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Transformational bidding – Part 3 – Multiple Totals

Welcome to part 3 of our series on transformational bidding, a powerful and effective method for capturing complex pricing models within Market Dojo.

This blog is going to look specifically at the concept of ‘multiple totals’ and some examples of where they have, or could be used.

Multiple totals are, as the name suggests, the functionality of having multiple total columns within the same advanced lot. Prior to this functionality being released, the number of total columns was limited to 1 per lot. This new addition makes it very easy to capture and compare numerous totals within the same lot.

When can this be used?

Exact vs alternatives

The most obvious example is for comparing exact and alternative options for a particular good or service. We have already seen examples of this for Uniform purchases and pharmaceuticals. In both events, the buyer has provided an exact specification for the supplier to provide a price for, but has also given the opportunity for the supplier to provide an alternative specification and price (nothing new here). What the multiple totals will allow you to do is also capture the total of all the items for the exact specification and the alternative (as shown below).

Click to enlarge

 

Volume comparisons

Another useful way to benefit from multiple totals in advanced lots is to use the total to compare different volumes, which can be extremely useful when you may want to dual source a particular event. There is an alternative way to do this now using picklist numerics which can be applied to pricing components (See here).

Click to enlarge

 

Why not try this out on your next event?

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch in the comments below, contact your account manager, or drop us a line using the details below.

info@marketdojo.com

+44 (0) 117 230 9200

What can the England football team learn from procurement?

With the excitement of the World Cup building, I wanted to give the England football boys some advice to help them along their way in Russia.

So what can England learn from procurement?

Forward Planning

Within procurement it’s essential to plan ahead, and in order to do so you must identify your own business’,  your incumbents’ and other potential suppliers’ positions within the market to make predictions on any changes based on research data. This better enables you to develop a negotiation strategy for obtaining the best possible value on necessary goods within any category.

Equally, when it comes to football, the England squad must identify their own position and draw comparisons against their opponents to highlight each of their strengths and weaknesses. This will help them to develop a strategic game plan to better their chances of success.

Find out how Market Dojo can help your team plan ahead and analyse spend with Category Dojo.

Relationship Building

Effective supplier relationships are critical to business success. There is far more to sourcing goods/materials than simply signing a contract and watching the rest fall into place. Without strong relationships, supply chains can easily breakdown. There is a much more human element to ensuring processes work. Arguably the most important aspects of building a strong supplier relationship are;

These components of supplier relationship management are also transferable to the England setup. The players must trust, respect and openly communicate with each other, as well as with the management in order to work together as a team. Not only will this improve their teamwork but should they use these communication skills as well as the feelings of trust and respect towards their opponents and officials alike, it will also help the players to establish themselves as key role models for young fans.

Find out how Market Dojo can help your team build supplier relationships with SIM Dojo.

There’s no ‘I’ in Team

Procurement departments realise that each link within the supply chain is of equal importance to the next. Similarly on a smaller scale, within a business it is not just those ‘goal scorers’ i.e. the salesperson making the highest margin, or the buyer obtaining the best value on a particular item, that are important. It is the rest of the team, the other departments that enable the ‘goal scorer’ to do their job to the best ability. Likewise with football; the strikers add value by scoring goals, the midfield create opportunities and the defenders manage the risk for the goalkeeper. No one player can win the World Cup single-handedly, its about working together as a team, utilising the individual players’ strengths and exploiting your opponents’ weaknesses.

Find out how Market Dojo can help your team work collaboratively with your suppliers using Innovation Dojo.

Come on England!

For more information on how Market Dojo can help you contact us at info@marketdojo.com or +44 (0) 117 230 9200.

Connect with the author of this article on LinkedIn  – Toby Pedder

Price Increases – Is Brexit really to blame?

In the UK especially, it seems that the prices of food and household goods are always on the increase. No matter how often you see those price slashes and discount signs, every year you seem to be getting less for your money.

The news always likes to point to a suspect, with Brexit seemingly being the flavour of the month (for almost the last few years it now seems), but is it really all that simple?

At Market Dojo and working within the Procurement sector, we’re in the fortunate position to better understand market influencers. This gives us the first-hand ability to see how competition and additional resources given to procurement teams can help to drive savings and pass bottomline efficiencies straight to the consumer.

How will Brexit affect food prices?

Half of Britain’s food is imported and 30% comes directly from the EU, with an additional 11% reportedly coming from non-EU countries under trade deals negotiated by the EU. If a trade agreement cannot be negotiated, then the purchasing and importing of these goods will likely see additional barriers or processes put in place.

Currently the EU trade agreements are in place to help manage trade relations between countries within the EU and those outside of the EU, these help to create better trading opportunities and overcome related barriers to importing goods.

Without trade deals in place, imports from the EU would be subject to the same treatment as non-EU imports. Which will threaten the border systems in place. In addition to increasing the costs and reducing the competition of goods being imported.

To counteract this, the government could cut tariffs on all food imports from both EU and non-EU countries. Although doing so would likely threaten British food producers who cannot directly compete on price.

However this isn’t even mentioning the impact that Brexit has had on the value of the Pound Sterling. The “weaker” the pound is in contrast to other countries’ currencies, the “more expensive” it is to import goods to the UK and the “more competitive” British goods appear abroad.

But is that the only thing affecting food and household prices?

The simple answer is no. Different markets have different pressures. Whether it’s increasing taxes and new tariffs or the cost of raw materials going up.

Traditionally, food prices are at the mercy of global pressures that we all struggle to control. It was only in 2012 that we were all encouraged to get behind the nation’s dairy farmers in their fight for a fair deal. But when the cost of producing overseas can be a fraction of doing the same in the UK, consumers are forced into a choice. Consumers traditionally are unwilling to move from the habit of demanding low prices, forcing British businesses out of the market and making supermarkets source their products and raw materials from overseas.

On a broad (and simpler) perspective, it becomes inevitable that the UK either import in greater volumes or as a consumer we suffer through these pressures and accept the price hikes.

It’s often these “pressures” which are attributed to the cost hikes. But in reality, there are a variety of smaller factors which come into play. On the scale of a single supplier, over time inefficiencies are creating in their process or non-value adding steps. Which force companies to either increase their margins or increase their prices to continue to grow.

But are food and household prices actually going up?

Often supermarkets will try to “hide” their price increases with offers signalling that yes you can get it for the same price (or even cheaper) but this is a now a ‘limited’ time offer and no, you shouldn’t be surprised when the price goes up.

In recent years you may have heard the phrase “Shrinkflation”. It means the process of items shrinking in size or quantity while their prices remain the same (or even increase). Meaning that you’re getting less quantity and less value at the same time.

A few goods examples of “Shrinkflation” are:

Toblerone having previously been 200g, the chocolate bar was reduced to 170g in 2010 and then again to 150g in 2016. This means that Toblerone has actually reduced in size by 25% in less than 10 years.

PG Tips Tea Bags. Although the number of the tea bags in each box remained the same (80), the business reduced the quantity of tea within each unit. You can now purchase 232g per box rather than the original 250g for the identical price of £1.99.

In 2014, Coca-Cola reduced the size of their 2 litre bottles to 1.75 litres and more recently they have again reduced the size to 1.5 litres, however the price to purchase each bottle remains the same.

 

 

What can we do about it?

As a single consumer it’s very difficult to do anything about it. But in my opinion, it’s important to understand that although Brexit is creating volatility in the market and may have a lasting impact on exchange rates, we can’t blame this all on the feet of Brexit.

Regardless of our position in the EU, consumers shouldn’t be getting less in terms of quality and quantity.

If you’re interested in finding out how your organisation can make savings. Click here to arrange a call and discover how Market Dojo’s eSourcing platform can help you.

Find me on LinkedIn.

What do Procurement and Love Island have in common?

When I was thinking of a subject to write about for my latest blog article, I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about something on topic and which encompassed two of my favourite subjects; procurement and Love Island.

Some of you may read the title of this blog and think that a blog about Love Island is “not for you.” I would urge you to persist…I thought the same about Love Island itself when I was first subjected to an episode by my wife last year. However, over time I became hooked, I sort of fell into the Love Island world (sound familiar with how you ended up in Procurement?) The icing on the cake was when I heard that one of this year’s contestants, Jack, was responsible for selling office supplies (and was bragging about how good he was), my mind immediately screamed “eAuction!” So what exactly do procurement and Love Island have in common?

Effective contract management

The top earners from last year’s Love Island have made a reported £1 million each since leaving the show through various endorsements, sponsorships and more. Rumours are that this year the show’s owners have clauses written into the contestant contracts that they receive 10% of all future earnings they receive off the back of the show. How the show continues to monitor and maximise benefit from this new clause will require some very prudent contract management. Perhaps if they’re very shrewd, there is even a clause that states that the % increases as their earnings increase, similar to how some of you may have rebates based on volume within your contracts with suppliers.

Negotiate when you have the leverage

Continuing with the contract management theme above, the opportune time to arrange these contracts is before the show begins and the power lies with the show owners. In Kraljik Matrix terms, the contestants are ‘leverage items’ before the show starts. There are thousands of others who will happily accept a place on the show if a contract cannot be accepted.

Financial Impact Vs Supply Risk Kraljik Matrix

It’s going to be much harder to negotiate a contract with the show’s winner once they leave the show, as the power balance will lie with them. Apply the same to your tenders, if you can get the supplier to agree to an NDA and Terms & Conditions as part of your Pre-Qualification Process.It is much easier to get the terms that you want, and will lead to a much more efficient implementation phase upon award. The supplier can be extremely demanding with their terms if they have been told, or believe, that they are going to win the business.

Speak with your stakeholders…even the difficult ones

Only an experienced Love Island viewer will have picked up on this, but the contestants are very good at approaching and having the difficult conversations with their fellow contestants. There is much to be learned by procurement on this, get out into the business as much as possible and engage with your stakeholders, take the initiative to arrange a meeting. The more that you are seen to be engaging with, and having those conversations with business partners, the better placed you’ll be to be able to offer strategic value.

Still sceptical about eAuctions…try it first with an office supplies event

20 years later and there are still reservations around reverse auctions, and misconceptions that they are difficult and complex. They really do not need to be. They are also not just applicable to non-strategic, commodity based items. However, if you are still unsure about eAuctions, office supplies is always a great category to get started with as it’s easily defined and there is high liquidity (viable suppliers). Market Dojo even offers the opportunity to run an office supplies auction for free: https://www.marketdojo.com/office-supplies/

If you are still not a fan of Love Island, I’m sure that you would take great pleasure in seeing Jack sweat under the pressure of an eAuction.

Jack Love Island Profile

Are there any other similarities that you can see between Love Island and Procurement? Please feel free to comment below.

Connect with Lewis on LinkedIn here.

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!

Market Dojo Interview with Founding Owners of the Trending Procurement App, Scott and Leslie McBride

Our latest blog post introduces the founders of an exciting new venture for procurement news – A Trending in Procurement app. Co-Founder Leslie McBride reached out to us here at Market Dojo to introduce their application designed for procurement professionals to keep up to date with current trends, papers and news within the field and most importantly encourage collaboration between people within the industry. Read our interview with both Leslie and her co-founder/husband Scott McBride to find out more.

Trending Procurement Logo

Market Dojo: What made you start Trending Procurement? 

Leslie McBride: Scott approached me with the concept of a procurement app a few years ago. The procurement industry has great resources; blogs, webinars, white papers and podcasts, but at the time there were no resources available where one could access all of this information in one place. This is the essence of Trending Procurement, all of the procurement news of the day, upcoming events, etc. in one place, one app.

Scott McBride: I have been in the procurement space for approximately 12 years. One day, it hit me that this is likely to be the industry that I call home for the rest of my career and I want to have a way to be part of this community other than just an employee. I enjoy reading procurement news, blogs, and analyst papers but it’s a serious chore to visit 15 websites every day to accomplish this. Creating a free app to bring this content together is a way to solve this problem and provide a needed service to other procurement professionals.

Market Dojo: What is the aim of Trending Procurement?

Leslie McBride: The app is free to download and the content is free to users. The goal of the app is to provide access to all things procurement in one place. We aim to provide our users with diverse content and include a comprehensive industry events list where the users are even able to register to attend conferences and industry events from within our app.

Scott McBride: Every morning, when a procurement practitioner sits down at their desk and wonders, “what’s going on in procurement today?”, or, “how does [a specific news event] affect my procurement strategy?” I want Trending Procurement to be the resource they use to answer this question.

Right now, if you conduct a simple Google news search for “procurement” or “supply chain” it will return hundreds of articles written in the last few hours. Many of these articles will focus on topics that we don’t traditionally consider to be part of procurement. However, I tend to believe that the Google search is right—that everyday procurement practitioners need a fundamental understanding of many topics to continue their professional growth and relate to their colleagues adjacent to procurement. To be clear, I don’t think we will be using voice-enabled p-card robots to purchase bitcoins on a blockchain platform anytime soon. On the other hand, some of these concepts will stick around and it will draw the procurement practice closer to other departments and business processes. Trending Procurement aims to be a primary way that we continue to learn about these topics.

Market Dojo: How do you find working with your spouse?

Leslie McBride: Scott has been in the procurement world for years, so it is nice to be able to learn more about the industry from his point of view and experience. My background is in the pharmaceutical industry and I am fascinated by all the ways that procurement truly impacts all professions. The app is our creative outlet and something we enjoy working on together. Scott and I have different strengths and this becomes an advantage when brainstorming and planning for the growth of Trending Procurement.

Scott McBride: IT IS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD!!! (you’re crazy if you think I’m going to answer this in any other way…)

Market Dojo: Where do you see Trending Procurement in 5 years?

