FOR EV Supercharges Its Sourcing and Supplier Onboarding with Market Dojo

FOR EV Supercharges Its Sourcing and Supplier Onboarding with Market Dojo

E-SOURCING, ESOURCING, eSourcing software
Case Studies, Testimonials

Overview

FOR EV is a pioneering provider of charging stations for electric vehicles (EV).

Their ambitious plans involve delivering high-quality, accessible electric vehicle charging hubs across the UK and a unique fleet proposition, which offers bespoke solutions for fleets of all sizes to transition to a net zero future with ease.

As a rapidly growing company, its ability to send out tenders via emails was significantly hampering the efficiency and competitiveness of this process.

With newly appointed Commercial & Procurement Manager, Denis Lyden, taking over the procurement helm, one of his first priorities was to digitise the procurement process to improve professionalism, pace and performance in line with the company’s hypergrowth goals.

We spoke in depth with Denis about his successful experience with Market Dojo Sourcing and Supplier Onboarding.

Read on for full case study or Download PDF


Challenges

Charging operator complexity

FOR EV’s business model as an EV charge point operator is to source the equipment, maintain it, and provide the electrical charge to the station over its lifespan of approximately 25 years. 

In terms of the installation and civil works—digging up roads, laying cables, getting the equipment in place—FOR EV needs a robust supply chain of contractors and suppliers.

To add a further layer of complexity, FOR EV must integrate with UK-wide Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) such as Scottish Power and National Grid.

Before adopting Market Dojo’s solutions, FOR EV relied on inefficient email communication to manage this complex supply chain which led to inconsistent, resource-heavy procurement and admin processes.

Knowing there was a better way, and having seen the software in action at a previous company, Denis approached Market Dojo. 

“Prior to joining FOR EV, I worked for a UK-wide facilities management company and we went through a process where we were considering switching to Market Dojo from another provider that we were using. I left before the process was completed but I was really impressed with what I’d seen of Market Dojo,” recalls Denis.

Turning complexity into clarity

Having a background in both public and private sector procurement, including starting his career as a software developer of e-tendering platforms, Denis had clear objectives of what he wanted to achieve. He also had direct experience using many of the software solutions available on the market and was keen to get the right solution for the company.

“I had prior knowledge of e-sourcing when I came to FOR EV so one of my objectives was to look at what was out in the market and what potential solutions I could put in place to do what we needed,” says Denis.

He goes on to say, “Competitive tendering was not something we did as a matter of course because of the complex processes that we go through to land sites and get connections. Previously, we tended to go to maybe one, maybe two, potential contractors via email so we were really looking for something that would allow us to better manage that process going forward and open up the competition.” 

Solution

Why Market Dojo?

There were several requirements that Denis identified as key to finding the right solution, and the reason he chose Market Dojo Sourcing and Supplier Onboarding.

First, the solution needed to provide a simple, straightforward platform to run multiple tenders and evaluate bids within the system. 

Second, Denis wanted the flexibility to use the platform for supplier onboarding and management of suppliers and contractors. This was an important piece of the puzzle for Denis as supplier onboarding is used in part to manage the Health & Safety / Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulations of suppliers and contractors.

As a growing company, cost was an additional driver. Denis gives his thoughts on Market Dojo’s pricing model, “I think Market Dojo is probably one of the most competitive in the market that I’ve come across in terms of the level of functionality that you get with the system.”

The ease of implementation

Due to his experience, Denis opted to handle the internal training and stakeholder buy-in personally which proved to be an easy process.

“The training piece and buy-in has been pretty straightforward. Initially it was mainly myself running the tenders, but now we’ve got another team member actively using the system. We’ve also started to expand it across the business in terms of giving view access to the business development team so they can look at the various quotes and tenders that have gone out through the system and see where particular projects are at any point in time.”

Furthermore, the implementation time was completed in weeks, “We rolled out the system in mid November, then by December we started to put live tenders through the software.”

Outside of Denis’ team, were there any issues with new users adopting the system? 

“There’s not really been issues on either side in terms of contractors or internally with the guys using the system. Contractors have bought into it and they can see it’s pretty straightforward in terms of what we’re asking them to do,” explains Denis.

He goes on to say, “It was a bit of culture shock for them (contractors) to abide by timescales etc. when they weren’t used to doing that for us. So, with the first few tenders, we had a few people not submit by the deadlines but I think we’ve got a handle on that now. With the last tenders we’ve run, everyone’s given us what we’ve asked for, on time.”

Better than email tenders

By moving away from emails as the main form of running tenders, Denis has brought a new level of professionalism to FOR EV’s procurement processes.

“By being that bit more professional—in terms of what we’re sending out, how we’re sending it out, holding to the timescales, closing it down when it closes so there are no late bids—we have gained more structure around the process which has been good,” says Denis, “And we’re able to push compliance (of suppliers adopting the new process) when the business is able to say, ‘look, this is how we’re running these now’.”

Results

Easy comparison of contractors

The biggest surprise that Denis had is being able to directly compare contractors’ quotes or bids and seeing the difference which, in some cases, is significant.

“It’s a bit of a strange market. When we (FOR EV) have a point of connection, we own that for a period of time and it has an asset value that goes with it. So, at the end of its life, it’s worth something because it’s a physical connection into the electricity network. We’ve paid for the civil installation, but for the land-owner the connection in the ground is an asset. Until now, we haven’t really had any direct comparison across our main contractors.”

