Thursday, 23 June 2016

Stick or twist? The EU gamble

With the EU referendum taking place tonight, should procurement professionals expect a regulation reshuffle?

There are arguments both for and against Brexit, but will there be any significant differences in  activities for procurement professional? Some have predicted large scale riots at September’s eWorld (just kidding) but the likeliness is that there will be no real impacts and we will all continue our happy lives as purchasers.

The current EU rules are rational, transparent and fair which aid in efficiency and enable SME’s to compete in public procurement. Therefore there is strong reason to believe that local authorities will continue to adopt these regulations.


If you're a little undecided, here's what the Team Dojo think:


Peter:
“As part of my Business Development role I can be asked to travel across Europe to host team training days. If we leave the EU, crossing borders will become much more time consuming and expensive.”

Lewis:
"An 'out' vote is likely to have little to no effect on the UK's procurement regulations and the issue is highly unlikely to be pursued by policy makers in the immediate months afterwards."

Nick:
“Even if the UK were to exit the EU, the EU Procurement Directives will likely remain in place due to a) if we wish to bid for EU opportunities then we'll have to reciprocate, b) it would be a huge change management programme to amend the rules, c) it would be low down the pecking order as ultimately the rules are designed to achieve transparency and equality, no bad thing.”

Craig:
“From my point of view if we do choose to leave, then at the very least this will cause a small economic shock in the short term which would effect all British businesses. However all UK companies that export to the EU in the future could be damaged as European customers and consumers may view Britain’s action as destruction to the entire EU and refuse to buy British. ”

Anya:
“For our £200bn public sector spend it could mean a total restructuring of directives as we currently follow EU rules for procurement.Would we even bother changing? Pro-Brexit campaigners estimate a saving of £1.6bn a year in Procurement costs if we did.

We'd lose out on EU funding for public sector projects. And we'd lose our say on what happens with the money the EU spends. The EU was formed to build alliance post war. And it seems to be working so far! I don't think we should try to fix something that isn't broken!”

Nic:
“The European Union isn’t perfect, but it does seem like a sensible option in an era of increasing globalisation.”

Alun:
“If we really want change, it needs to come from within, irrelevant of whether we stay in the EU or not. Also with regards to migration, this will be an issue whether we are in or out.  We can tackle it better from within. Not forgetting that migration is a net positive to the economy."


So, based on our comments it looks like remain are going to win!

We would love to know your thoughts on the EU referendum - do you predict a change in procurement processes?.. What is your company doing?.. What measures are you taking?

Please comment below or contact us directly.

Business Development Manager
t: +44 (0) 117 318 0579
e:  peter.glass@marketdojo.com 


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, 22 June 2016

[Guest Blog] One Man's Experience with eAuctions

Peter Schmidt offered to write a guest blog for Market Dojo on his past experience with eAuctions. Peter has a long track record in, sales, consultancy and procurement. He specialises in Telecoms, Managed Services and Public Cloud.

Peter Schmidt, Independent Consultant for P.Schmidt Consultancy Services B.V.

I was asked to write a guest blog for Market dojo and I immediately had to think about my past experience with eAuctions, the surprises and the interesting properties of the eAuction.

My first eAuction was at the supplier side, where I was a deal architect and gave directions as to feed the system while staying in close contact with our subcontractors during the eAuction.

What I found exciting during the eAuction was the enormous team spirit among the various disciplines to win the business and some business was indeed won. One thing that intrigued me during this event  was that one of the subcontractors dropped his price for more than 50%, which apart from some laughter during the eAuction, made a couple of people wonder of how this was possible.


The downside of this auction was that the purchasing team at the beginning had not been clear about the rules of engagement, which gave rise to some problems during the awarding phase.

My last eAuction experience was as a procurement consultant, where the entire event was prepared with clear rules of engagement and time scales. Paramount was that after the eAuction, the business would be awarded straight away to the winning bidder. It was also emphasised during the process that price wouldn't be the only determining factor.

The interesting thing about eAuction's is that not only price can be auctioned but also something like flexibility. In this particular case the flexibility was expressed as a percentage of the amount of sites of a network that could be closed without incurring a penalty.