Leslie McBride: We would like to see Trending Procurement continue to grow and provide additional content to our users. On the horizon, we would like to incorporate new ways to provide industry news to our users and continue to make access to all things procurement easy. I can’t give away all our ideas just yet…

Scott McBride: In five years, I believe we will have a very large community of users and almost certainly an expanded sense of coverage. I believe that we will continue to see the rise of automation, alternative currency growth, and fundamental technology strategies like blockchain shape our definition of procurement and I want Trending Procurement to be a tremendous resource for understanding these topics.

Market Dojo: Do you feel there is a difference between UK procurement and US procurement?

Scott McBride: The fundamental DNA of procurement professionals seems similar, but the UK does seem to have a very close procurement community. It’s also true that UK professionals have had good reason to embrace their community recently. Brexit seems to have presented massive challenges to many buying groups and my hope is that US procurement groups have taken some time to understand this issue and UK procurement’s communal response to it in case we face similar changes to US policies like NAFTA. We could have a lot to learn from each other.

Market Dojo: Would you ever consider moving to the UK?

Leslie McBride: Both Scott and I are from the Midwest in the US, so this is home and I can’t imagine relocating would be in our future.

Market Dojo: On a more topical note, what are your views on Disney buying out 21st Century Fox?

Scott McBride: It certainly has been a busy year for global news—Trump, Brexit, multiple natural disasters, the blockchain, bitcoin, etc. The Disney/Fox deal is complicated but seems to follow the trend of media consolidation. This seems like a great thing if you are concerned about studio funding for the next superhero movie, but potentially a harmful thing if you value differing editorial positions on global news topics. The truth is, with platforms like Twitter, Medium, and even LinkedIn, there’s no shortage of opinions. The problem is that these opinions are very scattered and difficult to find. This is exactly what Trending Procurement aims to remedy.

Market Dojo: And just in time for 2018, what are your new year’s resolutions?

Leslie McBride: I feel like I should state the quintessential resolution response to eat healthier and exercise more, honestly though, I doubt I will follow through with either of those resolutions.

Scott McBride: I’m very bad at these. More exercise should be my resolution but I think we all know that this will end up being just slightly longer dog walks by March.

Download the app for free on Android here or for iPhone 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!

Introducing the LAVERGNE PROCUREMENT MATRIX

We recently encountered an article on Linkedin by Rémy de Lavergne, a highly experienced procurement professional with a specialism in Logistics. Rémy had clearly put some thought into what made a ‘good’ buyer and went a step further by categorising them by key attributes.

We couldn’t resist having a call with Rémy to understand this further, which led to this introductory article on our blog. We’ll follow up with more of Rémy’s insight in due course, but here is an introduction to his Procurement Matrix.

“Procurement is the process of finding, agreeing terms and acquiring goods, services or works from an external source, often via a tendering or competitive bidding process. The process is used to ensure the buyer receives goods, services or works at the best possible price, when aspects such as quality, quantity, time, and location are compared.” – Wikipedia

This definition is clear but it is not enough for me and probably neither for you?

I have been Purchasing for 20 years now (in different countries and industries) and I have often read and heard very interesting things about Procurement issues, but not enough to give me a global picture about what are the objectives and the best practices.

So I have started to brainstorm and have tried to create a one page Powerpoint puzzle about Procurement with 2 questions in mind:

– What does buying mean?
– What is a good buyer?

After selecting and analyzing more than 35 keywords (SRB, Networker, Communicator, Excel…), I found a clear and simple definition :

A Buyer is both a Value Marker for Clients and a Cost Reducer, at the same time.

And by analysing what buyers contributions are to these 2 objectives it became clear to me that we have been seeing 4 generations of buyers:

1. The Bureaucrat who manages supply but creates no value for clients nor cost -reduction for the organisation.
2. The Cost Killer who reduce costs but without taking care of value creation for the clients.
3. The Innovator who values innovation but without trying to reduce costs.
4. The Business Developer who values innovation and reduces cost at the same time.

To describe the 4.0 Buyer – the Business Developer – I have also written an article about it (in French).

“The 2017 Buyer : (An) International Business Developer: a professional, piloting projects in the field looking for innovation and savings”.

If you want to know more about the Lavergne Procurement Matrix and/or to use it in your school or company, do not hesitate to contact me.

The Lavergne Procurement Matrix is protected by a copyright.

Rémy de LAVERGNE
Email : remydelavergne@gmail.com
Tel : + 33 (0) 6 64 90 47 56

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!

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.

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!

Learning Excel through Football

Market Dojo have put together a learning spreadsheet to help procurement professionals gain a better understanding of excel. This spreadsheet uses premier league, international and club football data to provide engaging educational statistics.

Included in the spreadsheet is:

You can download the spreadsheet here on our resources page under miscellaneous.

In the modern age of data, being able to decipher large amounts of data can be invaluable in both saving you time and analysing data in new ways. Whether you trying to formulate data into an importable file or simply improve your employ-ability.

Image result for premier league

We believe that having a good understanding of Excel is essential for the modern day procurement professional. Without being able to use Vlookups or create conditional formatting rules you would struggle to organise and interpret large volumes of data that is crucial in modern roles.

This spreadsheet isn’t meant to be a thorough understanding of all the different aspects of Excel. However, if you have anything else that you believe should be included just get in contact and we will do our best to include in an amended version.
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!

Three Compelling Reasons to use a Japanese Auction by Peter Schmidt

Peter Schmidt offered to write a guest blog for Market Dojo on his past experience with eAuctions. Peter has a long track record in, sales, consultancy and procurement. He specialises in Telecoms, Managed Services and Public Cloud.

In procurement, eAuctions can be regarded as a fair way to buy goods or services as all the suppliers have an equal opportunity of being awarded the business.
The model that is commonly used is the reverse auction that gives suppliers during the auction information on their position relative to their contenders. This practice creates a competitive element among the bidders allowing them to establish the market price for the buyer.
At the end of this reverse auction, the contenders ranked two and three may have a fairly good idea of the established market price. This will indicate to them to improve their performance for similar categories organized by the buyer. Despite the fact that the above sounds great and the results are rewarding, there are situations that would call for the Japanese auction.

The Japanese auction
The mechanism of the Japanese eAuction is straightforward. All the participating suppliers start at a predefined price level that is decreased by a fixed percentage during the auction. The final contender who declines the offer wins the auction.

The contenders are unaware of who is bidding and what the others are doing during the auction. In general, the best price that arises from a Japanese auction is less favourable than when a reverse eAuction is conducted. There are situations, however, that could benefit from the Japanese auction model.

Lack of pricing elasticity
The suppliers have submitted their offers at different price levels, where there is a reason to believe that the dynamics of reverse auctions are likely to fail because of a lack of price elasticity between the highest and lowest bidder. The Japanese auction will ensure then, that at all times a better price is established, as the lowest bidder is unaware of the others and is encouraged to give a better price.

Limited amount of contenders
If for whatever reason suppliers are not eager to bid and the number of contenders is reduced to two, you may consider a Japanese auction to eliminate the risk that one of the bidders declines to participate at the last moment, which leaves the buyer with only one supplier. The Japanese auction allows the buyer to continue with the auction and establish a better price.

Regulated environment
In a highly regulated market segment where suppliers do not want to know from each other the kind of pricing levels that they can offer. Also here the Japanese auction can be the right fit, as the suppliers are not able to assess the behaviour of their contenders.
Other methods that are beyond the scope of this blog that can be conducive in yielding better results from an eAuction is the introduction of extra variables that relate to the market conditions and/or the supply chain.

It is paramount that whatever way you chose, suppliers must be well informed about the rules of engagement as the buyer’s success depends on their commitment.
For more details on the various types of auctions, please download the Infographic from Market Dojo.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in find out more about the services that Peter Schmidt provides, click here.

Peter Schmidt, Independent Consultant for P.Schmidt Consultancy Services B.V.

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!

Thank you for attending our Roadshow this December! If you missed out come along to our next event soon!

Last week we had a triumph of a day, running an eAuction masterclass at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens with lots of familiar faces of current clients filling our venue!

The day consisted of a very informative and productive agenda, which started with two of our Directors, Nick Drewe and Alun Rafique giving a fruitful insight into Market Dojo and eAuctions.

Three of our clients gave fantastic presentations showing how eAuctions have worked for them and what they have learnt from using an eSourcing tool within procurement, thank you to Paul Haycock from Nortek, Andrew Russell from Housing and 21 Stephen Wrighton from Plastipak, all their presentations can be found on our website here.

We introduced our eAuction game to the day which allowed people to try what it was like being the supplier whilst using our tool in which everyone seemed to really enjoy and learn a lot, including the importance of sticking to price margins and the difference in performance during auction from a virtual negotiation platform as opposed to face to face.

Since the game had such a good response from our guests, for our future events we plan to get our guests to run the game from the host side as well as the supplier side so they can see what the typical auction behaviour consists of.

If you happened to come along on the day, from all here at Market Dojo we would like to say a big thank you! We hope you enjoyed the day and learnt something new!

Lots of guests stayed the whole day and at the end got the chance to ask lots of one to one questions to our directors to have a more bespoke and intimate feel of market dojo and answers to their queries before having a stroll around the beautiful grounds to end the day.

(Just in case you didn’t notice the dojos in the Japanese Garden next to us here’s a picture – completely unplanned!)

If you missed out this time, we plan to hit the road for our next event up north! Register your interest here and don’t hesitate to get in to touch with us for location and agenda suggestions, or any information or questions email: info@marketdojo.com alternatively
Call us on : +44 (0) 117 230 9200

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 – October 2017

Autumn is definitely here, and we have been busy improving Market Dojo. This month we have released two features that our customers have requested. We have also made a whole bunch of improvements which are less conspicuous, but let’s focus on the headlines.

 

Market Dojo – More than five questionnaires
We have increased the limit on questionnaires in Market Dojo from five to ten! For some of our customers, this is really important so that they can gather more information about the participant’s offers. This additional feature is now live so just add more questionnaires to your event as required.

SIM Dojo – archive and delete participants
When onboarding suppliers, from time-to-time you want to remove someone from the process. This may happen because the wrong person is invited, or you are certain you will not require their services in the future.
Now, you can do this easily in SIM Dojo. When you are viewing the decision tab for a participant, there is a new option to move them to the recycle bin. Once they are in the recycle bin, they will not be counted in reports or sent any emails. If you change your mind, then they can be restored.

We hope you like these two improvements, and we look forward to sharing more exciting news soon.

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!

CPO’s first 100 days by Erik Van Kampen

Market Dojo continues its search into transforming procurement teams in the CPO’s first 100 days. This time our guest contributor is Erik Van Kampen.
Erik is an experienced and successful procurement professional with proven success and continuous progression gained within major blue chip companies, including heading up Procurement at Old Mutual Wealth.  Erik shares his view on the first 100 days as a CPO.

Procurement is common sense, right?  We all buy things every day, whether it’s shopping, holidays, cars or computers.  We become perceived experts in what we buy. It’s hardly surprising that when you join a new organisation, there may be differing opinions and expectations of colleagues and stakeholders about your approach and strategy.
What did you promise you could deliver during the multitude of interviews and what do you expect to achieve? How do you assess opportunities and when do you do it? A previous boss and mentor once said to me that the first 100 days was “your only opportunity to ask stupid questions” which made me laugh at the time, but I guess has its merits.
There is only a limited time for you to take stock before someone will ask ‘now what’. The ‘now what’ is what will shape your success, and from my experience, this is five ways to get there.

Image result for first 100 days
#1 Promises
Set the tone. Be clear about what you will and can achieve and what is needed from stakeholders to succeed. Procurement is not rocket science so don’t make it difficult for people to understand. Something that always helps me is to be clear, use plain English, and be accessible to your team, stakeholders, and key suppliers. Establishing an understanding of key contracts, areas of spending, policies and process as well as the systems that are in place would be one of the first stops.
My natural style is to focus on relationships. People need people and while technical skills are important, unless you can relate to other people and influence them then the outcomes will not be optimal. Lastly, be honest and straight up with people. The key deliverable may be a strategy paper or roadmap focusing on aspects such as Sourcing Execution, People, Systems & Tools, as well as Policy, Process and Governance and when things can be achieved.

#2 Leadership Team
The most successful teams I’ve worked in have a complimentary mix of personalities, skills, and experience. You shouldn’t hire in your own likeness, nor should you be intimidated by people with more experience or a different outlook. Provided everyone is working towards the same overall objectives and support one another then you’re halfway there.
Competition is healthy and can be good fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously.  Get to know people, their strengths, weaknesses and aspirations (personal and professional). Use the knowledge that is already in place and don’t rush into making wholesale changes just because you’re new, unless there are clear issues that need to be addressed, There are bound to be disagreements, but establish trust and respect early and avoid ‘public’ arguments when opinions differ.

#3 Policies
Look at what is in place. Are policies easy to understand and are they concise, or a source of frustration and to be avoided at all costs? Think about how you can make it easy for people to do business: with suppliers and procurement.  Different industries require/welcome different levels of compliance and control; use a flexible and risk-based approach.

#4 Systems
Procurement is evolving and technology platforms are becoming more commonplace so don’t be afraid to try things out and don’t believe that a single solution provider is the best route. Decide which aspects would benefit from integration (if any) which could mean not sourcing the best but something that does the job.
Personally, I don’t believe that full scale automation is going to be the answer to everyone’s Procurement woes, but I do believe technology has its place.  However, the business process and data behind it must be effective and mature.

