Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Are Japanese auctions a 'Bad Thing'?

A Japanese auction is a reverse auction where the price drops incrementally over time and the participant must to decide whether to accept or decline each price level.  If they decline they are out and if they accept they progress to the next round.  The auction finishes for the participant when they decline and the whole auction is complete when all the participants are out.

Japanese auctions were first developed to break monopolies or price cartels as they don't give the feedback on position or the lead bid.  They are also very useful as negotiation techniques when you have low participant liquidity or even one participant.

Japanese auctions are a contentious topic.  A bit like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them.  

Recently we have been involved in some negotiations where our potential client has made it clear that they feel our price is too high and that there is a competitor at a lower price. I know!  You may ask how could this be? Well, this customer has a very specific need, and as a result we are talking about a limited capability and offering.  Well back to the story.... They suggested we needed to reduce our price, but wouldn’t give us a ball-park figure.  In essence this is very similar to a Japanese auction, how low will you go?

The price that we ended up submitting was a fair and comfortable figure for the requirement.  As we were not pushed by direct feedback on rank or seeing the lead bid we did not feel compelled to reduce our price even further.  Viewing a Japanese auction as somewhat comparable to this, where a participant is not directly pressured to reduce their price,  it actually seems a rather fair way to collect the lowest price bidders are comfortable with.

Of course it is not quite that simple.  Bidders have to be aware of the situation, they must not get caught up in the furor of an auction and should know their margins beforehand.  If a supplier is particularly desperate for the business then this might mean they act irresponsibly.  If they do not understand the workings of a Japanese auction then this could also lead to issues.  

By and large though the Japanese auction is just another tool in the procurement persons toolset and just as viable to use as any other type of auction.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Our Market Dojo top 10 features

Here is a list of what the Market Dojo team have picked as their favorite features.  Why not log in and see what you think?

1. Sandpit

You can try the full functionality of our software for FREE.  Just register and join the sandpit from the dashboard.  Act as a Host or a Participant.

See our original blog on this.

2. Display settings

White label the software!  You can add your logo, menu colour and a subdomain  within seconds and all the emails come from you.  Not only that but you can even create your own domain.

See our blog on the Customer Domain and the subdomain

3. Live Auction edits

We now have a brilliant capability to edit settings during a  live auction.  You can change the dynamic close, min and max bid decrements, pause, extend the event and also decline and re-accept participants back in.

See our blog on the first and second release to achieve this.

4. Innovation portal scoring

In a new release we have a really cool looking interface for scoring innovation topics and looking at the summary.

Please see our Blog and Prezi on this.

5. Live graphs

Our graphs update live and here is an example of a graph which we hope to have in the next month, the horse race graph, to plot the dynamic interaction between suppliers as it happens.

See our blog on the live updates

6. Overall Score

If you want to run a weighted event, by which we mean have the participant position based on a score which is made up of a price and non-price element, then this is made possible through an overall score which is updated in real time.  Thus the software will do the calculation for the participants bid and give their rank based on a combination of the various criteria that you have set.  Also the scoring is linear and set out in a very logical fashion.

Have a look at our infographic on our website for this.

7. Bounce mail

Now you can see which emails exist and which don't!

See our blog release when this happened.

8. Adopting the latest tech to make the bidding experience more interactive

We know that an auction can be quite an event for our customers, often very high profile,and so being able to track the current status is very important.   As a result, we have spent time to understand how to make that information easily available and used cutting edge technology like AJAX and websockets to ensure that it is quickly updated.

9. User Hierarchy

We examined lots of different ways to do this and came up with a simple rule-based structure that you create yourself.  The advantage of this is complete flexibility to give your users in the organisation the permissions that you want.  Make someone a superuser and just let them edit the rules for their events, or add permissions to let a manager see all their buyers events or let a stakeholder just viewing access for a particular auction, the choice is yours.

See our blog on this release.

10 Supplier groups

Easily upload your suppliers and categorise them into your own defined groups that users in your organisation can invite to eSourcing events as and when they want.

See our article on setting up an organisation.

11. Simple sign up

I know we said ‘Top 10’ and this isn’t really a feature but we have added this entry to show how we take on board customer feedback.  It is very easy to make software difficult to adopt through addition of features with a lack of care or by ignoring support issues.  For example we first had issues with Participants signing up so we simplified the registration process and now we never have support queries on this.  We still have the complete profile for the Participants to fill in but they only need to do this when they are registered and at their discretion. Give it a go and sign up yourself!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Another day, another release

Another day brings another release from the Market Dojo labs.  This time we have some great additions in a variety of areas.

