Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Development of Spend Data Analysis

Eddie McGeachie offered to write a guest blog for Market Dojo. Eddie is the co-founder of Seaforth Analytical Services. They are data analytics specialists providing spend analysis on big data. Eddie’s background comes from years working at Lenovo, Xchanging, IBM and his experience with numerous blue chip companies.


Big Data Analysis - Past, Present and Future

Big data analysis is soon to be a revolutionary step in transforming the digital world. We will soon be able to interpret, analyse and understand large volumes of data in real-time. With the latest developments in advanced text mining, we can now analyse half a million characters in less than two minutes. This allows us for an almost immediate in-depth spend category analysis, which in the past may have required months of work on behalf of a procurement professional to analyse.

My early involvement with spend analysis started over 10 years ago, when I was working at Lenovo, we discussed the possibilities of using spend analysis and the future role of supply chain analytics in the company. Our initial work became the focal point of using Spend Analytics within the company, leading to immediate changes that led to Lenovo becoming a Gartner Supply Chain Top 25.

Spend Analysis - The Present

Currently, spend analysis is focusing on indirect spend (the purchase of goods or services that are not directly incorporated into the manufacture of a product) as typically this would be the area for the greatest potential for savings. 

This reason for this is that indirect spend is frequently made up of a large number of small transactions across numerous suppliers and because indirect goods and services tend to be more commoditised than their direct spend counterparts. Price tends to be a key differentiator for indirect spend. Whilst quality is typically the key differentiator between suppliers with direct spend. 


Big data analysis has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, we now have the ability to easily identify and categorise large volumes of indirect spending. This analysis can now be used to search through commodities which are stable and are unstable. By comparing this data on a large scale, you can understand where a company might be buying at prices that are significantly greater than the market value. With further analysis, it can depict trends of indirect spending, typically highlighting costly maverick spending (purchases that are made outside of agreed contracts) and other potential opportunities for savings. 

For more information go to www.myseaforth.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!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

New Release - April 2017

After our responsive design update a couple of weeks ago, we had a chance to go back and collect up a number of smaller changes that have been waiting in the wings. Here are the latest features and enhancements added to the software as requested by customers. 

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Supplier Onboarding - SIM Dojo

Disable notification when approving supplier

In SIM Dojo, participants are automatically notified when a decision is made that affects their status. However, for some customers this decision may be an internal only workflow change.  To prevent participants receiving confusing messages we have added an option to disable the automatic notification.

Hosts can choose not to notify the participant

Remove from groups when approving participants

When re-approving an existing participant, you may wish to change the groups they are associated with. Previously this had to be done from the admin section. Now you can change the participant groups by unticking the groups when approving participants in the individual participant section.

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Assigning participants to supplier groups
Email updates to scorers

Subject lines reference the participants company name instead of their name, which is easier for scorers to recognise, especially if they are dealing with a large number of participants.

Live chat support in SIM Dojo

One of our most popular support channels, especially for participants, is live chat. This is now immediately accessible by clicking the button that appears on every page of SIM Dojo. 

Questionnaires

Questionnaires are used in both Market Dojo and SIM Dojo.

Auto-accept participants

We have changed the default option for ‘auto-accept participants’ to be Yes.
This is usually the right choice and makes for a much better user experience, especially for new users.

Visual feedback on whether questionnaires are complete

It can be hard for participants to keep track of which questionnaires they have submitted, and which are still outstanding. We have added visual feedback on the tabs to show which are finished.
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Participants can easily see which questionnaires are finished

Empty sections in questionnaires

Empty sections in questionnaires can be used to give additional information which doesn’t directly relate to a specific section.

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A questionnaire including a section with no questions
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, 5 April 2017

Responsive Design for Market Dojo

Market Dojo has now rolled out the responsive design for our flagship product, Market Dojo. This is designed to be optimised visually across all computer, smartphone and small tablet devices to maximise the user experience and interface.

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Screenshot of the new responsive design for a multi-lined RFQ
You can now use the responsive design for Market Dojo through our platform by logging in at https://secure.marketdojo.com.

