralisation of data
All data is held in one place. Should anyone leave or be off sick all the data can be easily picked accessed. Supplier databases can be centrally controlled helping rationalisation.

3. Auditability
Secure electronic records of all activities are maintained which can be accessed easily many years after the event.

Thus the adoption of eSourcing is crucial for any organisation. Recently we discussed on Thomas.net how we can beat email, eSourcing’s greatest competitor especially for eRFx’s. The main driver has to be to make a platform that people want to use. It will need to have a gamification element, excellent reporting and has to make life easier. Combined with the obvious benefits, it’s got to be a must for any organisation.

A Westminster Diary or An SME in King Arthur’s Court (Follow-Up)

Jon Hansen and Colin Cram from Procurement Insights published our take on the report on Local Government Procurement.  Once again we would like to pass on our thanks helping to promote our foray into Westminster.

“On the 25th of November, 2013, we had our calling to go to Westminster and change the face of local government procurement. Well, that was how we saw it although in reality there were over 10 sessions, 60 pieces of written evidence [see an overview of ours here] and more than a few Members of Parliament. This was part of the Communities and Local Government Committee covering Local Government Procurement.

A report has now been produced and we wanted to scrutinize how the recommendations fared compared with our views. What did they come up with? Were there any earth shattering conclusions? We will tackle a few of the report sections in turn…”

Read more here

A gift from the Market Dojo Easter bunny!

In between the ritual consumption of chocolate eggs over the Easter weekend, we released a set of new enhancements to our software for all to enjoy.

Amongst the highlights include some great usability tweaks for Category Dojo based on some valuable client feedback:

Improved Summary page

You can now scroll through your multiple categories from the top of the page to easily compare and retrieve information.  Your answers to each question are neatly aligned and sectioned into the 4 key steps, with quick edit links within each step to help you quickly make amendments to the specific set of questions.

New category hierarchy creator
One of the more challenging developments given the shear variety of web browsers that people use, from Internet Explorer 8 to Safari to smartphones, was the re-jig the category hierarchy mechanism, which was a bit clunky.  We now have a dynamic, interactive hierarchy where you can select, create, edit and delete categories and subcategories all within the single user interface for to 5 levels:

It also lets you answer the questions for any previously created category or subcategories in the hierarchy, which greatly helps you to compare the category strategy at the top-level as well as for the subcategories beneath it.

For example, if we purchased IT Hardware on separate contracts for our London office to our Sheffield office, we might assess the two contracts independently via subcategories called ‘IT Hardware – London’ and ‘IT Hardware – Sheffield’.  Then we could populate a parent category called ‘IT Hardware’ and analyse the pros/cons of creating a single centrally-managed contract, along with the impact that would have on competition levels, expected savings, timescales and complexity.

General improvements
Along with the two above enhancements, we continued our bug fixing and general performance improvements to the software to ensure it fulfills our client expectations.

Happy Easter everyone!

Market Dojo & eBidding.cz partner to bring accessible eSourcing to Czech Republic & Slovakia

We are delighted to announce our most recent reseller partnership, penned with Ondrej Hajnik of eBidding.cz, to help promote our products throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Ondrej is a genuine eSourcing expert, having worked as a category manager for Ariba for nearly 4 years, as well as having numerous managerial roles for industrial companies.   We have no doubt that there is a lot we can learn from one another.  It also enables us to offer Ondrej’s services to any client that might be looking to expand into Eastern Europe, be it for market research, strategic sourcing or project management.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are very interesting markets to us, given that we were awarded our first Technology Strategy Board grant partly to make eSourcing more accessible to EU accession states, who may not have the budget or resources to invest in the more complex and user-intensive eTendering products that exist today.  This is all the more relevant given the 2016 deadline set by the European Commission to make eProcurement mandatory for all public sector buyers.

Furthermore, the private sector is very much in our sights as well.  The UK and Czech markets are comparable, whereby large companies tend to have legacy solutions in place, whilst medium-sized companies have dipped in and out of eSourcing over the years, and smaller companies are yet to experience the benefits.

Ondrej feels that there is huge potential here, given the extreme ease of use of our software combined with our affordable on-demand pricing model.  Many local competitors tend to have basic eAuction dashboards without the rich bid and vendor management procedures that exist in our software.  This will help eAuctions be run more professionally to further embed eSourcing as a daily consideration.

Ondrej is currently helping us to translate the software into Czech ready for the first client investment.

If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us or Ondrej via his website:  http://www.ebidding.cz/en/

Should suppliers still fear eAuctions?

Following a recent LinkedIn question (“Someone explain to me how a Reverse Auction is fair and equitable to the supplier …”) we had to pause for thought.  Admittedly in the past auctions had obtained a less then sparkling reputation.  This seems to be in a large part down to the pre-conception that it was a race to the bottom for price and quality.

When eAuctions initially came onto the market (~20 years ago) as a way to negotiate quickly and effectively, they were firmly in the hands of experienced consultants such as FreeMarkets (sold to Ariba 2004).  eAuctions were primarily viewed as a way to save money.  However it does hide the fact that the consultants would put in a great deal of work.  Even five years ago when we were working for a consultancy, auctions would take us between 200 and 300 man-hours.

The next stage in their progression was as a module of the larger ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)  applications and consultancy software offerings.  This seems to where the damage to their reputation was done. This was the initial transition of software to the hands of organisations themselves. The fact of the matter is that setting up an auction is more work up front than a traditional RFQ (Request For Quotation).  You need to have the Service Level Agreements and specifications tied down as well as have sufficient market liquidity.  By this we don’t just mean having suppliers who can bid, but suppliers who will bid and to whom you are willing to award the business. In this initial transition it seems that the benefits from negotiating the price down were understood but the level of work required for a truly successful auction was not.  And a truly successful auction needs to be judged on realised savings, quality and delivery, not just identified savings. This is where suppliers were put off by badly run eAuctions.

As the procurement professional has grown up in the last 10 years, becoming far more reputable, so has the eAuction process.  Companies understand that for success the eAuctions need to be run in a professional manner and should be viewed as any negotiation where you are looking for a win-win outcome.  For example you can weight non-price criteria or mention in the documentation that you will bring in the top three suppliers for discussions post-auction, or even include supplier presentations in the process.  The truth is that eAuctions are just another tool in the procurement tool-set for negotiation and they need to be used with care.

The new breed of eSourcing platforms on the market also help make the process easier.  For example we strive to embed professional processes in every stage with check points at appropriate milestones.  We make it easy for the suppliers, as well as the buyers, to adopt, and we have had many different kinds of suppliers bidding from taxi drivers to one man bands.  Here is our guide for helping to onboard suppliers.

Unfortunately that initial bad reputation is still around today.  However we less frequently see a powerful incumbent try to kibosh the process.   With the increasing professionalism and eConnectivity in supplier markets and the ability for buyers to more readily search globally for suppliers, this is becoming a risky approach for an incumbent.

Not only that but suppliers are actually finding that eAuctions are a good way to negotiate and they have been proven to strengthen relationships.  With increased thought up front on documentation, open communication and more transparency, eAuctions are fast becoming a very efficient and fair way to do business. Suppliers are also better prepared in understanding their margins before the event and having a sufficient BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement) in place.  This is will help negate the view that suppliers can get caught up in the furore of bidding.  Also many consumer applications from eBay to moneysupermarket.com help make the process less daunting. We have many guides and videos to help suppliers through the auction processhere.

In conclusion we would say that suppliers don’t fear the eAuction itself anymore. With a greater understanding they see the advantages.  All they do fear is a badly run eAuction, so make sure your’s is not one of them!

Rightsourcing: how to benefit from offshoring IT

This is the opening gambit of a guest publication by Nick Drewe of Market Dojo on the highly respected Information Age magazine, whose objective is to help their readers become more confident and successful in their use of technology, in their choice of suppliers, and in their management of people and partners.  The article discusses why offshoring IT was the right choice for Market Dojo, but wasn’t without its challenges.

