Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Learn to be frugal by eSourcing like Google!

We’re presently running a survey to explore the barriers to eAuctions to truly understand why not all procurement professionals out there with 3 bids on the table instinctively progress to eAuction.

You can find the survey here if you have some thoughts. And so it was fortuitous timing that we stumbled across a public interview with the team behind Google’s Global Sourcing Centre of Excellence.

Related image
Image via "Are Google’s Financial Maneuvers Worth a Starbucks?" Wall Street Journal 

The interview explored Google’s eAuction experience and how they drive adoption to achieve excellent results, with an average rate reduction of 17% being very similar to the 16% that we’ve seen on average through Market Dojo.
They also see an additional 4% saving when RFPs are progressed to eAuction, as well as greatly reduced cycle times. Interestingly Google uses their own intuitive G Suite tools for their general eRFX. We use G Suite extensively in our business so we can see how that could work, with neat features for online collaboration, unlimited cloud storage and a slick survey tool.
Image via "Quint adopts Google G Suite platform" Consultancy.ac
However similarly you could use G Suite as a CRM tool or an Accounting tool, but you’d potentially lack that best-of-breed application. eAuctions, on the other hand, are much more challenging to replicate using email and online spreadsheets and so Google relies on third-party software. To date, they have run over 900 eAuctions, yet that has covered only 20% of the total third-party expenditure. Their own objective is to eAuction at least 80% of the expenditure.

Therefore one of their highest priorities is to fuel further adoption, given that a mandate is not the Google way. Their approach is to use the carrot rather than the stick using some of these key approaches;
    • Templates are used to minimise the barriers to setting up the auctions.
    • After every auction, the team surveys the stakeholders to gather their feedback for improvements.
    • Individuals who run the auctions are rewarded and recognised for their work.
    • New recruits are brought in who are already proponents of eAuctions.
    • Executive level sponsorship is in place through close involvement of the CIO.
    • Other senior stakeholders are invited to watch the auctions to witness their benefits.

When a contract is awarded without concluding with an auction, the team follows up as to why that was. Perhaps the supply market was monopolistic or perhaps the stakeholder was vehemently against the idea. Either way, this closed loop feedback helps the team learn for next time.
Pivotal to it all is the eSourcing Centre of Excellence, as we’ve seen many times before. The Centre ensures continual process improvement, shared learning and promotion of eAuctions throughout the business, providing dedicated resources for doing so. Their work involves changing the minds and attitudes of the business to run eAuctions by helping to run them, freeing up the buyers to focus more on stakeholder relations. One of our initial clients took a similar approach to this, with their COO storming into procurement meetings asking the team, “Don’t tell me why you can’t do it {eAuction}, tell me how you would do it”. This change in mindset provoked the stakeholders into constructively thinking how the eAuction could be run: quickly presenting a solution when previously there wa a deadlock.


Image result for boss angry cartoon



Since mandating wasn’t an option, the next best course of action taken by the Google team was to affect the governance statement, reviewed by board members, that 80% of Google’s third-party expenditure will be competitively tendered every two years. eAuctions have become the preferred option, with business owners that opt out of using an eAuction needing an appropriate reason for doing so.

Google, like many others, are also conscious that price is just one factor in the total decision, and so post-auction they complete an internal scorecard to look at the total value from each supplier to select the ‘best bidder’ and not the ‘lowest bidder’, mitigating a common objection that eAuctions result in decisions based on price alone.

Finally, to quote the corporate code of conduct from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, “Do the right thing” - which we’d strongly suggest is to find reasons to use an eAuction for all your contract negotiations.


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, 15 March 2017

[Guest Blog] Teaching deal making with Market Dojo

Jon Brinsmead has been buying goods and services for clients for over 20 years including Ahold Delhaize, Unilever and Transport for London. Over the same period of time, Jon has been providing training in commercial management. Jon shares his experiences and thoughts on teaching delegates how to conduct an effective sourcing event through the Market Dojo tool.


Teaching deal making with Market Dojo

I’ve been using Market Dojo’s eAuction software for 3 years now, together with a useful buying scenario provided by Market Dojo - to teach deal making to delegates on a commercial management course.

How it works – Delegates are given the role of seller and have to ‘bid’ into an eAuction for commodity items. The course leader acts as the buyer (and the seller’s manager) and runs the auction.

We run the auctions online, and in real-time, and delegates are given the objective of winning the sale and also making a profitable deal.

