What’s in Your Water?

May 25th, 2017

Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974

 

Today’s post is by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974 to protect drinking water.  This act also protects rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. There are approximately 54,000 public water systems that serve the same people year-round. Most residences, including homes, apartments, and condominiums in cities, small towns, and mobile home parks are serviced by Community Water Systems.  The safety of these water systems is detrimental to our health, and the health of our ecological environment.

Why should we be concerned with vehicle washwater?

Washwater from vehicle/equipment cleaning activities may contain significant quantities of oil and grease, suspended solids, heavy metals, and organics, as well as pollutants from detergents. These pollutants can be toxic and harmful to living organisms, including fish. The ingestion of the affected fish by people can also be harmful. Washwater from pressure washing and steam cleaning are likely to have more pollutants than cold, low-pressure water.

Oil and grease contain hydrocarbon compounds, some of which can injure or kill aquatic life even at low concentrations. Oil and grease can also coat fish gills and prevent oxygen from entering water, starving fish and other aquatic life.

Some detergents may contain metals such as arsenic. Low concentrations of dissolved metals can be toxic to living organisms. Detergents contain emulsifiers that break up oil particles. Emulsifiers can also cause harm to aquatic life. Many detergents also contain nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen. High nutrient levels in streams and lakes can harm water quality by stimulating excess weed and algae growth. This overgrowth causes unpleasant odors and scents, and depletes oxygen levels necessary to support fish life.

Washwater discharge options 

There are three options available for the disposal of vehicle washwater (one is not recommended).

■ Preferred option: Zero discharge, or closed-loop water recycling

■ Second option: Discharge to a municipal wastewater system

■ Third option (not recommended): Discharge to land or ground

Of these options, zero discharge, or the use of water recycling systems is the preferred option and is strongly encouraged. The second most preferred option is to discharge to a municipal wastewater system.  (Program Development Services Section, Revised November 2012).

The International Carwash Association has completed a two-year study that is designed to gather and analyze data regarding wastewater discharges, as well as contaminant levels in solid wastes. Professional car washing is unique in the fact that it has the capability of collecting both discharges of water and solid waste.  (Chris Brown, Water Conservation Consultant, 2002).

The SDWA sets up multiple barriers against pollution, but  the public is responsible for helping local water suppliers to set priorities, make decisions on funding and system improvements, and establish programs to protect drinking water sources. Water systems across the nation rely on citizen advisory committees, rate boards, volunteers, and civic leaders to actively protect this resource in every community in America.

For more information on how 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.

We look forward to your comments.

Works Cited —————————————————

Chris Brown, Water Conservation Consultant. (2002). Water Effluent and Solid Waste Characteristics in the Professional Car Wash Industry. Chicago: International Carwash Association. Retrieved from https://www.carwash.org/docs/default-document-library/water-effluent-amp-solid-waste-characteristics-in-the-professional-car-wash-industry.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Program Development Services Section. (Revised November 2012). Vehicle and Equipment Washwater Discharges/Best Management Practices Manual. Olympia: Washington State Department of Ecology. Retrieved from https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/95056.html

 

Multi vs. Single Stream Recycling

May 23rd, 2017

Do you recycle correctly?

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing

Not long ago, if you wanted to participate in recycling programs, you had to have several different bins in your home that separated glass, plastic, and paper. But increasingly we see bins in public businesses that simply say “recycling”, and have a single roll-away blue container accompany our regular trash cans. In a nutshell, the old system I described is called “multi-stream” recycling, and the second system is known as “single-stream” or “mixed” recycling.

The advantage of single-stream is that it allows users to fill a single recycling container with almost any kind of recyclable material. This in turn makes it easier to participate in recycling programs, because it doesn’t require any pre-sorting by the person disposing of the material. This ease of use dramatically increases the amount of material that is actually recycled (usage triples on average), whereas there was a lot less participation in recycling programs when consumer had to do their own sorting. There are some limitations however.