Now that FOR EV are using Market Dojo Sourcing, they have control over the connection point and are able to send the tender to more contractors, enabling a wider comparison of costs, and assessment on future value, rather than relying on negotiating good rates with only one or two contractors.

Denis explains this further, “With the system (Market Dojo Sourcing), we can go out to say five contractors and see a comparison of their cost—who’s more expensive for the civil part, who’s more generous on the residual asset value—and that’s given us a much clearer picture of who potentially we will use going forward. We’ve now got a clearer idea where the strengths and weaknesses lie across the supply chain in terms of what it costs to put something in the ground, but also what it’s worth to keep it going forward.”

Realising cost savings

We delved deeper, to find out how this has equated to cost savings. 

“Savings wise, just by averaging the tenders out we can see that we’ve saved money on the jobs that we’ve gone forward with,” says Denis.

Furthermore, with the data driven insights from the system, FOR EV has more leverage to negotiate. 

“I’d say the most valuable part has been the comparison of tenders that allows us to challenge the contractors to say, ‘we know you get this asset value but you’re also holding potentially 50% of that back,’ which to be fair they’re entitled to do but, ‘the two others (contractors) competing with you have passed on the full value to us’.”

Overall, by using Market Dojo Sourcing, Denis and his team have far more visibility into the bidding process and are confident they are getting true market value from their suppliers. 

“We wouldn’t have this if we hadn’t changed the process and introduced the system (Market Dojo). It’s given us a lot more visibility.”

Improving supplier relationships

By running tenders and onboarding suppliers through Market Dojo’s solutions, FOR EV have strengthened relationships with their contractors by having regular and open communications. 

“It has enabled us to engage with contractors more and has opened up a two-way conversation about the information being sent out. We also have monthly supplier relationship meetings and the tender pipeline is one of the big agenda items. So yes, it’s certainly increased the communication between us—we’ve probably spoken to them more in the previous six months than ever before—so this has been good,” says Denis.

The Future

Big plans afoot

So, what’s planned for the future in terms of FOR EV’s sourcing and supplier management?

“We’ve got a huge pipeline of work and potential new sites under development so, as that work becomes available, our leverage in the marketplace will increase,” explains Denis. 

“We deal with some big UK-wide organisations and, as we start to put more work their way, those relationships will change. I see the sourcing platform being key to these relationships allowing us to standardise terms and conditions which we’ve not always done.”

Outside of these big players, there is further potential for FOR EV’s procurement.

“There’s a big market for us to explore and again, the Market Dojo platform allows us to tap into the registry of 400 ICPs (Independent Connection Providers). If we wanted to, we could invite them all to be onboarded.”

In terms of supplier performance, how is that being measured?

“We’re starting to look at the (Market Dojo) modules for supplier performance in terms of how we tie that into onsite delivery. The number of sites going live is likely to quadruple over the next 12 months so we’ll have more examples of work delivered which will form part of performance measurement going forward.”

Denis is also expanding ESG and sustainability requirements into supplier questionnaires to facilitate compliance. With Market Dojo’s automated and generative AI powered questionnaires, specifying ESG and sustainability requirements has never been easier.

“When we are bidding for public sector work there’s an onus on us as the charge point operator to be, for example, using 100% renewable energy, or to meet regulations on the uptime of the charging equipment. So anything that we need to do (for ESG and sustainability) is being built in the supplier onboarding questionnaires.”

Key lessons learnt

We asked Denis for any advice and tips he would give to someone who was just starting a digital transformation project in sourcing. 

“Embrace it. I think finding the right product that delivers what you’re looking for in terms of the specifics. Get a clear idea of what you need and then find a solution that fits with that and can grow with you.”

“A lot of the (sourcing and supplier management) products come with functionality that is probably not needed. I’ve used some of the public sector solutions and there’s probably 90% of the functionality that you’re never going to need. Find the one that suits your needs and allows you to grow with it. That’s the key.”

Market Dojo’s flexible pricing model and modular structure allows the system to grow as the company needs it, making it an accessible solution for those starting out with digital transformation projects.

And lastly…

Would you recommend Market Dojo?

“Yes, it’s easy to use. All the functionality that you’re likely to need is there. The system’s easy to configure and the price point is great. Access to Market Dojo’s support has been great too—any questions have always been answered really quickly and you get a personal response which is really good,” concludes Denis.

DOWNLOAD PDF TO SHARE THIS CUSTOMER STORY – OR REQUEST A DEMO WITH THE TEAM

FOR EV Supercharges Its Sourcing and Supplier Onboarding with Market Dojo

ABOUT FOR EV

Transport is the UK’s biggest contributor to carbon emissions, with fleets being responsible for a significant part of the UK’s carbon footprint. To address this challenge, in addition to providing ‘destination’ charging at public locations, FOR EV has developed a bespoke solution for fleet owners and operators. This includes grid connection, installation, service and maintenance, insurance, 24/7 support, 98% uptime, and comprehensive management information reporting.

FOR EV’s charge points only use 100% fully accredited renewable energy, further supporting ESG reporting requirements.

FOR EV’s main investor, The Scottish National Investment Bank, is supporting the company’s ambitions to help businesses that can accelerate Scotland’s journey towards net zero.

 

June 19, 2024
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