Friday, 21 December 2012

Into the Sandpit - head first...

If Baskin-Robbins made bucket-and-spades by tawalker, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License Photo courtesey of  tawalker
Samurai, our latest release, includes several great new features.  The one that gets me most excited is the addition of a Sandpit area, where we invite you to come and experiment with Market Dojo.

Everyone likes the option to try something before they buy it.  It helps you feel secure and confident in your purchasing decision. It just makes sense!


A key part of our philosophy is transparency, and we already deliver this in other areas (e.g. pricing).  So, we wanted to expand that to show everyone what our product can do, before they reach for their credit card.

For those lovely people that have already made the leap to become fully fledged customers, the Sandpit now offers the valuable opportunity to test different strategies before running an event, and to keep these tests separate to the results of real negotiations.

The Sandpit is a great asset for both these groups.  It’s available to all our users, it’s really easy to get started using our intuitive user interface and we offer helpful guides providing additional advice.  We’ve even made a video to show how it works!

Once you have your feet in the Sandpit, you can test all the features available in a regular event, including RFQ, Questionnaires, different negotiation strategies, and reporting.  You can quickly switch between acting as a Host and acting as a Participant (so you see exactly what your suppliers would see).

So, if you wondered what Market Dojo is all about, but haven’t tried us yet, give our Sandpit a go.  It’s free to sign up, there is no obligation.  We’re really excited about it, and would love to know what you think.

Come on in and have a play!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Weighing up the options

The Fading Flower Markets of Delhi-41 by India Kangaroo, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  India Kangaroo
Many people’s picture of professional buyers is of  hard-nosed negotiators, focussed purely on cutting costs with absolute disregard for other factors. This is often reinforced by the media in stories such as the price UK supermarkets pay for milk.

Whilst this might have been be true, once upon a time...in some cases... we know that for most procurement professionals, things are getting more nuanced and more sophisticated solutions are required to manage this.  Asking ‘How much?’ is important, but often there are several other questions too.  Can a supplier deliver on the timescales and volumes required?  Do they adhere to our Corporate Social Responsibility policy?  Are they going to be here is a years time?  

For all these other questions, we have built our questionnaire module.  We looked carefully at the way organisations manage this process today, both using online tools and (more often) spreadsheet or Word documents.  Our solution is something that has the flexibility and ease of use to make it a realistic alternative to distributing questionnaires as office documents; whilst also giving the benefits of a centralised system, allowing the easy management and comparison of  responses.

Questionnaires can be used in a number of ways.  They can be used as  a gateway, to determine which suppliers are qualified to participate in a more detailed evaluation.  They can include scoring (both automatic and manual) to assess suppliers against more detailed criteria.  If necessary, several Questionnaires can be attached to a single event (for example, a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire; a mandatory Health & Safety review; and an Environmental check.)

In addition to using Questionnaires standalone, they can also be scored and used to weight the outcome of an RFQ or Auction.  This feature is really powerful.  It allows the assessment of Suppliers against both price and other non-price criteria, all summarised as a single overall score.  Suppliers can also be given visibility of their performance and ranking across both sets of criteria; meaning that they have the opportunity to understand how they are doing and improve their offer.   

We worked closely with customers and industry experts on the design of these features.  Weighting can be applied in different ways, depending on the way you are assessing your Suppliers.  We provide two different algorithms for calculating overall score based on price and questionnaire components.  We believe our solution gives the best balance between the price and other factors and is the fairest and most accurate solution on the market today.

For more detail, check our website,  get in touch or leave a comment below.  We would love to hear from you.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Real-time graphs in the Dojo

Another month goes by and we are again delighted to announce another new release of the Market Dojo software, featuring numerous updates such as:

- Extended 'Sealed Event' functionality - to allow more control over when documents are visible
- Improved date validation
- Different auction lengths including 72 hours!
- More user help in the application
- A number of smaller bug fixes

We also have live, interactive graphs that update the instant a new bid is placed.  The graphs from Highcharts not only look great but also have some neat features for zooming in, exporting, printing and allowing you to choose what will be displayed.  These very professional-looking graphs work on even more devices, such as tablets and smart phones.