#5 Data
Crap in = crap out! Data relies on the input source so unless the people putting the information incorrectly, you are off to a bad start and fixing will take a lot of effort. Make sure you have skills in place to drive adoption and manage ongoing data quality.
Data quality is key to any Procurement function. Whether the subject matter is spend data, contracts, etc. if you get it wrong you risk undermining the credibility of the function and individuals in it. Work hard to get it right and ensure resources are available to maintain it.  It is critical that sourcing and procurement teams know why it’s important and understands that they are pivotal to it.

Erik is currently working as an interim Market Data Procurement Consultant at Chain IQ Group, where he is engaging with key financial index providers to ensure compliance with the European Benchmark Regulation.  If you would like to reach Erik directly, you can find him 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!

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!

Part 1 – The CPO’s first hundred days….

Market Dojo continues its search into transforming procurement teams in the CPO’s first 100 days. Dr Paul Joesbury has experience as a CPO at a number of organisations including Chesapeake Packaging. In this two-part series, Paul explores what he believes are the most important areas that a new CPO needs to address.

Dr Paul Joesbury is a Procurement Transformation specialist having managed procurement transformations across multiple industries and sectors. He completed his doctorate programme at Aston University where he led research into the effectiveness of procurement. As part of this research, he has created the “Procurement Effectiveness Model” that is both a diagnostic tool as well as a route map to effective procurement. Paul can be contacted via Linkedin or at info@purchain.com

In this first part, Paul begins discussing why he thinks that “The Compelling Case for Change” and “Competency” are the two most crucial elements for transforming your procurement team in your first 100 days as CPO.

In the 100 days between March and June of 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his prison on Elba, assembled 1000 supporters, returned to Paris where he was welcomed by cheering crowds, ousted Louis XVIII and began what came to be known as his Hundred Days campaign. He built his army to 280,000, invaded Belgium before being finally defeated by Wellington and an allied Anglo-Prussian force at Waterloo – he was then carted off to another island prison at St. Helena – Phew!

Fortunately, the first 100 days of a CPO do not normally make their way into the history books, although in reality it can be “make or break” in their ultimate success. In my opinion, the CPO has one of the most influential jobs in the organisation. What other job allows you to improve quality and performance, whilst lowering the cost base, Therefore, it’s surprising that the role of CPO is still relatively immature, with many organisations still seeing procurement as a low-level function within the business and not as one that can add significant value.

I have identified 5 factors as part of a “Procurement Effectiveness Model” that is key to the success of a new CPO and that have to be addressed within those 100 days.These 5 factors relate to common themes that I believe are transferable across business, industries and sectors.

The 5 areas that a new CPO needs to address

#1 The Compelling Case for Change
The most significant area to address within the first 100 days is “The compelling case for change”. A company heading for bankruptcy is typically motivated to make the required changes that keep the receivers at bay, and in this situation the compelling case for better procurement is strong. In other organisations, however, especially if they are profitable, the need to do things differently needs to be made very clear to all of the stakeholders.

In a previous role where the compelling case was initially low, there was nodding agreement in front of the CEO, however, when the same senior managers went back to their own departments their activities were more motivated by “appearance of compliance” rather than to embrace the change. This was due in part to a view that they were profitable so “why bother” and a perception that this initiative may degrade their own particular “power base”. This was addressed by making clear the benefits for the business in terms of lost opportunity cost as well as ensuring that the whole programme was inclusive in its nature and that they could get improvements by operating in an inclusive way. Although the direct correlation of performance improvement on the back of enhanced procurement activity to their personal bonuses also helped!

#2 Competency
The second factor is “Competency” and relates to both the people involved in procurement and the competency of the organisation. Often companies talk about people being their most important asset, however, in the procurement environment, this is especially true. It is often the lost opportunity of not having the best people in the position that is the real cost to the organisation. Many people are busy, however, how many of them are busy adding real value? We call this competency “Drive and Determination”. We’ve all met people that get things done in the short term, whilst leaving a trail of destruction in terms of broken relationships and undermined trust. We clearly need to have people in place that demonstrate both Drive and Determination as well as “Influence and Communication” (the second of the defined competencies).
In total, the research has identified 10 competencies that are key to success in a procurement environment and assessing existing staff against a suitable skills, knowledge and competency framework is, therefore, a must for the new CPO. Knowing the capability of the team in a scientific way will lead on to better recruitment and development decisions being made. As it’s important to remember that at the end of the day it’s the team (not the CPO) who will deliver the results.

Stay tuned for Part 2 which will cover the remaining aspects of “Effective Strategy”, “Communication, Marketing and Data” and “Effective Governance” with Dr Paul Joesbury. You can contact Paul via Linkedin or at info@purchain.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 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!

The Leaky Bucket of Business

If you ask most honest companies they will probably tell you that organisations value revenue growth and sales departments more than savings and the procurement/purchasing. Procurement is seen as an administrative function responding to the needs and demands of other areas of the business. But shouldn’t procurement be more prominent?

Why?  First, let me go back to the basics of the value of cost reduction
Every Pound or Euro that you save through cost reduction is potentially much more valuable than sales because every sale is reduced by the costs. Those costs might be the materials costs, overheads or even the cost of the sales process (after all someone has to pay the sales guys their big bonuses!).

Remember, what remains after the sale is the net profit. For example, if you’re selling TV’s for £100 each and you have a 10% net profit margin, each television sold will produce £10 net profit for the company.

However, if you reduce the costs of producing the television by £50 per unit, then you will be making a £60 net profit on each television sold (£50 cost reduction + £10 initial profit margin). Meaning that without that cost reduction, in simplistic terms, your sales team will have to sell 6 times as many TV’s to get the same net profit.

The important aspect to consider is that the smaller your net profit margin, the greater the impact of cost reduction becomes. 

But how does this relate to ‘The Leaky Bucket of Business’?
Consider your businesses sales process as a bucket.  For every cost and expense, a different leak or hole appears within that bucket. The greater the costs, the more holes or leaks that you have in your bucket and therefore the less you will retain after filling up your bucket.

If your company decides to make a huge outlay on marketing, advertising and sales to increase the number of sales (in this case the level to which the bucket is filled to) you will still only be retaining what is left in your bucket.

Traditionally, departments other than sales and marketing have been marked out as ‘cost centers’; areas where cuts and internal savings can first be made, improvements should be limited to bounded capex and any additional pound of ongoing spend is a pound off the bottom line. This approach can work however it typically fails to recognise the value of internal investment. Wise opex focussed on improvements to processes and tools can pay dividends far greater than the investment. That might be in efficiency and speed improvements internally, i.e. ‘getting a bigger bucket’ or, our speciality at Market Dojo, reduction in external costs.

Every department is a profit centre if given the opportunity to be, and procurement is an oft-undervalued way to increase the profit margin without fighting for that next big sale. If your company decides to invest in procurement to reduce their costs and plug some of the leaks in your bucket, your company could be making more with less cost.

The average statistic to measure a procurement department is that it should return 8-12 times in savings to what it costs. If your procurement department isn’t performing to this level, it’s time to look hard, not at cutting their staff, but at improving their processes and tools in order to make the most of your ongoing spend.

Thus why it’s important to invest in your procurement team and their tools, ensuring that you’re not sacrificing sweat, tears and blood for the sake of a very leaky bucket and why (controversially) Procurement has more value than Sales.

For more information on how Market Dojo can help procurement professionals save time and money, get in touch or register for free with our range of on-demand eSourcing tools and find out for yourself!

Five minutes with award-winning consultancy Odesma

Before our inaugural Market Dojo Event on Thursday 6th April 2017, we caught up with presenter Nick Ford. Nick is an Executive Director of Odesma and has over 28 years experience within procurement and supply chain consulting.

What lesson stands out that you have learned in your career?
My biggest learning is that people in businesses often seem to lose a perspective on value for money. People need to treat company money like it is their own. Often they don’t, especially in bigger organisations. Having started my own business, Odesma, I can confirm I treat every penny like it is my own – gone are fancy hotels, high-cost technology solutions, expensive centrally located offices and the like.

What has been the biggest and proudest achievement in your procurement career?
Being involved in setting up Odesma, a successful on-demand Procurement consultancy based on the principles of the cloud (everything drawn from third parties; technology to independent contractors). In our business we have essentially outsourced everything, this has allowed us to start the business with very limited capital and very quickly grow it whilst servicing a range of multinational as well as national customers at competitively, whilst delivering very fast to a high-quality standard.

Which single tool or best practise technique would you implement into any organisation to save money?
Harnessing new or bleeding edge technology. The B2C world is heading towards convergence with B2B. Businesses continue to operate in the old World, whilst the new world now offers solutions on an on-demand call off basis with no tie in at low cost. Freeware / Open Source is prevalent, on demand solutions are readily available ie Google mail, CRM solutions at a fraction of the corporate cost with greater security.  New suppliers entering the market offer much stronger easy to use interfaces at a fraction of the current cost.

What are you looking forward to in the Market Dojo event?
I am looking forward to networking with other procurement professionals and meeting up with colleagues, old and new! In addition, it’s great to be able to present and support our partners, Market Dojo with their event.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about sport. I love to watch Port Vale F.C play when I get a chance as well as catching up on the horse racing.

What makes Odesma unique?
Our business advisory solutions are founded on experience, expertise and insight, providing mobile resources anywhere in the world. With 100 experience we focus on doing things fast and cost effectively to suit any organisation. Odesma’s flexibility allows us to mobilise our strategy

Click the following link if you want to find out more about the Market Dojo Event at Stonehouse Court Hotel. Nick Ford presented at the procurement event on the subject of “Using eSourcing to Transform Organisations into Procurement Leaders”

You can find more information about the full agenda for the event at www.marketdojo.com/event-2017
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!

Redefining BIG for Outcome-based Procurement

Kelly BarnerManaging Director of Buyers Meeting Point explains the ever-evolving role of procurement, how it has redefined the value of supplier relations and what it means to be BIG.

If procurement has learned anything from our evolution up to this point, it is that scale is often the enemy of strategy. When we give in to the pressure or the desire to take a transactional approach for the sake of covering more ground in less time, we sacrifice the ability to make optimal decisions that draw maximum value from our effort. It is simply impossible to be sprawling and agile at the same time.

In our efforts to become more strategic, we have learned to choose our projects wisely, to follow an approach tailored to the situation at hand, and to think through every step before we take it. When procurement presents our results to the leadership team, it is no longer enough to talk about straight numbers: savings, spend, transactions, and suppliers. Visionary executives want to be informed about relevant nuances: building knowledge transfer bridges internally and creating competitive advantage externally.

Under the old transactional procurement model, the person with the most spend under management or the highest savings percentage was considered the ‘big dog’ in the room. Being known as a tough negotiator used to be a badge of honor. Today, however, with value as a priority and relationships as a key success factor, it is not unusual for those people (and their results for that matter) to be eyed with skepticism. What did you have to say to the supplier to get that rate? How hard did you have to push your stakeholders to get them to standardize their specifications? And what will be the cost of these actions down the road? Will anyone end up happy?

Whether we’ve articulated it or not, most people instinctively know that you can’t max out on savings and spend under management and also form collaborative relationships that generate sustainable returns and innovation in the long term.

In order to accommodate this shift in perspective, procurement has altered the nature of our relationships. We have worked to ensure that standardized processes do not serve as a barrier to opportunity. Although consistency is critical, and frameworks are put in place to help procurement scale our impact, it must always be in-scope to consider an alternative or out-of-the-box approach when the circumstances are right.

If we are going to continue to advance the evolution already underway, the other thing procurement must ensure that is that we have a ‘proper fit’ relationship with our technology providers. When we evaluate suppliers for strategic partnerships, we compare the size of the fish to the depth of the pond. Do we want to be a big fish in a small pond (influential and dominant) or a small fish in a big pond (safe and overlooked)? The time has come for us to replace the relative size paradigm with one that more closely aligns with the objectives we are trying to achieve. Something other than size or volume should be allowed to set the expectations for procurement’s closest relationships – including our technology providers.

Speed
When you need assistance, time is of the essence. How fast can you expect a response and what level of familiarity do you expect the company to have with your situation? If the issue is not resolved immediately, will the same person remain with you throughout the process and ensure that you are satisfied in the end? Is the customer service you receive at this key time based on scale – anonymous and highly automated – or strategy – personalised and with a high level of ownership?

Culture
How would you describe the company culture where you work? Do you know what kind of a culture is in place at your technology provider? If they were to form a customer panel to collect and review requests for new functionality, what inputs would determine which companies were invited? Would the invitation process be based on scale – where only the largest companies are given voice – or strategy – where deep pockets are balanced with creativity and innovative applications of the technology?

Involvement
Let’s say you don’t have a technical issue, but just want to get a better understanding of the technology roadmap and maybe ask a question or two. Would you have any idea who to call? Do you know the name of anyone who works at your technology provider or do you have to work your way in through a massive switchboard? Are regular interactions based on scale – where only contracted support terms enable you to get access to someone who knows something – or strategy – where the long-term benefits of being accessible and forming relationships with customers are understood.

Part of the most striking evidence that outcome-based procurement has led to the need for a redesign of what it means to be BIG comes from the choices traditionally big companies are making vis-à-vis their technology partners. While big fish used to be forced to swim in big ponds, large, innovative companies are recognizing the advantages of partnering with strategic, agile firms. As they move away from a scale-driven approach to procurement, they recognize that the only way to stay true to a strategic mission is by working with a technology provider that operates hands-on and with the same drive to achieve their objectives as procurement has.

How can Market Dojo help?
Market Dojo offer the best of both worlds, being leading procurement technology providers while also remaining immersed in the day to day application of their technology by working closely with their clients. For years, we’ve been told ‘it’s not personal, it’s business’. In today’s collaborative environment we might say ‘it’s personal because it is important business’. Let them help by defining and delivering on your idea of BIG.