On 12 March 2014, the World Wide Web commemorated its 25th birthday. The internet has evolved to enable our corporate world to globally communicate in real-time via a diverse set of media.

We have never been better equipped to implement strategies that stretch across all continents of the planet. Even start-ups working from their local cafe can build businesses with global operations, something that was near impossible pre-internet.

The benefits to offshoring IT requirements are clear. The average cost for an equally skilled web developer in India is a third of that in the UK. Continue further east to Indonesia and it’s possible to halve the cost again. In some cases, even Indian companies offshore their IT services to Indonesia.

Offshore services can be purchased on a rolling monthly basis, and so, should a particular contractor not fulfill the obligations, another can be sourced. This is a much less risky and less costly process than trying to hire, house, equip and train your own employees. It gives a business real scalability, as it can flex its resources from one month to the next across a broad range of services – be it hosting, software testing, web development, project management, quality assurance or customer services.

However, there are recognised challenges….[read the full article here]

Home advantage: our article posted on Supply Management

Supply Management recently posted an article by Nick Drewe of Market Dojo outlining some top 10 tips for running an eSourcing event, based on his experience of using an eSourcing tool to find a builder for his own home extension.  Here are the opening few paragraphs, and the rest can be found on Supply Management here.

At the end of 2013 Nick Drewe decided to use his professional expertise to electronically 
source a ground floor extension and loft conversion for his 
house. Here are 10 things 
the process taught him.
When none of the initial RFQs my wife and I received via a traditional email and face-to-face process for a ground-floor extension and loft conversion were within our budget, we decided to change 
our approach.

Instead of reducing the scope of works, we embarked upon a competitive bidding process, underpinned by e-sourcing software, involving 96 local building firms. The exercise resulted in a £35,000 (33 per cent) saving against the best of the three initial RFQs and, if anything, an increase in the scope of works due to some excellent market-informed suggestions.

Conducting a full-scale strategic sourcing project on something so close to home (sorry) can feel both risky and daunting. And so I’ve listed the top 10 tips from my professional experience that enabled us to achieve this result.

[The top 10 tips can be found on the Supply Management website here.]

Strategic procurement and departmental organisation

Thinking of becoming more strategic? How should you adapt your organisational structure? Some time ago one of our client’s was asking the same questions. We sat down and worked through our past experience. We have seen how a large number of companies including Rolls-Royce and PriceWaterhouseCoopers have approached this challenge. We have summed up a simple structure below and we hope you will find it useful.

The introduction of ERP programs, new sourcing methodologies, continuous supplier rationalisation and commodity management, can force companies to adapt the structure of their procurement organisation.

There is a normally an emphasis to reduce the Downstream activities such as:

And to increase the upstream activities such as:

A typical modern approach is to break the standard buying role into these four areas:

Once you have identified the roles and created a job specification, the next step is to produce a person specification. This is a crucial step, often missed, which ensures you know when you have found the right person for the job.

The roles and responsibilities could be broken down as follows:

Operational professionals
These procurement professionals would be focused on the daily buying, the functional role.
Within this area you have the two management layers, the commodity managers and the buyers. Depending on the size of the organisation, these could be the same role.

Or the day to day functional buyers could be here (who you rotate from time to time) and the Commodity Managers might be in the strategic group.

The buying in this area should be driven by pre-agreed contracts, frameworks and pricing.

Strategic professionals
These strategic professionals would be looking at the higher level arrangements, such as:

Essentially these professionals would be developing methodologies that other teams can follow. They could also provide advanced support on procurement exercises or even run complex tenders themselves. These would also form a principal part of your e-Cademy, if you decide have one.

Customer-facing professionals
Procurement professionals who focus on project work would be the best people moving forward to take this role.

The internal customer-facing role is about creating a good relationship between the buyers and the project teams.

This allows the buyers to work within commodity groups and the project teams can still get their due care and attention.

This kind of relationship would work well for concurrent engineering and liaising with sales teams around discounts. It would also help reduce renegade purchasing.

Supplier-facing professionals
The procurement professionals in this role would be primarily focused on the supplier side of the equation. They would need to liaise heavily with the commodity managers.
This would involve:

In Summary
This is really a flavour of where you can go. The great thing about this methodology is you can implement as much or as little as you like. The main objective is to find a strategy for your procurement team that fits your organisation.

Domestic eSourcing – a follow-up to Spend Matters

This article is a follow-up piece by Nick Drewe, co-founder of Market Dojo, who used the Market Dojo eSourcing tool to let a contract with local builders for his own home extension.  The series of articles (found herehere and here), written in late 2013, was picked up by Peter Smith at Spend Matters who raised some interesting observations.

Several months have passed since I conducted my domestic eSourcing event involving some 96 Bristol-based builders.  The outcome of the event was implemented savings to the tune of 33% versus my best pre-tender offer.  Furthermore, due to the preparation that is typically required to enable an eSourcing event to be run, the implementation was simply a case of ‘sign here please’.  The contract has since been signed with the successful builder and work is due to start imminently.

The reason I bring this up is that I stumbled upon the coverage of Part 2 of this series by Peter Smith at the excellent Spend Matters UK blog.  You can find the original article here.  Peter raised a number of interesting points, which I attempted to answer via the ‘Comments’ facility on the blog.  However, I would like to re-address some of those points here, as they deserve further attention in my view.

First of all Peter asks:

“Can auctions be used for pretty much anything?”
The first thing that popped into my mind was that I wasn’t necessarily running an eAuction.  At this point, I was conducting what would be more formally recognised as an RFP, using online scored questionnaires and a bespoke pricing structure.  Ultimately, the RFP was all that was needed, as it became clear that any further significant cost savings would arise from changing the specification and not from negotiating the rates.

As I mentioned at the time, I did think about running a weighted tender, taking into account the supplier questionnaire responses, my opinion of their site visits and testimonials from their previous clients.  I decided against this because although a weighted tender helps to identify the overall top performers, sometimes you just have to go with ‘gut feel’ – totally illegal in EU Procurement rules, I know!  I simply wouldn’t know what price to quality ratio to set, nor how much weighting to assign to aspects like the client testimonials until I actually heard from the clients.  If the clients were all impassive, I would largely disregard this criterion.  However, if the clients were passionately pro or against a particular supplier, it would weigh heavily on my mind, perhaps far more so than the price itself.  In a word, a weighted tender would have been too ‘rigid’, whereas sometimes there are merits in having a fluid decision-making process.

Peter continued:

“And perhaps most striking, is the thought that there might be domestic applications for some B2B eSourcing tools.  Might a consumer be able to use sourcing tools when buying a new car? a holiday?”
Now this I know the answer to – yes, absolutely!  Aside from my case in point, which is the first example I know of that incorporates a true business-to-business eSourcing tool for a domestic purpose, there are a host of other ‘eSourcing’ tools that can be used by consumers.  There were numerous eSourcing tools for the building trade, such as RatedPeople.com or MyBuilder.com.  Buying a new car via reverse auction can already be done on AutoeBid.com.  Another example I used was when I recently transported a sofa from my flat in Bristol to my parents house in Sussex.  I sourced the delivery using AnyVan.com.  In the end my final price was entirely free by piggy-backing off an existing delivery, although my parents gave them a fiver for carrying the sofa upstairs!

Electronic sourcing is about finding online the right supplier at the right price for the right goods or services that you desire.  A good eSourcing tool will make this task easier, quicker and more effective for you, and so the fact that there are so many eSourcing tools for consumers is testament to those benefits.  The question is, as the internet becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, which of B2B or B2C will adopt eSourcing more comprehensively?  At this rate, I’m inclined towards B2C.
Anyhow, before we deviate too far from the main topic, let’s get back to more from Peter:

“One barrier [to eSourcing]is that you need to have some real competition to get the benefit of tools and indeed of the processes themselves.  So it is less applicable if you definitely know which hotel in Obertauern you want to visit, as in our case!”
The reliance upon competition is certainly true.  However, the trick is to create competition.  If you want an iPad, you know Apple is the only manufacturer and so you might think you have zero competition.  However, there are many distributors, retailers, stockists etc. that you can involve.  They each have regional, time-bound or even personal targets to meet.  They have their own margins they can play with.  I’ve run an eAuction in the past where an Apple stockist outbid Apple themselves!