Outcomes

Delegates learn how to construct and execute a bidding strategy. They see the pressure that sellers can come under in a real time situation and get to practice in a safe playground. They also get to explore the ‘Price arena’ and understand how the deal-making situation affects supplier behaviours.

Diagram – the PRICE arena

Diagram based on Guhan Subramanian's book Dealmaking

Benefits

Working with Market Dojo is a great experience, everyone is really helpful and the products have a low entry point for learning how to carry out basic operations. The software and service are rock solid. For a small investment of time, delegates get some great experience of the use of online eSourcing software and take away their experience to use in their own organisations.

Commercial bit

If he can help you with a commercial training needs or indeed any deal situation please don’t hesitate to contact him at Jon@Brinsmead.co.uk.

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, 14 March 2017

eWorld March 2017 - My First Tradeshow Experience

My name is Henry and I’m the business development Executive here at Market Dojo. Part of my role is to help the company exhibit at eWorld, which is a conference based on supply chain and procurement software.



This time around, we decided that we would get up early and drive down to eWorld in the morning from Gloucestershire. 4 o’clock in the morning is the worst type of 4 o’clock there is. I was, however lucky enough to have time for a proper coffee before setting off to meet the rest of the team and drive into London.

When we did get to London, myself and Peter Glass set up our fantastic stand that had been organised by Craig Knowles, our marketing guru, while Alun and Lewis parked the car. This year we had a secret weapon. A fresh coffee machine. After some complaints about the quality of coffee available at the last eWorld, we wanted to offer something that everyone needs in a long exhibition day. Fresh coffee. Simple, aromatic and uncomplicated. A bit like Market Dojo when it comes to eSourcing.


That, coupled with the Bacon Sandwiches available for exhibitors, which made me momentarily forget my almost-kosher diet, helped satiate a growing hunger that had been awoken as I got into the car at 5 am.

We met many fantastic delegates from companies all over the world and fellow exhibitors including the lovely team at Baker Wanless. Many were familiar faces, returning, again and again, to tell us how amazing Market Dojo is and how we’re at the forefront of the industry (true words and a direct quote from one of our lovely customers). Many were fairly new to eSourcing and we got to show them how an event would look like in the tool, which was great.


It’s one of the pleasures of the job, teaching people a better way to do things. Some people weren’t really aware of auctions or what they can do to help hit savings targets within procurement teams. Other people have used them but they were too complicated and thus have avoided them going into future projects.

Just before we started taking stuff down at the end of the day, we have a draw every eWorld for the winner of a month’s free license. This year the winner was Debbie Wright. Watch the video of the live draw below.




The Market Dojo afterparty was held in a lovely Lebanese restaurant somewhere in Knightsbridge. An ever adventure loving company, the entire table had Kafte kebabs, which were delicious. We then packed in the car for a chat about where Market Dojo was headed next. We all agreed it was for even bigger and better things. 

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!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Join our inaugural procurement event, Thursday 6th April

Market Dojo is hosting its inaugural procurement event on Thursday, 6th April. The event will offer procurement professionals the opportunity to network and learn from the experts.


"Creating Real Value from eSourcing"
 Thursday 6th April at Stonehouse Court, GL10 3RA.

The event will be hosted in the beautiful setting of Stonehouse Court Hotel and feature presentations from CPO's, Procurement Directors and thought leaders within Procurement. 

The full agenda can be found here.

Alternatively, fill in the short registration form here.

Consult with experts throughout the day to discover how you can make real savings on a number of different categories and learn new sourcing techniques.

Who will be presenting on the day?

    • Sean Floyd, Purchasing Director at The Authentic Food Company
    • Simon Boggis, formerly CPO of Ceva Logistics
    • Graham Woodison, formerly Senior Purchasing Manager at Specsavers
    • Terri Hudson, Managing Director at Baker Wanless 
    • Iain McKenna, Managing Director of Sourcing Solved
    • Nick Ford, Executive Director at Odesma

Who else will be attending the event?

A number of senior procurement professionals from renowned brands will be attending the day including Next, Travis Perkins and McCarthy & Stone.

In addition to the attendees, a range of different procurement solutions will be on hand to offer procurement solutions for Sourcing, Contracts Management, Spend Analysis and Supplier Onboarding.

What do our attendees say?