Alternatively, you can revert to the old design by going to https://previous.marketdojo.com. Any events created or actions made within the tool on either the responsive design or the old design will be consistent within the platforms.

Screenshot of the existing design for a multi-lined auction

In a short time, the site hosting the existing design will be removed and www.marketdojo.com will only run through the fully implemented responsive design. The responsive design has been built and designed in-house to ensure the consistency of the platform but with a refreshed visual design.

Key features of the Responsive Design
    • Data is consistent with that used on the live platform
    • Optimised for all mobile and smartphone devices
    • Improved reading experience
    • Enhanced auction analysis
    • Easy-to-use design

If you wish to continue to use our existing design, just login at https://previous.marketdojo.com and the data will be consistent with that of the tool in the responsive design platform. This functionality will only be available for a limited period of time and if you wish for more information contact us at support@marketdojo.com. 

A key focus of the responsive design is giving users a better experience of the tool, offering users the ability to take onboard more information than ever before.

Nicholas Martin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder of Market Dojo said:

"As the use of mobile devices and tablets continue to grow rapidly, so does the range of devices and screen sizes on which people are using our tools. Our new responsive design allows users to reach critical content faster with a refreshed design that adapts to their device. 

"It is only thanks to our fantastically dedicated team and incredible clients that we have been able to do this. We will be eternally grateful for all of those who have given us their continual support and look very much forward to rolling this out to become the live platform."

For more information, contact us at support@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!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Five minutes with award-winning consultancy Odesma

With the inaugural Market Dojo Event upcoming on Thursday 6th April, 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

If you want to find out more, register for the inaugural Market Dojo Event on Thursday 6th April at Stonehouse Court Hotel. Nick Ford will be presenting at the procurement event on the subject of “Using eSourcing to Transform Organisations into Procurement Leaders”

You can find more information at 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!

Friday, 31 March 2017

[Guest Blog] Lessons learned from my experience using Market Dojo eAuction software

Jon Brinsmead has been buying goods and services for clients for over 20 years,  working with the likes of Unilever and Transport for London whilst providing training in commercial management for the same period of time. 

Jon shares his thoughts on his years of experience using Market Dojo to teach IT managers about deal making and eAuctions.


Running a reverse auction

As a seller or buyer - when you decide to run an eAuction for the first time a few things are worth thinking about and taking time over to get the best outcome. As a buyer it’s good to undertake the same preparations that the seller will do – so you can get into the minds of your sellers.

      • Preparation – Like most things in life, it’s all about the preparation. You need to design your bid strategy ahead of executing it. Like DJ’s you need 2 decks to run an eAuction well. 

Deck 1 - Your bid control form

This is where you put in your bid prices and set out your strategy for each round, based on what you plan to happen. Here you should work (in advance) through all of the different scenarios and strategies, planning on what could happen during the auction – giving you the ability to adapt and react to what the other sellers are doing. I usually run this in Excel but whichever software you are most comfortable using is best. 

Deck 2 - Your Market Dojo screen

This is where you will be putting in your selling prices and watching what is happening with the auction in real time.


      • The technical side – make sure your IT is working and solid, internet connections must be good and reliable and it’s no bad thing to ensure you are logged in ahead of time.

      • Market Dojo has a sandbox feature where you can practice an auction ahead of using it in anger – this is a really useful feature and worth taking any staff who are planning to be involved in auctions through. You may need to arrange for user IDs from Market Dojo to be able to use this.

If you’re interested in commercial training, contact Jon at Jon@Brinsmead.co.uk

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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Five minutes with Executive Search specialist Iain Mckenna

With the Market Dojo Event around the corner, we caught up with presenter Iain McKennaIain is the Managing Director of Sourcing Solved and will be presenting “The Human Condition: Finding The Talent To Match The Technology” at our event on Thursday 6th April.


What do you think is the secret to success in business?

Good social skills are probably the most important thing; if you can’t build strong relationships with people then you’re not going anywhere. Take the time to listen to others; remember we have two ears for a reason!

What lesson stands out that you have learned in your career?

