## Archive for October, 2019

### Nested if/then Statements for Everyday Use

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

Most problems don’t have solutions as simple as yes or no, such as “if A, then ‘yes’. If B, then ‘no’”. Solutions are more often evaluated through multiple sets of dependencies, such as “if A+B is greater than C, then find the average of X-Z”. Of course these statements aren’t intuitive, so if we don’t understand how to use them formally in logic equations or computer code, we are much less likely to get them right in real life situations. So here’s a crash course in Excel “IF” statements:

The basic description of the “IF” function is “If something is True, then do something, otherwise do something else”. To see it in action, start with typing “=IF” in an Excel cell of your choice. You’ll see Excel suggest the full formula as “=IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])”. Each of those statements within the parentheses is a variable that does something specific, and they have to be separated by a comma so that Excel knows when you are entering a new variable. Here is how each variable behaves within the function:

• “logical_test”: This means there must be an active function. Let’s go with an example of “A1>B1”.
• “value_if_true”: Whatever value you include in this variable, will populate the cell you’re programing the formula for, if the “logical_test” variable is true. Such as if A1 = 2, and B1 = 1.
• “value_if_false”: Whatever value is in the false variable, will be populated if “logical_test” is untrue. Such as if A1 = 1 and B1 = 2.

So if we insert some example variables into the formula like so: “IF(2>1, “Yes”, “No”)

This function would insert a “Yes” into the cell being programmed, and is one of the more simple ways to use the function. However, you can swap any of the aforementioned variables for other formulas as well. This is called “nesting”.

For example, you could write a formula like this: “=IF(K5<K6,”YES”,IF((COUNT(H7:H10>2)),”HIGH”,”LOW”))

Let’s describe what this function is doing in sentence form, with a context of evaluating vendor proposals: If Vendor 1’s cost is lower than Vendor 2’s cost, enter “YES” into the cell, if Vendor 1 is not lower than Vendor 2, then if the number of DC’s the new vendor carries is greater than 2, enter “HIGH” into the cell, otherwise enter “LOW” into the cell. This tells me either to select Vendor 1, or to evaluate several other dependencies to make a final decision.

This level of specificity is not normal in everyday speech, but is absolutely critical in procurement. If you have a vendor proposing an agreement, a full evaluation of the value proposition can’t be based on just one variable. Practicing this and other logic functions in Excel and other tools is an excellent way to hone your ability to evaluate complex procurement problems.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

### Can you hear me now?

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Today’s Post is by Eli Razov, Senior Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Cellphones and smartphones have become such an integral part of our daily routine. Most people wake up roll over and grab their phone, whether to check social media or the news, our first waking moments are spent on screen. This continues throughout the day into the office. A survey has found that most employees spend roughly 56 minutes a day on their phones. While managers surveyed assumed their employees were looking at social media, many employees said they were actually reading and responding to personal emails. In addition, 58 percent of workers reported using their cell phones to visit websites that were blocked or banned by their employer.

Because of the constant use, employers are constantly developing and changing policies that address usage at work. Most employers do not think about a cell phone policy in the workplace until they realize they have a problem. Regardless of popularity, it is an absolute necessity to use a call phone policy once it reaches this tipping point. While this does not need to be an extremely detailed or no-phone policy, employers should consider incorporating their own unique policy based on the nature of the business, i.e. security, safety, or other companies of a confidential nature. There’s nothing wrong with laying out a policy clearly states to your employees how you’d like them to use their cell phones during work hours. Perhaps limiting phone calls to emergency-only is a reasonable solution. You could ask employees to keep their phones in desk drawers on vibrate. If you’re in a setting that involves heavy interaction with the public (like retail or service), you could ask employees to keep their phones in their lockers.

SafeSourcing has helped many clients put together cellphone use policies, as well as sourcing employer-provided cell phone plans. We can help you by structuring cell phone plans, as well as incorporating usage policies customized to your needs. Contact a SafeSourcing representative to help today!

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact SafeSourcing  we have an entire team waiting to assist you today.

Citation:

https://fortune.com/2017/07/25/cell-phone-lost-productivity/#targetText=The%20average%20worker%20spends%20a,work%20for%20non%2Dwork%20activity.