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It was therefore decided to carry out two auctions, the first auction would give rise to the best percentage, which then would serve as one of the factors for the second eAuction that reflected the price performance ratio of the provided solution.

The surprise here was that one of the contenders offered 100%, which in my opinion showed the power of eAuction, as this figure would most unlikely have emerged from a negotiation cycle.

From the purchaser’s view it was exciting to see how the results came to us in real time, which was also conducive for a good team spirit around the management console as we could exactly see what was going on.

What I personally like about eAuction is that the process is clearly outlined, straightforward and transparent for all of the participants, because of the level playing field that needs to be created throughout the purchasing cycle.
It is not only interesting for the purchasers but also for the sales people, as they will exactly know when the deal will be awarded. They can also increase their chances during the process as long as they are actively participating and grasp a good understanding of what the requirement are.

Obviously an eAuction cannot be adopted for every negotiation, however if the strategic direction of the procurement professionals points into this direction, then it is worthwhile the effort.

To find out more about the services that Peter Schmidt provides, click 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!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

[NEW RELEASE] Here's what our developers have been up to...

One of the many beauties of providing SaaS technology is that our clients don’t need to spend time mass updating their systems and reinstalling the latest release of our software. We are a multi-tenanted application, meaning that there’s always one version of Market Dojo available to everyone.

This doesn’t mean that new features and benefits aren’t being released. Any little nuances you find with our software are all logged via our support portal (check out this article on how to log issues and the processes we follow to deal with them).

Our development team have been working very hard for this release to bring you a list of new features which we hope you’ll love…

Hyperlink documents in Questionnaire export report
Within Market Dojo, there are a number of types of question you can ask your suppliers. One of which allows you to reference a document. After the event has ended, the host is then able to download a report of the event.

This update allows the event host (buyer) to click on the specific document that has been referenced and easily see the related one. This can save reviewers a lot of time, as it makes it much easier to check the documentation before giving a score.

Re-invite participants in SIM Dojo
This update allows you as a host to resend the instructions to a supplier on how to onboard to SIM Dojo so as to prompt a Participant who has not answered.

This feature exists in Market Dojo, and will now work in a similar way within our onboarding solution with an option to ‘re-send invite’ to participants. The option will not be visible after participants accept the invite.

For suppliers, this will improve their experience by creating a reminder for them to respond. For hosts, this makes it much easier to chase up late suppliers.
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Enter in participant email addresses manually
Market Dojo has a number of ways to add participants to an event. Until now adding them by email address manually could be quite slow, as it needed to be done one by one. Now, you can enter (or copy and paste from Excel) several email addresses in one go. The system will even suggest addresses from your participant database. This is something several customers have requested, and will mean event setup can be completed faster.

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Along with that, many other issues that you’ve kindly raised with us have been fixed. And as ever, we love showing you how proud we are of these features. Keep the demo requests coming in so we can hear your feedback and show you how to get the most out of our intuitive eSourcing tools.


Don’t forget to BOOK A DEMO NOW!


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, 20 June 2016

Latest Recruit for Team Dojo

Market Dojo are pleased to announce the arrival of our newest member of Team Dojo. Working as part of the marketing team Craig adds his buzzing personality to the mix.

We asked Craig a few questions to help you get to know him better.


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What made you apply to work at Market Dojo?
I wanted to work for a company that had a real passion for what they did and after meeting the directors knew that it was a place I wanted to be.

What are you looking forward to in your new role?
I’m very keen to work with the team, developing the brand of Market Dojo as well as learning more about the procurement industry. I am also looking forward to working on some of the interesting marketing campaigns that we have planned!

What is different about Market Dojo?
The passion of the team. When you speak to any of the guys at Market Dojo, you know that they want to do their very best to help their clients. Whether it's assisting their clients with eAuctions using ‘Market Dojo’ or helping them to use the on-boarding tool ‘SIM Dojo’. They have a real desire to help.

If you didn't go into marketing, what other profession would you have considered?
I think I would have been looking at a professional career as a male model, I heard that Southern Comfort were looking for younger, rounder model for their latest beach body advert and I think I might of been the right man for the job (see the video here).


