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 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.