Interested in reading more? Read our case studies:

Alternatively click here to sign up for FREE today and use the Sandpit tool to run eSourcing events.

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 choose a Procurement Consultancy to help your business?

Ed Cross, Executive Director of leading procurement consultancy Odesmashares his thoughts on why companies should be choosing procurement consultancies to help their business.

The question of using consultants remains straight forward for some, whilst for others, it results in a ‘not over my dead body moment’. The reason for this reaction is possibly myriad, from it being an affront to the capability of the individual affected or their function through to it being seen as a threat, a worry that the consultants will deliver and questions will be asked why the manager couldn’t have delivered the same benefit previously themselves – a sign of weakness?

The Japanese view every problem as an opportunity, literally an unpolished gem to be cherished. Recognising that no one has all the answers, and that often there are experts (internally or externally) that can be deployed to bring additional value is a characteristic of a strong leader.

Using consultants is like using any expert on demand service (lawyers to plumbers), and should be used if they enhance value to the organisation well beyond their cost.
For procurement consultancy especially when it comes to category management it has to be one of the simplest decisions, an equation looking at the cost of the consultants (and any extra work in eternally) versus the return in terms of price and cost reduction from third party purchases. Expressed as ROI (return on investment) there are few activities that are as straightforward to quantify as procurement related. Compare that to the ROI calculation for implementing an ERP system!

But what are the benefits of using external procurement consultants:
1.    Category and Market Knowledge
A seasoned consultant will have deep and current experience of the category, having sourced it numerous times previously – they understand the nuances, the options and how it can work for your business
2.    Speed
With specialism comes pace, with focus comes more pace, most consultants do not have to worry too much about internal politics, placing orders, managing queries, they can, therefore, make it happen quickly. At Odesma we expect a sourcing programme to take weeks, and not months and years for this exact reason.
3.    Change Management Experience
The experience of working in different environments, and facing differing situations frequently creates a strong pedigree in knowing how to secure change effectively with stakeholders.
4.   Return on Investment
Clarity around the baseline for the previous cost structure, a clear outcome with a new commercial position and therefore clarity on the return achieved for the investment.

The argument around the use of consultants should be a simple one: focused on a clear ROI and whether it brings the organisation an advantage.


Ed Cross
Executive Director of Odesma
Email: contact@odesma.co.uk
Tel: +44 161 433 7833

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 spend prioritisation tools are a new CPOs best friend

Procurement people like to move around, and it’s not uncommon for a department to get a new CPO every 2-3 years. A new CPO has a large task ahead of them. Usually, their goal is to make savings in the department and provide better value for the company. Where do you start?

Business adviser analyzing financial figures denoting the progress in the work of the company

It’s a daunting task. If you’re lucky, you’ll have category managers who have done their spend analysis and will give you some data to start with. If you’re not, your first task is going to be asking your new team to go away and come back with an idea of where your current spend is.

How do you go from this spend analysis to working out which areas you should hit for maximum effect?

Traditionally you could go to each of your category managers and ask them to make a judgement call on where their largest areas of addressable spend are and how much of a percentage saving they feel like they can make.

This is fraught with risk, however. Those in the industry for a long time and many a procurement consultant will be able to tell you that large spends aren’t always addressable. There’s also the problem of personal interpretation – one of your category managers could be inherently pessimistic and only suggest a 1% saving when actually 5% is possible. A naturally optimistic category head may tell you that 10% savings can be made when you’re actually at the market price already.

Having a way to centralise and interpret this data in an unbiased way is incredibly important. That’s why we created Category Dojo to help new CPOs and Heads of Procurement find the low hanging fruit and quick wins to fill their spend pipeline when they join a new company.

Category Dojo looks at a multitude of factors such as how important you are to a particular supplier and how important they are to you. It looks at when you last tendered a particular product and how the market has moved since then. It will give you advice on what to hit first and what to avoid because you’re already in a strong position.

It makes your life as a new CPO much, much easier.

Try out Category Dojo – it might make your new job a lot easier
https://www.marketdojo.com/categorydojo/learn-more

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!

Santa suffering from a supply chain crisis!

Christmas can be stressful at the best of times, and this year has been somewhat worse than others for Santa Claus, having experienced some major issues in his supply chain. The latest news coming so shortly after the elf strike has lead to many believing that Christmas might even be cancelled!

“In recent years, children are putting toys like flying drones and games consoles on their Christmas wishlists. Me and Mrs Claus simply can’t cope! We were struggling even before the elves went on strike, but we simply got to a point where we didn’t know what to do!”

However, Santa need not have worried. Having a long-standing relationship withSourcing Solved (the experts in procurement recruitment and having close ties with the executive reindeer community) the team were brought in to solve some of Santa’s supply chain issues.

Having wasted no time in analysing Santa’s supply chain. Sourcing Solved admitted that changes needed to be made fast. New elves were brought in to decrease the dependency on those that were on strike with gnomes being promoted to oversee the production process.

Relocation of production facilities from the North Pole to China would have been a strong possibility were it not for Santa implementing Market Dojo to run a reverse auction finding suppliers to produce some of the Christmas Toys at market price.

Market Dojo co-founder Alun Rafique explained “Being aware that it wasn’t long until Christmas, we pitched to Santa knowing that through using our eAuction tool he could find and compare reliable suppliers whilst purchasing at market value.”
For now, it appears that Santa is back on track and even looks set to finish ahead of schedule. “I’m confident that no child will be disappointed this year, I have more time on my hands to address the long-standing elf situation, and reach a decision that works for everyone”.

Without the assistance of Sourcing Solved, we might never have had a Christmas this year!

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!

A Northerner’s Northern Narrative – Procurement Summit 2016

From Scarborough to Cheltenham to London, the Market Dojo team travelled from opposite ends of the UK to attend Manchester’s Procurement Summit. Here’s Peter’s story of the exciting trip.

Peter’s Story:

Monday Evening
As my family live in Scarborough and the Procurement Summit is held at the Midlands Hotel in Manchester, I decided I would visit the family over a long weekend and meet the rest of the team on Monday night at our arranged hotel. As the drive from our HQ in Cheltenham would be over 3 hours in morning traffic, we stayed at an Ibis Budget Hotel the night before. The keyword here is BUDGET. I met the team in the bar area of the hotel at around 10pm and we enjoyed a quick beer to discuss the logistics of the next day.

Tuesday Morning
After a lovely sleep that was only interrupted by the occasional siren, I headed down to meet the team at our arranged time. Afterwards, the team split up due to leaving it until the morning for some of us to iron our branded Market Dojo polo shirts.
Looking suave and fresh, myself, and Lewis headed down the hotel on foot. Although we were walking and left several minutes later than the team who drove the same journey. We arrived earlier. 1-0 to Team Ironed Shirts.

The Procurement Summit
Having arrived at the conference at 8:00am to prepare the stand ready for the delegates who would arrive at 9:00am for the first talk. Sponsors were treated and fueled by the lovely people at The Midlands Hotel. Having served up some coffee and bacon baps for everyone to enjoy.

Once our stand was fully erect and all four of us were set, we finally got the chance to take a look at the day’s agenda and decide which talks we would like to attend. Being a New Business Development Manager for Market Dojo, the talk that caught my eye was: “Procurement, the not so hard sell” by Jo Watson, Head of Procurement at Boohoo.
The talk was a great insight into how Jo grew the Procurement Team at Boohoo into one of the most influential departments in the business. It was a refreshing take on how procurement can assist in the growth of a company.

This year we invited Nick Ford to guest present with Nick Martin about the successful partnership between Market Dojo and Odesma with Aggreko. You can download the presentation here. The talk was a success with over 50 people attending and several approaching the stand after the talk to discuss in more detail.

As previous years, the calibre of delegates was very high. With job titles that included Head of Procurement, Procurement Director and Founding Director, the conversations we were having were with the exact people that Market Dojo is built for.

Before we left, we asked renowned Managing Director of Spend Matters Europe, Peter Smith, to draw the business card that would win a 1 month free Market Dojo licence. The winner was Andrea Clegg at Hermes, you can see the prize draw here.

The Afterparty
After a long day and after giving several product demos each, the Market Dojo team were treated to a Caribbean style dinner at Turtle Bay. For anyone who cares, I had curried goat with a coconut mocktail. After discussing the day’s events, it was then time to head to the cars and start our 2 ½ hour drive home.

A big thank you to everyone who came to our stand to chat. If you didn’t get a chance to attend the conference feel free to visit our website and sign up for free to learn more about what we do and find out how we could help 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!

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!

Bring About Change – Vote Market Dojo

Brexit, Trump, how did this happen?  The unexpectedness of it all caught everyone by surprise.  All the polls were wrong.  If we could put this down to a singular reason?  The most logical view would be the appetite for change – people want change.  Is that reason good enough? We will have to wait and see about Brexit and Trump, but we know that eSourcing is changing.

Many organisations traditionally focus on sales and procurement has been viewed as a sideline.  Companies are slowly waking up to the value that procurement can deliver from innovation through to stronger supplier relations and of course – savings.
However, change management is tough. New ERP and P2P systems are being designed and implemented that ultimately can help with the operational side of purchasing but what about strategic procurement? A key focus will have to be maintaining core information for the future with electronic onboarding tools, eRFx’s and negotiation using eAuctions. These are critical tools to give companies a leading edge in today’s global markets

Many of our customers already have procurement systems although chooseMarket Dojo from a desire to bring about the necessary change in how they retain information, communicate with suppliers and find savings.  Our tools have allowed our clients to adopt this change as they are intuitive and suppliers find them simple to use.

Examples of customers driving change with Market Dojo

Contact Market Dojo today to drive change quickly and easily.

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!

Recognition at the 2016 Contract Management Innovation Awards.

Contract Management partner ContractsWise Ltd, narrowly missed out on the top spot at the IACCM’s recent Americas Conference in San Diego.

The International Association for Contract and Commercial Management considered ContractsWise founder Noel Green for the Personal Initiative category of their 2016 Innovation Awards, as an individual “who has shown outstanding leadership or endeavour in delivering value and raising the profile of contract and commercial management.” Finishing as runner-up in a membership organisation that boasts 40,000 members and half of the world’s Fortune Global 500 companies, ContractsWise is punching well above its weight.

At the awards, Noel competed alongside companies including Shell, Telefonica and Nationwide Building Society. As well as having placed as runner-up in this prestigious competition, Noel and ContractsWise have also enjoyed success in having their software adopted by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

ContractsWise is certified to the international data security standard ISO27001 and has also been included in the UK Crown Commercial Services G-Cloud framework making its software easily accessible to the entire UK public sector.

Noel comments; “Missing out on first place is disappointing, but coming in second is a huge plus for a business of our size and gives our customers proof that they are working with a class leading product”.

In 2012, Noel Green recognised a market need to improve the commercial support available for contract managers and inexperienced contract management professionals.
Utilising his experience of the industry, Noel set out to design, produce and launch a suite of simple to use contract management software that was affordable for organisations of any shape or size. As an innovative first for the market, version 1 of the ECMS (Effective Contract Management System) was launched in December 2013, supported by expertise and funding from the University of Gloucestershire and the Innovation Voucher scheme.

After a successful launch, Noel responded to feedback from customers and developed a second product; ECAS (The Effective Contract Administration System). Offering a more simplistic version, this provides scalable contract administration functions without the performance and risk management, but with an easy upgrade path to the full functionality of ECMS.

Noel Green
Founder of ContractsWise
Twitter: @ContractsWise
LinkedIn: Noel Green
Google Plus: Noel Green
Website: www.contractswise.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!

5 ways leading CPO’s are looking to embrace procurement technology

Deloitte recently published their Global CPO Survey 2016, where over 300 leading procurement professionals from 33 countries were questioned on key issues. The full report can be found here.

This year there was a particular focus on emerging technologies in the procurement space and the value that they can provide to procurement functions.

We have identified 5 of their key findings.

We are very encouraged that CPO’s have identified the importance of technology in achieving their procurement goals. The thoughts captured above echo the very principles upon which Market Dojo was created; an intuitive cloud-based eSourcing solution with a strong focus on self-service leading to wide adoption and utilisation. Hopefully, this makes us well placed as CPO’s look to implement their vision for digital solutions.

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] Bruno Alvarez – Some thoughts on Direct Materials Sourcing

Bruno Alvarez is regarded in Latin America and the Americas as one of the Leading Contracting and Procurement Experts in the region. Bruno’s background comes from the Energy and Gas industry and working at global “Fortune 500” companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Duke Energy, ICI and Zeneca.

Indirect materials sourcing is simple in comparison to direct materials sourcing, or at the very least it’s simpler.

When considering direct materials sourcing, you need to remember just how different it is to the everyday sourcing of non-essential items. Direct materials sourcing can have had a major impact on the production process especially in terms of strategy.

Why?
This is because you will typically find that direct material sourcing falls into two groups, those items that are Bottlenecks and those that are Critical.

– Critical also known as Strategic includes items that have a high-profit impact in addition to a high supply risk. These types of products are typically purchased from a single supplier and if the supplier ceases to deliver, then it may halt the entire supply chain.

– Bottlenecks include items that have a low-profit impact and a high supply risk. Typically these types of products are essential for the production process, but can be difficult to obtain.

Simply put, direct materials tend to have a very high impact to a business. Often I find that they are the core of the business and fall into either being;

The main ingredient – The core material of a product
The differentiator – The Major Selling Point (MSP)
The market edge – The Unique Selling Point (USP)

Therefore when considering direct materials sourcing you need to consider how it may affect your production as a whole especially in the case of the long-term strategy and risks involved.