There are actually a lot of materials you cannot recycle in the typical single-stream recycling program. Most of these banned materials have their own recycling program, such as electronics recycling centers, composting centers, etc. Users must prevent these materials from going into their recycling:

  •  Food waste
  • Grass, leaves, or any kind of yard clippings
  • Styrofoam of any kind
  • T-shirt bags (plastic grocery bags) or any kind of plastic film
  • Medical or hygienic waste of any sort
  • Electronics or batteries

There are two reasons for this:

 

  1. Perhaps the most important reason, is that the above materials contaminate the materials that are meant to be recycled. No facility will ever be able to separate materials down to 100% purity. When there is glass or food in the bales of cardboard that are collected to be recycled, it lowers the quality of the product, therefore lowering its reusability. If material is contaminated badly enough, it just goes to a landfill anyway, making the effort to recycle it pointless. Furthermore, having food, battery acid or medical waste be a part of the recycled material used later to hold someone’s meal may have unknown health consequences.
  2. The sorting facility can become damaged by inappropriate use of materials. A nail stuck in a sheet of cardboard for instance, can ruin the very expensive machinery meant to break down the material into paper fibers.
  3. Most facilities sort recyclable materials they receive both mechanically, and by hand. Food, medical waste, and electronics can be hazardous to handle. At the very least, be considerate of those that have to sort through your recycling, and don’t expose them to waste that could be dangerous to their health.

The bottom line is that recycling hasn’t advanced to the point that we can dispose of it the same way we would anything we typically throw away. There is still some degree of sorting we have to do. Without this, if a large enough percentage of users inappropriately recycled, it could cause the whole enterprise to become too expensive to maintain, or too contaminated to reuse. However, with the simple rules of what to exclude listed above, we can maintain and even increase the 33% of waste that we recycle in the United States.

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.

 

How does it taste so good?

May 22nd, 2017

We all enjoy a soda from time to time, but does anyone ever think about how it was manufactured ...

 

Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Sr. Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

We all enjoy a soda from time to time, but does anyone ever think about how it was manufactured and botted to later be sold? Fun fact about the origins of soda is that it is believed to have been created in the 1700s. www.madehow.com explains that here: “In the late 1700s Europeans and Americans began drinking the sparkling mineral water for its reputed therapeutic benefits. The first imitation mineral water in the U.S. was patented in 1809. It was called “soda water” and consisted of water and sodium bicarbonate mixed with acid to add effervescence.” Obvious these delicious drinks have been around for some time now. But that still does not answer the “how does it get on the shelf?” question. Well it is actually broken down into 5 simple steps as seen below:

  1. Clarifying the water – Filter the water until it reaches the desired pH level by adding ferric sulphate or aluminum sulphate into the water causing the floc to expand so it can then be filtered out.
  2. Filtering, sterilizing, and dechlorinating the water.
  3. Mixing the ingredients – the dissolved sugars and flavor concentrates are pumped and conveyed into batch tanks, where then the water and syrup are carefully combined until the desired flavor has be achieved.
  4. Carbonating the beverage – once the liquid is at a controlled temperature the carbonation is added. The amount of carbon dioxide used is dependent upon the type of soft drink.
  5. Filling and Packaging – Finally the drink is distributed into its correct bottle or can and is then sealed and sits in the warehouse until it is ready to be distributed to multiple locations across the world.

As you can see there is so much more that goes into making those delicious drinks than Coke™ or Pepsi™ may want you to see. Another aspect of this would be how does it get sold to the store? This is where a company like SafeSourcing may come into play. We work with multiple companies to help them find the right soda company for them. So why not give us a call yourself and see what we can save you on your soda, plastic goods, labeling and much much more.

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.

 

Ref:……………………..

Avizienis, Audra. “Soft Drink.” How Products Are Made. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landscape Maintenance

May 19th, 2017

How do I find a quality landscaping maintenance company?

 

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

Now that things are warming up, it doesn’t take long for your landscaping to get out of control.  Whether that be lawn, flower beds, bushes, plants or trees.  Most of these items will need to be cared for on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to keep them under control and looking nice throughout the summer.  In order for this to be done successfully, you will probably want to hire a reliable landscaping maintenance company to maintain your property.  There are a lot of factors that go into selecting the right company.  Are they bonded and insured in case there is any property damage during the routine maintenance?  How long have they business?  Going with a more experienced company will help ensure that the job is done professionally and right the first time.  You may want to check around with others in your area and make sure that the company has a good reputation.  Also, ask for references and ask key questions regarding the type of work that you will need to have performed.  Does the company offer other services such as weed control, fertilization and insect management?   These services will help keep the lawn and bushes healthy and may be less expensive if they are provided by the same company.  Below are other things that need to be considered when searching for a maintenance company.

