In the latest episode of AHIC Talks, Fuad Sajdi shares his vision for Toggle Hospitality: to be your go-to digital marketplace for hotel FF&E procurement. This is a revolutionary idea that will save hotels manhours and time on sourcing supplies by providing them with one easy platform from which they can find everything their property needs in just seconds! Fuad also discussed with Jonathan Worsley the innovations planned in its roadmap to enhance the user experience.
Welcome to AHIC talks, a podcast for the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference: The annual gathering of the hospitality and investment community for the Middle East & African region. Tune in each week to hear our team at AHIC share insightful conversations with industry leaders and innovators in the hospitality and investment community. And now, let's dive into this week's episode.
Jonathon Worsley: I'm Jonathan Worsley, and welcome to this episode of AHIC Talks where I have the visionary, the founder, the entrepreneur behind Toggle Market, Fuad Sadji. Fuad, a very warm welcome to you in Dubai.
Fuad Sadji: Thank you. And thank you for hosting me on your podcast.
Jonathon Worsley: Fuad, it's an absolute pleasure but before we discuss Toggle Market tell us about Fuad and where did your career start?
Fuad Sadji: My career path has been nonlinear, to be honest. So I'm a civil engineer by trade, focused on infrastructure, motor and transport. But it feels like I started my career at the age of 12. And that's when I started trading stock options. And that led to my evolution and me developing a keen interest in financial markets. I found myself right after graduating from university working at the Hedge Fund, and at some point joining hospitality procurement business that is global presence, and that sort of led me into hospitality and into what we're doing today at Toggle Market.
Jonathon Worsley: Excellent. And with Toggle Market, what is the problem you are solving?
Fuad Sadji: So Toggle Market is addressing -- facilitates frictionless cross border trade in commerce of high friction, non-standard goods. And we build products that enable this mission that we have. And one of those products happens to be Toggle Hospitality, which serves as a digital marketplace for hotel operating supplies and equipment. And it provides the buyer with a set of workflow tools that joins up a highly fragmented process, which is that procurement process at the pre-opening stage. Quite tedious imagine having to source from hundreds of different manufacturers and prior to confirming your orders, which lead to you having to manage those orders. But prior to you placing those orders, you're shopping around, requesting quotations, and evaluating those bids. So it's a tedious process that's full of mundane chores, and it's highly fragmented. So what we do at Toggle Hospitality for buyers is we we join up with that process, we provide digital solutions and tools that drives efficiencies in the process, streamlines certain functions, therefore saves time, money, it adds economic value at the end of the day.
Jonathon Worsley: Speaking of economic value, what is the overall economic value of such a platform is this?
Fuad Sadji: So our measure of economic value, basically, economic value is an aggregate of material benefits. And it could be in the form of discounts that the buyer is able to achieve, because of the nature of the transactions taking place under direct with manufacturers therefore avoiding intermediaries and a lot of additional costs. And it also saves a lot of time. And time is money at the end of the day because it also is an overhead. There's a cost involved in procuring these items. So we reduce the amount of man hours required to manage the process, and therefore having a direct impact on overheads, budget savings are likely to be up to 10%, maybe at times 15% because intermediaries are also made redundant or eliminated.
Jonathon Worsley: Okay, excellent. And tell us about the network that you have. How big is this network of suppliers and third party providers?
Fuad Sadji: So basically, we don't operate the market place per se, it's a market space; because the transactions are not limited between buyer and supplier. There are also third party providers, as you mentioned. Logistics is one of them that facilitate. So Toggle also provides fulfillment service. But we have partners all over the globe that managed different functions; from warehousing, consolidation, cleaning these items. So that's one set of tenants, and the third party logistics companies that provide non-standard services. And then you have buyers. They drive demand, of course, and you have manufacturers on one end where that provides, they're the market makers. So on the manufacturing side we currently have 39 brands subscribed to Toggle. We consider them to be tenants currently active and ready to serve customer requirements and deal flows.