In the hotel example, whilst Peter knew which hotel he wanted, he could have created the competition by involving other hotels that he may equally have been attracted to if the price was right (and there should always be such a price, e.g. if another 5 star hotel offered rooms for £10 a night perhaps?).  So in the eSourcing context, invite hotels that you could be incentivised to book with and see what they can all offer.  Perhaps you’ll find a reason to book with another, or perhaps you’ll head back to the original choice but with a better deal.  Other consumer eSourcing tools like LateRooms.com or Trip Advisor might also be able to find you that deal despite the initial lack of competition.

A final point raised by Peter was:

“Another issue of the consumer is that we often don’t have significant repeat business to offer, unlike most corporate situations. So if Nick accepts a low bid, will the builder really care about doing a great job, knowing that he probably isn’t going to buy another project for some time, if ever?”
Now this simply comes down to finding the right supplier, someone who will respect your value of business.  It has very little to do with the eSourcing process itself.  If I asked Balfour Beatty to sort out my house extension, I’d be laughed at and quite rightly!   As the largest construction company in the UK, what would they care about my project? However, if I approached a company that has an excellent reputation but is still in their early days and wants to use this opportunity as a stepping stone for greater things, they will be devoted to the project so they can use it as a flagship case study for their future proposals.

Hence this comes back to using an element of ‘gut feel’ when awarding the contract, as you get a sense of this motivation only when you meet the suppliers.  As it happens, the builder I signed the contract with was not the most competitive and yet I signed with them for exactly those aforementioned reasons.

Anyhow, that wraps up some of my thoughts when I re-read the commentary that Peter kindly provided on the original piece.  Since then we’ve negotiated a new kitchen and bathroom (aggregated together to leverage the extra spend) and boy did we wish we had reverse auctioned that to save time!  We were actually glued to the phone in the car trying to finalise which supplier we were supposed to drive to whilst our three shortlisted suppliers went back-and-forth undercutting each other!  It was worth it in the end, as we did implement a 50% saving from the initial discounted offer, but a part of me wonders what would have happened in an eAuction.  I guess we’ll never know!

Working with Local Government Procurement – our guest post on Procurement Insights EU

The following article featured as a guest post on the excellent Procurement Insights EU blog.  It outlines some of the challenges we have faced whilst working with local government, for which we were invited into Parliament to discuss with MPs – more to come on that later!

Life remains tough for small, innovative companies trying to secure UK public sector business by Alun Rafique

“In order to give Customers using the Framework a balance between choice of suppliers and best value, following completion of the evaluation of tenders a maximum number of five suppliers will be awarded a position on the Framework. It is therefore vital that Tenderers can offer each of the five modules detailed on the following page.  As referenced previously in this ITT it is anticipated Customers will elect to procure one or more modules or may choose to purchase a complete solution incorporating all of the five modules.  It is therefore essential that Tenderers can offer all of the five modules to meet the requirements of those customers looking for a complete solution. Any Tenderer who cannot offer one or more of the elements listed above in 3.1 will be removed from this procurement process.”

The above is a quote from an invitation to tender by the UK public buying organisation (PBO), Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation.

The modules, which represent a complete e-procurement solution, are e-tendering, e-evaluation, e-auctions, e-contract management, and e-vendor management.  As stipulated, Tenderers have to offer all 5 modules or face being disqualified as a potential supplier. Unfortunately, it is this “all or nothing” approach that represents just one of the many obstacles that Small- Medium Enterprises or SMEs face in the pursuit of public sector business.

More to the point, the stipulation that Tenderers have to deliver all 5 modules, will eliminate or seriously impede the ability for the majority of SMEs to participate regardless of the superior capabilities of the modules they are able to provide.  While I believe that this is an unintended consequence of a short-sighted approach, it nonetheless amounts to what could only be viewed as a discriminatory practice that will limit the pool of potential suppliers to the detriment of all involved – including the government itself.

Despite the government’s attempt to introduce reforms that would address the above challenge, the task for SMEs remains a difficult one.

In this context, I would like to take a moment to share with you the experience of my company, Market Dojo.

Market Dojo successfully applied for a grant from the Technology Strategy Board to develop a product to assist public procurement professionals with e-Sourcing activities.

While this support was greatly appreciated, once fulfilled we were for all intents and purposes on our own from that point onward.  In essence and despite the government’s recognition that MarketDojo’s negotiating tool for running e-auctions and electronic request for quotations warranted financial support as it addressed “a particular problem area where frameworks have traditionally underperformed,” the method for actually utilizing our solution is hindered by the above mentioned all or nothing edict.

Simply put, and has demonstrated by the government grant, we believe that our product – and the complimentary products of other SMEs – can collectively save organisations a lot of money.

Even though we have made some progress in the public sector, having landed three government contracts, the private sector still represents the company’s best and most reliable opportunity for continued growth and long-term success. This leads one to wonder why SMEs are worthy of government funding but not considered to be worthy partners?

There are of course financial consequences associated with this disconnect.

For example, while both the transport team at Bedford Borough Council and Shropshire County Council have benefited greatly from their relationship with MarketDojo, Worcester County Council’s adoption of a more traditional contracting strategy meant that they ended up paying £2750 per e-auction, instead of the £500 for five that Market Dojo would have provided.  This difference amounts to Worcester paying 27 times the price that neighbouring Shropshire County Council is paying per e-auction.

A further complication in terms of government achieving a best value outcome is the tendency on the part of local councils to interpret European Union tendering regulations differently from one another.  Some interpretations as I have discovered, can lead to councils paying far too much for a less effective solution as a result of inflexible scoring mechanisms for evaluating tenders.  In one instance it was suggested that if we redesigned our system to better mirror the specifications of the tender, we would have a better opportunity of winning the contract.  Unfortunately, such an alteration would in reality eliminate the very functionality that led to the significant savings that were realized by both Bedford and Shropshire Councils.  This again makes one wonder what it is that the government is attempting to accomplish, as there seems to be a greater emphasis placed upon following arbitrary regulations as opposed to driving greater value from procurement.

Needless to say, the combined outcome of all that I have covered above has led to a common complaint that far too many public sector procurement people hide behind rigid processes and procedures.  This in my estimation, prevents public sector bodies from realizing maximum value for money in that they ultimately discriminate against SMEs and the innovative solutions they can provide.

A picture (or in this case UK Tender) is worth a thousand words!

Sourcing my extension (Part 3) – Bid Analysis

This is part 3 of Nick Drewe’s foray into a domestic eSourcing exercise for his house extension. Nick has now held all the site visits and chased in the quotes.  Time for a spot of bid analysis to prepare for the contract award.  You can catch up on part 1 here and part 2 here.

Apologies for the delay in compiling part 3 of this eSourcing project.  Amazingly over a month has passed since my last update, and what a hectic month it has been.  I had scheduled in site visits with 20 builders over the period.  3 of the builders did not turn up, which presented itself as an easy method of establishing their reliability, or lack thereof, as it happened!

The remaining 17 appointments were conducted smoothly.  I gave an extra bonus point to those who came with the drawings and specifications in hand: always good to prepare for a meeting to make best use of the available time.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask them about their experience of using the Market Dojo eSourcing tool, which was thankfully overwhelmingly positive, despite a few of the guys needing to ask their siblings/cousin/mate if they could use their computer to access the internet!

Anyhow, the quotes steadily trickled in.  Some declined to quote due time constraints or an unrealistic budget (we’ll see about that minute), whilst some provided an entire bill of materials and profit and loss account!  The detail was astounding, literally right down to the last screw.