Ever feel like you need more time?

In this development you now have the ability to extend an auction outside of the automatic triggers.

During a live auction, simply click on the ‘Settings’ and decide how  long you would like to extend the event to.  You can extend it by the same period as the dynamic close or extend by the original duration of the entire auction.

Is your invitation falling on deaf ears or did it just not get through?

With this feature you are simply able to tell if the email has bounced.  On the participant summary tab you can see in the status column the participants where the email has bounced.

Enhance your reports

Lastly we have increased the reports available when you download the results.  We still have the original report showing the entire bid history which is great if you want to draw a quick graph.  We have now included a summary and status of all the participants on a separate tab in the export. Finally we have also added a summary tab of lots vs participants so you can quickly ascertain the best bid from each participant in each lot.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Market Dojo is 3 years old!

Last Friday we proudly turned 3.  If we were talking about a human rather than a company, we might look a little like this guy:

However, we are a business and to reach this milestone is a great accomplishment.  According to the Entrepreneur Weekly, 44% of businesses fail by Year 3.  Yet here we are, still self-capitalised having turned down investment offers along the way, and still growing at over 100% year-on-year with even steeper growth projections in our pipeline as some of our newest innovations hit the market.

We asked each of the three co-founders of Market Dojo for their highlights of the last 12 months:

Nic Martin:  
In September we released ‘Samurai’.  Building Samurai was a much bigger project than our previous enhancements, and we learnt a lot of lessons along the way.  Working with new people and making so many improvements to MD was a great experience, particularly when it was all over.  It’s also given us the ability to tick many more boxes for our customers and allowed us to work with a much bigger range of organisations.

Alun Rafique:  
We have fantastic clients, who are all working on great things with our software from simple RFQ’s to complex weighted auctions. Many of our developments are client led and so we ensure our direction is in line with your needs. The latest client and reseller is ABM Global solutions in the Philippines who we extend a warm welcome to.  We could not do this without you all so please accept our greatest appreciation.  You can see some case studies on our website. A massive thanks to all!

Nick Drewe:  there have been quite a few to consider, such as achieving a 100% renewal rate on our annually paid licences to signing up very recognisable high street brands as customers, or even being nominated for a supply chain award by one of our customers, Arqiva.   It’s all pointing towards the fact that our clients like what we do for them.  However, for me there is one highlight that does stand out and that is the award of our second grant from the Technology Strategy Board.  The first grant enabled us to build and release Samurai, which was immense.  However, with this second grant we’ve created a whole new module within eProcurement, one that does not exist at the moment.  Fitting in somewhere between Spend Analysis and eSourcing, we hope to announce Category Dojo later this year.  Sadly I can’t elaborate too much at the moment, but drop us a visit at eWorld next month where we might be able to let you in on it!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Want your own eSourcing portal?

Earlier this year we proudly announced the release of our white labelling enhancements (http://bit.ly/13m6uMB) where you could customise your own unique web address on marketdojo.com, for example http://my-mega-company.marketdojo.com (this is not a working example in case anyone tries that link!).

Well, now we’ve gone a whole load further.   In our latest release last night we’ve given our users the ability to create their own web address, branded in their colours yet powered by the Market Dojo eSourcing tool.

Some of you may already have such a feature with other providers, but the difference here is that we haven’t done this by simply setting up a new server and popping a cloned version of our software on it - no, we are still 100% single-instance, multi-tenanted.   This gives every one of our customers the added benefit of no upgrade issues nor delays, instant access to new features (such as this one!), no implementation fees and more affordable licences fees, since we have much lower maintenance and support costs.

It’s a really simple process for you to set this up.  Simply buy your web domain from someone like LCN or Go Daddy and point it at www.marketdojo.com, then buy an SSL certificate for it so your data remains encrypted over the web.  Send us this info so we can pop the certificate on our server and assign your account with the bespoke web address and you’re good to go!

All the other great customisation features still apply, such as:

  • Use your own logo and menu colours to make it look like your own website.
  • Suppliers, clients, colleagues, whoever can sign up, log in and reset their own password all from your own portal and in multiple languages.
  • All emails sent from the software are sent from your email address and contain your logo.  Any links in the emails direct the user to your portal and not Market Dojo.
  • Should any ‘Host’ in your organisation log in from a different place, such as www.marketdojo.com, it will sign them in but re-direct them to your portal.

You might also like to place web links or even your own Log In / Sign Up buttons on your website that take the user to your branded sourcing portal.  But we leave all this in your own hands or those of your webmaster.

So, if you’d like to take advantage of all this, give us a call today!