➢ Contract Options

➢ Is the company Regional or local

➢ Experience of Management

➢ Customer Service

➢ Price

➢ Warranty

If you need help finding a licensed landscaping maintenance company, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

You don’t know what you don’t know.

May 18th, 2017

How can something improve if you don’t know it needs it?

 

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

Striving for improvement within an organization is essential for any company to strengthen and grow, but many times it can be difficult to discern where to begin. First knowing what to improve is the first step, but where does that idea come from?

Employee feedback – We all hope that our organizations breed open and honest communication, but unfortunately openly expressed concerns from employees doesn’t always happen. Reaching out to employees for their feedback on the their workload, daily duties, management styles, and work-life balance can not only help to ease the concerns of an individual employee, but can forewarn an organization of potential problems other employees may face. Addressing employee concerns can help to stabilize and strengthen the core of a business, encouraging teamwork and comradery.​

Customer feedback – Listening to customers is another important aspect of any business. If something happens with a customer base, the impact can hit the pocket of an organization hard. This kind of feedback can be found through comment cards, email, toll-free numbers, online surveys, and even customer interviews. It can be essentially important in business to find and address customer concerns before a customer decides to go elsewhere.

Research – Another great way to learn where an organization can use improvement is to look for outside sources. This can mean looking at processes of other organizations and determining if that process is something that could be implemented in your business, and whether it would have a positive or negative overall effect on both customers and employees. In addition to other organizations, looking at upcoming technologies and research can help a business not only stay up to date, but also ease the burdens on employees and customers alike.

While each method of obtaining information and ideas for improvement are instrumental in a growing business, utilizing all three methods will ultimately generate the most knowledge. Seeking feedback is essential in keeping employees, customers, and everyone else happy with an organization because without the knowledge, you would never know how far you could go.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help your organization, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

Could You Get More Procurement Savings?

May 17th, 2017

5 signs that you may be leaving money on the table.

 

 Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing.

Many of the organizations we speak with believe they handle their purchasing reasonably well, either with their existing internal processes or without any eProcurement tools at all. These companies may even realize savings as they negotiate with their vendors. That’s said; very few of these organizations are doing as well as they should, given the wide availability of eProcurement solutions and/or the ease of use available with full-service SaaS options.

Here are my top 5 signs that your organization is not maximizing the savings potential by using only a traditional procurement process.

  1. You only seek quotes from 2-3 vendors.Historically, our data suggests that having 6-8 suppliers quoting drives the highest possible savings.
  2. You haven’t competitively bid a category in the last 3 years.It is at this point that we find a category should be sourced, including non-incumbent vendors,to ensure you are still receiving the best market prices.
  3. You don’t have easy access to your existing contracts.If you don’t already, you should implement a contract management tool. Too often, we see organizations unsure of contract terms and key dates falling victim to unfavorable auto-renewals.
  4. You do not have a set of specifications for the category.This is both common and fixable and places the incumbent vendor in a place of perpetual power in negotiations.
  5. You’re not using eProcurement.As well as your organization does when negotiating, we see significant increases in savings, often 10-20% more, when our clients use their eProcurement tools effectively. One client recently admitted that they would never have asked for the prices or discounts that we deliver for them. Each of the four preceding signs is also an indicator that you’re not using eProcurement. In fact, by implementing a strategic eProcurement program, you’ll likely resolve one through four organically.

Do you see any of these signs in your organization? If so, take steps to correct and you’ll see immediate, measurable results.  For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

Egg Carton Labeling Terms

May 10th, 2017

The egg carton was invented in 1911 by newspaper editor Joseph Coyle .......

Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, SafeSourcing Administrative Consultant.

The egg carton was invented in 1911 by newspaper editor Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia, to solve the debate between a local farmer and a hotel owner over the farmer’s eggs being delivered broken. Up until that time the eggs were delivered in egg baskets.  The egg carton, or “box” was refined by H. G. Bennett (Riseley UK) during the 1950’s and became the norm for egg transportation.