Log into Market Dojo now and play in the sandpit to see the results, or just watch our video.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Market Dojo enhances solutions through HP partner program


We are really pleased to announce that we have joined the HP Alliance ONE partner program...

Market Dojo joined HP Alliance ONE partner program and have realised significant benefits. The AllianceONE program provides software vendors the tools and resources they need to more effectively address client needs. Market Dojo work with HP to deliver major upgrades to their platform, to conduct load testing and for locating suitable hosting providers for their cloud solution.

Announcement Overview:

  • Market Dojo, a new UK company, has focused on a paradigm shift in the procurement software market towards true SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions.
  • Market Dojo is the only sourcing software provider offering an easy to use, yet professional solution, which is openly priced and hosted entirely online.
  • The AllianceONE program enabled Market Dojo to performance test a major upgrade of their software to give an understanding of how much additional growth the current platform would support and to identify and resolve the bottlenecks. This was achieved through HP Labs and HP’s Load Runner software.
  • HP’s Alliances division has also helped Market Dojo find a suitable hosting partner, Liberata, who will enable the business to grow globally and into new sectors.
  • HP, whose acquisition of Autonomy signalled their desire for strong cloud-based solutions, see clear value in promoting new, high-growth potential SaaS providers in the marketplace and have partnered with Market Dojo with this intent.

Description of AllianceONE:

HP AllianceONE partner program offers a solid framework for collaboration by integrating servers, storage, networking, security, power & cooling and services. As a member of the AllianceONE program, Market Dojo can significantly extend market reach and improve selling success. Market Dojo can leverage HP AllianceONE solutions, tools and resources to help clients speed time to application deployment, optimize infrastructure capacity, reduce power consumption and free resources to focus on innovation that drives business growth.
Quotes from Market Dojo:

The Alliance One program has given Market Dojo access to significant support not normally available to a new UK SaaS business. It is fantastic that they have seen the potential of our innovative online solution to help with effective procurement in the private and public sector.” Alun Rafique, Co-Founder

We are also very happy that the ISV Alliances team have helped us locate Liberata who can address our hosting needs thus helping our clients wanting to deal with cloud solutions, but who still have concerns over security and data.” Nicholas Martin, Co-Founder

HP is unusual for a large multinational in that they proactively help SME’s and see the long term benefits. They have been invaluable in supporting our work, for example, by providing workshop rooms for our next innovative product partly funded by grant from the TSB (Technology Strategy Board).” Nick Drewe, Co-Founder

What solution does Market Dojo hope to enhance through AllianceONE:

Market Dojo decided to join the HP Alliance One program due to the unparalleled benefits offered to a new SaaS company seeking to grow in difficult economic conditions. It is also in these times that their innovative tool assisting procurement professionals to reduce their costs becomes of paramount importance and HPs assistance gives Market Dojo solid foundations from which to grow globally. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Team MD - The force behind the ‘samurai’ release


As Team GB were creating a success this summer smashing many records and providing one of the most impressive Olympic results in recent times for Great Britain, Team MD was also hard at it.

Now, we’re not saying we are as impressive as the Olympic team (not yet anyway!) but we do try to emulate the spirit.

We were awarded a grant from the Technology Strategy Board late last year to make e-Sourcing, amongst other things, more accessible to the Public Sector. As a small team, we soon realised that the way to make the most of it was through collaboration.

By working closely with many small partners, we achieved a certain synergy and created something worth far more than the sum of its parts. We want to share with you the team makeup and pay tribute to those who made our games a triumph, ultimately resulting in the release, nicknamed ‘Samurai’.

The ‘athletes’ -  working for victory:

‘Kolibria’ - Who says you can’t find designers and developers for a reasonable price in the UK? Not only did they do a great job, but as this boutique French consultancy operation could do the design and development, we had found a one stop shop (although not so sure if the Team GB’s thrashing of the French in the medal table made them any happier).

The ‘Coach’ - supporting the team:

The ‘Technology Strategy Board’ - otherwise known as the UK’s Innovation Agency, they were instrumental is listening to our ideas.  With matched funding, we had to work together.  The Technology Strategy Board steered us to completion through their organised management and assignment of a Monitoring Officer.