Despite this professionalism, the difficulty I faced with this as a layman was that I was lost in the detail.  I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.  I almost preferred the quote that said “This quote includes everything in the spec, except we need you to buy the kitchen and sanitaryware.”
I mentioned there were a few objections to the budget, which for the record was circa £70,000 ex. VAT.  After a fairly thorough market analysis I believe I have my defense on that, as here is the complete set of quotes I received:

There are a number of great things to witness here.

Savings!

I could have chosen to proceed with one of the two initial offers on the table from the architect, which I’ve termed the ‘incumbent’ bids.  Perhaps I could even have negotiated 10% off through a classic face-to-face discussion.  However I would not have been able to afford them in their entirety, so I would have had to make detrimental changes to the spec. by going back to the business and consulting with the key stakeholder, a.k.a. my wife!

However, with a 33% saving against the best ‘incumbent’ bid, on a like-with-like spec, we are now in a great position to secure the build that we want.  As 33% equates to some £35,000, I can say without question that this exercise has been worth my time.  Furthermore whichever outfit I do go with has such a good knowledge of what I’m looking for now that they can hit the ground running.

Finding market price
There is a clear trend towards the market price, almost like a flattened S-curve from the best bid to the worst.  This gives me several affordable options, options I shall gladly exploit in part 4 of this exercise when I make my award of contract.

Engaging market forces
The two bids I received via my architect prior to embarking upon this sourcing project are undeniably the least competitive.  I could argue this is because I ran my sourcing project on a professional level, creating an impersonal barrier between me and the market via the eSourcing tool, which in turn gives the builders the impression that I am not doing a half-hearted effort.  Consequently this can encourage more competitive offers.  Sadly neither of the previous ‘incumbents’ took the opportunity to quote again, so I can’t be certain.

It does illustrate that if you approach just a handful of suppliers in a liquid market, you have no assurances whether you have unintentionally approached the two towards the right of my graph or towards the left.  As with any statistical analysis, you need to increase your sample size to increase your certainty.  I feel that by approaching 90-odd builders, I have sufficiently achieved this.  I could have invited or proactively chased more but I would then be at a greater risk of diminishing returns.

Either way, I don’t think practically that I could have achieved this without using the eSourcing tool.  Furthermore it proves that you can achieve excellent ‘savings’ from a robust quotation process without the need to go to an eAuction.  In this case an eAuction is not on the cards given that I’ll likely revise the spec to compromise on areas of low importance (the sun-tube seemed like a good idea at the time but a light-bulb would be £700 cheaper!) in order to maximise investment in the focal areas, e.g. the kitchen, now that we have our itemised costings.
Stay tuned for part 4 where I make the all-important assessment of both the price and non-price elements of the bids to reach the award decision.

Sourcing my extension (part 2) – Go Live!

This is part 2 of Nick Drewe’s foray into a domestic eSourcing exercise for his house extension. Nick’s tender has now gone live!  You can catch up on part 1 here.

So last Friday evening I hit the button and made my event live.  Invitations were sent out to 83 builders in total, although since then I’ve added a further 9 based on recommendations and referrals.  I also forgot to include the builders who provided the original quotes, which wasn’t very fair of me, so I’ve rectified that and included them, should they wish to revise their offer.

 

I must admit, there were mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension about hitting that button. By the time the screen refreshed, 83 builders around Bristol received the invitation from me (we use an email alias on Market Dojo to make the emails come from the user and not from a generic no-reply@ address to ensure any replies make their way back to me).  They would also know where I live!  However, this is a genuine opportunity, and I am giving everyone an equal chance of winning the business, so I’ve no concerns.  I was more intrigued about what would happen next.

In my previous post I stated that I should start ringing round those who were invited in order to maximise participation.  Well, another confession here, we were exhibiting at eWorld on Tuesday and so this week I’ve been absolutely swamped and not made a single outbound phone call to them.  Thankfully the builders have been much more proactive than me, and even over the course of that very first evening on the Friday, I received 7 registrations, 2 of which proceeded to download the tender documents.  I even had my first site visit on the Sunday, all arranged through the Message facility in the software.

I was also informed that three of the participants I invited to the tender had invalid emails, which meant that the software picked up the delivery fail message and flagged it against the participant in question, be it for a full mailbox, unrecognised email address or some other reason.  It gave me the chance to find an alternative address for them or, consequently, discover they were no longer in business.

I made the most of my journey back to Bristol from eWorld by using the software on my smartphone, where I sent out some reminders to various categories of participants, i.e.:

So let me fast forward to where I am as of today, exactly a week after publishing the tender:

I have 92 builders on my list.  84 are still approved to take part, as 5 builders had no capacity until well into 2014, and 3 were no longer in business.  Of those 84, 20 are registered and 16 have accepted the invitation.  Interestingly 4 of them registered using the Invite Code, which is a unique key that lets people who were not on my original list apply to take part, be it by word of mouth or referral or whatever.  I approved their access to my tender having looked through their websites.

14 have downloaded the drawings and I have no fewer than 9 site visits planned over the next few days – there goes my chance of writing thank you letters for our recently received wedding gifts!

I’ve also made an edit to my questionnaire since go-live, as I omitted a rather crucial question of asking whether the builders are VAT-registered.  It would be rather hard for me to compare the quotes without this knowledge.

I’ve also had to think about my Lot structure, using market-informed sourcing if you will, in that some builders are experts in loft conversions but not extensions and vice-versa.  Therefore I might even be looking to award separately, although again there is feedback that awarding the total job to one outfit has cost advantages.  My Lot structure allows for this expression of capability, and so I shall await the market feedback before considering my award position.

Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.  This approach has helped the builders to have structure and a central place to refer to.  Given that IT is not integral to their day job and that in some cases they don’t even have their own computer, it was always going to be a hurdle, especially as I have no time to hand-hold people through the process and nor do they have time to sit at a computer for long periods.  But we did design the software on an entirely self-service model and so far, so good.

Stay tuned for part 3 when my hectic weekend of site visits will be concluded and we might even have some competitive quotes in.  Fingers crossed!

Sourcing my extension! (part 1)

This is a multi-part article from Market Dojo co-founder, Nick Drewe, who is currently planning a house extension and is embarking on the sourcing phase of the project.  We’ll let Nick introduce in more detail below…..

I recently got married and had a fantastic honeymoon in Turkey, co-incidentally the first time I’ve had more than a week off work in well over 3 years!  Now I’m back, our next task as a married couple is to build a major house extension.

Up until now we’ve had the plans drawn up by the architect, giving us an indicative budget of £70,000.  We’ve had all planning and building regulations approved and we’re in the midst of adhering to the Party Wall Act (not fun – but that’s for another time).  Our architect, Ben, is helping us manage the whole project, given his experience and the fact he lives 10 doors up the road from us!

Ben drew up a very comprehensive tender package, including all drawings, national standards, specifications, and a detailed list of the scope of works, and has approached four contractors that he has worked with in the past.  Two of those contractors haven’t even bothered quoting for the job.  The other two came in with quotes of £93,000 and £98,000, both excluding VAT.  The quotes have been paper-based and are barely comparable, with wildly different items included within their cost breakdown.  Therefore, not only are they greatly over budget, but I have no confidence that they even fulfill the requirement.

And so I’ve decided to take things into my own hands.  I shall distribute the tender package (all 20 megabytes of it) to the Bristol building trade as a whole to find out a) what the real market price is for my extension works and b) to make sure they quote and deliver exactly what we’ve asked for.

I’m in the privileged position of having unlimited access to the professional Market Dojo eSourcing tool, designed for exactly this purpose.  Over the years we’ve witnessed our clients, including housing associations who are tendering building services like this, save millions.  Some clients run tenders worth just a few hundred pounds.  In fact I recall Hamworthy Combustion, our first client, saving £5,000 on a £25,000 contract by using our application.  Why on Earth should I not use this approach?  Well, exactly.