But what can you do?
In these situations you can aim to work closely with the vendors to improve relationships and develop partnerships, create a buffer stock or lower the complexity of the product. By doing this you can work to make the material more competitive to source and potentially broaden your supplier market. This may soften any issues that your sole vendor presents and bringing in a healthy competition to your incumbent supplier.

There are many other strategies that can also be used. However, the start for all of them is to identify what is a ‘Direct Material’ and understand that they should be treated or strategized as such. Awareness of your needs is the first step.

Bruno Alvarez
Procurement Professional – SS&PK
Email: bruno.alvarez@consultant.com
Website: Procurementstories.com
LinkedIn: Bruno Alvarez

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 Sept 2016 – A Brave New World

This years eWorld Procurement and Supply Summit was a first time for three members of our team. All of us armed with the prior experience of tradeshows but were surprised by the range of procurement innovations and technologies on show.

Having travelled down to the QEII Centre from our office in the south-west, we were able to enjoy a few of the sights of Central London in the very early hours of the morning as we walked across Westminster Bridge and past the likes of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

As we arrived it was a hive of activity with our business development managers getting ready for the day and early delegates arriving eager for the opportunity to discuss the very latest progress in procurement technology.

The day also gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the other exhibitors at the event such as our partners Per Angusta and Odesma.

We also had the time to ‘get involved’ with some others that we saw at the event, such as the team from Procurious who were running their social media clinic and some of the presentations that we going on throughout the day.

However the highlight of the day was the presentation from Nick Drewe of Market Dojo and Nick Ford of Odesma discussing the ‘Transforming Aggreko to Procurement Leaders’ (which will shortly be released on our resources page).

Once we got back, it was time to choose the winner of our eWorld competition and Adam Creme from Innovators International was the lucky individual to win a free month’s license of Market Dojo’s software.

A big thank you to Claire Boffey and all of her team at Revolution for the amazing event as well as everyone who took the time to attend and participate in the day.

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 Consultants Provide Value – Part 2

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 second part of a series on how consultants can add value, you can catch up on Part 1 here.

Recently we have seen a maturity within the industry for consultancies to offer a defined value proposition. Clients are typically looking to achieve cost savings whilst maintaining quality and consistency of their sought after products or services.

However, in situations such as the energy market, costs are typically increasing year on year, therefore the focus needs to be on cost avoidance and gaining a value from suppliers that are close to the true market value.

One aspect that benefits experienced consultancies is having an understanding of the market and the knowledge of areas where clients can save from their current expenditure. Understanding the bigger picture is key. Although suppliers might be facing increased costs and therefore raising the price of their given service or product. Without knowledge and analysis of the market, it may be unclear as to whether they are marking up the cost in an attempt to swell their own margin or that the increased value represents their increased costs.

Where consultancies work with a myriad of clients, they are not only able to benchmark costs based on what they have seen and achieved for other clients, they can also recommend scenarios to consider such as alternative specifications or cost structures.

A unique way in which consultancies can benefit in-house procurement teams is to offer alternative perspectives on their needs and processes. Consultants may have a broader knowledge of the industry, especially in situations such as a brand entering new or foreign markets. Examples of this could be suggestions of solutions that are different from their current suppliers or products needs. We assisted a client to switch to an alternative product (e.g. food and beverage companies switching to plastic rather than glass bottles), using suppliers outside of the typical vendor list or advice on legal obligations in a new market.

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] Five Takeaways from 20 years in Contracting and Procurement

Bruno Alvarez is regarded in Latin America and the Americas as one of the Leading Contracting and Procurement Experts in the region. Bruno’s background comes from the Energy and Gas industry and working at global “Fortune 500” companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Duke Energy, ICI and Zeneca.

Being a procurement professional for the past twenty years has been very interesting. Exciting in a sense that I have had the chance to negotiate a very wide set of goods and services. From small things like office supplies to complete power plants. From simple consumables to radioactive equipment which need a very complicated stewardship to import into Central America. Many of these experiences have left me with some takeaways, here are five of them.

1. No matter how beautiful the strategy is, don’t forget to measure the results
When there is a need to put ideas on the table we have ways to get that strategic cap on and produce beautiful, creative, inventive solutions. Which is great! But in my experience, the hard part is following up, implementing and measuring the solution. Perhaps it is because what comes after the strategy is not as glamorous or fun as developing the strategy itself, or that nobody likes to follow up. Yet if you neglect to do so, then you are doing nothing. Because how can you expect to have results, if you don’t track what you are doing? Going blind on a winding road is not the way to do contracting and procurement. Set up your KPI´s from the beginning, monitor closely, and, adjust when necessary.

2. Do your research before a negotiation
You might not believe it, but many many procurement professionals go into negotiations every day with very little knowledge of the terms, market trends, historical data, etc. Take time to prepare before going into any negotiation and when I say negotiation I mean in the broad sense of the word. Not just a one to one session, but in contracting any service or product. Before conducting RFX events or asking for a price quote, gather all the information you can get your hands on whatever you are going to acquire. Failing to do so is more harmful than anything else.

3. Create a collaborative relationship with stakeholders based on communication
When I do workshops on contracting and procurement best practice, I dedicate a whole chapter to communication. For a procurement professional, it is essential to make all information flow to the right level of stakeholders. Map out your stakeholder matrix and make sure everyone there, gets the right information timely and with no exceptions.

4. Develop relationships with your key vendors
There was a time back in the days that you would see your vendor on the opposite side of the table and treat them like an opponent. Old school negotiation practices taught how your “opponent” will or will not out-power you. It was all based on leveraging power. Now we have come to realise that vendors are allies. Obviously, this makes sense because vendors depend on your business and you depend on their product or service. The best procurement practice now proven and widely used is to get close to your vendor and work together in a relationship. Synergy is more powerful than leveraging on power amongst each other. Work on your vendor relations at all times.

5. Always ask for a discount
Being born in Guatemala, Central America. We learn to negotiate everything. Negotiation is basic for survival in Latin America. You can get fresh produce from the street markets and many other products from vendors that will price according to how much “they think” that you can afford. That being said, we learned the importance to ask for that last time additional discount on everything. To my amazement, there are times when vendors are withholding a little bit just in case, and because of that, you lose for not asking. On top of that, it’s good practice to test if you are actually getting the best price and believe me, this one is a good one to open to debate with your peers’ procurement professionals. Remember, just don’t forget to ask

Contracting and procurement is a function that requires a lot of communication, relationships, problem-solving and creative thinking. These five takeaways are examples of such skills that can easily be put into action. I hope that as procurement professionals you can relate to them and remember to use them when encountering such scenarios in your everyday work.

Bruno Alvarez
Procurement Professional – SS&PK
Email: bruno.alvarez@consultant.com
Website: Procurementstories.com
LinkedIn: Bruno Alvarez

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 Consultants Provide Value – Part 1

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.
Baker Wanless provides a wide range of Flexible Sourcing Solutions to their clients from different sectors that are looking to review, monitor and reduce costs around the globe.

Many large businesses use consultancies like ours to provide additional or specific resources to identify opportunities to reduce costs, find alternative suppliers to their incumbents or simply to accelerate the speed of their procurement projects.

In the last 3 years, we have helped our clients to buy the ‘same for less’ by addressing £384.7m of spend across goods and service contracts, identifying savings of £47.5m (12.35%) on spend. This is the power of eAuctions.

Our average return on investment ratio is 30:1 meaning on average for every £1 spent with us, we find £30 to give you back in savings. We also guarantee to save you money or you don’t pay us.

Why is it important to consider new suppliers?
“The wider you cast the net, the greater value that can be gained…”

New suppliers can provide a vital role in challenging the incumbent supplier. Often in our experience, clients will wish to remain with their current incumbent supplier. This is typically due to the evolved relationship between the companies and the potential cost of changing suppliers. However, by considering new suppliers and using a format such as a Ranked Reverse eAuction, you drive competition for the tender in a fair and transparent manner.

An eAuction also provides the ability to deliver price compression. Creating an environment in which all suppliers are inclined to offer their best value, this might be of particular importance if a single supplier is unable to facilitate the long-term demand.

One key feature that we encourage is ethical bidding, ensuring that suppliers offer values that are sustainable in the long term for their business. The importance of this can be highlighted in cases where thorough research hasn’t been done by the supplier prior to negotiations.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 where we discuss cost avoidance and diminishing returns.

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!

[Case Study] Kent County Council generate a 40% saving for their public sector needs through Market Dojo eAuction Platform

Katherine Clark is a Procurement Officer at Kent County Council. Her duties involve the strategic sourcing for the information technology needs of one of the largest county councils in the UK.

Tell me about yourself?
I’ve been working in the procurement team for Kent Council for the last few months, my role revolves around the IT needs for the council.

How do you use Market Dojo?
We use Market Dojo in our procurement departments for eAuctions and questionnaires to weight auctions. Typically we use it on tenders greater than £50,000 however we have auctioned for values of only a few thousand pounds.

What is your most notable success using Market Dojo?
My first eAuction involved comparing suppliers for an identification tracker system. Kent county council had been using an incumbent supplier for a number of years on the same contract terms but we wanted to discover the current market value and whether we could produce savings as a result.
We choose to conduct a Weighted Ranked eAuction, with 70% based on value and 30% based on the quality. The result was a huge success with our incumbent and preferred supplier offering a value that was 40% less than the previous price we had been paying.

We also received very positive feedback from the suppliers that took part in the eAuction, some of the suppliers mentioned that they found the system easy to use and were happy to have taken part and been considered in the eAuction.

How will Kent County Council continue to use Market Dojo?
Here at Kent County Council, we are always looking at ways we can use Market Dojo. The success we have had has changed the mentality of our procurement teams into a focus on generating greater savings turning us into a team that thinks “why should we not use Market Dojo, rather than why we should”.

Lastly, what is your favourite thing about Market Dojo?
We love just how easy it is to use. When I was first tasked with creating an eAuction I was quite daunted with having had no prior experience of conducting an auction or using an eSourcing software before. But after creating a few demo events using their Sandpit tool and the support from Market Dojo, I felt confident in my ability to use the software and produce great results.

You can read more about our work with 
Kent County Council 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!

[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!

[Guest Blog] eAuction in the cloud is heaven

Peter Schmidt’s latest article discusses the generic benefits of SAAS and what eAuctions in the cloud means to businesses.
‘Software as a Service’, commonly abbreviated to SAAS, carries a number of generic benefits. These benefits are particularly true for an application like an eAuction as delivered by Market Dojo.

Let us first have a look at some of the generic benefits of SAAS
The idea behind SAAS is that the software can be used as a utility. The financial model behind the SAAS solution should be tailored to the majority of the cases. This makes it a strong competitor to in-house ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, as in most cases the cost is based on licenses and excess functionality that comes with a higher price.

Once functionality becomes a pay per use utility, it makes it extremely interesting for experimenting as to how it will help to show the benefit to the business. In most cases you can test the functionality through demos, which are generally free for a period of time.

SAAS applications are often used without the permission of IT departments, IT departments can be apprehensive about the use of unknown SAAS applications. Commonly referred to as shadow IT. Therefore characteristics like data privacy, security and the location of data servers should be shared with the IT department to avoid the cloud casting a shadow over the IT people.

However as the carrier for SAAS application is the Internet, the presence is ubiquitous, which gives the customer the benefit of the world market.

The cloud addresses the world as a customer base, allowing users to learn from each other and their experiences by analysing the metadata, made available by the supplier. Individuals would be able use the metadata to glean how other users have established results through different tactics and strategies. An example of this would be deducing the most suitable auction type such as a Ranked Reverse Auction or Japanese Reverse Auction from the data produced by previous auctions.

At the same time this information can be used by the supplier to gain insight into how enhancements to the SAAS solution can be made, while at the same time listening to the user community.

The generic benefits of SAAS applied by Market Dojo
Why do I think that eAuction in the cloud is heaven? Because it is utility driven, eAuction’s are a process that usually takes place a number of times per annum. Making the business case is not rocket science. Simply the cost is known and therefore the likely savings, typically showing a very high return on investment. Also during the eAuction the savings can be seen in real time, which allows for an immediate assessment of the anticipated business case.

This part is clearly understood by Market Dojo in their pricing model which is transparent and tailored to the individuals intended use.

Market Dojo have created an experimental environment in a sandpit. Allowing users to practise creating an event prior to purchasing a license. It also shows users that the software is geared to the fundamentals of the most commonly known auction types.

Transparency in how the SAAS environment is built and how attention is given to the most common worries about Cloud Computing is clearly outlined in the language of the IT folks. White papers, guides and templates are all available as documents that can be downloaded from their site.

Market Dojo has also issued an infographic that shows the analysis of the number of eAuctions that have been carried out. This infographic shows a reflection of their experience in the field and can be used to determine the strategy for your next eAuction.

Although the software is an enabler for the entire eAuction process, it genuinely comes to life with the aid and the expertise of a procurement professional, who can create a structured process around eAuctions. Which in itself is crucial for success.

Peter is an independent consultant for P.Schmidt Consultancy Service B.V and has a long track record in sales, consultancy and procurement. He specialises in Telecoms, Managed Services and Public Cloud.


Peter Schmidt
Independent Consultant
Email: peter@pscbv.nl
Tel: + 31 6 217 124 72
@peterschmidt01

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!

Why Are School's Bad At Procurement?

Recently hundreds of schools across England were forcibly closed due to a teachers strike on Tuesday, in a long-running dispute with the government over “underfunding”.
Many schools have shut down completely or partially with teachers not showing up for lessons. ‘The National Union of Teachers’ (Britain’s largest teachers union) stated that “school budgets were not keeping pace with rising costs”.

