Transformational bidding – Part 2- Handling Rebates and a Sign On Bonus

Welcome to our second part on our new transformational bidding developments. These features allow you to create advanced pricing lot structures with a variety of new dimensions.

Some of our new capabilities:

To demonstrate a real-world example, we have created an office supplier tender.

In this example we are looking at bidding for office supplies with the following complexities:

1. A lot with 2 line items – UK and mainland Europe

Simply created by having two line items in the lot.

2. Including a sign on bonus that suppliers sometimes give

This is achieved through a component which allows the supplier to put in a sign on price which can be subtracted from the total. This is sometimes used by companies as a contribution towards marketing and internal switching costs.  The sign-on price can also be used to assign savings to the core procurement department as other savings may be assigned to local cost centres.

3. A ‘core’ list with an exact and alternative component

Please see our Office Suppliers category web page.  Normally suppliers can offer alternatives to your exact core list and we have created a multi-line item bid sheet which explains how to do this. In the lot, we can simply have two columns, one for each pricing components.

4. A picklist for the suppliers to decide on their rebate (if they do them).

This uses some wonderful new capability.  You can create a picklist with either numeric or currency equivalents.  In this case, the supplier can pick an option for the rebate and the software will input a numeric value to be used in the calculation in the totals for the rebate.

5. Multiple totals to show the value for the contract based on the exact/alternative core list and the basket.

Finally two total columns are created to represent the full contact value using with the exact core list and alternative, To make this work the formula adds the core list to a multiple of the basket (as normally the basket will be a fraction of the out of core spend) and the sign on bonus is subtracted.  Finally, it is all reduced due to the rebate.

Conclusion:

With all these features you can actually run this either as an RFQ or even an auction with all the calculations giving a live rank on the components and totals. This capability allows the suppliers to see where they are on all facets of this negotiation and adjust according to their strengths.  The picklist lets the supplier adjust additional elements and the software helps constrain these options to the correct formats. We hope you will enjoy this new functionality.

Here are some screenshots:

A participant bidding:

A participant view of the live auction:

A host view of the live auction:

8 Things to Consider if You’re Running a Telemarketing Tender

Carrying out telemarketing internally has many challenges in terms of management, systems, and the general tempo compared to the rest of the office. Many people who enter this role see it as a stepping stone into a different area of marketing or sales.  To move this forward internally we would suggest either to embrace the challenges and create a team. The telemarketers will feed off one another and with proper management will get the most from the data. And use this pool as a resource for your next salesperson.  

The alternative is to employ more senior people who do this for a job and are happy to.  These people tend to be ‘long in the tooth’ and are comfortable to sit there and just work through calls.  Perhaps more expensive although given time an invaluable resource.

However, maybe you want to outsource this activity.  Perhaps you don’t have the reserves to invest in the medium term ROI from bringing this in-house.  Or perhaps you want to test the water and have an expensive resource that can be turned off if it doesn’t work.   This is always a tricky area to outsource as you ideally want a provider to be an extension of your persona. However, they need to dovetail into your environment over many different areas from the processes, systems and data through to marketing and the day to day company updates.

Here are some criteria to look at when running a tender for outsourced telemarketing services:

Company

As well as obtaining the basic company information around their address and account details, you want to look at other areas which will help you judge their experience and potential risks.  

Look at how long the provider has been in business, turnover, the number of employees, retention and also how their customer base is segmented.  Make sure you think about what type of organisation would best fit your current and future needs.

Data

Data is a tricky area to manage especially given new data guidelines. Either you will supply the data in which case you will need to understand how they will handle it. Will they check for CTPS and what assurances do they need against areas such as GDPR.  Also what format is needed. Or you can throw this conundrum over to them to buy the data and take this activity from your hands. If you do this we would suggest some basic market benchmarking to ensure you will get value for money. Also if you let them take this on, you do alleviate a headache in terms of handling all the other issues that come from buying data such as data wastage and redundancy.

Systems

Ascertain what systems they use.  Is it a spreadsheet, customised CRM or bespoke system.  How do the systems handle incorrect data such as when the current contact is not correct but leads to other contacts and how will this manifests itself in data returns. This will help put together an understanding of how they work, and an idea about what data will be captured.

Reporting

During the campaign, you will want to be kept up to date on the progress.  What we would suggest is that you look at daily, weekly and monthly reporting.  