"We are eager to be attending and finding new ways to generate real savings within procurement. In particular, we are interested in the new strategies that are being adopted within retail and freight procurement. - Philip Corbett, Procurement Manager, Travis Perkins

"It's great to be invited to the Market Dojo event, for us the major benefit of the day is to find new ways in which we can increase eSourcing adoption with our procurement team and learn new best practice techniques." - Daniel Higginson, eSourcing Manager, Next 

"I'm looking forward to uncovering new ways that we can expand our sourcing categories, in particular Market and Energy procurement as key areas that we can produce further savings." - Edward Dring, Procurement Manager, McCarthy & Stone 

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 February 2017

Redefining BIG for Outcome-based Procurement

Kelly Barner, Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point explains the ever-evolving role of procurement, how it has redefined the value of supplier relations and what it means to be BIG.


If procurement has learned anything from our evolution up to this point, it is that scale is often the enemy of strategy. When we give in to the pressure or the desire to take a transactional approach for the sake of covering more ground in less time, we sacrifice the ability to make optimal decisions that draw maximum value from our effort. It is simply impossible to be sprawling and agile at the same time.

In our efforts to become more strategic, we have learned to choose our projects wisely, to follow an approach tailored to the situation at hand, and to think through every step before we take it. When procurement presents our results to the leadership team, it is no longer enough to talk about straight numbers: savings, spend, transactions, and suppliers. Visionary executives want to be informed about relevant nuances: building knowledge transfer bridges internally and creating competitive advantage externally.

Under the old transactional procurement model, the person with the most spend under management or the highest savings percentage was considered the ‘big dog’ in the room. Being known as a tough negotiator used to be a badge of honor. Today, however, with value as a priority and relationships as a key success factor, it is not unusual for those people (and their results for that matter) to be eyed with skepticism. What did you have to say to the supplier to get that rate? How hard did you have to push your stakeholders to get them to standardize their specifications? And what will be the cost of these actions down the road? Will anyone end up happy?

Whether we’ve articulated it or not, most people instinctively know that you can’t max out on savings and spend under management and also form collaborative relationships that generate sustainable returns and innovation in the long term.

In order to accommodate this shift in perspective, procurement has altered the nature of our relationships. We have worked to ensure that standardized processes do not serve as a barrier to opportunity. Although consistency is critical, and frameworks are put in place to help procurement scale our impact, it must always be in-scope to consider an alternative or out-of-the-box approach when the circumstances are right. 

If we are going to continue to advance the evolution already underway, the other thing procurement must ensure that is that we have a ‘proper fit’ relationship with our technology providers. When we evaluate suppliers for strategic partnerships, we compare the size of the fish to the depth of the pond. Do we want to be a big fish in a small pond (influential and dominant) or a small fish in a big pond (safe and overlooked)? The time has come for us to replace the relative size paradigm with one that more closely aligns with the objectives we are trying to achieve. Something other than size or volume should be allowed to set the expectations for procurement’s closest relationships – including our technology providers.

Speed

When you need assistance, time is of the essence. How fast can you expect a response and what level of familiarity do you expect the company to have with your situation? If the issue is not resolved immediately, will the same person remain with you throughout the process and ensure that you are satisfied in the end? Is the customer service you receive at this key time based on scale – anonymous and highly automated – or strategy – personalised and with a high level of ownership?

Culture

How would you describe the company culture where you work? Do you know what kind of a culture is in place at your technology provider? If they were to form a customer panel to collect and review requests for new functionality, what inputs would determine which companies were invited? Would the invitation process be based on scale – where only the largest companies are given voice – or strategy – where deep pockets are balanced with creativity and innovative applications of the technology?

Involvement

Let’s say you don’t have a technical issue, but just want to get a better understanding of the technology roadmap and maybe ask a question or two. Would you have any idea who to call? Do you know the name of anyone who works at your technology provider or do you have to work your way in through a massive switchboard? Are regular interactions based on scale – where only contracted support terms enable you to get access to someone who knows something – or strategy – where the long-term benefits of being accessible and forming relationships with customers are understood.

Part of the most striking evidence that outcome-based procurement has led to the need for a redesign of what it means to be BIG comes from the choices traditionally big companies are making vis-à-vis their technology partners. While big fish used to be forced to swim in big ponds, large, innovative companies are recognizing the advantages of partnering with strategic, agile firms. As they move away from a scale-driven approach to procurement, they recognize that the only way to stay true to a strategic mission is by working with a technology provider that operates hands-on and with the same drive to achieve their objectives as procurement has.