However here at Market Dojo we believe that by implementing changes to their procurement department they could potentially recover savings that amount to the spending per pupil fall of 8% by 2020, as the analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies indicates.
Why? Because schools are fundamentally about educating children and not buying effectively. Typically their systems and processes in place are outdated, having seen little change to their buying behaviour in recent years. While in many small schools around the country they don’t even the resources of a single individual to manage their procurement.
Why Schools Find Procurement Challenging
Internal factors
Resources

Systems and processes

Strategy

External factors
Governmental influencers

Lack of aggregation of spend via Buying Clubs

Suppliers

What Can School’s do?
To conclude, although there are factors which English Schools can’t change. Schools still have the ability to make a number of changes to their procurement department which could potentially recover savings from their current expenditure. Aiding schools at a time where we might still see a potential decline in government spending on pupils.

To start with Schools can improve their procurement department by developing their internal resources such as hiring an individual procurement specialists that is responsible for all decisions to do with overall category spending. Hire procurement professionals to assist in the daily running’s of the procurement department and to specifically analyse current expenditure. Schools could also implement procurement systems which would allow them to better manage their contracts and assist in basic procurement functions. They would also need to organise a procurement strategy that is based on some form of return on investment and use school buying clubs to maximise the value of their expenditure.
It is acknowledged however there would be major obstacles to be overcome, such as calculating the value of expenditure in proportion to educational benefits. Definition of the new procurement processes, the costs involved with training for both existing as well as new staff to implement the new processes. Another issue would be the management of buying clubs, their management would need to be from an external individual who can collate and managing spend of multiple schools without favouring a particular view. This means that buying club agreements are selected to be suitable for all sizes and types of schools as well as agreed upon by each of the schools to ensure their fulfilment of the agreements.
Although the changes implemented will require investment at a time when schools have limited budgets. Here at Market Dojo we still believe that an 8% saving on expenditure by 2020 is a realistic target that can be achieved in the time frame and if teachers received greater support for their procurement needs, it could present a real benefit to those teachers and the education system as a whole in England.

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!

Stick or twist? The EU gamble

With the EU referendum taking place tonight, should procurement professionals expect a regulation reshuffle?

There are arguments both for and against Brexit, but will there be any significant differences in activities for procurement professional? Some have predicted large scale riots at September’s eWorld (just kidding) but the likeliness is that there will be no real impacts and we will all continue our happy lives as purchasers.

The current EU rules are rational, transparent and fair which aid in efficiency and enable SME’s to compete in public procurement. Therefore there is strong reason to believe that local authorities will continue to adopt these regulations.

If you’re a little undecided, here’s what the Team Dojo think:

Peter:
“As part of my Business Development role I can be asked to travel across Europe to host team training days. If we leave the EU, crossing borders will become much more time consuming and expensive.”

Lewis:
“An ‘out’ vote is likely to have little to no effect on the UK’s procurement regulations and the issue is highly unlikely to be pursued by policy makers in the immediate months afterwards.”

Nick:
“Even if the UK were to exit the EU, the EU Procurement Directives will likely remain in place due to a) if we wish to bid for EU opportunities then we’ll have to reciprocate, b) it would be a huge change management programme to amend the rules, c) it would be low down the pecking order as ultimately the rules are designed to achieve transparency and equality, no bad thing.”

Craig:
“From my point of view if we do choose to leave, then at the very least this will cause a small economic shock in the short term which would effect all British businesses. However all UK companies that export to the EU in the future could be damaged as European customers and consumers may view Britain’s action as destruction to the entire EU and refuse to buy British. ”

Anya:
“For our £200bn public sector spend it could mean a total restructuring of directives as we currently follow EU rules for procurement.Would we even bother changing? Pro-Brexit campaigners estimate a saving of £1.6bn a year in Procurement costs if we did.
We’d lose out on EU funding for public sector projects. And we’d lose our say on what happens with the money the EU spends. The EU was formed to build alliance post war. And it seems to be working so far! I don’t think we should try to fix something that isn’t broken!”

Nic:
“The European Union isn’t perfect, but it does seem like a sensible option in an era of increasing globalisation.”

Alun:
“If we really want change, it needs to come from within, irrelevant of whether we stay in the EU or not. Also with regards to migration, this will be an issue whether we are in or out. We can tackle it better from within. Not forgetting that migration is a net positive to the economy.”

So, based on our comments it looks like remain are going to win!

We would love to know your thoughts on the EU referendum – do you predict a change in procurement processes?.. What is your company doing?.. What measures are you taking?
Please comment below or contact us directly.
Peter Glass
Business Development Manager
t: +44 (0) 117 318 0579
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!

[Guest Blog] One Man’s Experience with eAuctions

Peter Schmidt writes a guest blog for Market Dojo on his past experience with eAuctions. Peter has a long track record in, sales, consultancy and procurement. He specialises in Telecoms, Managed Services and Public Cloud.

I was asked to write a guest blog for Market dojo and I immediately had to think about my past experience with eAuctions, the surprises and the interesting properties of the eAuction.
My first eAuction was at the supplier side, where I was a deal architect and gave directions as to feed the system while staying in close contact with our subcontractors during the eAuction.
What I found exciting during the eAuction was the enormous team spirit among the various disciplines to win the business and some business was indeed won. One thing that intrigued me during this event was that one of the subcontractors dropped his price for more than 50%, which apart from some laughter during the eAuction, made a couple of people wonder of how this was possible.

The downside of this auction was that the purchasing team at the beginning had not been clear about the rules of engagement, which gave rise to some problems during the awarding phase.
My last eAuction experience was as a procurement consultant, where the entire event was prepared with clear rules of engagement and time scales. Paramount was that after the eAuction, the business would be awarded straight away to the winning bidder. It was also emphasised during the process that price wouldn’t be the only determining factor.

The interesting thing about eAuction’s is that not only price can be auctioned but also something like flexibility. In this particular case the flexibility was expressed as a percentage of the amount of sites of a network that could be closed without incurring a penalty.

It was therefore decided to carry out two auctions, the first auction would give rise to the best percentage, which then would serve as one of the factors for the second eAuction that reflected the price performance ratio of the provided solution.

The surprise here was that one of the contenders offered 100%, which in my opinion showed the power of eAuction, as this figure would most unlikely have emerged from a negotiation cycle.

From the purchaser’s view it was exciting to see how the results came to us in real time, which was also conducive for a good team spirit around the management console as we could exactly see what was going on.

What I personally like about eAuction is that the process is clearly outlined, straightforward and transparent for all of the participants, because of the level playing field that needs to be created throughout the purchasing cycle.

It is not only interesting for the purchasers but also for the sales people, as they will exactly know when the deal will be awarded. They can also increase their chances during the process as long as they are actively participating and grasp a good understanding of what the requirement are.

Obviously an eAuction cannot be adopted for every negotiation, however if the strategic direction of the procurement professionals points into this direction, then it is worthwhile the effort.
To find out more about the services that Peter Schmidt provides, 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!

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!

Prepare to Pitch for New Business

We have been fortunate enough to be involved with a webinar produced by the Star Commercial Academy. As we have been in procurement, sales, and selling procurement solutions, we were able to offer our opinions on the topic at hand. The discussion was focused on sales presentations and what to look out for to enable success.

You can listen to the discussion here.

As part of the discussion, Market Dojo added their experience to 4 main questions.

Q: As recipients of countless pitches, what are the key things you go into a meeting wanting to be presented with?

Market Dojo:
Research, research, research
Time management and structure [courteous]
Understanding the company and problem
Asking relevant questions with feedback loop
Keep it simple (clean pres)
Flexible if things come up [projector fail…]
Engaging, Enthusiasm, Honesty, Empathy
…….However it will vary on the personality so you need to adapt.

Q: And if you had to rank the 3 things you wished everyone would include in a pitch, what would they be?
Market Dojo:
Strong company pedigree
Relevant personalised examples
No assumptions or premature elaboration

Q: Could you tell us about any distinctively brilliant pitches that stick in your mind?…..what was it that makes it so memorable?
Market Dojo: (Recent pitch by RC)
Arranged meeting promptly and flexible
Prepared [presentation, flyers]
Professional
Didn’t interrupt
Personal, focused on our needs

Q: Not every sales pitch is a winner. Thinking about pitches that have turned you ‘cold’ could you outline the types of things to avoid?
Market Dojo: (Recent pitch by an internet company)
Too many assumptions [We CAN help you rather than MIGHT help you]
Used amateur sales tactics [if you buy now…]
Deliberately obtuse, lied [World leading, turnover, Market Makers, renewal rates…]
Also they didn’t do what they promised they would do!

We had some great interaction with Ena Ryan from Progorex among others. Many thanks to the hosts and everyone else who presented.

STAR Commercial Academy is led by four directors who between them have both significant and relevant experience in customer management and commercial disciplines.

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!

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!

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 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

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.

Related image

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

All for one, innovation for none

Another public procurement price analysis article has made national headlines this week, found here on BBC News.

The Home Office conducted a study into police procurement trends across 20 common items including batons, uniforms and helmets.

I haven’t read the Home Office study in detail, but these kind of reports can err on the side of rudimentary:

Humberside bought police helmets for more than £43 each while most other forces acquired them for under £30.

This can indicate a savings potential and is undoubtedly a good place to start your evaluation for cost reduction opportunities.

However when you simply compare two purchase prices, rarely, if ever, does the analysis also delve into key contractual differences such as payment terms, rebates, catalogue pricing discounts, minimum order quantities, annual purchase volumes, inclusion of delivery costs, what delivery service levels, product warranties etc.

Then you have the question on whether the specifications are the same.  Perhaps Humberside has identified a more costly product that leads to a 20% better safety record from head injuries.  Might that not justify the additional cost?

There is a long perceived view that rationalisation and aggregation leads to cost reduction.  For example, in the same article Policing minister Mike Penning was quoted:

“For too long the police have approached the market in a fragmented way, buying equipment in small amounts and to varying specifications.

“It makes no sense for forces to buy separately when money can be saved if they act together.”

Bigger procurement is not always better procurement
Interestingly Spend Matters UK recently re-circulated an older post of theirs outling how bigger procurement is not always better procurement.  Please do have a read as it provides excellent insight that we won’t duplicate here.

What we’ve seen is that many of our clients run reverse auctions on aggregated volumes, rather than spot-purchases.  They are very successful in doing so.  That said, even very low value auctions of a few thousand pounds have lead to 30%+ savings, so bigger isn’t always better in our view too.

Large spend values attract large suppliers with the notion being procurement teams can exercise their leverage and use economies of scale to secure better pricing.

Lower spend values attract smaller suppliers and generally there are a lot more of them in the marketplace, which can equate to increased competition and better savings.

Perhaps the price differences seen with the police, assuming they are not associated with contractual or specification issues, are less to do with failure to aggregate demand and more to do with ineffective negotiations for their own requirements?

One step forward, two steps back
One adverse side-effect to bundling up contracts into an aggregated demand is that it diminishes competition.

Taking say £200m of spend that is today fragmented across many hundreds of suppliers and bundling it into a single contract prohibits SMEs from retaining business.  As a result some may perish whilst others downsize.  The large company that wins the contract swells significantly to cope with the demand whilst other large businesses (if there are any) stay as they are or also downsize from losing their portion of the fragmented spend.

Fast forward a year and the market only has one real candidate who can cater for the demand – the incumbent.  This becomes a very poor market to negotiate in.

And so the cycle continues whereby it is decided to fragment the contract into smaller packages to increase competition, except this time there isn’t as much liquidity.  So we’re back where we started except with worse market conditions.

Innovation triumphs over imitation 
As we’ve just noted, consolidated contracts diminish competition.  With less competition, there is less imperative to differentiate.  There will be fewer SMEs in the market and they are typically regarded as the key source of innovation with their agility and drive to increase market share.  Local police authorities will have their hands tied and won’t be able to engage with the SMEs and so those remaining will have little incentive to innovate.

Furthermore, the other suggested strategy in the BBC article was to standardise the products. This again reduces innovation, as the product spec. would be based on what already exists, not would could be.  Once that spec. is agreed, the market is closed out to new ideas.  This contradicts with the relatively recentreforms to the EU Procurement Directives.

So what should we do?  
We should be focusing on driving the market forward and negotiating effectively within that market.  A fragmented market can be your best friend, not your enemy.  Procure on best value, not just best price.  Don’t focus on Purchase Price Variance but on lifetime costs.  Improve through innovation.

We could go on but there’s a risk we’re sounding like a Baz Luhrmann song!
Hopefully we make ourselves clear but more importantly, what do you think about this suggested police procurement strategy?

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

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

The cross functional nature of marketing

A traditional view on marketing was to simply split it by indirect and direct marketing.  Indirect is where you are not going direct to a client and direct is where you are. Both are there to create leads. Sales would be the conversion of those leads to opportunities and hopefully sales.

However, increasingly we will see terms out there such as inbound marketing and search engine optimization.

Are these terms just re-badging of the traditional all encompassing models for specific areas.  For example, Inbound marketing is a mixture of picking off parts of indirect marketing (i.e. landing pages) and direct marketing (i.e. email automation). SEO is simply about improving your organic search.

So it might be useful to put together an all encompassing, collectively exhaustive table. It is also helpful to cross reference how the various techniques can help with your strategy.

Indirect marketing tactics can help with your overall game plan in one of four ways.  Three of these are related to how people find you: through paid ads, referrals or backlinks, organic search. The fourth one refers to how prospects interact with your website.

Each of the various Indirect tactics can affect your different strategic imperatives.  To give you some examples:

Social media and video can obviously help with your referrals from youtube. They can be used embedded in the paid ads or on your website.  Also as google analyses their website traffic, this will ultimately help with organic search.