The ‘Olympic Torch’ - setting everything in motion:

Is it wrong to equate this to the Market Dojo team? We certainly started the process, created  and held the vision for the ‘games’, however I think only time will tell if we are a shining beacon to inspire a generation!

Whilst those above were the core components, there was a huge support crew help to make it happen.

The ‘volunteers’ - helping wherever needed:

We have often found many benefits from working with the academic community. Unfortunately, good students don’t just fall into your lap, you need to work at the relationships and you only get out what you put in.

‘The University of the West of England’ provided an MBA team to help define the market and profile the audience. We work closely with this local university and we also lecture there and even supply the occasional case study.

’Ecole Atlantic de Commerce’ sent us the very capable Hadrien Geffroy who assisted with the multi-cultural element, translated the website and through an affinity to the Rocky movies kept us motivated too. Now we have the software available in French as well as Greek, German and Russian.  We also look forward to several more students from this college joining us for a few months next Spring.

The Arts University College at Bournmouth’  provided the unique Sam Hallet whose interpretation helped us draw an innovative infographic of our product offering, incorporating our logo as an inspiration.

The ‘message’  - pointing us in the right direction:

‘Modern Media’, a skilled Bristol Marketing agency took the outputs from the UWE project and converted them to the right message for the audience to hopefully inspire a generation.  This is seen through the new website and targeted communication, why not have a look.

The ‘starters gun’ - an explosive beginning:

‘Hewlett Packard’ helped kick off the process by providing the premises for our customer and partner engagement workshops.  They are an exception in the market, showing that even a behemoth of a company can still support and help nurture SME‘s, focusing on the marathon rather than the sprint. Their benefits will come from the sale of hardware to their partners whose servers we reside. They also help us with load testing, ensuring our software can run at maximum efficiency.

The ‘track’ - underpinning the games:

‘Liberata’, an HP partner and another example of a firm who shares the vision in supporting up-and-coming technology companies.  They provide secure foundations and enhance our credibility.  Together with Liberata we not only have data assurance to IL3 but they also have their own innovative tools for the public sector such as Capacity Grid, which is a is a virtual shared service marketplace, through which local authorities can connect, collaborate and trade resources.


The ‘Sponsorship’  - gaining momentum:

'I’m with them productions', run by the impressive Lee Matthews, developed a marketing video series that grips a nation. See the first episode here on how companies can best save money (...or not!). Lee has had an illustrious career to date which also includes many horror films, such as the award winning Shrove Tuesday.

The ‘audience’ - supporting the games and judging success:

Where would any of us be without the public, quite literally in our case.  The public sector have been involved from the start as the inspiration, in providing the challenge, aiding us along the way and ultimately being the audience who will determine our success.  Why not visit us and let us know.  Our Sandpit allows you to try to all the e-Sourcing strategies you need, sign up for free and explore our solutions.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

On boarding suppliers for e-Sourcing

If you are facing a bit of resistance from some of your suppliers to e-Sourcing, here are some tips.   
Please also see our guide on ‘How to enrol participants’ from our resources page http://marketdojo.com/resource. It may not solve all your problems, but it might help.

You can do various things to mitigate supplier resistance and there is no right or wrong answer.

1. Make sure there is a clear directive from senior management and communication that this is how business will be awarded
2. Make sure there are no routes in the organisation that will countermand the process
3. Chat to all the suppliers first and dont just send an invite
4. To bring them on board maybe run an RFQ first just to get them used to e-Sourcing befor running an auction
5. If you are going to do an auction then you could run it on a buyers choice basis and say you will bring the top 3 suppliers in after an auction to talk about other areas apart from price. Or you could run a weighted event to take into account the other factors during the live event.
6. You could use the event as a way of consolidating business and so making it more attractive
7. On the first communication you should say why they are doing it...business directives etc...
8. You can also sell the benefits of an auction. Many suppliers find the first time tough however after the initial hurdle it becomes easier and it is more transparent than paper RFQ's.
9. If there is an incumbent supplier, you should stress the need to work together on this. If you have any issues with specs or otherwise then the other suppliers might be not bidding like for like and the incumbent will lose out.
10. You could also send your suppliers our guide on 'Psychology of Online Negotiation Events' and 'Myths of Online Negotiation Events'. If a supplier reads these guides which discuss the importance of communication, their attitude might change. (this is available in the resources section mentioned above).