On a day to day basis you want to be informed of any ‘appointments’ or ‘successes’.  On a weekly basis, you should be updated on the current situation with regards to redundant data, untouched data, in progress data, refusals {soft and hard} and success.  On a monthly basis ideally, you would like an excel data return which you can then examine, use and potentially update your systems with. You will need to understand what format the data can be returned.

KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)

This really comes down to risk in the contract. What is the other party willing to share in terms of risk.  If you are just paying for calling with no KPI’s then you will ultimately be carrying all the risk. A fair set of KPIs should be examined.  What happens if they over succeed, most likely a small bonus increase in fees (~10%) otherwise what you may find is that they ramp down until the next month.  If they underperform perhaps a margin where it highlights the need to a ‘crisis meeting’. If they largely underperform, will they put the time in to recover? How the agency tackles this will really show you their desire for the business and the willingness to form a real partnership.

Setting KPI’s can be challenging if you have never done this before. Understanding what the short, medium and longterm expected ROI’s can be will help. Find out their typical success rates for various campaigns to help base them on. Obviously, you will look at the high-level successes but what other KPI’s can you use. The number of dials a day isn’t such a useful metric but the number of DMC’s (Decision Making Contacts) that are spoken to does help a lot.  How easily can these stats be reported on?

Process

Many parts of the process should be examined as part of the tender.  This will form the main interaction between yourselves and will ultimately lead to a happy relationship.  Some of the areas to look at;

Costs

The cost is obviously important although try not to focus solely on this.  A Win-Win is the desired outcome here and much can be mitigated through KPI’s.  To make this work well you will need to understand what success looks like and the potential ROI to know if the pricing works for you.  You will need to understand your internal costs as well to truly model the situation accurately.

Ideally paying for the caller by the month is the simplest calculation with payment at the month end.  However, there may be a setup fee and other charging options such as per hour or per contact. Also, will there be a need to be break clauses?

Remember this is a sales exercise for yourselves as well.  Don’t forget to sell the potential for the future if the campaign is successful.  Highlight where you are going and the aims of the business.

Also, ask if they have additional services that might complement their offerings such as email campaigns or digital marketing. Potentially they may even help transition this activity in-house in the future.

Meet

You would definitely want to meet any provider.  Ideally at their office to gauge the atmosphere and set up.  Ultimately you are looking for a desire to work together and create a real partnership.  As already mentioned, it is just as important to sell yourselves to them to help create enthusiasm for the relationship.  If you are looking for any type of campaign which will deliver results which are core to your business, finding a partner who cares about your business is the most important.

Footnote:

Market Dojo provide on-demand and enterprise solutions to help streamline your data collection from suppliers.  Why not give us a try. Our customer success managers and templates will help you move away from email to run your tenders more efficiently and even negotiate online.

A New Team Member for Market Dojo: Marcin Caban

Market Dojo are very excited to introduce Marcin Caban, the business’ latest team member! Working in the Business Development department, Marcin joins the team with over 20 years of experience with a multicultural and multi-domain experience. Marcin has experience from CTO for a large governmental agency in Greece to CEO of a small IT start-up in India. And now, using his skills and experience, Marcin has joined us to help Market Dojo develop to the next level.

What made you apply to work at Market Dojo?

After seeing the job ad, the first thing I did was naturally to go on the Market Dojo website. I found there an introduction to what the company does and who Market Dojo is. But more importantly, I could directly register and experience the eSourcing tools offered by the company. I am not from a procurement background, and after seeing all the functionalities and how easy to use the tools are, I was convinced that they had a great product with a lot of potential. I then sent my CV, had my first interview, my 2nd interview, my 3rd interview, had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with the founders of the company, and had an informal chat with the other team members. And I just loved the great positive energy in the office and the displayed motivation to make a dent in the procurement universe.

What do you do at Market Dojo and how long have you worked there for?

I joined the team a few weeks ago, and I had a great welcome from all the staff who took the time to walk me through what I need to know in order to succeed. I have a business development manager role which means that I assist the people in the procurement departments to understand all the benefits they will get from using the Market Dojo tools, and given my profile, I focus mainly on the customers in the French-speaking countries and the Middle East.

How have you found your time so far at Market Dojo and what have you found interesting?

I really love the team spirit. The atmosphere is profoundly serious when dealing with clients or presenting a demo to a potential new client. But then, when it’s time to relax, the atmosphere changes and becomes very light-hearted. It’s a great balance of working in an environment which is very committed to customer success whilst remaining fun.