So this is where I’ve got to so far.  I’ve created a test event on Market Dojo so I can interact with it as a test builder and I’ve invited my brother, who is a project manager in the building trade but is unfortunately based the other side of the country, to do likewise.  This will help us validate the structure and communication of the tender.  I’ve added my ‘Brief’, which gets included in the initial invitation email to the builders, so they will have a heads up on what I’m looking to do and how they can proceed.  I’ve added an online questionnaire for the builders to answer my specific questions such as providing references, adherence to standards, confirmation that their price is all-inclusive, etc.  I’ve decided to score the questionnaire so I can rank the builders based their answers.

I’ve created a robust Lot structure that pairs up with the breakdown of jobs in the Scope of Works, ensuring all quotes that come in are like-for-like and against our requirements.  I’ve uploaded the 20MB of tender documentation so I can track when they download it, but I’ve made sure that the Scope of Works is included with the invitation email to give reassurances to the builders that this is a genuine job.  I’ve also added my architect as a collaborator on my tender so he can dip in and out to check how things are going and can help me to answer the questions.  I’ve even added my wife as a viewer in case she has the inclination to have a look at what we’re up to!

My final task is to pull together the list of builders, i.e. the sourcing exercise.  All I need for Market Dojo is a list of email addresses.  Typically if the tender is being run manually and paper-based, I would be inclined to invite only 3 or 4 builders, since the efforts of burning CDs and posting them out, checking they’ve arrived, having dozens of phones calls to handle the questions which are repeated from one builder to the next, collecting all the paperwork and somehow collating it together despite the incomparable nature of the bids, is all very laborious.  However, since I’m running this online, there is very little extra effort whether I invite a few builders or a few hundred.  Therefore at this point I shall be casting my net far and wide and see how it funnels down.

My first point of call is Google.  Searching for ‘builders in bristol’ and other related terms like ‘house extension bristol’, I’m able to find lots of candidates.  I’ll be asking for references as part of the questionnaire, so at this stage all I need to know is if they look professional, if they mention jobs that look similar, if they are reasonably local, and if they have an email address.  I encountered websites like mybuilder.com a lot, so clearly I am not the first to think of running an online tender process for personal building works, although those sites don’t have the facility to properly manage your tender or to invite builders from outside their system, or even to run a reverse auction to settle the negotiaton if I so please.  Additionally builders have to pay fees, which is not a model I believe in as it reduces competition and the fees would end up being passed on to me anyhow.

I will also ask friends and family for referrals, and scour professional associations for any recommendations as well.  At this stage, the more the merrier.

So as of today, I have pretty much built my tender and found my list of prospective builders.  My action over the weekend is to hit the button and make it live.  At that point I really should start ringing round the builders to let them know I’ve been in contact and that I am a genuine prospect.   That way I’ll increase my chances of receiving the competitive offers and finding that proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’ builder that precisely meets my objectives.

Stay tuned for part 2 as I manage the tender and hopefully get some competitive offers!

Our Innovation Portal receives further innovation!

Only a month has passed since our initial release of the Innovation Portal, our unique tool our clients use to request, collect and compare innovative ideas from their supply chains, outside of any formal sourcing or tendering exercise.  Call it a ‘Request for Ideas’ if you will, helping to unite Research & Development and procurement.

We’ve heard frequent complaints over the years that rigid sourcing exercises penalise suppliers who offer novel ways of solving the problem.  Indeed we’ve been the victim of this on numerous occasions!  Well, this is where our Innovation Portal comes into its own.

As an example a client of ours, a housing association, is looking for new garden designs.  They don’t want to run this as a formal tendering exercise that would be to begin with a standard ‘request for information’, or even a ‘request for proposal’, since it is far more conceptual at this early stage.  However, the Innovation Portal is perfect, as it allows them to understand what the supply market can offer by way of previously unconsidered ideas.  This is helping them gauge their next steps, who to approach and how to approach them.  In other words it is an excellent way for them to build a strategy and create interesting opportunities for everyone involved.

It is a highly encouraging start and so we have rapidly followed up our initial product release with some fantastic enhancements.  In no particular order, here they are:

Improvements for suppliers raising their own topics
One of the key differentiators between the Innovation Portal and an online questionnaire is that suppliers can create their own ideas as and when they want to, and not just when the procurement team runs an exercise.  This gives companies their own portal into which their supply chain can openly collaborate with them.  We’ve made improvements to this process to add more robustness and security around it, as well as making the topic creation process for suppliers extremely simple and intuitive.

Quick and easy scoring of ideas
Once the suppliers have submitted their ideas, we have two types of scoring; a simple rating system or a more complex scorecard.  In both cases we’ve made the process of scoring the ideas actually quite enjoyable and very straightforward to do by adopting sliders.  They even work on mobile devices to ensure all our tools can be used on the go.

Better topic and process management
A clear advantage that the Innovation Portal offers over a simple email-based ‘ideas box’ is that Hosts can manage the whole activity from a central area, including what documents have been sent/received, which suppliers are involved and what they’ve done so far, what messages have been sent/received, what ideas have been generated and how they are ranked, and so on.  We’ve made some important improvements to this process, helping to point the Host in the right direction on what they should do next to reach their goals.

General user interface upgrades
The key to any useful software product is to make it easy to use.  We’ve made some excellent investments in this area to help our new users make the most of the tool.

Coming soon….Innovation Dojo!
Currently our Innovation Portal is fully integrated within the Market Dojo eSourcing tool.  However, as we branch our product range out into unheard of territory within eProcurement, we would like to develop the Innovation Portal further so send us your ideas. Hence keep a lookout for Innovation Dojo !

Market Dojo is 3 years old!

Last Friday we proudly turned 3.  If we were talking about a human rather than a company, we might look a little like this guy:

However, we are a business and to reach this milestone is a great accomplishment.  According to the Entrepreneur Weekly, 44% of businesses fail by Year 3.  Yet here we are, still self-capitalised having turned down investment offers along the way, and still growing at over 100% year-on-year with even steeper growth projections in our pipeline as some of our newest innovations hit the market.

We asked each of the three co-founders of Market Dojo for their highlights of the last 12 months:

Nic Martin:
In September we released ‘Samurai’.  Building Samurai was a much bigger project than our previous enhancements, and we learnt a lot of lessons along the way.  Working with new people and making so many improvements to MD was a great experience, particularly when it was all over.  It’s also given us the ability to tick many more boxes for our customers and allowed us to work with a much bigger range of organisations.

Alun Rafique: 
We have fantastic clients, who are all working on great things with our software from simple RFQ’s to complex weighted auctions. Many of our developments are client led and so we ensure our direction is in line with your needs. The latest client and reseller is ABM Global solutions in the Philippines who we extend a warm welcome to.  We could not do this without you all so please accept our greatest appreciation.  You can see some case studies on our website. A massive thanks to all!

Nick Drewe:  there have been quite a few to consider, such as achieving a 100% renewal rate on our annually paid licences to signing up very recognisable high street brands as customers, or even being nominated for a supply chain award by one of our customers, Arqiva.   It’s all pointing towards the fact that our clients like what we do for them.  However, for me there is one highlight that does stand out and that is the award of our second grant from the Technology Strategy Board.  The first grant enabled us to build and release Samurai, which was immense.  However, with this second grant we’ve created a whole new module within eProcurement, one that does not exist at the moment.  Fitting in somewhere between Spend Analysis and eSourcing, we hope to announce Category Dojo later this year.  Sadly I can’t elaborate too much at the moment, but drop us a visit at eWorld next month where we might be able to let you in on it!

Want your own eSourcing portal?

Earlier this year we proudly announced the release of our white labelling enhancements (http://bit.ly/13m6uMB) where you could customise your own unique web address on marketdojo.com, for example http://my-mega-company.marketdojo.com (this is not a working example in case anyone tries that link!).

Well, now we’ve gone a whole load further.   In our latest release last night we’ve given our users the ability to create their own web address, branded in their colours yet powered by the Market Dojo eSourcing tool.