Monday, 19 November 2012

A fantastic article about Market Dojo on Buyers Meeting Point

Buyers Meeting Point has written a great article about our new Samurai release. We were so pleased, here it is in full:

ENTER THE SAMURAI: ESOURCING MADE SIMPLE

In October 2010, Buyers Meeting Point received an email from Nick Drewe, the co-founder of a then new-to-market eAuction solution provider based in the U.K. He asked to have Market Dojo listed in our vendor directory, introducing their offering as “very easy to use, has all the professionalism that you would expect, and is offered at a transparent price level.” We have since gotten to know Nick and Market Dojo’s other co-founder Alun Rafique quite well. Their belief in the value proposition of their solution has caused them to invest in development that makes that value apparent to us as well.

In the two years since they launched, much has changed – both for Market Dojo and in the spend management solution landscape. Market Dojo has steadily increased their presence through successful application of their technology and industry recognition of their thought leadership. They have been recognized by the U.K. public sector, receiving two Technology Strategy Board (TSB) grants to develop additional functionality. They recently announced the release of Samurai, an upgrade of their solution nine months in coming. This new release brings a revamped user interface and new functionality that increases the breadth and depth of the solution.

While they made their initial entry to the market with a focus on auctions, including less commonly found event types like Japanese auctions, Samurai adds best-of-breed RFx capabilities to the solution. With an eye to the strategic need for collaboration with suppliers, Market Dojo has also added an innovation portal for soliciting and accepting well-defined ideas for improvement from the market and a ‘sandpit’ where buyers can validate the presentation and setup of events by test-driving them before release to suppliers.

Of the changes included in Samurai, the one most likely to make an impact in procurement organizations is the addition of scoring capabilities that can be applied when weighting the information and prices collected in RFx’s and eAuctions. While scoring itself is hardly a new idea in eSourcing, Market Dojo’s approach is closely tied to their philosophy on procurement decision-making and the relationship between procurement and the rest of the organization. Much has been made of procurement’s (sometimes precarious) relationship with Finance. Beyond questioning savings calculations and realization, many Finance groups have trouble accepting the ‘transformational math’ used in scoring scenarios that allow too much subjectivity into what should be an objective evaluation process.

Market Dojo supports two approaches for scoring, both linear in nature:
  • Percent of leading bid: where the best bid is scored at 100% and all other bids are scored based on their variation from the leading bid.
  • Pro Rata: where the best bid is scored at 100% and all other bids are scored based on their relative difference between the leading bid and a qualification price, set in advance by the buyer.

In the first case, non-leading prices are scored purely against how they rank in the market, as represented by the participants. In a pro rata (or proportionate) scoring scenario, both the market and the buying organization’s expectations are reflected in the pricing score.

While the RFX or eAuction is under way buyers can clearly see the breakdown of the price and non-price scores in real time, adding transparency into the negotiation and decision-making process. This breakdown can be clearly communicated to the participants as well, mitigating the risk of participants challenging the award decision. Furthering the need for transparency, price and non-price scores are independent of one another, which is fair and consistent for the participants. If a participant earns a score of zero in the qualitative (questionnaire) portion of an event, they can stay in the process (if allowed to by the host) by offering a competitive price.
The additional capabilities added to Market Dojo with the release of Samurai allow them to compete for business with a broader base of prospective clients. They have expanded their reach in the sourcing process while their established place in the negotiation phase.

And yet, with all the growth and change, Nick’s introductory statement holds true. Market Dojo is still easy to use, professional, and transparent. Two years after launch, Market Dojo saw £120 million auctioned through their solution in a single month. Buyers Meeting Point looks forward to seeing and hearing more from the Market Dojo team as more companies harness their solution to manage spend and innovate with their suppliers.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Market Dojo – the e-route to cost-cutting

Here is our latest press release, announcing our Samurai release and some of the work we have been doing with Shropshire Council...


Market Dojo helps organisations to save money when negotiating with suppliers. We do this by providing software that enables employees to conduct an online auction. Our service is simple and secure, it’s quick and cheap, and as an example, in a recent auction, one of our clients saved £140,000 on a £500 investment. Purchases have ranged from new vans to powdered milk and brake pedals.