How can Market Dojo help?

Market Dojo offer the best of both worlds, being leading procurement technology providers while also remaining immersed in the day to day application of their technology by working closely with their clients. For years, we’ve been told ‘it’s not personal, it’s business’. In today’s collaborative environment we might say ‘it’s personal because it is important business’. Let them help by defining and delivering on your idea of BIG.

Interested in reading more? Read our case studies:

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, 14 February 2017

Cloud Services, or How We Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Instances

As Market Dojo expands, as all good startups hopefully do, they have begun to need some additional technical staff on hand to support, expand and maintain the eponymous software on which the business depends.

I am the first of these. James, at your service. Well, more at Market Dojo’s service, but since their goal (now, indeed, our goal) is to provide the best possible service to their clients there is a certain amount of inheritance. 
One of my first duties in this role has been to take at least partial ownership of the question “how and where do we host Market Dojo?”. Owning and managing our own ‘bare metal’ servers would be uneconomical both in terms of outlay and maintenance hours, so we have for the last few years outsourced that particular problem to $MediumHostingProvider. 

For a while now, however, the prevailing view within Market Dojo has been that our contract with them has been 'coming to an end’. This is in some ways a shame as they were an early partner in our journey and have provided us with excellent service over the last few years. Nevertheless, as our platform expands, with new features each release and a growing number of clients, the demands we place on our infrastructure itself grow accordingly. 

Currently the Dojo operates as a single shard on a single VPS (Virtual Private Server); this has been fine and workable for a long time, but our desire for resilience and scalability is pushing us to look further afield for solutions - there's only so much peace of mind a good backup system can produce.

It was suggested, and indeed attempted, that we could improve performance at peak times by increasing our various provisions. Since at Market Dojo we use Ruby on Rails as our app framework the expectation was that we would see increased responsiveness with an increase in memory in particular, as although the number of CPU cores available makes some difference Rails is less parallel than one might like.

On evaluation, this solution struck the team as decidedly suboptimal. In particular the difference in usage between times of high demand, such as the Monday morning rush of auctions from our larger clients getting the head start on the week, and times of low demand such as that experienced late on a Sunday afternoon grows linearly with the number of users; the latter case is negligibly close to zero usage by comparison. This would mean that simply increasing our VPS size was more apt to waste money and electricity than to provide a noticeable all-around benefit to both us and our clients.

Better solutions are out there. There are some very large cloud providers offering both IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service; Virtual Private Servers, for example, managed by the user) and PaaS (Platform as a Service; managed services which take care of the deployment, building and running of the background pieces behind an app, such as databases and web servers, as well as hosting) for various needs, most of which are intended to be scaleable. 

After some initial winnowing, we settled on a shortlist of three: IBM Bluemix/Cloud Foundry, AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Google App Engine for PaaS, and the same companies' offerings for IaaS - SoftLayer, EC2 and Compute Cloud respectively.

We had a number of requirements to consider in order to bring this down to a final choice.

    • First, security. We are currently GCloud accredited and registered as a secure service suitable for public sector work, and we wish to maintain that status. Thus, any offering worth considering had to meet high standards of security and reliability; not only because that offers us peace of mind internally, but perhaps more importantly because it enables us to maintain the surety and integrity we have promised to provide to our customers.
    • Second, and most obvious, was price. The ideal solution would not cost substantially more than our existing platform. We set a cap of about 15% increase; it's always worth being realistic about the fact that if one expects to gain something, there's often a price to be paid.
    • Third, equivalent offerings. With our existing capacity in hand, we wanted to be sure that we could have similar provision without having to customise too much; as it turned out this wasn't an issue, as all the providers offer similar instance shapes and sizes.
    • Fourth, user-friendliness. Time spent on ops is time not spent on developing features, fixing bugs or supporting clients. It's never a good idea to begrudge maintenance time, but for a platform to be appealing we had to be satisfied that it would not substantially increase the proportion of our day to day work devoted to keeping the metaphorical machinery oiled. A personal preference for a platform with a good and well tested CLI (command line interface) available was also on the checklist; the more that could be done without opening a browser tab and hunting down a phone to respond to the inevitable multi-factor authentication request the better.
    • Fifth, and uniquely to the PaaS offerings, we needed them to have either good buildpacks or a flexible deployment system, depending on how the platform was configured. Moving an app from self-hosted to such an environment involves dealing with the assumptions of that environment. That's all fine, good and expected, but if 'dealing with the assumptions' means rewriting large chunks of either the app or the configuration to fit that particular service then we would have to move on. Time, after all, is always in short supply. 