What are you hoping to achieve in your first year?

The sky is the limit. The product is great, and our clients love it. We have fantastic references with many large and well-known companies among our customers, which empowers the sales team with a lot of credibility. And the market is still pretty young with a lot of companies still needing a robust eSourcing solution.

What one thing would you bring to the office if you could?

My 7-year-old triplets. But I am not sure my colleagues are prepared for such a tornado to hit the office 🙂

What is your favourite book/movie?

There is one book that changed the way I see the world. A book that I have read and read again, and each time it gives me new insights on how to live a happier life. It’s called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants more from life.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?

My kids now know how to save songs on my phone. Last time, they changed my ringtone to a nursery rhyme. I had a few interesting looks when it rang in front of a customer 🙂

What is one thing about yourself that you think others would be surprised to know?

That I can speak Mandarin, as a result of living for 2 years in Taiwan

What are your hobbies and interests?

I am a Beaver Scouts’ leader, so every week I am organising adventurous activities for the young kids. And when I have some spare time for myself, I like hiking, paragliding and scuba diving.

Where have you travelled? Favourite place?

Over the years, I am lucky to have travelled to over 60 countries. One of my favourite countries is Iran. It’s one of those places where you first arrive loaded with all the preconceptions fed by the media. But once you start visiting, talking to people, you realise how culturally rich the country is, how friendly the people are and how delicious the food tastes.

What is on your bucket list?

A trip around the world on a sailing boat with my wife and kids for a few months, heading first to South America that I am yet to discover.

 

Stay tuned to hear more from Marcin as his role develops. Find him on LinkedIn here.

You don’t have Big Data…

…And you don’t need AI

At Market Dojo, we’ve seen around 25,000 auctions. We’ve seen 7000 RFQs, and received nearly 50,000 questionnaire answers, with around £10B total sourced. You’d think after eight years that all this activity would add up to some significant data sets. In some ways you’d be right, but by the standards of the age, it’s paltry.

There’s a lot of noise around ‘Big Data’ these days. It’s been important for a few years, but with the inevitable scandals around any technology, it’s coming to the attention of people who perhaps previously wouldn’t have been concerned – after all, if you’re not in the tech business, does it matter to you that someone worked out how to process exabytes of data in manageable timespans? There’s a rule of thumb that might come in handy: if your production dataset would fit on the hard drive of your desktop, you do not have Big Data. You don’t even have Medium Data. Truly Big Data is the province of financial institutions, governments, the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks of the world which rule vast empires and record every interaction their citizens have with them. YouTube for example, a small portion of Google’s data storage, receives around 270TB of video uploaded per day, each with its own set of interactions.

Despite this unimaginable scale being to some extent a prerequisite, as often happens with a new technology the buzz has permeated enterprise corporations at a level where technical decisions generally shouldn’t be made. This has resulted in another generation of ‘keeping up with the IBMs’ where entities with no need for something are seeking to adopt it purely for the cachet and buzzword compliance. Big Data is what the big companies are using, the insights and flexibility they gain from using it well are arguably the source of their global power, so in an all-too-human fashion the cargo cult gathers steam. “If we use Big Data, if we use blockchain, if we use AI…”, the thought goes, “…surely the benefits those massive companies are seeing will accrue to us as well!”

This is, perhaps surprisingly, a little backwards. It is not that having data lakes and applying complex, bleeding edge technologies to them grants power in the market will be certain to bring in clients. Quite the reverse. Having a good product, sold or given away to many clients and recording their every action eventually leads to a situation where any other approach to the collected data is simply inadequate. As fashionable as it might be to use the latest and greatest (or not so latest – some companies with only terabyte-scale datasets are still using Hadoop and Spark to run their reports for them) technologies, the vast majority of companies could have everything they need done for them across their entire corpus on their CTO’s laptop with a few hundred lines of Python and some SQL. Those who make best use of machine learning are those who have reached the point where the data they store and the questions they need to ask simply cannot be dealt with (or cannot be answered in a reasonable time) using conventional and established technology. They are those who have been digging holes with shovels, then backhoes, and have finally given up and built themselves a bucket-wheel excavator because there’s no other way to move that much earth at one time. You know when you need MapReduce and machine learning, because everything else has stopped working. Certainly, once you have reached that point you have unparalleled capacity for developing new strategies and creating new forms of automation based on the results of processing all that information, but success through scale must come before success through machine learning.