Already proven in the private sector, now Market Dojo is available to the public sector.

We have recently received a grant of £25,000 from the Technology Strategy Board, the government body that aims to help the public sector to cut costs without losing quality of service. The grant was awarded to enable Market Dojo to develop software that would make it possible for organisations within the public sector to tender, legally and with full compliance, throughout the EU.

Shropshire Council’s Integrated Passenger Transport Services team has used Market Dojo’s software to put bus and taxi operators services out to tender through e-auctions. To date the Market Dojo software has saved the council 8% from last year’s prices.

“In our first e-procurement using Market Dojo software we saved over 8% on our contract prices,” says James Willocks, Principal Transport Officer, Shropshire Council. “This was a great success, especially considering the current pressure affecting the transport industry. Market Dojo’s 12 month licence costs no more than running a single event with an e-Auction facilitator. We look forward to future developments with the company.”

Market Dojo was founded in 2010 by two young entrepreneurs from Bristol, Alun Rafique and Nick Drewe, and now they plan to roll out their service to government bodies throughout the UK.

“The public sector is facing major budget cuts and job losses, and if every council can make a significant saving, the taxpayer will save a massive amount of money,” says Nick Drewe of Market Dojo. “Our software is easy to use, affordable and environmentally friendly, and the return on an investment in our e-auction package is very quick.”


The cost of using Market Dojo?
From £500. An annual licence costs £5,000 and can be used every day.  

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

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bidding for produce

Editors note:  Featured in FPJ Freshinfo, story  published: Fri 27 Jul 12 by David Burrows

Little hard data exists over the method of retailprocurement via e-auction, but the practice is known to go on. David Burrows asks how widespread it is and what impact it has on the supply base

Online shopping may well have increased 14 per cent and passed the £50 billion mark last year, but buying groceries online remains a turn-off: nearly half of all adults have never bought food online, while over a quarter say they never would, according to a survey this year by YouGov and VoucherCodes.co.uk. But while supermarkets work to get more people shopping ‘.com’, their procurement teams are apparently embracing online buying in a bid to source cheaper products.

There is mounting concern that supermarkets are becoming more and more reliant on theuse of e-auctions to buy fresh produce. In its Catalyst for Change report, published last week, the NFU exposed several examples of “poor business practice”. The list, based on first-hand discussions with its member growers and intermediaries operating across all sectors of the horticulture industry, included reports of verbal margin agreements and late payments, as well as an increase in frequency, length and depth of promotions. Intriguingly, it also identified a rise in the number of online auctions as part of a culture ofshort-term trading that “still prevails because of the inherent level of competition that existsto supply products to retailers”. The increasing popularity of e-auctions, said the NFU, is “compromising the ability to establish meaningful business partnerships in the fresh produce sector”.

Indeed, an insider told FPJ recently that e-auctions are just one of the methods retailers adopt at certain times to get the lowest price. “They switch from one supplier to another and try to get them cutting each other’s throats, then they will maybe put an order for 5,000 trays up for e-auction and invite their regular suppliers each to bid for it in addition to their regular order and often add in a wildcard – a different supplier – just to test them out.”

But are e-auctions rising in popularity as the NFU suggests? Are they bad for business and bad for fresh produce? And do they damage supplier-buyer relationships?

Online auctions have been around for over a decade now and their functionality and complexity have similarities with eBay: they allow people to bid against competitors. But, unlike eBay, the longer the auction goes on, the lower the price falls. This is why the NFU has raised concerns.

Indeed, much of the supermarket PR spiel focuses on ‘strong relationships with growers and suppliers’ and a fair deal for farmers. The British Retail Consortium, for instance, says its members are committed to “working positively” with all parts of their supply chains, including farmers. “It makes sound business sense to have quality suppliers who are efficient and successful,” says a spokesman. “There’s a place for ‘spot’ markets in some products but what retailers and their customers rely on are long-term sustainable relationships that guarantee reliable supplies of high-quality, safe food. We don’t think our members are making much use of this sort of auction,” he adds.