What is the most unusual job you have ever had?
During a six month period where I was working in America, I also helped coach for a youth football team in North Carolina. I call it unusual because I was pretty much teaching them the rules of football.

What is your favourite book/movie?
I will shamefully admit that my favourite film is ‘What Women Want’, a rom-com with Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson. When I was young, I liked the idea of influencing what people are thinking.

What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?
I once ‘had’ a one direction song on my phone, It’s not something I talk about anymore.    

What is one thing about yourself that you think others would be surprised to know?
I broke my back when I was 16 and had to wear a back brace for last few years of my teenage life.

What’s your biggest claim to fame?
“I once met the entire chelsea football team. Had a chat with John Terry, got snubbed by Jose Mourinho and was kissed on the cheek by the lovely Eva Carneiro (controversial ex-physio at Chelsea Football Club)”.

Where have you travelled abroad? What was your favourite country?
I have been to a few places around the world. I once went on safari in South Africa when I was young and I still remember most of it to this day.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I’m a big football fan and like most sports but I also have a bit of a geeky side. You can often find me enjoying a good fiction novel or playing video games.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?
A domestic dog, they get to live a pampered life and don't have to worry about being someone else's dinner. They also spend their lives making others happy which I think is a good motto to live one's life by.

What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie?
Probably Simon Pegg, as someone who doesn't take himself too seriously he would probably be a good fit. My life also seems to have a few Mr Bean elements to it, such as chasing miniature ponies around a field (yes this really happens on a frequent basis and these are the culprits).

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What are you hoping to bring to Market Dojo?
I hope to bring an extra bit of creativity and perception to the team. Hopefully influencing future marketing campaigns with my personality and my own brand of humour.

Connect with Craig on LinkedIn.

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, 8 June 2016

What Procurement can Learn from Sport

Whilst putting together our article ‘Are Procurement Professionals stuck in the Stone Age?’, which looks at B2B technology in comparison with B2C, myself and Ed got on to the topic of sport. And it became clear that we are both very driven, not just in terms of our work ethic, but also in our passion for our chosen sports. We then thought about how this passion and determination translates to our work, and how important having a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset is. And what better time to write this article than in the run up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, with less than 100 days until the Opening Ceremony.

[RADIO PODCAST] Check out the radio interview with Kelly Barner of Buyer's Meeting Point.

Triathlon and training have become somewhat of a compulsion for Ed. Others might call it an all consuming passion. It all started 8 years ago as a means to get fit and stay healthy - having not competed since school in athletics; “it started as a goal to encourage me to stay fit and eat and drink sensibly”. It has culminated in Ed racing IronMan triathlon’s across Europe and a growing ambition to represent GB at Age Group level, and the opportunity to be coached by a professional Ironman Triathlete - Harry Wiltshire.    

Anya took up Olympic Weightlifting around a year ago and fell in love almost instantly. Being naturally strong and with a gymnastics background as a child, the move to weightlifting was pretty natural. Fortunate enough to visit the Europa Centre, home of the British gymnastics and weightlifting teams, she had the privilege of learning from the best in the sport in the UK.

The determination and drive to succeed in sport follows through to our passion for procurement and success in business with the same principles being applied in both areas. We believe having a positive attitude and determination to succeed is the ultimate key.

The picture below shows how and where attitudes can change and we relate these to specific examples we have come across in sport and industry:

  


1. I can learn anything I want to.


Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime
But teach a man to learn and he can do anything!

-Jeffrey
The brain is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it will become, this is an interesting analogy given our respective sporting pursuits. For Anya lifting heavy weights is not just about pure strength as technique plays a key role. For Ed, swimming was not his discipline - in fact he cannot float - this initially stopped him thinking (!) about triathlon racing - because he did not believe he could master swimming. This was not a physical limitation, instead a mental / mindset issue on his part. It was overcome by using his brain, deciding that he could learn to swim well, and persevering with the help of others at a local swim club and ultimately with Harry Wiltshire.

Similarly in the work environment, and whilst at Xchanging Ed took on responsibility for the EMEA business, which had a large French operation. In spite of failing French at school, and a self perception that foreign language learning was not his forte, he ignored his thinking and decided to learn French in an effort to create a stronger bond with the French team.  ‘Je décidai que je pouvais apprendre le français.’