### Ugly Produce

Friday, October 18th, 2019

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.

I was recently quite surprised to find out that there is an “Ugly Produce” movement which was originally started as a way to combat the massive problem of food waste. It has now become a big business and start-ups have sprung up selling less than perfect fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away due to imperfections in their appearance. One California farmer states, “Ten million tons of unharvested food is lost each year. If we used all of the food that is produced in this country, we could end world hunger. It’s not a supply issue, it’s a distribution issue.” There are debates about whether this is disingenuous given the complexity of the nation’s food system. Critics are saying this is not the answer, but farmers say it is the way of the future.

This produce is being packaged and sold to customers at a fraction of the cost. One company, Imperfect Produce, is a service that delivers seasonal, cosmetically imperfect produce for affordable prices. They and similar companies such as, Misfits Market and Hungry Harvest market themselves as solutions against food waste. The company defines “imperfect” in several ways: cosmetic damage, surplus or excess inventory, undervalued or lack of demand, or doesn’t meet a strict specification from the buyer, usually in the way it’s harvested or packaged.

USDA guidelines separate produce into grades based on size and color, so “imperfectly” good vegetables that don’t make it to store shelves, due only to irregularities in appearance, end up going to waste. Some of this produce does get distributed to food banks and soup kitchens, but the costs to ship is sometimes more expensive than the actual product. A significant portion of the country’s produce is grown in California, so the majority of Imperfect’s fruits and vegetables come from there. They work with over 200 growers nationwide and source most of its produce (78%) from family farms or cooperatives.

About one-fifth of produce is trashed simply because it’s unattractive. And while food waste experts have said tossing perfectly edible produce is a global issue, Americans are particularly bad offenders. Some 60 million tons, or \$160 billion worth, of fruits and vegetables gets thrown away in the United States every year, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American family of four throws out an annual \$1,600 worth of produce.

Almost half of all produce harvested in the United States is never eaten. Fruits and vegetables go unpicked in fields or get thrown away at the store, simply because they don’t look good. I’m not sure when we started the habit of throwing out edible food that isn’t the most attractive, but there are definitely too many people going hungry in this world to just overlook the possibility of supplying where there is a demand.

References:

### Are you using the right streaming device?

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing, Inc.

Amazon recently released its new 2nd generation Fire TV Cube. The Fire TV Cube is a powerful streaming device that is combined with the Amazon Echo. With the built in speaker and eight microphones, you can now control your television with your voice from any direction within the room. For example, you can view a list of movies by simply saying, “Alexa, show me 4K movies.” The device can also control other functionalities such as controlling the television’s power and volume.   The 2nd generation Cube also comes with the Alexa Voice Remote so that you can control your TV and device without talking as well. Using the Fire TV Cube allows you to enjoy streaming from Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ and many other streaming services. You can also access some of your favorite websites such as Facebook and Reddit using the browser apps available for download. You can also stream millions of songs and use the voice activation to request your favorite songs, artists and playlists and control playback through services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Spotify. Since the Fire TV Cube has Alexa built in, you can also control smart home devices, check the weather and all of the other features that Alexa has to offer. Below are some other features that are available with the new version of the Fire TV Cube.

1. Hexa-Core Processor
2. 2160p, 1080p and 720p up to 60 fps Video Output
3. Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI Pass Through up to 5.1 Audio Support
4.  16 GB Storage
5. 2 GB Memory
6. Bluetooth
7. Wi-Fi Connectivity
8. Ethernet Support
9. Listen with compatible Bluetooth Headphones

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Director of HR and Administration at SafeSourcing

Timing matters when it comes to buying the things you need or want. For instance, the hottest week in the summer may have some of the highest prices for air conditioning repair or the week after Halloween is often a low cost time to buy candy. There are some items that take a bit more research than the seasonal ones mentioned above, though. Following stock prices, market trends, and global to local news often provides the best insight into what prices may do. For example, if a region of the country that yields high amounts of corn has been devastated with drought or floods, their yield will likely not be as high as initially expected. Even further than that, if the yield is lower or the quality is lessened, every product that uses that corn will be affected. This can include things like feed, which can in turn affect livestock. One product’s price greatly affects all those other products reliant upon it.