Some terms used in labeling eggs are as follows:

  1.  Antibiotic-Free. This term is misleading, as all eggs produced in the U.S. are antibiotic-free. If the hen becomes ill and antibiotics are needed, they are used on a therapeutic level under the supervision of a veterinarian. Hens given antibiotics at a high dose would be diverted from human consumption according to FDA regulations.
  2. Brown Eggs. Red-brown feathered breeds lay brown eggs. According to the USDA the nutritional content is the same as white eggs.
  3. Cage-Free/Free-Roaming Eggs. Eggs laid by these hens are indoor floor operations, sometimes referred to as free roaming. These hens may roam in a building, room to room, or in an open area, usually a barn or poultry house and have unlimited access to food and water. Some hens may even be allowed outside to forage for food. These hens have a shelter that protects them from predators.
  4. Enriched Colony. A production system that contains adequate perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.
  5. Fertile Eggs. Eggs, if not refrigerated, can be incubated to hatch into chicks. These are eggs are a result of roosters and hens housed together.
  6. Free-Range Eggs. Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors. Hens have continuous access to food and water and may forage for wild plants and insects.
  7. Good Source of Protein. All eggs qualify for the nutrient content as they meet or exceed 10% of the DV (daily value).
  8. Gluten Free. All eggs are naturally gluten free. Any grains a chicken ingests is broken down during the digestive process and not passed through the body tissue.
  9. Hormones. The egg industry does not use hormones in the production of shell eggs. The FDA require that a qualifying statement “Hormones are not used in the production of shell eggs” to prevent misleading consumers that some eggs have added hormones.

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

Source: Egg Nutrition CenterSafeSourcing has a lot of experience sourcing eggs and poultry. It is a category that is run regularly.

What is the Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®)?

May 8th, 2017

Professionals that work in the supply chain should be encouraged to seek CPSM qualification.

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

The Certified Professional in Supply Management® is the qualification that supply management professionals strive to earn. The CPSM® will be relevant internationally and reflect the expanded knowledge, skills and abilities needed to be a successful supply management professional.

Certification for the CPSM is offered by The Institute for Supply Management or (ISM) which was founded in 1915 and is the largest supply management association in the world as well as one of the most respected. ISM’s mission is to lead the supply management profession through its standards of excellence, research, promotional activities, and education. ISM’s membership base includes more than 40,000 supply management professionals with a network of domestic and international affiliated associations. ISM is a not-for-profit association that provides opportunities for the promotion of the profession and the expansion of professional skills and knowledge.

Supply chain workers should be proud of their profession and earning your CPSM is one way to brag about it.

Please contact our SafeSourcing customer services team if you’d like assistance with any of your RFI’s, RFP’s or RFQ’s. It might just get you promoted for making a company changing decision.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

You just got a great price on an inventory of goods; now how do you protect it?

May 5th, 2017

One of the many ways that SafeSourcing helps its customers is to find ways to allow them to reduce their Cost-Of-Goods

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. archives

One of the many ways that SafeSourcing helps its customers is to find ways to allow them to reduce their Cost-Of-Goods by sourcing smarter through the use of tools and services that give them total insight into what they are purchasing and from whom.  As is often the case, customers are able to find a vendor they feel comfortable with (many times the incumbent) at prices that help their bottom line.  The issues lie once the contract is signed, the new pricing is in place and the product begins to get scheduled for delivery.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the potential supply chain holes and what you can do to ensure that the great deals you have completed are not offset by process, theft and damage problems that can be monitored and controlled.

Vendor issues – One of the common misconceptions about Loss Prevention professionals is that they primarily deal with activity that is fraud or theft when in reality it is often honest mistakes, but mistakes nonetheless, that contribute much of the loss when product comes from a vendor.  One of the best ways to combat this is to engage a Loss Prevention software company to analyze the data of what is being delivered (which includes quality control) against the invoice in an automated system that allows for real-time analysis.  Ensuring that the product quantity, style, and quality is what you paid for is the first step to plugging your supply chain holes.