Others disagree. “Auctions are rising in popularity in almost every sector,” contends Alun Rafique, co-founder of Market Dojo, an e-sourcing software provider. “A big retailer has been using our software to run auctions covering a wide variety of commodities. Retailers are already one of the most advanced and prolific users of auctions so there will be a limit to how many auctions they can run in conjunction with other negotiation methods.”

Others also say that retailers have long been frequent users of e-auctions, albeit for certain types of products. However, there is no data on the frequency of use, or who is using them.

Daniel Ball is business development director at e-procurement specialist Wax Digital. He doesn’t feel there has been an uprising in e-auctions but retailers have used the tool for many years now and “their activity is higher than other organisations of equivalent size in other sectors”.

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, he adds. “There are a lot of accusations levied against these auctions – that they are just about price and are damaging to [supply chain] relationships – but that doesn’t stand up in our experience; it’s just one element of a much wider engagement.”

Supermarket buyers rely on key suppliers to help them in periods of short supply or high demand – and provide discounts when supply is high. As John Abkes, vice president ofiTradeNetwork explains, if a buyer gave business away a few weeks ago based on price, loyal suppliers may be less likely to go that extra mile in the future. “The buyer might save a few pence, but he might not be confident of the quality of the product or the service levels, which in the long run could cost more money.”

Running an e-auction badly can also be “disastrous”, according to Rafique. “If an auction has less well-defined specifications the suppliers will all be bidding to different criteria on an uneven playing field and the buyer might award the contract to a supplier who has not understood the desired service levels, resulting in suppliers possibly reneging on thecontract. This ends up as bad press for the tool when the process is in fact to blame.”

There is no doubt e-auctions have got bad press. However, there is evidence that they can help matchmake suppliers and buyers. Pete James, from the University of the West ofEngland, has been leading the i-ADAPT project – an Independent Assessment into theDevelopment of Auctions as a Purchasing Tool. This year, James published the results of a survey among buyers from a range of sectors, including retail and food manufacturing.

Some of the results were “astounding”, not only refuting the claim that buyers’ auctions are adversarial but that they actually show improvements in the buyer-supplier relationships.Nine out of 10 of the buyers quizzed said developing supplier relationships was a major objective of the auctions. Just 33 per cent said they chose price as a primary factor in supplier selection. Supplier performance was also enhanced following an auction, according to James.

“E-auctions are shifting the way you manage the negotiation process,” says Wax Digital’s Ball. “There is a lot of prep work required [for suppliers], which creates a level playing field for all of them to work to. They also ensure retailers [involve a handful] of suppliers they believe in. Pitching them against one another on price alone will just expose [retailers] to risk.”

And it’s not only supply risk that retailers could expose themselves to. “These are economically challenging times and cost is a big factor for consumers, but they don’t want to compromise on availability or quality,” adds Ashley Clarkson, associate director and fresh produce specialist in Grant Thornton’s food and beverage team. “Retailers are looking for quality, sustainability of supply, NPD, service levels and price management from their suppliers.”

As a result, Clarkson believes e-auctions will remain on the fringes for buyers of fresh produce. The discounters may well use them as a price-led spot-buying procurementmechanism – and with more of them supplying food, 99p Stores for example, this could see a few more auctions taking place.

However, the main grocery retailers don’t look like they will ramp up their activities any time soon. Morrisons and Tesco wouldn’t comment on their policies, but Marks & Spencer and Asda “do not use e-auctions”. Sainsbury’s says e-auctions are “an option open to our buyers when negotiating our supply terms but we tend to have long-term relationships with a lot of our growers and suppliers, meaning that they are rarely used in fresh produce”. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

The British culture seen by a Frenchy


editors note:  this is the second blog entry from our excellent intern Hadrien Geffroy.  Sadly Hadrien's internship has reaached it's completion and we have to say au revoir, but Hadrien, you are welcome back  any time.

Advice: this article could contain French humour which some English people could possibly not understand. I apologise for it, and I ask you not to take it wrong or feel offense. Thanks you for your understanding.