I don’t say this lightly. As a developer it is my temperament, not to mention job, to be interested in and want to work with the latest tools and most effective new technologies in order to get the most out of the resources available. However, one must be pragmatic. Data mining in the average or slightly above average company is in most cases best achieved by a human being equipped with a scripting language, SQL and patience. Even in the larger companies, data scientists spend 80% of their time extracting, cleaning and tidying up the data, long before they can begin applying their more interesting tools to its analysis. Having enough of the right sort of information is the baseline, the source from which all else flows. It is sometimes asked just how much data is necessary to train a good AI. The answer, of course, is “More. Lots more.”

A personal example, then. The data within the Market Dojo database, including every document and image ever uploaded by clients, still wouldn’t justify the use of AI, nor would it qualify as ‘big data’ within today’s standards. As much as it would delight me when asked for insights to spend my time training a neural net, tweaking its dropout rate and looking for unexpected gold in the sea of information, we can usually answer the question with a few queries against one of our replica databases and perhaps a chart or two. So that’s what we do because it’s fast, simple, and as long as it’s accurate and actionable, it doesn’t matter where the results came from. For those clients who want to get their hands dirty, we help out by doing the collection and denormalisation steps automatically and providing access to their data through our API; those who make use of this typically find that Excel or PowerBI, neither capable of handling truly significant amounts of information, are in fact entirely adequate to the task at hand.

 

 

Of course, finding actionable insights is not the only application of machine learning. What of responsiveness, of the thousands of applications promising ‘intelligent’ behaviour, which most people think of when they hear the term ‘AI’? Disappointingly for the technophile, that often doesn’t require true AI either. A suitable set of handwritten “if X then Y” statements can take care of the majority of use cases. That shouldn’t be a surprise; in a very real sense, a sequence of if/then statements is a simple definition of software. Moreover, in many cases the task itself is set in such a format. You don’t need AI to tell you that you ought to invite some people to join an event that starts tomorrow; you just need the system to check the number of participants and send an email if it’s zero. A hundred little things like that and the average person will start to think of a system as ‘smart’ even if it isn’t particularly complex.

Such advantages can be gained far more easily and cheaply in that fashion than by training neural networks and keeping models up to date. This also has the distinct advantage that if anyone happens to ask how a decision was made and what factors affected it, it is possible to give an answer. Sufficiently powerful AI, even today, is essentially opaque; provided with enough data it produces answers that happen to be true and useful, but with no recourse or explanation available even to the designers, a fact which legislators have so far failed to comprehend.

One might be tempted to take away from this that I’m somehow deluded enough to believe AI is useless, or that all its applications could just as easily be achieved in a less complex fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you have dozens of terabytes of data which you need to mine for new insights and directions for your company, or you have unstructured data such as documents which you need to investigate and classify, or the X in your ‘if X then Y’ functions is actually half a million variables, then you do need AI. If you have 100,000 photographs and you want to know which of them contain birds, you do need  AI (and an extra 100,000 photographs all of which are known to contain birds).

If you just have a few hundred gigabytes to process and you’re mostly after simple insights and automation then you definitely don’t have Big Data, you probably don’t need AI, and you should look very hard at who profits when someone suggests that you do.

If you’d like to find out more about how Market Dojo can assist your business in processing its eSourcing data and creating reports through Power BI, contact your account manager today or email info@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 Sandpit software for yourself!

Market Dojo’s 8th Birthday!

This year on the 2nd August we were delighted to complete our 8th year in business. 

Given our tenuous Japanese association, it’s reassuring to know that the number 8 is considered a lucky number in Japan.  It gives an idea of prosperous growth, because the letter (八) broadens gradually.

As it happens, that pretty much summarises our year!

Prosperity

Our revenues have grown by a further 40% over the past 12 months.  Granted that isn’t as impressive as some of those VC-funded tech companies we read about in the news, but it’s pretty good for a bootstrapped company in its 8th consecutive year of similar growth levels.

We’ve also seen a 50% increase in customer accounts.  Since we uniquely offer an on-demand strategic sourcing tool – the GiffGaff of eProcurement where you’re “free to stay, free to go” – we are used to having a huge tail of customers who dip in and out periodically over the year.  However the past year has seen us secure longer term deals with numerous global firms, a very positive sign.