Transport issues – Transportation is becoming one of the most alarming areas of loss of your product, especially in bigger cities where organized crime is routinely stealing entire trailers full of merchandise.  RFID and GPS pallet monitoring are two of the ways that companies are using to monitor their shipments from the time they leave the vendor until they arrive at their warehouses.  Speak with your transportation company about new ways to monitor shipments and controls your loss in theft and damages and if you are approaching a contract, now may be the time to begin seeing what other companies are offering by running an Request For Information.

Internal Issues– If you can get your shipments to your offices or warehouses without much damage or loss then you have only won half the battle, especially if the product you received will need to go from a warehouse or distribution center to another location.  CCTV systems are regularly employed in warehouses to monitor the flow of goods coming and going but require an employee or service to assist in the effective monitoring.  Many times the practices you enforce for the workers in your facilities can be an effective tool as well such limiting the access an employee has to their purses or bags until they are in a secured area. Monitoring what happens to the product you purchase once you receive can be just as important as making sure it gets to you safely.

The supply chain can be a place full of pitfalls for your purchased goods if you are not monitoring it properly but you have many good options and tools to help you do that. When you build your T&C’s, list the policies and tool requirements that you want your vendors to adhere to in order to mitigate after the negotiation leakage.  For assistance in finding companies and products to help do this, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

The components of information

May 4th, 2017

Avoid communication mistakes through negative entropy!

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing

Communication is a funny thing. We communicate day in and day out, most of the time successfully, but it’s easy to think of examples where our message has not be received as intended, or we just weren’t able to pick up what someone else was trying to communicate to us. Much of the time, we find that the fundamental issue in miscommunication is that the message giver and the message receiver have different understandings of the concepts being traded back and forth. For example, one person’s idea of “love” looks completely different from someone raised in a family that expressed love in a totally different way. Another simple example could be if you’re sent to the grocery store with instructions to get “apples”. In your mind, when you hear the word “apple” you have a picture of a Honey Crisp apple, but the person who sent the request has an image in their mind of green Granny Smith apples. All communication is based on templates stored in our minds, on hard drives, on documents, etc. And if we don’t understand what information IS, we’re bound to make mistakes in how we trade it with others in our professional lives.

Information, generally speaking, is a representation of other objects stored within a physical medium. All information is stored in physical objects, such as hard drives, CD’s, brain cells, etc. The higher fidelity of information is stored, the more accurately it represents the object of its focus. For instance, a picture of a widget in low definition, and vague description in a specifications sheet, won’t represent that widget as well as a high definition picture, with several pages of precise descriptors. Similarly, a cell phone recording of a symphony won’t represent the event as well as an IMAX recording would. But the IMAX data will be potentially thousands of times larger, because it takes larger physical space, to record information at higher fidelity. This is because the more possibilities your information CAN’T represent, the more detailed it has to be and the more likely it can only represent what you intend it to.

In the Information Theory context, entropy can be defined as the delta of change from order, to disorder/randomness. Information entropy is the average information of all possible outcomes. In other words, information is most precise, when it disqualifies EVERY possibility other than the very specific one it is trying to represent. If the information you are sending could mean any one of a dozen things, you are bound to have some unavoidable margin of error in communicating to your audience. The tricky thing though, is there’s a tradeoff.

The greater fidelity the information is, more precise your communication will be. However, this increases the size of the information content, making it more difficult to manage, decode, or asses. The tradeoff is that the more precise the information, the more difficult to use. How this translates into procurement specifically, is that there will always be some margin of ambiguity in any specifications document. However, that doesn’t mean an RFP can’t be flexible enough to meet a buyer’s needs. Here are a few ways procurement professionals can make sure their documentation avoids falling into some of the common communication pitfalls inherent to the transfer of information:

  •  Identify the most important attributes, and focus your specifications on those. For instance, perhaps the business goal of the purchase doesn’t depend at all on color, or pack size, or the availability of support staff. Keep the more detailed information limited to the important attributes.
  • Add flexibility to your bid for consideration of equivalent products. Sometimes being too specific means that a vendor who may have a superior product to offer, isn’t able to propose his alternative if a specification calls for an exact match to a lesser product.
  • Ask yourself “would something I wouldn’t want qualify under the specifications I’m creating?” Remember, information should guide your audience to a specific concept, and disqualify all other possible concepts, as much as is possible without overburdening your audience.

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.