Jonathon Worsley: So tell me what is the most exciting thing at the moment for you at Toggle Market that you're currently building?
Fuad Sadji: One of the things that excites me the most at Toggle Hospitality actually is a very exciting tool. So one of the things that we've revolutionized, I believe is, and we're going to be really enhancing and the product is going to be incredible, is a digitized version of the bill of quantity that's much more dynamic and interactive with its user and therefore has higher utility factor when looking at the outcome and the users' productivity. One of the tools that we're currently working on is meant to give visibility over the purchase order and what happens afterwards. And that includes also production, as well as logistics and last man delivery. Full visibility and tracking using blockchain technology. So that's one of the projects that excites me the most. And I look forward -- we might have the opportunity of showing it off during the AHIC Innovation then.
Jonathon Worsley: Fantastic that would be great. What's your vision for Toggle Market? I mean, I can imagine this is not too dissimilar to Amazon, but the B2B the Amazon procurement world.
Fuad Sadji: Yes, that's true. B2B ecommerce is a completely different breed than B2C, but they do share certain elements. And that's more so when it comes to aesthetic, but the back end functionalities and the business process that powers and facilitates these transactions is completely different. We refer to it as high friction non-standard, which it's the product category that we cater to and the nature of the transaction, which is for the frictions. Our vision is to establish ourselves as a digital port for cross border trade and commerce of high friction non-standard good. And just like any port, we consider ourselves the meeting point between all the participants in that supply chain, and therefore we refer to these participants as standards. We build web applications to cater to their business processes, help them save time for them to also do things in a manner that is more coherent with their scope of work, and therefore drive efficiency in the complete transaction.
Jonathon Worsley: Okay, now I've got it now. Fuad, why hasn't this been done before?
Fuad Sadji: Basically, our architecture could best be described as an API driven micro-services multi-tenant. The API paradigm has advanced and matured to the point that it now enables us to facilitate the complex nature of interactions between tenants digitally and securely, with also, to a certain extent, decent threshold of latency. It's not too slow, the response time. It's quite API heavy, our business. We're integrated with every single port authority in the globe, except for five. And we're also integrated with some of the world’s largest shipping companies, directly with the ARP systems and tracking systems. We also aggregate data from our users and organize it and convey it back to manufacturers and different tenants so that they can optimize their processes accordingly. And that requires a certain type of integration. And we're also integrating the ERP system. So there's a lot of integrations. Not to mention our applications. We have well over 230 micro-service applications that are integrated with one another. And this is not something that we've done for the sake of doing; this is a necessity. We had to build the way we built. And we couldn't have built it three years ago, because the API paradigm wasn't mature. People have tried but failed because they looked at different methods of doing it.
Jonathon Worsley: So right time, right place, and also you got the knowledge and you've got the team?
Fuad Sadji: We have been blessed to have attracted some remarkable men and women. So definitely the team is in place and we look forward to welcoming more and more people into our family. We're building a remarkable product. I think we're building a powerful tool for buyers and users, for its different stakeholders. When it comes to hospitality it supports different stakeholders from buyers, manufacturers, as well as consultants involved, brings more clarity and centralizes the role of operators and setting standards. So it really enhances the entire and journey of procurement and sourcing at the pre-opening stage.
Jonathon Worsley: How interesting! Well listen for what I look forward to hearing more about what you're doing and the progress you're making at AHIC in September. But thank you very much for joining me on this podcast and giving us an insight as to what you're doing Toggle Market.
Fuad Sadji: Thank you, Jonathan.
Thank you for listening to AHIC Talks, a podcast for the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference. For a full transcript of this conversation, along with other reports and insights visit AHIC.com. We look forward to welcoming you and your colleagues live and in-person at AHIC in Dubai from the 20-22 of September 2021. Register and purchase your pass today at AHIC-dot-com and save on the early bird rate. For any questions email us at Hello@AHIC.com. Until next week, stay safe and keep well.
Published 25 July 2021