Some of you may already have such a feature with other providers, but the difference here is that we haven’t done this by simply setting up a new server and popping a cloned version of our software on it – no, we are still 100% single-instance, multi-tenanted.   This gives every one of our customers the added benefit of no upgrade issues nor delays, instant access to new features (such as this one!), no implementation fees and more affordable licences fees, since we have much lower maintenance and support costs.

It’s a really simple process for you to set this up.  Simply buy your web domain from someone like LCN or Go Daddy and point it at www.marketdojo.com, then buy an SSL certificate for it so your data remains encrypted over the web.  Send us this info so we can pop the certificate on our server and assign your account with the bespoke web address and you’re good to go!

All the other great customisation features still apply, such as:

You might also like to place web links or even your own Log In / Sign Up buttons on your website that take the user to your branded sourcing portal.  But we leave all this in your own hands or those of your webmaster.

So, if you’d like to take advantage of all this, give us a call today!

Many hands make light work

We are delighted to announce our second major upgrade of the year.  Log into marketdojo.com today and use our new User Hierarchy feature.  It has been released to help our more enterprise customers collaborate on their sourcing activities.

Some of the key features include:

Here are a couple of scenarios where you might find this feature very useful.

Showcasing your work

You’ve put in weeks of hard work preparing your tender documents, managing the suppliers, chasing in timely proposals and validating the responses to ensure all is on track.  However, you’ve largely done this in isolation via your Market Dojo e-Sourcing event.  Next step you want to conduct negotiation via e-Auction and you want others to witness your accomplishment, especially those overseas stakeholders.   Well, this is now very easy: simply add them as a user and give them view rights over the auction event.  Our software will send them a viewing invitation, guiding your colleagues through the process.  Let them sit back in amazement at your success!

Being assisted by consultants
Many of us wish to have a helping hand with our work.  With User Hierarchy you can either run the sourcing events yourself yet give a third party edit rights over your events to keep things on track, or you put the consultant in the driving seat who can then give you access to their sourcing events – it’s your choice!

Managing a team
Finally, with User Hierarchy you can build your own online sourcing team.  Define which team members can have edit rights over things like the Supplier Database or the Document Library.  Pick a team leader who can be given a team-wide view of the sourcing events.  Have multiple team leaders if you wish and give yourself complete visibility over everything that is going on.  It is completely up to you on how you wish to structure your team.
We really hope you find this useful.  Best of all there is no cost at all to add a user to view sourcing events – licences are only required for users who wish to create or edit events.

Two French students came to Bristol…

Here is an article written by our second intern, Antoine Boton, from École Atlantique de Commerce in Nantes.  Here he empathises with how British people may view their arrival.Please note that all views of expressed within belong to Antoine and are definitely not those of Market Dojo!

It’s a usual British Friday night; two young people disembark the Paris to Bristol plane under a torrential rain. You can’t really tell that they are French because they don’t wear a béret nor a striped sailor shirt, which is odd. You only can tell when they begin to speak with a horrible accent and complain about the bad weather.  Surprisingly, they looked almost clean, which is  rare for French students!

After a brief tour of the city, they were shocked, of course, by the left-hand traffic (which is the better way to drive), and by the lack of space in the street because of the parked cars. We don’t need garages, that’s a French word!

First Saturday night in England, aside  from the fact that they can’t figure out what each coin is worth (easy, the biggest coins are worth the least, duh!), they also have troubles to understand our (magnificent) British accent. Of course we help them progress by speaking as quickly as possible.

Another weird thing, they weren’t eating junk food at 3am in the street like everyone else. Also, they looked very silly with their warm clothes and their hood on despite the pretty good weather (see picture).  Oh, and we successfully trapped them in our galleries by locking them in at 6:15pm, classic!  They seemed to not know that we close our stores early in order to eat early which means drink early!  And when it’s time to drink (7pm to 7am), we do it with heart and soul so that we sometimes sleep in our neighbour’s house by mistake because of the likeness of our houses.

Aside from all of that, we try to make them feel welcome by using all of our French vocabulary: “bonjour”, “Paris” and “crème fraîche”.

Anyway, we hope that they will enjoy their stay in England and have fond memories of our beautiful land.

Market Dojo – eSourcing made simple

Our first upgrade of 2013, with so much more to come!

Over the weekend we completed our first 2013 upgrade, following on from the second upgrade to Samurai back in December of last year.  Such is the elegance of the Software as-a-Service model, each and every one of you can benefit from the upgrade when you next log in.

Quite simply, there are too many improvements to list (70 to be precise), so here are some of the important highlights:

On top of this, we have made a number of upgrades to our infrastructure to keep ahead of the increasing demands of our customers.   We are now sending several thousand e-mails a day, practically becoming a MailChimp in our own right, and so we have upgraded our e-mail account to ensure uninterrupted communications between our Hosts and their respective participants.
We have also upgraded our servers (again) to ensure we maintain our 99.9% uptime record.  Some events have even had over 500 participants involved, and so we’ve learned a great deal about where potential bottlenecks may lie and catered for them accordingly.

What’s next?
We have a number of exciting new features we are working on that will be released imminently.  For example, in collaboration with our customer Arqiva, we are in the final steps of testing and improving our User Hierarchy feature.  This will allow our users to invite friends, colleagues and countrymen to view their sourcing activities, or even to have edit rights should they have a licence.  You can manage all your internal users from a central place, see all the events across your organisation from your own Dashboard, and even invite external users such as consultants to have their input on your activities.

We are also nearing completing of an enhanced white labelling feature with another collaborative partner in the US as we help them with an exciting new venture.  Our users will be able to define their own URL for the sourcing events, such as www.esourcing.marketdojo.com, which will have your logo and menu colours with your own log in, sign up and password reset facilities.  In short, it will be your own portal: even the e-mails will come from you.

Here’s to a fantastic February ahead!

PS:  If there is anything you’d like us to work on, get in touch and we’d be happy to talk.
Market Dojo – e-sourcing made simple

Guest Post – Maximising user adoption of e-sourcing software

Today we are very pleased to welcome a guest post from Optimum Procurement.  Jane McAuliffe from Optimum was kind enough to participate in a recent product requirements workshop, and write a little bit about the experience.  This article was originally published on the Optimum Procurement website.  Many thanks Jane!

Market Dojo, the UK-based start-up company, is already punching above its weight in the procurement software solutions arena.

Having already come up with an innovative approach to business-to-business e-sourcing in developing software along the principles of an easy to use, yet professional system, which is hosted entirely online, the team are now focusing their pioneering streak on realising the next application in their purchasing tool kit.

Jane McAuliffe, Advisory Principal at Optimum Procurement, took part in a recent workshop to help define this latest tool and was impressed by the team’s approach.  Jane commented: “Working on the premise that e-sourcing is only one element of procurement software that they can provide a unique offering for, the Market Dojo team organised a highly interactive day, involving a number of procurement practitioners whose skills and experience the team used to draw out what those who would be interacting with the system on a daily basis would want to see from it.

The team’s commitment to involving input from a cross-section of end-users upfront in the development process provides an essential opportunity to enhance their initial concept in line with the market needs.  In this way, not only should the final product reflect the requirements of its end users, but it also means that the tool, when developed, will surely operate in a consistent manner to existing software; that is to say, straightforward and easy to use.

Of course I can’t actually say too much about the tool itself, that’s the perogative of the Market Dojo team, but it is certainly great to see a software company really engaging in an open and collaborative process with the end user.  We will just have to watch this space for the end result…”

The development of this latest Market Dojo tool has been enabled thanks to a second Technology Strategy Board grant, awarded in August 2012.  This external recognition of the latest developments underpins the innovative and exciting nature of the software and bodes well for its full release to the market in 2013.

