Monday, 26 September 2016

10 Contract Management Questions That You Need To Be Asking

Market Dojo is pleased to welcome a guest post from Noel Green.
Noel is the Founder of ContractsWise, the innovative cloud-based contract management and administrative software provider that supports contract improvement and risk mitigation. 


Having worked in the contract management sector for the last decade, here are my 10 Contract Management questions that not only need to be asked but are critical in ensuring that contract managers are optimising their performance of contracted services. 

For full disclosure, this list is by no means a comprehensive list, but just questions that I believe are integral to the success of anyone attempting to manage their key contracts.

1. Do you have clarity on the objectives of the contract? - All too often there is a lack of understanding on what the contract is meant to be delivering. Do key stakeholders understand the aim and expectation of the contract and has this been effectively communicated with the supplier?

2. Are you giving the supplier an excuse for not performing? - Does the supplier need additional information or support from your organisation to deliver on the contract?

3. Are you making full use of the supplier's expertise? - Suppliers are typically chosen not only for their ability to deliver goods in an effective manner but also due to their experience and knowledge in a particular field. Are you giving your supplier the opportunity to offer their ideas and thought on how you can work more effectively together?

4. Is it both you and your supplier’s ambition to build a strong, respective working relationship? - If your idea of a relationship with your supplier is one of cooperation and collaboration, but your supplier is characterised by confrontation and animosity. Can the relationship be mended or should the supplier be re-evaluated in consideration with their view of the relationship as non-strategic?

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5. Do you understand the risks associated with the contract and is action being taken to mitigate or avoid these risks? - Do you regularly review the risks of the contract with stakeholders? They may be in a position to identify new risks at an early stage and implement risk mitigation actions.

6. Do you know what the stakeholders think of the contracts performance? - Often stakeholders within different departments may have differing views on how a contract is performing. Try to understand all of the stakeholder’s views, whether they are pulling their hair out or delighted by its performance.

7. Is the performance of the supplier being monitored? - Performance reports from all of the stakeholders and maintaining a record of the contract can be used to provide information on the overall contract performance.


8. Are the most important contracts being managed? - Typically contract management resources are scarce therefore it is integral to put the most effort into contracts that are critical to your organisation as a whole.

9. Do senior managers acknowledge and review contract performance? - The most important contracts will have a significant impact on your organisation, therefore if they are successful is this being recognised? If they are performing badly are the senior management reviewing and aware of the associated risks?

10. Is contract information being efficiently organised and retrievable whilst being safely stored? - Contract administration and management can become much more efficient if everyone is aware of where the contract documentation is being stored and retrievable by those who have the authority to do so.


Noel Green
Founder of ContractsWise
Twitter: @ContractsWise
LinkedIn: Noel Green
Google Plus: Noel Green


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!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

[New Release] Answering for your participants and quick identifiers

We have added some new features to Market Dojo, based on feedback from our users. We believe these will make our products more useful and our customers more productive.



Answer questionnaires on behalf of your participants

Hosts can now answer questionnaires for their participants. This is something our customers have requested, because, from time to time, they want to involve participants who are unable to complete the questionnaire themselves. This complements our existing proxy bid feature and means that you could potentially run an entire weighted event without any of your participants logging on to Market Dojo. To make sure everything remains fair and above board, participants will be alerted when an answer is submitted on their behalf. Questionnaires in both Market Dojo and SIM Dojo benefit from this feature.

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Unique IDs

Some of our customers run a large number of very similar events. This leads to a challenge when identifying which event is being discussed after the auction has completed. A common solution is to assign each event a unique ID. Then, when referring to the event, everyone can use the ID rather than a combination of product names, codes and dates. The unique ID will be displayed prominently to Host and Participants across Market Dojo. Because some people have their own ID conventions, it is necessary to turn this feature on in ‘Display Settings’.
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Questionnaire Progress Bars

One of the major additions is the inclusion of questionnaire progress bars. Some questionnaires that we have seen include over 100 hundred questions. Such as document uploads, text as well as numerical values. To assist suppliers, we have included a progress bar that informers participants of how many answers they have completed.
Other changes

We have made many smaller tweaks and fixes to make the product work more smoothly for all our customers.

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!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

[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. 

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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
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!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Supply Management Awards 2016 - congrats to Odesma!

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

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

However....


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

A huge proportion of the success was of course down to the incredible team of experts that were rapidly assembled to deliver the project, a few of which were able to make it on the night to join comedian Ed Byrne on the stage.  

Ed Byrne was pretty good actually, making some oft-heard jibes at us Procurement folk for cost cutting such as not turning the Air Con on for the enormous room that held over 1000 of us.  He also called out the Heathrow Airport table for wanting to expand into the neighbouring tables! 

Anyhow, back to the celebration:

(the plastic object in the middle is the award, not a bottle of Vodka!)

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

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

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


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

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

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

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

[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.

“Bringing value to our customers through better sourcing”

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!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Market Dojo is more responsive than ever!

For those who haven’t already seen it, over the weekend we launched our revamped website with the latest responsive design to fit all screen sizes and devices. A bit late to the party, granted, though our previous site was only launched in 2012 and worked across all devices anyway.  However, technology moves at an astonishing rate, so a revamp was overdue.

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We have approached the design as an ‘evolution, not revolution’, to coin a phrase from Tim Cook at Apple, though we have plenty of ideas up our sleeves for later.

The main idea behind the new website was to showcase our clients’ successes. Success stories are what motivate us and push us and the impact of procurement further.  

We also recognise that we are a small brand helping global corporations achieve market-leading results, and so let’s promote those results instead of just talking about ourselves - real facts, not sales gibberish!  

Furthermore, the previous site struggled to keep up with the pace of our product development, as we now market 4 distinct products for procurement teams.

Market Dojo - Our easy-to-use eSourcing tool
Category Dojo - Our in-depth category planning tool
Innovation Dojo - Our supplier collaboration and innovation tool
SIM Dojo - Our centralised supplier onboarding tool

Each of our product pages includes the products benefits, features, pricing, and modus operandi. Hence we tidied up the menu to help visitors quickly find what they need:


We’re still pretty unique in the market for letting anyone see our pricing model, particularly our latest tool for supplier on-boarding and information management, but that’s only because we stand by the commoditisation of this market and of SaaS technology as a whole. It’s also really not very difficult for us to explain how we can help, so we’ve simplified that too:


Anyhow, really hope everyone enjoys the new site and please do give us your feedback.  

In the meantime we’ll continue working on the revamp of the software interface to make that fully responsive as well, so watch this space!  

(Ok, here’s a little preview!)

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Click here to visit our revamped website!

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

Thursday, 1 September 2016

[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.

How the industry has developed

“Cost avoidance should have the same value as cost savings”

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.

“How consultancies can benefit in-house procurement teams”

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!