I don't know if it's because we are neighbours or if it's a direct consequence of globalization, but the British culture isn't so different from the French culture. I mean we are both Occidentalized countries, lead by a democratic government and severely influenced by the American culture. But a few things caught my attention. The first things that shocked me when I arrived in Bristol were the streets and houses, all the British houses look the same and there are no garages to park your cars!  Where are your architects? Do you have architects? Do you know what an architect is? Do you want some of ours? Fortunately Banksy is here to beautify your walls!

The second example of great interest to me personally is FOOD. Being French, food is for me a big part of the culture and even if I come from France and the food I eat there is the best in the world, I have to admit there are a few good things in your kitchens. Obviously I'm not talking about this stupid chilli (I'll get back on it later). By good things I mean crumpets, Shepherd's Pie, crumbles, bacon...  And even if British food isn't very sophisticated, the meals I ate all along my stay were quite good. Breakfast is on the top of the list of my favourite British food. I tried typical brekky twice and each time it was a really culinary orgasm. I was also fond of Fish & Chips until some made me ill. I love curry as long as there is not too much chilli. You may probably think I make a fixation on chilli but you have to know that for my first lunch with Nick & Alun they put so much chilli on my sandwich that I thought my tongue would fall off. I'd like to talk about beer but I don't want to shower you with too many praises.

In the UK, and more especially in Bristol, the culture is more visible on the streets than on the plates. The street looks like a perpetual carnival, there are so many styles of people: hippies, Goths, hipsters, coloured haired girls... and what about girls... I don't want to introduce an endless debate about which of British or French are the most attractive but I heard someone who said that French girls have pretty nice faces and bodies but they are too much introvert whereas British one's looks sometime "not attractive" but they are sexier... I let you give your point on it on the comments ;)

There is another reason I will never forget this summer: Olympics. One of the questions people asked me the most while my stay in UK was "what do you think about the opening ceremony?" And here is another point in which I have to admit you are very good. I watched the Opening on the big screen in Bristol's town centre and the atmosphere was awesome. 

Being in the UK while the Olympics were on gave me the opportunity to spend a day in London, I couldn’t watch any event but I enjoyed the infatuation of the Olympics. Of course, as a Frenchman, it was very difficult to endure all these gold medals for Team GB or to see how many British people scorned handball. Everybody told me it was a sport for girls...Oh sorry, it's true, you got the most athletic sports in the world: Darts, Snooker and Cricket...

If there is a point on which France should copy the UK, it's on the place of sport in society. When you see the place of sport in the daily life you quickly understand how the British athletes managed to reach 26 gold medals at the Olympics. In France sport is most of the time just seen as a way to stay healthy but in the UK it's much more than that; so one point for you.

Now you read my article, you're obviously allowed to do the same for French culture!

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

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Once upon a time, a Frenchman went to Bristol

editor's note:  this is the first of two blog entries by our intern extraordinnaire, Hadrien Geffroy from École Atlantique de Commerce in France.  We were fortunate to have Hadrien join us for 6 weeks this summer and to take us to markets we have never been before.

The 9th of July, on a wet summer’s day, I set my foot on British soil for the first time of my life. Obviously I would have preferred to spend my holidays in my native country, the beautiful and sunny France. But a special mission was waiting for me, here in Bristol, and more precisely two businessmen: Nick & Alun (or Alun & Nick, no jealousy there).

Indeed, as part of my studies, I had to complete a 6 week long internship abroad over the summer. “Why Market Dojo?” You might ask? In fact I had heard about Market Dojo by chance. Fond of the web and new technology I was looking for a trend company as a start-up which related to my business studies. It was only after a few researches that I found Market Dojo. When I applied for my internship, I didn't imagine how much I was lucky to work for this company. 

Today I'm working for Market Dojo as intern and thus for 6 weeks. Because my work is very boring and uninteresting (humour), I have time enough to talk to you about the fantastic professional and life experience I'm currently living in Bristol.

Monday the 9th of July 2012 at 09:00, I knocked at the door and two young (it's all relative) smiling guys opened the door. I quickly understood they were very cool and relaxed, but also very professional so we didn't lose time before we set to work, just the time to take a cup of tea (the first of many). But Market Dojo is a kind of modern company, most of the work is home-working and the atmosphere is relaxed, which makes my working conditions very comfortable.
 