2. When I’m frustrated, I persevere.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”  
-Calvin Coolidge
Procurement involvement and interference with the decisions of stakeholders is not always welcomed, to say the least. Often misunderstood, and sometimes seen as a function which slows down action, many stakeholders are not greatly supportive of the procurement team getting involved in their spend. This has a range of reasons, which we won’t go into here. Across the last 30 years in procurement Ed has seen the good and bad of procurement’s relationship with stakeholders inside and outside the organisation. The common change management thread to securing involvement in stakeholder programmes is ‘not giving up’, simply to keep knocking at the door, and showing the stakeholder that you are persistent And at the same time looking for different angles to showing that procurement value can be brought to bear - perseverance will bring results.   
To quote Albert Einstein “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

3. I like to challenge myself.

Target setting in procurement - if you really have to get the money...what would you do….

There are two ways to operate in procurement, sport and life in general. You can either coast along, doing things the way you’ve always done them, avoiding change and new ideas, or you can embrace innovation and search for those challenges.

Sales is notorious for being very target-driven, and procurement professionals are often given savings targets to meet. However, aside from these challenges set by management, we have to be able to set our own personal goals.

At Market Dojo, we talk about the ‘eSourcing Hero’. This refers to someone within a procurement function with that extra drive and motivation to work harder. So that they can say to themselves, their friends and family (really!), on their CV or LinkedIn, ‘I identified and then delivered savings of £4m in 6 months’. #betheeSourcinghero


4. When I fail, I learn.

James Dyson interestingly has taken learning from failure to create a World beating multi-billion pound business. Interestingly Dyson excelled at long distance running: 
"I was quite good at it, not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learnt determination from it.”  
It seems this determination coupled with the openness to learn from failure - drove Dyson to work for 5 years building 5127 prototypes of what became the World’s leading (cyclonic) Vacuum cleaner. He is now estimated to be worth £3bn personally.

“Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee says brother Jonathan threw away the world triathlon title by being a "complete tactical numpty" during his battle with Spain's Javier Gomez at the Grand Final in London.

Alistair says the younger Brownlee got his tactics wrong by trying to outsprint the Spaniard from 200m out instead of sitting on his shoulder.

Gomez won his third ITU World Triathlon title as he beat Johnny in a dramatic sprint finish in Hyde Park.” - BBC Sport [Read Article]

BBC iPlayer - The Brownlees - An Olympic Story [Watch Now]

Both Brownlee’s have been World Champions at Triathlon, and have both been selected for the Rio Olympics.


Check out this TED talk for more info on learning from failure.


5. I like being told that I try hard.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” 
– Stephen King

Success can be achieved through a combination of effort and intelligence. And whilst many may think that being intelligent is the highest priority here, studies have shown that being called intelligent can act as a de-motivator, rather than something to encourage people to try harder.

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” 
– Thomas A. Edison

When you think about this, it makes sense. If one is deemed as ‘intelligent’, it suggests that they already have the full capability to get to where they need to be without having to exert effort. However, being told that you try hard suggests that there is more you need to do to succeed. Positively reinforcing someone’s efforts motivated them to try even harder. Studies on children have even been used to prove this theory. [Read more here]


6. If my classmates succeed, I’m inspired.

 
The very best example of this is the recent injury that Jack Oliver faced at the European Championships. This could be applied to so many of these points such as ‘when I fail, I learn’, and ‘my effort and attitude determine everything’, but the most predominant is definitely Jack’s attitude to watching his team go on to represent his country where he should have joined them. Read the quote from Jack’s instagram below:

“This was the moment my Road to Rio became a road to recovery. ... It couldn't have been any more disappointing for me, as the lift where I injured myself would have qualified me for the Olympics and set 2 British records at the same time but that's sport and we have to move on. I'm massively proud of the guys for qualifying a spot for Rio and as much as I wanted it to be me going, I'll still be cheering whichever guy does go. The men in the UK aren't funded. We get no money, no medical treatment. Nothing. So for us to even qualify a spot at the Olympics is a big deal.”