That last point was underpinned by a side concern of backward compatibility. Portions of the Dojo are in the process of being refactored, improved and reconstructed, others have already been seen to, but others still are yet to be addressed in this cycle. It's an undeniable fact that any piece of software older than one or two years will be at least partly outdated, unless it is particularly small or has a particularly deific development team behind it. For our purposes this ruled out any platform which enforced restrictions on versions of Ruby, Rails, or any of the various Gems upon which we rely.

The decisions became easier from there on. 


IaaS
PaaS
Benefits
Full control
Someone else administers

Choice of web server
Provided managed web server

Billed by spec (predictable)
Billed by usage (auto-flexible)

Powerful CLI (Usually)
Easy GUI (Usually)

Typically cheaper than PaaS
Low technical knowledge barrier to administration

Can be expanded in real time to cope with changes in demand
Can expand themselves in real time to cope with changes in demand

Easy to automate setup via images or Puppet
Easy to automate setup via config file and push hooks
Drawback
Have to administer manually
No control over software

Responsible for software and dependencies
Often hard to install additional dependencies

Requires technically competent administrator to make any changes
Narrow access routes


Typically more expensive than VPS


Can require official technical support to get anything major done

Tables make everything better. There wasn't a justifiable reason for a good chart or map in this particular investigation, but there were plenty of data to work with all the same. 

There were also a great many emails. An important thing to consider when you're contemplating a move of this kind, especially where it affects the nature of your underlying infrastructure, is how your larger clients might be disposed towards the changes. 

In this case, we consulted with two of our most active large clients, who were helpful in providing both recommendations and requests for the new infrastructure, as both companies have their own security teams. The ability to engage in this sort of collaboration with clients is a boon to all involved, relying heavily on the fact that commercial relationships in general, and security in particular, are inherently positive sum.

Elements of the feedback are confidential, but from our perspective one of the most important points raised was that there is an expectation of external assessment. If you happen to be planning a move of this kind, it would be advisable to budget from the beginning for engaging an independent assessor after the move has been made. We encountered this request before it became relevant, which is another advantage of having this consultation early in the process, so it didn’t constitute a temporal setback despite being effectively a change in scope.


In the ‘known knowns’ column, some of our clients have a strong preference for their data being stored in the EU, subject to the Data Protection Act. This rules out the major US data centres. Fortunately, all the services under consideration had datacentres in either the UK, Ireland or Belgium. We also had to consider encryption and colocation of data, such as would occur in a shared database or shared hosting. An encrypted-at-rest VPS is the very minimum expected, however, so those were not significant barriers.

Had we been looking at smaller hosting providers, or at self-hosting, we might also have had to consider redundancy of hardware in addition to the redundancy of data; one of the major advantages of using the large cloud providers is that they have all those concerns in hand; barring natural disasters, enemy action or Outside Context Problems they are highly unlikely to suffer full loss of data. 

Mitigation of at least the first risk, and in many cases the second, can be performed relatively simply by having backups in a datacentre in another environment. Our particular use case rules out the optimal configuration of having replicas on every continent and under multiple jurisdictions, which lowers the risk of coordinated attack or localised natural disaster (albeit raising the chance of encountering a subpoena); however, all three of our potential suppliers had multiple EU data centres.

All this in hand, we engaged in a deeper dive. 

For testing, we set a procedure:

    • Create an account on the service to be tested
    • Collect on the free trial, where possible
    • Spin up a new instance or equivalent with the same memory provision and number of cores as our current server
      • Points for speed, simplicity, price.
    • Add a database instance with the same specification as currently in use
      • Points for speed, simplicity, price.
    • Set up the environment with our usual software stack, where necessary
      • Points for ease of use, although as we’re likely to use Puppet or similar for future server setups and PaaS offerings do it all for you anyway this was not weighted heavily.
    • Deploy the app
      • Points for build speed where relevant; all the IaaS offerings were tested with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS so there was parity in manual setup.
    • Connect to DB instance if not automatically set up
      • Points for ease of use and secure internal networking
    • Check everything works
    • Evaluate ping, connection speed, server response time, and performance under load
      • We used Apache JMeter for this; it may or may not be the best tool on the market, but it’s excellent for a quick comparison.
      • Points for everything tested
    • Check run time and full billable amount, confirming against the initial estimates from the published prices
      • In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they aren’t

The nice thing about establishing a procedure beforehand is that there isn’t much wiggle room for preference, not enough coffee, or whatever else might be distracting at a given moment. I’m always mindful of a study demonstrating that the simple act of having and using a checklist correctly reduces the incidence of mistakes and negative outcomes.