Recognition

Which takes us onto the next fantastic sign of great things to come.  We were recently listed as a Spend Matters 50 Providers to Watch for 2018 as well as flying high in the Spend Matters 2018 SolutionsMap for Sourcing, leading the way by a distance on the nimble combination of customer feedback and analyst assessment.

We’ve also achieved 5-star feedback across 20 reviews on Capterra, a subsidiary of Gartner. For example this except from Aggreko’s Head of Legal:

An innovative, powerful eSourcing tool that gives buyers absolute control over their tenders.”

We’re delighted that our clients are seeing this level of success from us and we can’t thank them all enough for their support and appreciation.

The recognition also comes from within, with our 5 star reviews from our employees, so again we can only thank our team for making it such a great place to work.

Traction

Given that the past year has seen an influx of Enterprise customers, our user numbers are starting to look like the oft cited ‘hockey stick’ graph. Certainly this period of growth has given us challenges, particularly in recruitment in trying to source local talent, but it is tremendous to see. We hope it continues strongly for the years ahead.

Since we operate a single-instance, multi-tenanted application, we can see all of our data in one place in real-time.  For example below, we now see an average of 700 eAuctions per month. That’s around 32 every single working day!

This really puts us in a great position for sharing best practice with clients and using the power of data to help them.  With our AI and machine learning developments under review, we’re in a really good position to collaborate with clients on a new level.

The future’s bright

There have been many other highlights that we could cover.  There were the successful roadshow events in Birmingham and Manchester as well as our second annual conference, this time at Englefield House.  

We’ve established our joint venture, called Bomfire, to help small manufacturing firms take their procurement into the digital era.  

We’ve pushed more than 60 software updates in the past 12 months, keeping us well on top of our ever-increasing customer ideas, or the ‘Customer Love’ roadmap item, as we call it!

But all of these things condense into one firm signal – 2019 is going to be one heck of a year and we look forward to it!

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.

Modern Slavery – It’s time to Act

In June, I attended the CIPS Gloucester branch event on Modern Slavery, which was presented by the hugely enlightening Andrew Wallis, OBE & CEO of Unseen. Unseen is a charity with the aim of working towards a world without slavery. It was shocking to learn how rife modern slavery is, even in the UK, with an estimated 21 million people worldwide the victims of forced labour.

As of April 2016, organisations with a turnover of £36 million with business conducted in the UK were required to report annually on the measures they have introduced to ensure there is no modern slavery taking place in their supply chain. Organisations are required to publish a Modern Slavery Act for each financial year, and it’s recommended to be published within 6 months of the organisations financial year.

If you’re in an organisation whose financial year ends in March/April, time is quickly running out to publish this year’s Act.

Procurement professionals are at the forefront in the fight against Modern Slavery. With responsibility and visibility over the supply chain, and critically, what due diligence is done and the business systems to manage the risk. Market Dojo’s Supplier Information Management system (SIM) tool, SIM Dojo can quickly and easy help procurement teams to establish the processes and policies to help detect and identify potential risks concerning Modern Slavery.

Whilst is it almost impossible for an organisation to audit and monitor every supplier within a supply chain, it is even harder to manage and track this information through Excel or an equivalent. Using SIM Dojo, you can quickly capture details from your entire supply chain on what steps they have taken regarding the Modern Slavery Act, as well as allowing them to upload a copy of their Act. Another huge benefit of the system is the ability to set automatic reminders to notify your entire supply chain to provide an update on the additional measures they have taken to address Modern Slavery since last year.

SIM Dojo is an affordable, quick to implement system to ensure that the necessary due diligence can be performed on your supply chain. Please don’t let the use of ill-equipped tools or costs be a reason for not implementing a suitable Modern Slavery Act policy. We can even provide you with a questionnaire template for the Modern Slavery Act to enable you to hit the ground running.

This article was originally published on Pulse which can be found here, alternatively, discover more on the implications of the Modern Slavery Act.

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!

Meet Sophia Binns!

Introducing one of the new members to the Market Dojo Family Sophia Binns. We asked our newest addition a couple of questions to find out what makes her tick.

What made you apply to work at Market Dojo?
I found Market Dojo through a sales recruitment agency based in Cheltenham. I’ve worked in sales since I was 16 years old (much to my displeasure at the time… working in a children’s clothes shop on the weekends and during school holidays isn’t exactly a teenagers dream.) I knew sales was in my future, being one of the many things I’m good at (modesty being the other) but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there and build a career from it.