Market Dojo celebrate their second birthday with a year of amazing growth

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
August 2012

Market Dojo celebrate their second birthday with a year of amazing growth

Last week marked Market Dojo’s second successful year in business, with a massive ten-fold increase in the previous year’s revenues.  Co-founder Nic Martin was delighted with this important milestone, “the last 12 months have been a fantastic period of growth for our young company and has really proven that our business has the key ingredients to succeed, from a great product, excellent customers and a brilliant team”.

The rapidly expanding software technology company, based in the South West, offers an online application that helps businesses negotiate more easily and efficiently with suppliers via the internet. Businesses can also run reverse auctions where suppliers compete to win contracts to supply goods and services.

Market Dojo now has in excess of 25 customers who use the application up to 5 times a day to receive quotes from suppliers for goods and services as varied as electrical cables, paper bags, van and car hire, brake pedals, machined parts and office furniture.

“What makes us unique is that we have taken a concept that was previously restricted to large businesses, due to the complexity and cost of existing software, and made it accessible even to small-to-medium sized businesses”, explains fellow co-founder Alun Rafique.

Their ambitions now lie in building the customer base, both home and abroad, as well as releasing a whole new product upgrade which is just around the corner.

Editors Notes:

Big thanks to University of Gloucestershire Digital Film Production students!

We would like to say a massive thanks to Tea, Liz, Sanni and their lecturer Ben, all from the Digital Film Production course from University of Gloucestershire , for their time and skills in producing an excellent video for us.

For those who haven’t seen it, you can find it on our YouTube channel here: Barney – your average co-worker!

The team came up with several great concepts before bounding on with our preference of the story of Barney, your average co-worker, who is bored, frustrated and generally disillusioned with life in the purchasing office, with all the manual processes and wasted time.

However, upon a fleeting introduction to Market Dojo, he latches on to how it can transform his working life by allowing him to carry out his purchasing activities more easily and more efficiently via a web-based tool.

He quickly shares the benefits with his colleagues who are enormously grateful, resulting in him getting the recognition from his boss that he truly deserves.

It was an absolute pleasure working with the team and fantastic to celebrate the completion of the video with an enjoyable lunch out.  We are really pleased with the results and look forward to hopefully working with them again.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software.   Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

The new breed of software providers – Bringing benefits to the end user

Expediting probably took up half of my time whilst acting as a buyer at a large tier one aerospace provider. Three bids and a buy took up the rest. Was I concerned? Unfortunately not.  New to the job and having fallen into procurement, I had no better understanding of what I should or could do.

However, in the mid 90’s, strategic sourcing was coming to the forefront.  Spend more time upstream thus less time downstream.  Seemed like a great idea.  The AT Kearney initiative with the seven steps was brought in with vigour:  massive process re-design, a plethora of initiatives, and, of course, an ERP implementation from one of the large software vendors.  A wonderfully massive and complex system.  The managers liked the reporting, the auditability and the control.

But for the purchasing professionals, did it make our lives easier?

Well, we certainly had a process to follow, albeit different from before.  We certainly had a system to use where you could put all the information, such as a million different delivery codes to every cost centre under the sun. We certainly had all the information at our finger tips…almost.

The issue was that even though this was this fantastic system to use, it was unwieldy. Yes, you could do anything, but to allow for this functionality and capability there was always a multitude of screens to go through.  I was still doing three bids and a buy for the local tooling but my life had become more of an administrator.  The time saved from less expediting was taken up with inputting information into more screens.  Sure, the managers enjoyed the ability to interrogate the system to any level and run reports, but from the buyers’ side it did not make our lives easier and was certainly not more enjoyable.

Does this matter?

Of course it does.  At Market Dojo, we take a view with our software to make it functional and easy to use.  A lot of new software today requires no implementation and very little training.  It is off the shelf, yet sufficiently customisable (without a raft of consultants) so you can adapt it to your processes, and not vice-versa.  Most importantly, it actually makes the buyers’ lives easier whilst still providing the control and reporting to the management.

Why is this so important?

Myself and my colleagues are great believers that however good or bad the plan is, it will fail if the team is not behind it.  Asking the organisation what their goal is and having many different replies is a sure sign there is no focus.  All software implementations ultimately depend on uptake by the end user.
Systems should not be designed by ‘techies’ with a process to map, but designed in conjunction with the end users.  Almost akin to applying Taylorism (theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows) to a system combined with improved ergonomics.

This should ultimately be at the forefront of any new system design; to bring the benefits to the end user and not just to management. The system will then sell itself, bringing a more rapid return on investment and creating a happier and more productive organisation.

The new breed of vendors are learning from the world around us and building applications which do just this.  This makes the software accessible with fast uptake, just look at Facebook or LinkedIn.  Would it not be great to have other users in your organisation say “Can I have that?”, rather than, “I hope they don’t roll that out here!”.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software.   Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

What is a Japanese Auction?

We have just implemented Japanese Auction capability in our software at the recent request of a customer of ours.  Despite our procurement consultancy past, this is an auction format of which we have very little prior experience.  In fact, how much knowledge and experience is there in the general purchasing community of this approach to negotiation?

For those who are not familiar, here is an excerpt from our website of the Japanese Auction process:
“The Host states an opening price and participants have to accept that price level or withdraw from the auction.  Acceptance indicates that the participant is prepared to supply at the stated price.  When all participants reply to a certain price, the software lowers the price level by a pre-determined amount and again asks participants to accept or decline at the new price level.”

The process continues in this manner until all participants have ‘opted out’ of the auction.

As you can see, the approach can be very effective at establishing the final price for each participant in turn, regardless of the market competition.  Consequently the approach can be adopted in situations where market liquidity is very low or markets which are dominated by a handful of major players, such as dairy or utilities.  The Japanese Auction can even be used for a single-source negotiation, which was the major reason our customer favoured the Japanese Auction, ever since they used it to negotiate a significant cost reduction with just a few keen participants involved.

Other situations where the Japanese Auction can be used effectively are when there are large cost differences between bidders, despite both quoting for the same specifications.  With your typical Ranked Auction, the participant in first place will unlikely be challenged, even though they may have built in some margin to play with.  However, utilise the Japanese Auction and even that participant will be asked to improve their offer.

So far we have outlined a reverse Japanese Auction, i.e. where the bidding comes down in value upon each round.  However, we have encountered situations where a Japanese Auction can be used in an upward price direction, such as the negotiation of rebates amongst your supply base.  Since it is fairly meaningless to give suppliers market feedback on their rebates, as each supplier could be contracted for different goods and services and different spend levels, the Japanese Auction presents itself as a superb way to negotiate with each supplier individually, yet concurrently in a single auction.  For example, in Round 1 the suppliers are asked whether they agree to a rebate of 0.5% of full year spend, with an answer of “Yes / No”.  For those who reply favourably, they are then asked in Round 2 whether they agree to a rebate of 1.0% and so on.  There is a huge efficiency saving compared to the traditional way rebates are negotiated, as well as the potential for far greater results.

There are of course challenges to Japanese Auctions.  Firstly, they are not widely known about, which means that participants will require a greater degree of hand-holding and reassurance.  Secondly, they offer little to the participants in the way of market feedback.  Nevertheless, post-auction you can certainly provide feedback at your own discretion and to whatever extent you wish.  Thirdly they operate in a rigid manner, with participants only able to accept or decline each price level rather than to come in at their own price level.  It may mean that some participants have to wait a little longer to submit their final offer but the goal of establishing the market price is still achieved.

If anyone would like to know more, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to take you through a web demo to show you how it works.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible eSourcing software.   Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

A UK Start-Up’s Viewpoint on the Paradigm Shift in e-Sourcing

We were recently asked to contribute our on-the-ground thoughts of the e-Sourcing market, as we witnessed it.  The original posting can be found here, although for ease we have included it below:

As a new entrant into the already crowded space of e-sourcing during a major economic downturn, it certainly makes for interesting times. After persevering though our first year, we can see many factors actually in our favour (and of course many against, but let’s focus on the positives).