The result of all this data collection is still to be determined, but so far we’re quite pleased with the results. Overall, we expect to see both an annual cost saving and an increase in performance, at least initially; as we begin to use the potential of the cloud services to mirror, expand and scale the former of those gains may be sacrificed to the latter. That, however, is another article.

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, 13 February 2017

[Case Study] Aggreko create 'Freight eMarketplace' using the Market Dojo tool

Chad Thibodeaux is the Central Logistics Manager for Aggreko North America-Americas. His duties involve the strategic sourcing for Aggreko’s transportation needs
When did you first consider using Market Dojo?

At Aggreko, we are the leading global provider of modular, mobile power, cooling, heating and air solutions. We supply to over 100 countries including to a number of major events such as the PGA tour and Formula 1 Race Days. This is in addition to our regular deliveries of rental solutions and power solutions to refineries, power plants and major construction sites.


We use multiple modes of transportation services to get our equipment moved throughout North America, but for the sake of this conversation, I will divide it into two major categories: local & long haul deliveries. The field service centres that are in close proximity to the delivery location are categorised as ‘local deliveries’. For the majority of these deliveries, we use regional service providers to deliver the equipment. For all of our long-haul deliveries which are further away from our service centres, we use approved service providers that can cover a much larger territory.

Initially, we recognised an opportunity change the way in which we procured our long-haul freight needs. For a number of years, it had been the responsibility of the local service centre teams for the arranging of vehicles and suppliers to long-haul destinations.


However, we felt that if we centralised our long-haul needs into a single central procurement team we might be able to generate high levels of savings and gain greater visibility on our spend. It was at this point that we considered using a tool that included an eAuction solution as it would give us the greatest potential for savings. We were recommended Market Dojo by a partner and have since been implementing it globally.

How have you been using Market Dojo?

Specifically, we’ve been using Market Dojo to create a ‘freight eMarketplace’, centralising all of our long-haul freight needs in North America and reducing costs through Reverse Auctions with suppliers. We have used our list of existing suppliers in addition to specifically chosen new suppliers to generate increased competition for each of the lots. Part of my role as the Central Logistics Manager is to liaise and manage suppliers and to oversee the outsourcing long-haul freight project.

What is your overall aim of using Market Dojo?

Our overall target is to capture and relay the data on a large scale, using those teachings to create further savings and thus getting better value for money, without compromising either the service from our supplier or the quality of service that we provide to our customers.

From the success that we have already had, it’s obvious that we will always be using an eAuction tool. Simply, the success has far exceeded any of the negatives and hopefully, we can continue to streamline and adopt the process on a greater scale.

What challenges did you face with the Freight eMarketplace?

Initially, we struggled with centralising all of the long-haul needs in North America to the new central team. Previously each of the field teams had organised with suppliers for deliveries in their local areas. However, we quickly found that in the past both our local teams and the suppliers had been using a different process to organise deliveries. Consequently, it took time for all of the suppliers to adapt to the new system.


Another issue was the resources needed to manage suppliers. Previously the workload had been spread across numerous teams in the continent. However, we found that with the workload we had to create an internal place within the central team to manage those vendors.

What didn’t you consider until you started the eMarketplace?

One aspect that we didn’t realise was the importance of sending a clear and consistent message to the freight suppliers regarding the eAuctions. In the freight transportation industry, eAuctions are not the norm. Therefore we had to educate many of our suppliers as to the process. At the start, we found a few issues with suppliers such as aggressively bidding but being unable to meet their obligations.

What have you heard back from suppliers?

To be honest, we have heard mixed feedback from suppliers. Some suppliers are unhappy with the process, mostly because those suppliers had previously been awarded a larger amount of business and only had to compete with a small number of other suppliers. Whereas we have heard very positive feedback from other suppliers regarding the process such as the immediate awarding of lots on completion of the eAuction and the increased level of competition, allowing for a greater number of suppliers to be considered.

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!