When I was told about the opportunity to interview with Market Dojo I jumped at the chance. I had never considered a job in procurement; I didn’t really know what it was. Frantically researching the Market Dojo website and stalking the directors on LinkedIn (confessions of a wanna-be super sleuth) I realised that this was a company that would be somewhere I could grow and develop with and ultimately build a career. Market Dojo and I have a lot in common; we are quick to adapt, we maintain good relationships with people, we are resilient, honest and like the colour Red.

What are you looking forward to in your new role?
It sounds a bit cliche but after meeting the directors in the interview I was excited to work for them. They each spoke with such passion about procurement and a company they had built off their own backs. Nick and Alun saw what the procurement industry was missing and made the leap to fix it. They are inspiring and such great guys it’s hard not to get excited about starting a role within a team of people who you could actually be friends with outside of work. I was also looking forward to the chance to make a difference. Market Dojo is growing and I have the opportunity to actually make a difference in something, carve my way and leave my mark. It’s something to get out of bed for knowing you’re going to make that difference and work with great people.

What is different about Market Dojo?
The company is incredibly honest and actually wants what is best for its clients. There is no up selling for personal gain or offering the world and then not delivering. Market Dojo does what it says on the tin. No ulterior motives. You are investing in a tried and tested software that will give results and will save time and money. It is refreshing to find a company with integrity and passion.

What is the most unusual job you have ever had?
As far as unusual goes, my job history is pretty much the expected for a post-graduate who was born and raised in the countryside; babysitting, pub work and shop assistant. A cool job I have done, although I don’t remember, was when I was a baby model for Mini Boden. What can I say… I peaked early.

What is your favourite book/movie?
Picking a favourite film would be like picking a favourite child… I don’t have children. My siblings and I had a very limited film selection growing up, all of which were Disney. I still love them to this day and can’t wait for my Godchild to arrive so I have an excuse to watch them again. When I finally got to have the freedom to buy DVDs with my hard earned pocket money, I was like a kid in a candy store. I have watched too many films to count but if I had to pick a few I would say The Lord of the Ring Trilogy or Harry Potter.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?
Without a doubt the most embarrassing song I have on my phone Enya ‘Sail Away’. It isn’t embarrassing because the song is bad. On the contrary, the song is amazing. What is embarrassing is my attempt to sing along.

Where have you travelled abroad? What was your favourite country?
Due to my Dad having a fear of flying, our summer holidays were limited to France. I now have the capability to go anywhere and I have been to France 3 times this year. If it ain’t broke? Besides, the French have the best wine, cheese, architecture and scenery. Why would I not go back? I do have a travel book and a few I want to tick off in 2018 is Iceland, Bali and Austria. I would love to see the Northern Lights and the beautiful scenery in Austria.

What is one thing about yourself that you think others would be surprised to know?
I have four brothers and three sisters. It is both manic and loud but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I love photography; my camera feed is full of flowers, landscapes and sunsets. My love of photography is fuelled by my desire to travel. I also love cooking. I come from a very large family and so cooking was something we all had to do to help out. It was also something we did together so for me cooking has always been a sociable time. And who doesn’t love food? I am very into fitness and am attempting to do a Tough Mudder in 2018. Watch this space.

A photo I took when I went to Paris in September 2017.

What is your biggest claim to fame?
Growing up my next door neighbour was Princess Anne.

If you could be any animal what would you be?
A corgi in Buckingham Palace. I can imagine they live a pretty good life.

What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie?
Morgan Freeman. He might need some prosthetics.

Find Sophia on Linkedin 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!

Market Dojo hires Scottish royalty

Market Dojo is excited to introduce you to our newest member of team Dojo – Jon Pole. Coming all the way from South Africa he’ll be stepping into our business development manager position. We asked him a few questions to get to know a bit more about him.

Image result for south africaImage result for scotland flag

What made you apply to work at Market Dojo?
I’ll set the scene – It was a late November evening, rain was pouring down. I was driving down the M5 on my way home from a job interview with a terrible telemarketing company, wondering if I should accept the job offer or not – do I sell my soul? I stopped at a services station to take a break from the terrible weather, I checked a few emails and there it was an invitation to interview for a company called ‘Market Dojo’ I checked out the company, the sun broke through the clouds and the rest is history.