7. My effort and attitude determine everything.

I (Anya) hadn’t trained consistently for 6 months. Work was heavy, my 2 year old decided sleep was really uncool (which, as a full-time working, single mother isn’t the easiest!), and unfortunately, the gym had taken a lower priority. Training one day a week, on my only child free evening, after a long day in the office, energy levels were low.
On this particular occasion, I’d had a really productive day at work and was generally feeling very positive. I walked into the gym, as I normally do, took out my training log and thought ‘I’m going to make today count’. I’d written quite an in-depth workout involving ‘cleans’, ‘front squats’ and ‘jerks’. For those of you unfamiliar with these, check out this video.

After warming up, I loaded the bar with a 5kg weight on either side to do my initial drills moving from 30kg - 55kg. I tripled 55kg and stood there for a minute to recover and thought about this article and how I could stop at 55kg, my comfort zone, or I could embrace the positive mindset I was in and aim for more. So I did. I loaded 60kg on to the bar and cleaned it with ease. Why stop there? I loaded a further 5 kg and cleaned 65kg for the first time in a LONG time. And it felt great. I wasn’t back to my peak, but I lifted a lot more than I had in a long time. And why? Because my effort and attitude determine everything.

The Growth Mindset verses Fixed Mindset was introduced to Ed by Harry, after Ed had a wobble following a late season Ironman race in Turkey. In short his run did not go as well as he hoped (10 minutes slower than expected), and Ed questioned his own capability to improve his race performance.  Sage words from Harry and this graphic put Ed back in the right place.

Harry kindly provided us with some thoughts in relation to attitude in sport and business:

"Ed, like a number of high achievers I have worked with was fixated with measuring  his improvement as an athlete. After the race in Turkey he asked me if he was capable of being faster;  he said he did not want to do something if he wasn’t going to be good at it. I have found  people who are successful in their field are often scared of exposing themselves to new situations where they risk being less successful.

Common comments when working with professionals trying their hand at sport are
“I don’t want to do it unless I am going to be good at it” or  “I’m wasting my time, this isn’t working.”

Whilst there is of-course a genetic ceiling on athletic ability, these people have got nowhere near that ceiling. I find it useful to ask them to think about the process rather than the outcome. If you follow the best process that you are able to, you will achieve the best outcome that you are capable of. Invariably those who enjoy the process and show long term consistency and dedication  to it far surpass what they thought they could achieve.  Ed has been a fantastic example of this, he is still desperately competitive, but has made huge improvements by accepting that it is a long term journey to find out how good he can be at something he enjoys rather than an activity he will only do if he can achieve immediate success.

These themes come up time and time again with athletes who are successful in the long term. It is the difference between young athletes who show huge promise then disappear and those who go onto have successful careers. It is the difference between the athletes in my training group who will be competing for their second Olympic medals this summer and those with comparable natural talent who left the sport 10 years ago.  It is the grit, which I know makes the difference between success and learned helplessness in sport and I would be prepared to bet that it is the same in business."


Do you have GRIT or Learned Helplessness?





Ed is co-founder of Odesma, a new breed of business advisory firm, one that is uniquely on demand providing virtual procurement through the Procurement PeopleCloudTM. He is a results orientated executive level business leader with 25 years global professional services, consulting and functional experience in procurement, supply chain and change management. Previously with Xchanging plc, Ed had Executive leadership responsibility for running the global procurement and HR outsourcing businesses. He has also held senior level consulting and functional roles with QPGroup, ShareMax Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Ed can be contacted at edward.cross@odesma.co.uk or at:
Odesma Limited, Woodrow, Off Snape Hall Road, Whitmore
Staffordshire ST5 5HS
Tel: +44 (0)161 433 7833

Having joined the team in early 2015, Anya manages marketing and market analysis at Market Dojo. Market Dojo is the only e-Sourcing software provider to offer an easy to use, professional solution with completely transparent pricing. From creating content and managing social platforms, to attending networking events and building client relationships, Anya is the first point of call for any questions you may have about Market Dojo. 



If you’re interested in hearing more, get in touch:
Anya McKenna
anya.mckenna@marketdojo.com
+44(0)117 318 2537 | +44(0)792 337 6307
Instagram: anyamckenna