Monday, 30 November 2015

Teaching the new breed of eSourcing heroes!

Over the last week we fulfilled our invitations to host lectures for several business schools, specifically those of Bristol and Greenwich.  

The magnificent Old Royal Naval College in the Maritime Greenwich university campus
We've always enjoyed presenting our talk on 'Reverse auctions in industry' and it's something we've repeated every year since the foundation of Market Dojo in 2010.

Bristol Business School even use Market Dojo as a case study for their Virtual Business module, which in turn contributes to the overall degree.  It gives us some useful insight from fresh sets of eyes who may highlight that we've missed a trick along the way!

We're always on the look out for bright, enthusiastic graduates to join our rapidly expanding team in the areas of sales, marketing, design and development, so it's a good opportunity to build some bridges with potential recruits as well.

Nevertheless, the real highlight for everyone is our renowned eAuction game.  

What began as a fun way to showcase professional reverse auctions to university students, it has since been used successfully in CIPS-accredited training courses for procurement professionals!

The game is very simple in design yet completely equitable and unpredictable in who will eventually win, thanks to a few simple rules; rule #1 being "don't go bust" (yet there's always one....)!
 
Our teams of students at the Bristol Business School huddling round their auction!

With the students split into 5 or more teams, we ask them to bid for the 4 office supplies Lots.  It is up to the students to plan their bid strategy and that's usually where the teams are divided.

Bid history from the first eAuction game
Unsurprisingly for newcomers to the reverse auction process, we saw a couple of rookie mistakes, particularly the team in yellow above who their dropped their margins to the full extent in just one bid!  Clearly this wiped out any opportunity they had to react to the market information granted to them by the auction.  It was also interesting to note the speed off the starting block - obviously some eager participants - which we don't usually see in the real life auctions.

You may be able to guess by the bid history above that our eventual winner was the team 'SeaHawk'.   How could you tell?  They applied a clever bid strategy of using small bid decrements and reserved enough margin for the end of the auction to decisively place their final bids.  

On this occasion, we had time at the end to re-run the game with the same set of students, which is something we've never done before.  

Their willingness to learn had certainly paid off.  There was a slow start to the auction, much like we notice from seasoned bidders, and most teams adopted the gradual, iterative bid strategy used effectively by winners of the first game.

As it happened, despite adopting an even more progressive strategy with nearly twice as many bids as any other team, SeaHawk were not able to reproduce their previous success.  Our glorious winners this second time round were 'Tiffany', using the tiebreaker rules to their advantage.   

It really is a great way to educate future eSourcing Heroes on how to conduct professional eAuctions, so please do reach out to us if you'd like to try it yourself.

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

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