I’ve learned the importance of taking time to really know your client. Executive search is not a one size fits all process, and every project must be viewed with a fresh pair of eyes.

What has been the biggest and proudest achievement in your career?

Setting up Sourcing Solved has been a huge challenge and has taught me so many valuable lessons. To have grown so much in seven years and have such a great team of people to support me is something I’m very proud, and thankful, for.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?

Believe in yourself; you are always only one decision away from changing your life!

What are you looking forward to in the Market Dojo event?

Meeting like-minded people who are really trying to make a difference in the procurement community, and in-person! As is common when interacting on LinkedIn, there are quite a few people who I’ve connected with but have never actually met, so I’m looking forward to finally putting faces to names.

What are you passionate about?

Fitness, it's good for the soul. Over the last year I’ve been taking time to focus on improving my fitness, and the path to developing that physical and mental discipline is hugely challenging but equally rewarding. I have huge respect for people who take part in endurance events such as marathons and triathlons; the strength of character that it takes to succeed is not to be undervalued.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career? And how have they helped shape you?

Undoubtedly my mother, who always told me to pull my socks up and get on with it! Though I may not have appreciated it at the time, this attitude has carried me through a lot.


If you want to find out more, register for the inaugural Market Dojo Event on Thursday 6th April at Stonehouse Court Hotel. Iain McKenna will be presenting at the procurement event on the subject of “The Human Condition: Finding The Talent To Match The Technology”

You can find more information and 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!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Learn to be frugal by eSourcing like Google!

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

You can find the survey here if you have some thoughts. And so it was fortuitous timing that we stumbled across a public interview with the team behind Google’s Global Sourcing Centre of Excellence.

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Image via "Are Google’s Financial Maneuvers Worth a Starbucks?" Wall Street Journal 

The interview explored Google’s eAuction experience and how they drive adoption to achieve excellent results, with an average rate reduction of 17% being very similar to the 16% that we’ve seen on average through Market Dojo.
They also see an additional 4% saving when RFPs are progressed to eAuction, as well as greatly reduced cycle times. Interestingly Google uses their own intuitive G Suite tools for their general eRFX. We use G Suite extensively in our business so we can see how that could work, with neat features for online collaboration, unlimited cloud storage and a slick survey tool.
Image via "Quint adopts Google G Suite platform" Consultancy.ac
However similarly you could use G Suite as a CRM tool or an Accounting tool, but you’d potentially lack that best-of-breed application. eAuctions, on the other hand, are much more challenging to replicate using email and online spreadsheets and so Google relies on third-party software. To date, they have run over 900 eAuctions, yet that has covered only 20% of the total third-party expenditure. Their own objective is to eAuction at least 80% of the expenditure.

Therefore one of their highest priorities is to fuel further adoption, given that a mandate is not the Google way. Their approach is to use the carrot rather than the stick using some of these key approaches;
    • Templates are used to minimise the barriers to setting up the auctions.
    • After every auction, the team surveys the stakeholders to gather their feedback for improvements.
    • Individuals who run the auctions are rewarded and recognised for their work.
    • New recruits are brought in who are already proponents of eAuctions.
    • Executive level sponsorship is in place through close involvement of the CIO.
    • Other senior stakeholders are invited to watch the auctions to witness their benefits.

When a contract is awarded without concluding with an auction, the team follows up as to why that was. Perhaps the supply market was monopolistic or perhaps the stakeholder was vehemently against the idea. Either way, this closed loop feedback helps the team learn for next time.
Pivotal to it all is the eSourcing Centre of Excellence, as we’ve seen many times before. The Centre ensures continual process improvement, shared learning and promotion of eAuctions throughout the business, providing dedicated resources for doing so. Their work involves changing the minds and attitudes of the business to run eAuctions by helping to run them, freeing up the buyers to focus more on stakeholder relations. One of our initial clients took a similar approach to this, with their COO storming into procurement meetings asking the team, “Don’t tell me why you can’t do it {eAuction}, tell me how you would do it”. This change in mindset provoked the stakeholders into constructively thinking how the eAuction could be run: quickly presenting a solution when previously there wa a deadlock.


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

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

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


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