Determining the right time to buy something doesn’t always have to be so complicated. For instance, you can buy your kid’s Christmas presents throughout the year as you happen to see a good deal (which I highly recommend) and you can not only have your shopping done ahead of the season and avoid the crowds and the rush of people, but also can spend less than you might had you waited. For more complex products and the ideal time to purchase, try using a procurement professional, like SafeSourcing. They likely have already sourced the product or service you are looking for and already know the ins and outs of it, helping you not only save time, but spend less money and less effort.

While there normally is no guarantee that you are receiving the best pricing, this is actually something SafeSourcing can do. We can guarantee that through us you can save more money on the things you already purchase or you don’t pay us (Risk Free!). No matter what items or services you are looking for, we can save your more. We can even help you determine which categories and items would bring in the most savings and when the right time to source them is.

We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

### What is a Third Party Procurement Company?

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc Archives

What is a Third Party Procurement Company? The quick answer? We are our client’s right-hand man in procurement.

When speaking to suppliers, on a daily basis, we are asked who are you, why are you working on behalf of so and so, and what does third party mean?

The name third party procurement company has a couple of other names that mean the same thing, but are just as confusing, PSP or Procurement Service Provider.

According to Procurement Service Provider:

A Procurement Service Provider, or PSP, is a third party organization or consultant which is used to supplement internal procurement departments. PSP’s have their own staffing which assist in a variety of tasks for their clients. These tasks include: strategic planning, implementing best practices, supplier rationalization, and supplier collaboration, strategic sourcing and negotiation.

“Enterprises utilizing PSP’s have been able to improve spending coverage, reduce costs for goods and services, employ industry best practices, leverage the latest procurement technologies, and streamline source-to-pay processes – all without taking on the risks and assets required to achieve such results.” Aberdeen Group Research Abstract: You Will Outsource Procurement: Here’s Why and How – October 16, 2002.

SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

### Can recessions represent opportunity Part II of II?

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Please view Part I  of this post to understand this subject matter in its entirety.

Recession brings destruction, and with that opportunity, within the gaps created by those business changes. Many other firms have simply pulled back, and have less aggressive marketing, and are less aggressively pursuing new opportunities, new customers, and new products. Others have been effective in centralizing purchasing, locking in supplier commitment, and transforming their internal purchasing culture. All the above scenarios create opportunity savings for the suppliers.

But how do the purchasers take advantage of the changing business landscape?

A more aggressive survival of the fittest environment means the incumbent suppliers are more apt to make concessions in order to keep your business, making the market more competitive. That is, more competitive for your business. Furthermore, more suppliers are focusing on converting to leaner product management, meaning lowering inventories and overhead. The most difficult aspect of taking advantage of this is sifting through the overwhelming number of suppliers, and creating an environment that breaks down the pricing informational barriers, in order to promote competition for your business. How do you take advantage of this competitiveness in a way that’s safe, effective, and manageable?

That’s what we do. We do the research, the legwork, and bring the competitive environment to bear in a way that is risk free to the supplier, but high reward to the businesses that establish the purchasing relationship.

If you think your business could benefit from our managed sourcing solutions, contact a  SafeSourcing customer services representative and we’d be happy to discuss your strategic options.

### Can recessions represent opportunity Part I of II ?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archive.

Do you know what FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, Disney, Hyatt, MTV, and CNN all have in common? They were all started during periods of economic recession.
Uncertainty in the business landscape can fuel tremendous opportunity. How many corporations are trying to scale down excess inventory and are willing to sell at drastic discount to do it? How many dislocated and highly skilled professionals are willing to accept historically low salaries to find reliable work? How many consumers have drastically changed their purchasing behaviors?

To the adaptive go the spoils?

That last scenario is the one that frightens retail businesses the most.