First, procurement continues to gain visibility within organisations, as we know that an efficient procurement strategy can mean the difference between profitability and receivership. Having been both an engineer and a buyer, it is pleasing to see these professions gaining more traction at a board room level, although still maybe not as much as we’d have liked.

Secondly, there is a strong focus on reducing costs. Perhaps that is stating the obvious; however with sales ever tougher under increasing global competition, procurement is the area where you can really recover that lost profit. To quote a figure commonly bandied about during my time at Rolls-Royce, “a one percent saving could increase profits by as much as ten percent.”

Lastly, we perceive a paradigm shift in the e-sourcing market, which is why we chose to develop a SaaS (Software as a Service) application. As an aside, in our opinion, SaaS is just a re-branding of the type of companies formed during dotcom boom, except this time the internet infrastructure can cope with the delivery of their benefits.

The last fifteen years have definitely seen procurement technology come on leaps and bounds. It has evolved from pipe dreams to disparate applications to fully integrated ERP systems. These have been traditionally maintained by the local IT team and supported by a host of consultants with each required change to the interface or operating system costing the better part of an arm and a leg.

The shift that we thought we were predicting was the shift of this technology to online hosting, coupled with the rapid application of these e-Sourcing solutions to the SME and mid-tier market. In many ways we believed we were looking at the commoditisation (or “consumerization” as we learned to call it in the US) of the technology, embedded with more intelligence yet easy to use, professional and openly priced. We had thought that the larger companies were sewn up with the ERP behemoths who, even as we speak, are slowly moving to online hosting by development and acquisition. Parallels could also be drawn to the dotcom boom here, where large multi-nationals swept up the few successful e-providers who survived the bust bubble to give them that dynamic edge.

However, we seem to have got it wrong. We were too early — although we have found that being ahead of the curve is not such a bad thing. What we have hit upon is a lot of interest from large tier one companies desiring a simple, online, and accessible solution which can be used in parallel with or sitting on top of their existing ERP solutions, even if those systems already contain e-Sourcing modules. This is most certainly due to the slower reaction speed and migration period to true SaaS solutions exhibited by the larger providers.

What is the reason for this? Our view would be the need for accessibility and easy adoption. Niche SaaS providers offer uncomplicated, pay-as-you-go products that are easily accessible and have been designed with the end user in mind to deliver very focused solutions. In our case, it is to provide in-house sourcing professional tools for e-RFQs and e-Auctions which can be switched on and off with no implementation costs and very little training. Obviously the large providers are adapting, trying to catch up with different pricing models to counter the competition from the smaller, more nimble SaaS providers. Ariba has demonstrated this most recently with their “free” license option. However, the change in the way software is being delivered, combined with the customers desire for an uncomplicated product, at least lets us put our foot firmly in the door and, in the end, we still have the small and medium tier to approach. All in all, interesting times.

About: Market Dojo provides accessible e-sourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com

Would we participate in a reverse auction?

Reverse auctions and even e-sourcing software has become a commodity product.  There are numerous players in this market offering broadly the same functionality.  Sure, some have a few more bells and whistles and others can integrate nicely with other e-procurement solutions, but on the whole there is little to distinguish between them aside from cost and aesthetics.

So, if I had responsibility as a buyer for a large company to implement an e-sourcing solution, why would I not consider conducting a reverse auction to settle the negotiation and how would I go about such a thing?

Well, if you look at the key ingredients for a successful e-auction, purely and simply it comes down to being able to accurately and robustly define what you need and to ensure you have enough capable and interested participants who can meet those needs.

In terms of e-sourcing software, I would draft up the core features and functionality that I would look for in any capable vendor.  Now, I could do this the complex way and draft up a weighted RFI followed by a weighted auction to allow bidders who have “special” features to score more highly, but then why make this difficult.  Simply knock up the list of “must-haves” and make each participant verify that they can satisfy the requirements.  I would request a 2 hour web-demo with each participant to help me decide whether or not to include them in the bidding process.  Since the whole process will be run on “Buyer’s Choice”, I will decide post-negotiation which participant to award the business to, taking into account the price of their solution as well as the other features and service levels that they can be distinguished by.

Having done this, I have my list of capable and interested participants. To complete my requirements, I would also compile my commercial and contractual terms, such as length of contract, number of users, approximate number of sourcing events, suggested payment terms, my training requirements and so on. This would allow my participants to submit accurate and sustainable quotations.

The next step is to conduct the negotiation and for this we could choose the reverse auction.  The interesting step here is to pick a platform on which to conduct the auction, as it would most likely be inappropriate to use the software of one of the competing vendors, even though I could probably source a free event from them!  Perhaps one of my earlier unsuccessful candidates would supply this, which would at least be something of a consolation for them.

With the auction and hence price negotiation complete I would be in the position to award the business, using my buyer’s choice to take into account all the other differentials.

So, would we as a company participate in such a process?  

The short answer is most certainly yes!  Whilst some organisations refuse to take part reverse auctions on the basis that they are too price-focused and that they drive you to prices that are unsustainable, we would actually be very keen to take part in any such opportunity as we know this is not true.

Firstly, the sales process is much shorter.  A buyer would be approaching us with a genuine interest to buy and has been given the green-light from above.  We would not have to spend much time at all writing proposals, reviewing proposals, re-writing proposals and so on!  Instead, the buyer has taken the time to lay all of this out for us in advance.  All we have to do is examine whether it is within our core capability and interest to supply it and at what price.  Since we know from experience that the entire reverse auction process and award decision takes approximately 8 weeks, this method is far quicker than the 6 months it can take in a traditional process.

Secondly we have huge belief in our business model and offering to the extent that we think we would perform very well under competitive pressures.  Should we not be successful, at least we have live and dynamic market feedback on how we compare to our genuine competitors.  If we continued to be unsuccessful against the competition then it would provoke us to carefully review our business, thereby mitigating the risk of longer term failure that would inevitably have occurred should we not have pitted ourselves against the competition.

As for the potential objections, sure the auction itself is focused on price however the award process is not.  During the process, as a participant I would be in regular dialogue with the buyer, building up the relationship, advising where the specifications are not quite right, being supportive, proactive and punctual.  Let’s not forget that the negotiation is still part of the sales process and so by demonstrating a high degree of professionalism and that you are a company that can be trusted, you are greatly influencing the buyer’s decision once the auction is over.   This can make the difference between success and failure, despite your ranking in the auction.

The only ground for objection here is that the auction is simply too effective as a negotiation tool.  With my buyer’s hat on, sometimes I do wish that suppliers I am negotiating with stopped offering me all these extra services and features that I don’t want and simply reduced their price for those that I am actually asking for! This is where the auction is so powerful.

As for auctions leading to unsustainable contract pricing, this is where you need to do your groundwork and stick to it during the auction itself.  Sure, it can be tempting during an auction to submit that “one last offer” only to later realise you cannot commit to it, but it is in no one’s interest for this to happen.  The buyer is looking for a capable partner at the most competitive price level and we as a participant are looking for a new customer at a price level that allows us to grow. There is certainly middle ground here where both parties can win.  Again, if you keep losing out whilst bidding on auctions, it is time to take a look at where you are leaking costs or to re-think which markets you should be competing in. Perhaps all those additional service levels and quality accreditations are simply not important to your customers, or on the other hand, perhaps your run-of-the-mill offering is not specialised or distinct enough to convince your customers to partner with you.  An auction plus award decision offers genuine market feedback combined with specific personal feedback.  You can really use this to your advantage to improve your sales performance in future activities.  In fact, should you be successful in an e-auction, why not shout it from the roof-tops.  You have just positioned your company as one of the best in the market.  What a fantastic statement to make when you are next in a sales dialogue.

One final note is that we as an e-sourcing and e-auction software vendor, who encourages organisations across the globe to tender their business via this approach, really should be able to put our money where our mouth is and wholly support any buyer who would like to auction us.

Well, it would be our pleasure!

About: Market Dojo provides business-to-business e-auction and e-sourcing software. Find out more at www.marketdojo.com 

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