What are you looking forward to in your new role?
It’s not often you get a chance to be part of a small company with so much potential, having the opportunity to build it up from the foundations and see yourself making a noticeable difference. I’m excited about generating new sales and heat-seeking new opportunities also just getting the opportunity to tell people I’m a ‘Business Development Manager’ at 22.

What is different about Market Dojo?
Everything about the company is taken at face value and is transparent, what you see is what you get. It’s also very rare when you get to sell a product that sells itself. I’m just really appreciating having the opportunity as a young person

What is the most unusual job you have ever had?
Whilst at University I worked at Heart radio as a marketing and promotions assistant. The unusual thing about this job is that we spent a lot of our time driving around in giant red 7 seaters plastered with the Heart logo. Whilst doing this we were giving out cakes, setting up gazebos, face painting children and being VIP backstage at Boardmasters. It was pretty fun and I was the only man working with 23 girls. So, all in all, it was okay…

What is your favourite book/movie?
It couldn’t be anything other than Lord of the rings, huge Tolkien fan. My inner nerd will never lie about it.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone
As a music student and musician I have and listen to everything I mean I could list 50 pages of embarrassing songs but instead here is a taster:

N-Dubz – Strong Again
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
One Direction – Best Song Ever
Justin Bieber – One Time

Where have you travelled abroad? What was your favourite country?
I grew up in South Africa and it will always be my favourite in terms of natural beauty. The best foreign trip of my life has been going to Finland earlier this year to see the northern lights, it was the best thing I’ve ever done, absolutely breathtaking if you haven’t been before then make time to go ASAP, it’s worth it. I also love Italy the culture is amazing, the food is my favourite and I am also 60% fluent in Italian according to Duolingo.

What are your hobbies and interests?
My main hobby or passion is singing, I’m actually in an indie/electronic band I sing, play guitar and synth. So performance is a key part of what I love to do, I’ve always thought maybe it’s just because I love being the centre of attention – maybe that’s why I turned up to my first day at work in a full suit when the dress code was casual.

What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie?
That’s easy, it’s gotta be Leonardo Di Caprio. But not the young pretty boy – think more like between Wolf of Wall Street and The Revenant, with a bad hairline and dad bod running around the park with a water pistol. There certainly are some similarities to be seen there.

How would you describe yourself for those about to meet you at Market Dojo?
I would make these lucky people very aware of my lack of common sense, it is actually a very severe case of it. I’ve been described by friends as a ‘puppy – you can’t be mad at it for messing things up because it doesn’t know any better’.
I won’t accidentally wet myself in the house but I spend days making people question how I actually got an honours degree.

Interesting facts about yourself?
Well, obviously I’m South African, not that you’d be able to tell from the well-spoken British accent with a Somerset twang.

I’ve performed at the London O2 and got a support slot with Gabrielle Aplin before she backed out and got someone else.

If you’ve seen Braveheart I’m a direct descendant of William Wallace and could be a Scottish prince if history had played out in my favour.

What are you hoping to bring to Market Dojo?
A hungry sense of ambition and a desire to succeed with Market Dojo.
Also to make sure Market Dojo has an obviously visible growth from the date I joined.

Finally, I hope to become a main driving force within this company and with that enthusiasm, I’m confident I will succeed

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn 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!

Tail Spend by Greg Tennyson

This is the second guest article by Greg Tennyson, CPO at VSP Global, discussing the importance of managing your Tail Spend.

Pareto This Tail Spend

Tail Spend generally follows the Pareto Principle of 20% input (Spend) equals 80% output (Suppliers). To state it differently 80% of your supplier base is generally equivalent to 20% of a company’s total spend. Compounding matters Tail Spend is considered a low priority, that is, each individual transaction is of a small dollar value and is typically unmanaged resulting in challenges with data clarity, integrity and visibility. Your classic garbage in, garbage out scenario.

But wait there is hope… 
Tail Spend is important and can be managed. First, let’s do the math. A US-based analytics and tail spend management startup called FairMarkIT spent the past 9 months on hundreds of conference calls and in-person meetings with CPOs, VPs of Procurement, Heads of Sourcing and Purchasing from large organizations with spend under management ranging from $2B-$XB annually. Using those engagements as a baseline if we consider 20% of the $2B in spend under management that would then represent a Tail Spend opportunity valued at $400M.