After all, who wants to abandon their core business and cash cows? That’s a scary proposition, when traditionally most firms would prefer low risk/low reward stability over higher risk innovative adaptability (Consumers have the same career mindset, as you’ll see below). However, as our highly dynamic economic and technological environment has repetitively proven, no one can afford not to adapt if they want to survive. Some corporations and new startups have discovered that trying to convince consumers to spend the way they used to (and can no longer afford to) is a losing game, and that the real opportunity is to discover and acquire a share of the new ways consumers are spending. For instance, Target has rebranded itself as a discount designer product store. For others though, it may be more prudent to create spin-off discount brands to serve that market, but keep that brand insulated from your premium brand to prevent any negative ass
ociations of discount retail from your primary brand. Opportunity is not exclusive to consumer spending though, it exists also in the new ways consumers are seeking revenue.

Counterintuitive to what most of us might think about recession-era job seekers, is that there has been a shift in emphasis away from the pursuit of higher pay for potential job seekers.

Due to the insecurity the population is feeling however, it should come as no surprise that security is the consistent priority, replacing pay scale as the most sought after characteristic of employment. A 2010 poll by the Associated Press showed 64% of workers under 25 years of age are unhappy with their jobs, and less than half of all Americans are happy with their jobs. What does this mean to employers? There exists opportunity in recruiting talent, and they are looking more for stability than they are looking for large salaries. Of course, savings in production are being pursued just as fervently as savings in acquisition, but everyone can benefit from these savings all along the supply chain.

Please check back tomorrow to read part II of Michaels informative post.

### Understanding International Freight Terms

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Freight Terms: The world’s least sexy topic, second only to App Store terms and conditions. However, if you and your buyer/seller have a completely different understanding of how and when your goods are getting from point A to point B, where ownership is taken over, or what fees are included and which aren’t for example, the results can be disastrous. Sometimes even dangerous, depending on how vital the products you are moving are to their recipients, in the case of medical supplies for example.

The major international freight terms have been standardized by the international chamber of congress, into a set of rules designated as INCOTERMS®. These terms went into effect in 2011, most of which have 3 letter designations, and are regularly updated. More of these terms and additional details can be found at www.export.gov.

Here are a few of the more commonly used international freight terms which understanding can make your life a lot easier. The last two terms are not considered INCOTERMS®, however are common practices important to understand:

DDP: Delivery Duty Paid

(Port or destination must be named) This term signifies that the price invoiced includes all freight, insurance, duties, and taxes up to the agreed upon destination point. After which point the buyer takes on all ownership and risk.

DES: Delivered Ex Ship

(Port and ship must be named) In this instance, the seller bears all costs associated to getting the product to the port identified, but their obligations are fulfilled at the point of arrival, and the buyer takes on ownership and responsibility before it leaves ship.

Importer Of Record

Identifies the entity responsible for ensuring legal compliance, completing duty entry and associated documents, and paying the taxes and import duties for those goods.

This document, issued by the carrier, acts as the contract for carriage, as well as the buyers proof of ownership and receipt for accepting delivery. This document often includes the freight costs, item list, date of departure and arrival, departure and arrival locations, and the names of the buyer and seller.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

### The Importance of Marketing your Brand

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. archives

How are you marketing your brand? Is it bringing in the customer base you desire? Are you achieving your desired results?

Your company brand is your mark of distinction; it’s what sets you apart from your competitors. When you establish your brand, it is important to also develop a plan of execution by implementing a brand marketing strategy. Your level of commitment reassures consumers, suppliers, and anyone else that your company does business with that they can trust you.

“Brand management is so important that Reputations Corporation, a Vancouver-based consultancy group, reports that 72 percent of consumers say reputation influences their buying decisions; 80 percent of employees will accept less pay to work with a company with an excellent reputation; while another 89 percent say reputation is a tiebreaker between equal products. Whether you’re trying to influence key decision makers or attract and retain top talent, you’ll want to consider the following tips on managing your company’s brand.” (Fenn, 2010)

If you need help with: buying marketing tools, hiring the right marketing consultants or with any advertising avenues. We can assist you with your sourcing needs and look into the potential savings in the process.

SafeSourcing, Inc. provides innovative eProcurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers, and provide superior value for all stakeholders. In addition to providing information, tools and services, SafeSourcing proactively supports consumer safety and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain management process. To learn more, visit SafeSourcing.com

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