Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Why choose a Procurement Consultancy to help your business?

Ed Cross, Executive Director of leading procurement consultancy Odesma shares 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
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!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Simplify, enhance and economise - Legal eProcurement

In a recent article featured in the January 2017 edition of The OathKhaled Shivji, Head of Legal at Aggreko explains how he has used Market Dojo to successfully appoint a legal panel.

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The article highlights how using an eProcurement system can pay dividends for General Counsel who want to appoint a legal panel. Khaled ran the tender through the Market Dojo tool to select a regional panel, based on very strict bidding rules. By limiting the volume of information submitted by bidders, he enhanced and simplified the process.

The success of the event has delivered savings for the client, in addition to freeing up the time of the General Counsel to focus on more urgent, high-value tasks.

To read the full article online, visit The Oath 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!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Spend Matters - The A-Z of Reverse Auctions

We are delighted to have our recent article on the A-Z of Reverse Auctions published on Spend Management blog, Spend Matters
The article highlights our A-Z complication of categories that have been eAuctioned through our Market Dojo platform, including the average savings of the reverse auctions, in hope that it might provide encouragement to others!

Here is a snippet of what you can expect within the article:

Automotive parts have seen an average saving of 32.5% across items like bus batteries, bulbs, doors, mirrors and windscreens.

Bedding has been auctioned on our platform 7 times, with an average saving of 33%.

Construction works is by far the most popular category in the ‘C’s with over 500 auctions run through our tool, with great success too - average savings are 16%.

Digital Media brings us into the contentious area of Marketing. However, with an average saving of 26%, it has salvaged many a departmental budget crisis.

Energy is a very popular category with a 7% average saving and one we see great opportunity for an “eMarketplace”, equipped with standardised templates and pre-approved vendors to make this auction category accessible to all.

To read the full article, visit the Spend Matters website 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!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Stop saying auctions are too price focused

‘Auctions are too price focused’ is something I hear pretty much every day as part of my role as the outbound marketing executive here at Market Dojo. For me, it’s the equivalent of telling the cashier at Tesco that something must be free if it didn’t scan. It’s infuriatingly untrue.

Yes, of course, the aim of a reverse auction is to reduce the price of something. It’s a negotiation tool akin to paper, over the phone or email. In most tender events, you only negotiate on price when you’ve identified someone that can supply the product or service you need in a way that is amenable to you. Saying that auctions are too price focused is basically the same as saying ‘negotiation is just about reducing the amount of money you spend’. 

Of course, there are things you need to take into account when running a reverse auction as a negotiation tool. Many companies are now concerned about the quality of the goods they buy, and rightly so. If you have different suppliers offering different versions of a product but would still like them both to compete on price - you can weight your auction. 

Weighting is essentially scoring quality and other criteria based on pre-considered elements and then applying this to be part of the overall auction ranking.

Imagine this: Company A and Company B have similar products. Company A’s product is higher quality, and thus got a score of 85% in their quality score by the buyer. Company B is only at a 75% quality score. This means that if you weighed an auction rank by 10% to include quality, Company B would have to beat the Company A’s price by more than 1% to become rank 1, to take into account their lower quality score. 

That is just one of the few ways that you can ensure quality in a reverse auction. The other way is much simpler - Only invite to auction those suppliers who can supply at the quality you require.

Auctions are for when you’ve done the hard part - they just make the negotiation part of procurement much easier. If you have a situation where you have 3 bids on the table and are looking to buy from any of the three, and it’s time to negotiate on price, then there is no reason not to use an auction.

I’m aware that I have a bias because I help people to run eAuctions. That also means I’m around them every day and see what a useful tool they can be. But that’s also why you make me cry when you tell me the auctions are just about price….

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, 23 December 2016

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?

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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

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 December 2016

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 with Sourcing 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!

Monday, 5 December 2016

[New Release] The biggest, brightest and best of our new features...

It has been a little while since we released updates to Market Dojo, but that doesn’t mean the engineering team have been resting. In fact, they have been very busy working on new features and customer requested tweaks. Here is a run-down.
Lot templates for advanced lots

To complement the Questionnaire template feature we released earlier in the year, we have now added a Lot template feature as well. Lot templates allow administrators to setup best-practice templates that can quickly be added to a sourcing event. By creating a library of lot templates, companies using advanced lots can make their users more productive.

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Users can quickly create advanced lots from templates.

Re-invite participants

We have improved the re-invite participants feature, to improve traceability of the invite process. This means that the Host is copied on any re-invite emails, in the case that a participant has not received the original.

When re-sending invites, the host is copied on the message.

Bulk download documents

Once an event has completed, you may wish to download all the documentation for the winning participants, or even for everyone who took part. This can now be accomplished with a single click, making it very easy to share the results with stakeholders or record the agreement in other systems.

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Export questionnaire for participants

Over the course of 2016, we have made many improvements to our questionnaire engine, adding new question types, better support for editing, performance improvements, and much more. As a result, our customers are running more questionnaires on Market Dojo, and those questionnaires are more detailed. It is often necessary for our participants to collaborate with colleagues to provide the answers. They also need a record of what answers were given, which they can share. To make this easier, we have added a way of exporting the questionnaire into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet contains details of the question; the expected answer format; and the answer if it has been provided. This will help make the process of answering questionnaires easier and more efficient for participants.

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More field types for Advanced Lots

In addition to text and price fields, we have added a number field, date field and picklist field types to advanced lots. This is something our customers have requested, and it will help anyone who wants to restrict the type of answers that participants can provide. This is particularly beneficial if you are running a lot of similar events, and want to ensure data consistency for reporting purposes.

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Award Lots - notify awarded participant

Once an auction or RFQ has been completed, it is necessary to record who won and notify them. This step often includes further evaluation and review before a final decision is made. However, some of our customers are running many events every day and wanted a more streamlined way of completing the process. For those people, we have added an extra step to our award lots dialogue. This means that once an event is completed, the decision can be recorded and the winner(s) informed in less than a minute. Here is how it works.

Supplier onboarding - Configurable timescales

One of the benefits of using SIM Dojo to onboard your suppliers is that the system will automatically track and remind suppliers, scorers and administrators of the deadlines. In the latest release, we have added the ability to customise the durations associated with each deadline.

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Configuring the deadlines associated with a SIM Event.
If you have any ideas regarding features that you would like to see, please email your suggestions to

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!