Landing pages are great for specific adverts but can also help with specific content on your website and as above ultimately help with organic search.

Keyword density is really focused on assisting with organic search improvements and again with website conversion through appropriate content.

All in all it takes a hand in each of these tactics to improve your marketing strategies.  There is no magic bullet (unless you hit that viral masterpiece – good luck!)

We live in times where search engines are looking for good content that attracts and engages visitors, and keeps them on your site.  The strategies you focus on and the tactics you use need to be examined with constant care where quality is more important than quantity.

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

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

CIPS up in a brewery

On Thursday 16 April Market Dojo attended CIPS Bristol event at Butcombe Brewery. I had not attended a CIPS Bristol event before, but was in the area and my colleague, Nick, had organised our attendance.

The journey from Market Dojo HQ to Butcombe Brewery took us along the M5, and then through some of the beautiful countryside around Bristol.

We arrived at 7pm for 30 minutes of networking before the tour. The room where we congregated had a long bar, and interesting information on the history of the brewery. Everyone in attendance was friendly and anticipating an interesting evening. After some procurement related chit chat the tour started!

The tour was lead by Martin Love and started with a 10 minute introduction in the bar. Martin was clearly  passionate about the brewery, and had a wealth knowledge about all aspects of the business. As a keen beer drinker, I found the talk fascinating. The talk covered history, business aspects and then moved on into the process of making beer. We then toured the brewery, following the steps in the process from the arrival of the hops, the importance of the water and how the barrels rotate through the supply chain.

Butcombe brewery do supply some beer to Tesco, and Martins explanation of the negotiation process and all the factors involved was particularly interesting to the procurement audience. Butcombe maintain a ratio so that they do not become too reliant on one customer and can retain a balance of power.

After the tour, we returned to the bar for an opportunity to sample the beer. As my colleagues were both driving, I did my best to maximise the amount of sampling that I did, encouraged by the team from the Brewery. This gave us another chance to chat to the other attendees and the team from the brewery.  I learnt some great facts about cider apples, and that Butcombe’s new Czech style Pilsner is preferred by the under 35’s, who have different taste buds to those of us who are not.

Far too soon, it was time for us to leave, and my chauffer for the evening to drive me home.
I would like to say a huge thanks to the team at the brewery for such a great tour, to Tom Casey and CIPS for organising it and to Nick and Alun for driving me to and from the brewery. I think that the idea of CIPS engaging with local business is a really great concept and would like to see it extended. I would also definitely recommend the brewery tour (and the beer)!

In the bar, tasting the Pilsner!

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

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

Does Lord Sugar need a basic procurement course?

‘Negotiation is the DNA of business’ was Alan Sugar’s opening line in the boardroom following the negotiation task on 10th series of the Apprentice.

Always an interesting episode and this time proved no exception.  The crux of the task was that each of the teams have a day to source nine random items at the best prices across London.  The winning team will be the one who spends the least although the teams will be punished for failure to source or being late.

Essentially the hapless candidates traipse across the capital looking for items ranging from oud oil to kosher chicken.  You would think that they would be looking at a negotiation strategy involving MDO’s, LAA’s and BATNA’s.  Unfortunately the actual tactics seems to be a cross between charming the seller or begging for the goods at the lowest possible price.

The most provocative part of the task was the human skeleton.  This needed to be anatomical and full size. One team spent over £200 on a typical skeleton often seen in a biology class.  However the others ‘thought outside the box’ and bought a paper skeleton that can be constructed into a full size skeleton for 10% of the other team’s cost.

One might have thought that Lord Sugar would have given bonus points for thinking laterally. But alas not so.  No leeway was given for an exemplary case of unclear specification perhaps due to the idea arising from a lawyer, a profession that seems to be one of Lord Sugars pate hates!  And so the paper skeleton was firmly put into the closet and the team fined, resulting in their failure for the task.  However this wasn’t the only fine they received; the other being for the inability to cut a 1.7m piece of old rope down to 1m.  Giving more does not always put you in good stead!

Was this decision fair?  And in the end does it matter, as the customers decision is final?  The observations from this task are quite thought-provoking and you can draw parallels to a typical two-sided buyer-supplier negotiation. It pays for the buyer to specify what it is they are buying, otherwise comparing like-for-like is impossible.  This is especially important if you run a reverse auction to negotiate.

Also suppliers need to ensure they have interpreted the specification correctly to ascertain whether they can offer a better solution. Perhaps more importantly, as it is the buyer who has the final say, does it pay to take advantage of a loose specification?  What do you think?

{You can see our comprehensive guide on Face-to-Face negotiation strategyhere}

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

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.

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.

Spend Matters – Innovation Dojo – another new product from Market Dojo

PETER SMITH – January 16, 2014 12:05 AM

http://spendmatters.com/uk/innovation-dojo-another-new-product-market-dojo/

We featured Market Dojo and their new ‘Category Dojo’ product earlier this week. Their other recent new tool is ‘Innovation Dojo’.  This originally came from a client request for a tool that could help them capture innovative ideas from suppliers. This is a hot topic, with every SRM survey or report talking about ‘innovation’ as one of the key objectives of SRM programmes – even if often organisations don’t seem to know quite what they mean by the expression!

Innovation Dojo is a cloud based collaboration platform for buyers and suppliers to share ideas. The buyer can create a topic – perhaps “innovative packaging ideas” for a particular product. A deadline can be defined, and buyers can choose a simple or complex scorecard, which define different factors against which the ideas will be assessed. (A future development will be to allow users to enter their own evaluation criteria). Suppliers can then be invited via the platform to submit ideas on that topic. They can describe their ideas, add documents to their response, and suggest benefits.

The host (the buyer) gets a notification when ideas have been submitted, and can score against the criteria e.g. ease of implementation, likely time taken (there’s also a neat ‘slider’ scoring tool in the system). Once the ideas have been scored, there are a range of charting tools provided to enable the buyer to look at how ideas rate against each other.

There is also the option to allow suppliers to kick off the process – submitting whatever ideas they feel are worthwhile.  Ideas could then be widened out to the wider supply base, although of course the buyer would need to be cautious about intellectual property here. In all cases, the buyer controls which suppliers are able to access the tool, so you won’t get random ideas (although that might be interesting at times – perhaps there’s another idea!)

So one key benefit here is the ability to track and manage the ideas generation process. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do much of this manually, but then there is the issue of keeping track of which supplier has suggested what, who needs a response and so on. This tool systemises that process – it is basically a collaborative process management tool. As such, it is not the most advanced or ‘bleeding edge’ technology we’ve ever seen. But it is a neat solution to a problem, (or more accurately, an opportunity), that many organisations and procurement practitioners have – how to drive more innovation from their suppliers.

Like Category Dojo, the pricing model starts with a ‘Freemium’ plan with some basic functionality to create innovation topics – but not share them with suppliers. Then a single user licence with the full functionality is £300 per month, with a sliding reducing scale rapidly as you buy more licences. Like their other products, it is competitive positioning from a cost point of view and encourages users to try the product. It should not require months of work on a major business case to justify the investment, and as such it looks attractive for organisations to at least give it a try.

So Innovation Dojo should meet a need for many potential users, we suspect, with a strong combination of low cost and ease of use. And we’ll be interested to come back in a few months and see if we can talk to some users to establish if it is really making a difference to their innovation capture from the market.

Spend Matters – Category Dojo – a new product from Market Dojo

PETER SMITH – January 13, 2014 7:31 AM

http://spendmatters.com/uk/category-dojo-new-product-market-dojo/

If all the surveys and predictions are correct, topics such as supplier relationship management, capturing supplier  innovation, and collaboration are set to be priorities for procurement through 2014. But we also know that the tools  available to support this sort of activity are not as well developed as ( for instance) those available in the areas of sourcing or purchase to pay.
So when we saw Market Dojo at the eWorld event in the Autumn promoting a new product called Innovation Dojo, we were interested and (eventually) caught up with Nick Drewe and Alun Rafique, founders of the firm, for a chat and a look at what they’ve been up to.

Market Dojo is now four years old, and has grown steadily, doubling in each of the last couple of years – it’s still largely the three founders plus a range of outsourced support (developers, admin and marketing support) but revenues should be over £500K in 2014. Their basic premise remains to provide easy to use, cloud-based sourcing and related tools, priced very competitively. Auctions is the area where Market Dojo is principally known, but their sourcing product is more than that, covering RFIs, RFQs, tendering and similar options.

As well as the original Market  Dojo (sourcing) product, the firm has recently launched two new products –  Innovation Dojo and Category Dojo. We’ll cover Category Dojo today, and come back to Innovation Dojo tomorrow.

Category Dojo was only launched in December, funded in part by the firm’s second grant from the Technology Strategy Board, but there are already a handful of ‘presold’  live users (generally users of the core product), covering major private sector firms and the public (housing) sector. It’s what we might define as a ‘expert system’ tool. It enables a category manager, or a procurement executive who has responsibility for a number of categories, to develop overall category prioritisation and plan, and suggests appropriate sourcing routes for each category.  As far as we know, it is the first SaaS tool of its type available (certainly in the UK).

So the user creates a portfolio of spend that defines the area to be considered (which might be the organisation’s total spend or a subset). The scope is then defined by the user in terms of individual categories or sub-categories, with spend levels, whether EU rules apply (public sector), currency and other key questions.  The user also responds to questions at category level, such as establishing long it is since the category was last addressed, number of incumbents,  market competition etc.

Algorithms within the platform then calculate the likely savings per category, and an assessment of the complexity / difficulty of addressing it. The platform also suggests which route might be most appropriate in terms of auction, RFQ, RFI (if the category is not mature enough for a direct competitive approach), or more public sector focused options where relevant such as competitive dialogue. Various charts and graphs can be produced, such as ‘bubble charts’ showing spend or savings potential versus complexity of category.

The tool is not positioned as the answer to all your category management problems – it is fairly limited in the sense that it is not an end to end, take you through the seven steps of CatMan tool, for instance. And the output depends to a large extent on the data entered, of course. But for users at a relatively early stage of introducing category management, it would be a very useful tool for starting to prioritise and consider approaches within the overall category programme.

And the cost makes it even more attractive. Market Dojo are following a ‘freemium’ model, so you can actually do some analysis free, then a single user licence is just £1,000 a year (with a sliding scale for more users, so £400 a user for 10 licences, for example).  So there’s a real encouragement to give it a try.

And we’ll be back with more on Innovation Dojo later this week.

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.

Our Press Release (A bit late!!)

Market Dojo celebrates their 1 year birthday!
Market Dojo, an innovative Bristol-based software company, recently celebrated their first year in business.  The company, incorporated on the 2nd August 2010, is looking to soon become global with potential clients in Greece, Peru, US and Germany.

Co-founder Alun Rafique reflected, “It has been a fantastic year in which we have learned a lot and come a long way.  We’ve been very surprised by the level of interest that we have seen, not just from the small-to-medium sized companies but also from the larger enterprises.”

Market Dojo offers easy to use, professional e-sourcing software to help businesses save time and money on their purchases. The key benefits of their software include increased efficiency, centralisation of information, repeatability, transparency and auditability of the sourcing process.

To date Market Dojo has helped their clients average savings of approximately 30% from e-auctions alone, as well as bringing major efficiency improvements for all involved.  The more standard Request for Quotation activities have seen similar results, which is all the more significant given each client averages 15 new sourcing activities a month.
Even more impressively, their clients have generated an average return on investment with Market Dojo of little over 2 weeks!

Alun Rafique looks forward to the next year with huge enthusiasm, “We have laid a great foundation for the future.  We have established the business and proven the benefits of our product, so it is now a case of expanding the sales and marketing activities to bring the benefits to many more companies.”

About Market Dojo:

We offer Business to Business e-Sourcing software [RFQ’s and Auctions] to help companies save time and money when negotiating for their goods and services.
Our guiding philosophy has been to develop cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) suited for the in-house professional.

It is designed around three core ideas:

Our software costs just £1,000 per sourcing event or £5,000 for a single-user annual licence to run as many sourcing events as you wish.

For more information please refer to www.marketdojo.com
Key contact: Co-founder Alun Rafique, 0117 230 9200, alun.rafique@marketdojo.com.

Can you use bonuses in procurement to increase the use of e-Auctions?

e-Auctions are a great tool to save money quickly and efficiently if used correctly. However, there always seems to be a barrier to increasing their uptake with many procurement departments. Can bonuses linked to savings encourage their use?

Let’s start off with touching briefly on a more fundamental question, are bonuses for procurement staff the best way to motivate the team? Well, most procurement departments don’t have a Royal Wedding to boost morale and encourage drive, if that is what the wedding did for the UK (comments welcome!), so what else can achieve this?

From working at Rolls-Royce many moons ago, it was stated that a 1% saving in procurement gave a 10% increase in profits. From simple analysis you can see the power of procurement. If you make something for £10 and sell it for £11, you make a £1 profit. If you then make it for £9.9 and still sell for £11 then you make a £1.1 profit, a 10% increase for a 1% saving.

Obviously this is an over-simplification but the basic premise holds. In other words, the procurement people are in effect also sales people. During one project of ours looking at purchasing of yoghurt pots for a dairy, a £40,000 saving meant that they effectively needed to sell a million fewer yogurts to make the same return. In these difficult times when sales are tough, it is easy to see why procurement is so high on the agenda. So this brings us to the question, should procurement staff be more driven by bonuses like sales people?