Now let me talk to you about the advantages of working in a little company. Having the opportunity to work for Market Dojo allowed me to see this. Indeed, I wish to every student to work for a little company to live both a professional and a life experience. In little companies the border between working life and private life is very thin; which makes work less boring and gives me ample time to learn about the British culture.

Hadrien receiving his internship certificate
Concerning the work, I quickly realized my responsibilities would outnumber what I was expecting. In my case, my main goal is to make Market Dojo's website and software accessible for any French native who wants to use Market Dojo's service; which means translating approximately 15,000 words (so easy!!). But I also have to think about Marketing for French market, software testing, assist a conference, and make cups of tea (wringing the tea bag is much more technical than it seems). Being an intern at Market Dojo also involves eating bacon sandwiches, playing tennis, going to the cinema, watching the London Olympic games, looking at videos on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCiY1y3uJ3o), so many things that make you forget you are here for work!!


So many thanks to Alun, Nic and Nick for these 6 weeks!






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

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Market Dojo celebrate their second birthday with a year of amazing growth

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
August 2012

Market Dojo celebrate their second birthday with a year of amazing growth

Last week marked Market Dojo’s second successful year in business, with a massive ten-fold increase in the previous year’s revenues.  Co-founder Nic Martin was delighted with this important milestone, “the last 12 months have been a fantastic period of growth for our young company and has really proven that our business has the key ingredients to succeed, from a great product, excellent customers and a brilliant team”.

The rapidly expanding software technology company, based in the South West, offers an online application that helps businesses negotiate more easily and efficiently with suppliers via the internet. Businesses can also run reverse auctions where suppliers compete to win contracts to supply goods and services.

Market Dojo now has in excess of 25 customers who use the application up to 5 times a day to receive quotes from suppliers for goods and services as varied as electrical cables, paper bags, van and car hire, brake pedals, machined parts and office furniture.

“What makes us unique is that we have taken a concept that was previously restricted to large businesses, due to the complexity and cost of existing software, and made it accessible even to small-to-medium sized businesses”, explains fellow co-founder Alun Rafique.

Their ambitions now lie in building the customer base, both home and abroad, as well as releasing a whole new product upgrade which is just around the corner.

Editors Notes:

1.  Market Dojo offers easy to use, professional e-sourcing software to help businesses save time and money on their purchases.

2.  The company, incorporated on the 2nd August 2010, is based in Elton Road, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8DE and has customers globally.

3.   The company was co-founded by three Bristol University Students who studied Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Physics.

4.  For more information please refer to www.marketdojo.com

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sprechen sie Deutsch?!

Today, we are really pleased to announce some great new features for Market Dojo.  We believe these reflect our four core beliefs: being collaborative, transparent, agile and to have fun doing it.

Here are the highlights...

Translated Market Dojo into German and Russian
We added these specific languages in direct response to customer needs.  We are well aware that our users are based all over the world, and for many of them, English is not their first language. This release also lays the groundwork for more languages in the future. We are already planning improvements to the public areas of the website in these first two languages with a new web design planned for July.

Bigger file uploads
Several customers told us they needed to include bigger files with their RFQ and Auctions Events.  We have increased the maximum file size to 10Mb, to allow even more detailed documentation to be included.

Improved Edit Mode
Changes happen.  When they do, it is important that they are correctly communicated to all affected parties.  We have learned that when you are dealing with dozens of people in several different timezones, more focus and detail in the information you provide up front will save time later.  Previously Market Dojo automatically notified everyone of changes to an Event, now this is done at the Hosts discretion, so only those who are affected will be informed.  Hosts are able to include a detailed message explaining exactly what has changed.

More upload/download formats
Previously, data imported and exported from Market Dojo was only  in CSV (comma separated values) text format.  Now, we also support Excel (XLSX) format files.  This format will address problems for users in countries where the comma is not used in CSV files and also give us more flexibility in the format of reporting we provide. Currently this is a ‘beta’ feature, and we are really keen to get any feedback on how this works in the field.

Improvements and bug fixes
We have made more than 20 improvements  and fixes to give our users a better a experience.  These range from changes to which information is shown first at various stages of an Event, to clearer messaging and integration to our customer database.

We have had a lot of fun putting this release together, but we are really looking forward to is hearing how it helps our customers.  Do let us know what you think!

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