Now let’s consider how most companies manage Tail Spend…. In those same conversations had with the ‘heads of’ one question was asked every time – ‘how do you currently manage your tail spend?’ Guess what, based on the garbage in, garbage out scenario most ‘heads of’ don’t try to manage tail spend.

Profiles
FairMarkIT discovered there are 3 different CPO profiles:
1)    The CPO with minimal time who really doesn’t care. Their thought process is anything under a specific dollar threshold is too small to focus their team’s time and the trivial purchase size will limit its risk to the business.

2)    The CPO that knows it’s an important problem to address, but has no idea where to start. The procurement of these small purchases is decentralized, untracked, and spans across so many categories that it feels like they are trying to boil the ocean.

3)    The CPO that has established an initiative and is taking strategic, incremental steps to gain control and optimize unmanaged spend. This third CPO seems to always be looking for new innovative ways to challenge the status quo and has no problem shaking up legacy processes.

By using automated processes that identify and group unstructured data, FairMarkIT can aggregate your tail spend transaction history into a meaningful and actionable roadmap that a team can leverage to make business decisions around tail spend management. Most importantly, tell you where’s the best place to start.

Common Denominator
It boils down to risk. The current process to source tail spend purchases is typically informal, un-monitored, and lacks analysis, which allows people to make decisions at their own discretion. And if spend isn’t monitored, there are dominant outcomes:

1)    People take the easy path to buy the product with little to no concern about getting the best price (Price Risk)

2)    The initial purchase may have reflected the best price but the business doesn’t track pricing, so no one in the organization knows how susceptible different products are to fluctuations in price (Time Risk)

3)    If the purchase is consummated below the radar was the purchase properly vetted (Operational Risk)

1)    Price Risk
The most obvious risk is overpaying for a product or service. Those familiar with the world of B2B selling or purchasing know that pricing is not standardized and tends to be more like the Wild West. It’s no secret that companies pay varying amounts for the exact same B2B products, and if they’re not intelligently sourced, the risk of overpaying dramatically increases. I fully agree that not all tail spend purchases fall victim to this, as there are some categories and vendors that do hold fairly consistent price discounting levels, but, without tracking and reviewing the data, how can you even begin to identify your largest areas of risk?

2)    Time Risk
The second type of risk is time, which is frequently viewed by a CPO as a team’s most valuable resource. The current process to source small to medium purchases is to email or physically call 1-2 suppliers, explain the product or service being purchased, and then collect and organize the returning bids. This is a manual process. Now fast forward that process across 10s of thousands to 100s of thousands of small purchases, depending on the size of the company that are made every single year. If you do want to increase the number of suppliers participating to use competitive forces to drive pricing down, you’re just tacking on additional minutes, hours, days, months to your annual sourcing process.

3)    Operational Risk
The risks range from procurement fraud to showing favouritism and excluding qualified suppliers to potential cybersecurity concerns. If you’re not tracking or managing 80% of your purchases, how can you expect your buyers to intuitively know which businesses can supply what products at the best price, that mitigate the foregoing operational risks.

The question is …
What is in your Tail Spend that should keep you up at night and what do you plan to do about it? There are solutions out there that can help de-mystify your Tail Spend. I encourage you to consider the total Tail Spend amount, the associated risks and pull a project team together to assess next steps. In the end, your company will be better off as a result of the team’s work.

Can Procurement survive without email?
Market Dojo, a UK-based eSourcing provider, states that their #1 competitor is email.   This is certainly true when it comes to Tail Spend, where the average business can have thousands of employees emailing quotation requests to suppliers every year.   Catalogs, rate cards, framework agreements and purchase cards can be effective mechanisms to control this but there is inevitably leakage.  Besides, how does a CPO ensure compliance if there is zero visibility of these email-based
quotations?

Market Dojo’s solution is to make a quotation request easier than email.  With just 3 text fields to fill and a drop-down list of categorized pre-approved suppliers, it’s a viable alternative for busy Operations folk who are on the go.  By encouraging Operational users to invite half a dozen preferred suppliers to quote, instead of just 3 unknown ones by email, it drives competition.  Even if this only resulted in a 5% more competitive quote, against the $400m average Tail Spend opportunity it can equate to a $20m saving!

So, solutions are out there to suggest that we can survive without email, we just have to make it easier for the organization to use them.

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!

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