Established in 1994, Mercadoe is now undergoing an expansion process. After reaching the value of R$ 100 billion in transactions, the marketplace focused on the B2B sector is expected to grow around 30% during 2020, due to e-commerce service expansion. The foreign public is also targeted by the company, which has offices in the United States and Portugal is starting its operations in Mexico.
In an interview to Computerworld, Eduardo Nader – Mercadoe CEO – addressed aspects such as the company’s digital transformation process and how he has been reinventing himself, within his leadership position, to lead the company he founded through this period of change. See the interview below.
5 questions to Eduardo Nader, Mercadoe CEO
1. CW: Mercadoe has been structured within a model similar to what we know today as marketplace, a format used by an increasing number of businesses. In ME’s history, what were the main mistakes and learnings that occurred when working within this system?
Eduardo Nader: Since our establishment, 25 years ago, we haven’t stopped to learn. We observed and reflected on the challenges of the procurement process and identified at least three aspects that were vital at the start, to achieve more efficiency: reliability, technical competence and negotiation.
With time, we realized that technology couldn’t be supported by itself. It’s important to add services, in order to effectively achieve the expected results from their use. We made this move and companies were then able to raise Procurement to a more strategic position.
Bringing together a community of buyers and suppliers in a single space (Marketplace), with the aim of providing a negotiation environment, was quite challenging. Many companies hadn’t even access to the Internet; the good old fax was often the best solution at the time.
The impact of joining this transformation can be measured by the reduction of procurement product and service costs by 3% to 11%, in addition to a decrease of up to 90% in the procurement area’s operational costs.
By the end of 2019, we could showcase R$ 100 billion in transactions. Currently, we have 8,000 buyer users and more than 1 million suppliers. We must face challenges at all times. We have to reinvent ourselves, take risks and learn from our mistakes.
2. CW: In several interviews, you said that knowing the profile of professional buyers was – and still is – a decisive factor for business. In a time with growing demand for actions aimed at Customer Experience, what can companies do to better understand their customers’ needs, in an assertive way?
Eduardo Nader: The right way is understanding what has value for our customers and then manage the delivery of such values on an ongoing basis. Consumers don’t want a service or product only; they want to succeed in their businesses, with what they have just acquired.
Procurement professionals must be more and more equipped with data, from transactions and from their customers’ businesses, as the mix of both can be useful to create strategies, in order to provide a better experience to the end customer. Information tells more than “perceptions” do.
3. CW: With technologies like 5G and Internet of Things at our doors, what initiatives are being taken by Mercadoe to stay competitive during the digital transformation?
Eduardo Nader: At Mercadoe, we believe that an innovation culture must come before any technological trend. Starting from that, we work with small, multifunctional teams, with different characteristics – which generates a health of innovation in the company’s daily operations. We produce more with fewer people, thanks to the agile management model.
We are also using Artificial Intelligence (AI). We have a flow control in place for large information volumes, created by machine learning and AI, which provides faster and better answers. Additionally, we rely on a flexible platform that easily adapts to the business processes of the companies to which we work.
4. CW: For some years now, Mercadoe has been positioning itself as a company that values human assets. What contributions has this approach brought to the business?
Eduardo Nader: The key ME’s value is “People First”. After this initiative, the “ME Desenvolvo” program was created, with the purpose of training professionals, sharing experiences and providing well-being to those who work at the company.
Appreciation to employees is reflected in awards such as GPTW Brasil – which highlighted our company, for the second year in a row, among the 150 best companies to work in Brazil, and also in the IT ranking.
Mood surveys show that people are now looking for self-reliance and professional development. We have taken this into account to establish our values in the environment of daily work.
This quest to satisfy our employees has been rewarded with a growth above 20% a year.
5. CW: Stories of companies that had to change their command position are not uncommon, as the founder, who was involved in the company’s early years, didn’t show the required skills to lead the company in new times. What “transformations” had you to undergo to keep up with the growth of Mercadoe?
Eduardo Nader: I always try to spend a few months away from the company, studying and talking to CEOs around the world, in order to learn new strategies and keep pace with the market. Moreover, Mercadoe has a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board that are very helpful in this regard, always bringing new insights and trends to the business.
We have also a very participative strategy formulation process, which is reviewed on a quarterly basis with our managers, in order to align and check if we are on the right path.