The buyer’s role could be split into 4 areas: strategic, operational, customer-focused (internal) and supplier-focused. For the purposes of this article, we will consider just strategic and operational buyers. Strategic buyers would be those more focused in a central procurement team, for example, who are looking at aggregation of contracts, new product introduction and innovation in the supply chain. The operational role would be more focused on the day-to-day procurement from a preferred pool of suppliers. The strategic role may place more emphasis on savings, albeit sometimes difficult to measure, yet it is quite clear that both the strategic and operational roles would also need to be focused on many other factors. These other factors could include delivery, quality and lead-time, all of which can be measured and have been done so successfully by companies such as Rolls Royce as part of overall performance.

The question is do you always get what you measure? Bonuses attributed to all the aforementioned measures may lead the buyer to be too focused on these attributes and less focused on the relationships. However, you could say the same of the sales force. Salespeople have bonuses and the best sales people do not ignore relationships, as they understand that whilst relationships might have no immediate impact on bonuses, they will in the longer term.

For procurement staff on bonus systems, there will always be those who go for the quick hit and those who go for the more long term strategy. For sales people though, it is easier to give them clear bounds for a negotiation and maximum level of discounts. For a buyer this is much more difficult and if a buyer drives the savings to get a better bonus, they could create real harm for the company, which is why other factors need to be included to avoid this potential pitfall. There is the further difficulty that if you base the bonus on many factors you also need to measure these, which makes the task even more complex.

One example we came across a while ago of getting what you measure was one very large aerospace company that was measuring the number of e-auctions run per annum, rather than the quality or cumulative returns from the auctions. The result was that e-auctions were being run on toilet paper and lawn mowing services for head office just so the numbers could be maintained!

So, what is the alternative? My recent discussion with a procurement and operational director of a customer of ours drove me to think about this. At Market Dojo we make e-Auctions much more accessible to the procurement field. There are many challenges to their uptake but through our professional, easy to use software and approach we can mitigate many of these, although some always remain such as whether or not the suppliers will actively take part, for example. E-Auctions can yield large savings and so are very important as a negotiation tool. Yet how do we increase their uptake and are bonuses the key?

Many procurement managers feel that bonuses go against the profession, as generating savings are just one of many roles. Bonuses might be useful but only as a small factor. From a few discussions with people in the field, there is another solution. It actually seems that the best way to increase the use of auctions is by integrating the systems and processes together. By this we mean the kind of integration where it is easier to use the systems to obtain the results than not using them, so the lazy way of procurement is also the best way. Creating systems that people aren’t forced to use but that people want to use to make their life easier and to guide them through the best methodology is the key. See our article on gamification for more on this.

So we would say small bonuses are ok, linked to many other factors, but in the end make the easy way for procuring items also the best way and the savings will appear without the need to complicate matters with hard-to-measure bonus systems. In other words, integration of e-Auction software to the processes and ease of use will do more for their uptake than bonuses. Savings targets will still be essential though to measure success and offer a target to aim for. If you are going to include a bonus, do try to link them to the whole team’s performance which will encourage sharing and assistance amongst the organisation.

How else could you increase the use of e-Auctions?
The discussion above specifically focuses on increasing the use of e-Auctions via bonuses and savings targets but what are the other ways to motivate procurement professionals to carry out more e-Auctions?

Many people may ask, is this a good thing? At Market Dojo we would obviously say yes, but this isn’t from the desire to just sell more software (honestly!). Auctions are simply vehicles to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ just like a car. When cars were invented, there was much opposition as they were seen as dangerous. This did not stop car becoming more popular, but the risks were mitigated but putting rules in place to ensure they were driven safely. Now we have many more vehicles on the roads, and yes, some are still driven badly (middle lane hogging!) but on the whole, the benefits have outweighed the disadvantages. We see a similar view point to auctions. Their use can be dramatically increased, with great benefits as long as rules and guides are in place and they are used appropriately.

In many cases the success of the auction, is not just down to the software but a combination of factors.

The comment in the previous discussion is still one of the most important – make the software easy, professional and part of the process and their uptake will increase. But how else can we make the process easier. To answer this we need to look at some of the steps in the process and the challenges they face.

Gathering data can be one of the most painful parts of starting this exercise. Unfortunately there is little we can do here but maybe it is something that your organisation can look at internally. Making the data accessible and in a common understandable format can really help with the analysis and preparation for an auction.
Picking the category and creating documentation such as RFQs are the next hurdles which can be overcome easily through guides and templates. E-Auctions on the whole can reduce a procurement cycle but the preparation time is generally longer as e-Auctions encourage and need tight specifications. There is no wriggle room during an auction. Offering guides and templates for picking the category and creating the documentation will make the process more accessible. At Market Dojo we are very familiar with all these issues and we have encapsulated all our knowledge on this in our guides which can be found on our website.

Our guides on finding suppliers can help with this part of the process but it is still hard leg-work and your organisation can help. Keeping databases up to date with approved suppliers will make this process much easier. Making an auction a success is heavily depends on the liquidity; you need to have capable participants willing to engage with you.

Finally support is the cornerstone to bring this all together. Easy to use software, with guides and templates can make e-Auctions more accessible but there is still the human factor. Good support from people who have done these activities before will be able to help in many ways. Obviously they can point them in the right direction, offer advice but most importantly they can act as a sounding board against fears such as those around participation. This support should also come from senior management giving their approval for the processes to help bring all the stakeholders on-board.

At Market Dojo we try to remove the barriers to entry to make e-Auctions accessible to every member of the purchasing community. We make the software easy to use, provide guides and templates and we also provide the support to help overcome your fears. Your organisations can also help with the data, the supplier pools and senior management approval. Together we can make this work and bring e-Auctions to bear as an accessible tool in the procurement professional’s toolkit.

Why do salespeople have bonuses?
The initial topic led to a random discussion in the local about why salespeople have large bonuses compared to other functions such as HR or IT? In the end, you could say why pay them bonuses just to do their job.

A salesperson might say it’s because they work longer hours and spend much of the time on the road doing unsociable hours. Or they might say that they are of crucial importance to an organisation, that without them the organisation collapses, although many roles in the organisation could say this. It might be that salespeople require a certain set of skills which can command the bonuses and they are not easily replaceable? These are all true to an extent but why would a fixed salary and a dedicated person not end up with the same results?

The reason is evidently more complex and employs a combination of factors.
Firstly we should examine the bonus, is it really a bonus? A bonus should be paid on top of your salary but what happens for salespeople, in many cases, is that some of the salary is given up and replaced by a bonus system. If they do not perform they get a salary which is less than someone of their skills and position would expect, almost a negative bonus. Only if they perform well do they get a salary which is augmented by an actual bonus. This is speaking from personal experience being involved with three different software companies all on wildly different bonus schemes yet the common factor was that the base salary was less than many of my successful peers in functionally different roles.

Secondly the bonus is meant to be a motivator to put the long hours in, especially when it is close to the end of a Quarter, financial targets need to be hit for the city and the companies financial standing upon which decisions may be made can be affected. This also brings in a level of pressure which other roles might not encounter.

Thirdly, in some ways, it is to protect the company itself, simple financial common sense. A salespersons job is directly linked to the money they bring in, more than any other role. A company might employ someone to bring in £300k to the business and in return for a £50k bonus. If they were on a fixed salary and did not hit the targets, paying them the £50k can be easily equated to the negative impact on the company’s financial position i.e. instead of £-300k, it is -£350k.

You could also say that the types of people sales positions attract are motivated by money. You could say that bonuses indicate to sales people that their job is never done, there is always the potential for more. There are possibly many other reasons for bonuses but the principal ones have been captured here.

Research has also shown however that money is a poor motivator. A raise in salary apparently only motivates people for a few weeks. It can create a bad culture, only working hard for the bonus and losing visibility on other factors. Bonuses can lead to jealousy and group bonuses can also lead to resentment if some people are not seen to be pulling their weight.

Also bonus systems are horrendously complicated to get right for all. Do you split the bonus by products, industries, applications or geography? You are almost certain of having a conflict between sales people at some point. And how do you include the crucial group element which is so important so the UK salesperson for instance passes on the lead to the salesperson in the US.

Applying bonuses to every position in the organisation will lead to a bad culture and does not look very sensible. It does seem that bonuses are more suited for salespeople than other functions but is there another way?

There are many different forms of motivation. We have seen in some companies giving time off as a reward can be a real motivator, a half hour at a time, and this has worked very well. Or you could look into training days, prizes, public recognition or maybe just a better office environment. Would this be enough for a salesperson? It certainly could be if the right person is found but how many of these exist? Maybe it is time for a change but we suspect the working formula for many organisations and people will be the same for many years to come, is that such a bad thing?

Things to consider when creating an e-Cademy

For each purchasing department there are many benefits in creating a centre for best practice which centralises all the company methodology for procurement. As Market Dojo works in the e-procurement space, we thought it wise to offer some pointers on creating an e-procurement academy – hence e-Cademy! OK, not the most thrilling play on words but it will do for now.

Should you have an e-Cademy?

I think the answer is always yes but to what extent is the question. There are many ideas below you might want to consider. An e-Cademy would lend itself to a larger organisation but even if you are a one man band, centralising and organising your documentation will always be beneficial.

So what would you include in the e-Cademy?

We can see two principal areas: support and communication.

1. Support:

Support will be at the heart of any e-Cademy and could encompass several layers.

a) Training – Any e-Cademy would need to provide some sort of training. This falls into two sub-categories – processes and systems. There is always the question over whether you bespoke the systems to your processes or bespoke your processes to the systems. The latter enables you to use off the shelf systems but might require a change in the way you do things. Hopefully, if the system has been designed by professionals then this should not be a major process change, and as with the case with our software, we would also think can be quite beneficial. Our software guides you through the best practice process for RFQs and online negotiation thus allowing for one training course which easily combines the processes with the system to guide you through the best methodology.

Obviously you will end up with the same result if you bespoke the software but the downfall with this approach is maintenance of a system which deviates from the norm. It also assumes that the processes you bespoke the system to are indeed best practice.

b) Documentation and Reports – Any good e-Cademy should have templates, guides and reports. Templates will enable an easy uptake for the commonalised procurement activities and will ensure continuity and compliance. Guides should be available to be used for reference in case the new graduates (Graduate – our name for those who have passed through the e-Cademy) get stuck along the way. Finally a good reporting system needs to be put in place. This is not just referring to a summary report from the activity which can be sent to stakeholders but one that also leaves an auditable trail as well as covering areas such as implementation. These can also be used in the e-Cademies communication on the results achieved by the graduates and the central procurement team activities.

c) Mentoring or shadowing – e-Procurement can be quite a daunting task for those new to it. We can easily relate to the fear of running your first auction; will the suppliers bid? Will my incumbent engage with the process? Have I put everything in my documentation? The fear is justified. However this fear can be allayed by good training and continued support. We find this is best given in the form of mentoring or shadowing for each graduates first foray into these activities. For example it is worth checking their documentation, liquidity and how they have set up the auction activity to keep the education moving in the right direction. This will also help with confidence and knowledge transfer.

d) Support line – Any graduate from the e-Cademy has the capability to add substantial benefit to the organisation. The ROI from activities such as auctions can be within months, if not weeks, and part of the e-Cademies remit should be acting as a support line to all the graduates from the scheme, who are out in far flung parts of the organisation.

2. Communication

Communication from the e-Cademy will be invaluable. How else will people know about it? How will the board of directors know what benefits it brings? No-one else will be blowing your own trumpet so you need to self-proclaim. This communication can also help with encouraging involvement from all parts of the organisation and to avoid surprise when you mention an auction on the more strategic items. There are many ways to carry out this activity so we will start with the easiest:

a) Newsletters – This or a simple e-mail to the procurement staff and key people in the organisation can be a great benefit. Our two top tips here are 1) keep it simple and 2) not too often, once a month would be more than enough and if it is a newsletter, once a quarter. It is also wise to send out a summary e-mail after each e-auction activity to the relevant stakeholders.

b) Web Page – This is a much more involved activity and requires a close link to the IT department with maybe a bribe of a bacon sarnie or two. Basically create an internal webpage for people to go to and see what’s going on. You could also use this page to centralise resources and documentation, although this may be better placed somewhere on the intranet. This creates an easy place to update everyone on your activities without the need to continually send out e-mails, especially if you are able to update the content yourself.

c) Internal conferences / seminars – Many people will be interested in these new e-Procurement activities. The majority may not work in procurement but may easily be affected by your activities; in other words your internal stakeholders. Internal events provide a platform for communication and knowledge transfer that will not only help promote the status of the e-Procurement activities but also encourage involvement and awareness. You could also use these events to encourage innovation in the process to ensure it fits within the organisation and continually improves.

d) Awards – For graduates of the e-Cademy, certificates should be awarded and communicated. This will help give the e-Cademy a certain professionalism and status and will also encourage pride in the graduates. This can also be rolled into professional development plans.

At Market Dojo we have sometimes drawn the parallel to cars. Auctions are just vehicles to get from A to B. Obviously there can be drawbacks as with any vehicle but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. The way that cars get around the disadvantages is to make sure all drivers have a licence. Could you have an e-Auction licence? You could even give ‘drivers’ points for bad practice!

Also if you are lucky enough to be part of a large organisation with many teams, maybe you could create inter-team competitions to encourage success and give you another reason to hand out some trophies at the end of the year!

This just about sums up our thoughts here. Please feel free to add more via the comments and highlight any experiences (good and bad) that you have had with ventures such as these. One other thing I missed off the list is don’t forget to celebrate success with a trip to the local.

Footnote: Interestingly the name Academy traces back to Plato’s school of philosophy, founded 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and skill. Over the course of history it has been used to describe all types of institution from renaissance academies to independent state schools. It is about time we brought it into the world of e-procurement.

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