Happy 4th of July Weekend

July 3rd, 2020

Independence is a wonderful thing to be celebrating with your family and friends. SafeSourcing wishes all of our friends a spectacular holiday weekend

 

 

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Sourcing with RFIs, RFPs, RFQs and Surveys – Part 2 of 5

July 2nd, 2020

When is the best time to use a Request For Information (RFI)?

 

Today’s continuing 5 part repost is from our archives at  SafeSourcing.

According to www.businessdictionary.com, a Request For Information is a “request made typically during the project planning phase where a buyer cannot clearly identify product requirements, specifications, and purchase options. RFIs clearly indicate that award of a contract will not automatically follow.”

RFIs are generally externally facing and have a sole purpose of gathering enough information about a company, their experience and details about their products or services to create a list of suppliers you want to pursue, each of whom has a legitimate chance to be awarded the business.  As mentioned above, this is rarely a final step before the “award of business.”

During an RFI you want to understand who a company is, how long they have been in business, who their customers are, what industries they service and specialize in, how many employees they have dedicated to the business you are looking to award them, as well as details about what they are offering for a good or service.

This stage of the information gathering process would be equivalent to that first trip shopping for a new car; where you let the salesperson know up front “We are just starting to look and gather information.  This is not a decision making day as we have other dealerships to visit before we narrow it down.”  The reason for this is twofold.  First you are doing the suppliers the courtesy of not investing too much time in a process where 30-40% won’t make a short list for round two.  Secondly, it saves time in the initial evaluation of the responses as RFIs generally involve 15-20 (or more) companies.

Looking back at the basic questions from yesterday’s blog, let’s see how they fit within the definition of an RFI.   If the answer to “Is this something you have purchased before?” is “No” and you are looking for a service or the specification for the product is not well defined, an RFI should absolutely be standard practice.

Also, if the answer to “Are there additional features or services you are not currently purchasing that you would like to gather information on from suppliers? “ is “Yes” then investing in the RFI process will save you an incredible amount of time later when you get closer to deciding who you want to gather quotes from.   Going back to “you don’t know what you don’t know”, new services generally fall into the “don’t know” bucket and RFIs can help with that to a large extent.

The object of an RFI is to gather enough information about the project so that you can provide the vendor community enough data to give accurate details and pricing for their involvement in a more focused next step which is usually a Request For Proposal (RFP).

Tomorrow we will cover RFPs, how are they are different than RFIs and when you should use them.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with this process, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Sourcing with RFIs, RFPs, RFQs and Surveys – Part 1 of 5

July 1st, 2020

How do you handle sourcing situations where you don’t know what you don’t know?

 

Today’s post is  the 1st in a 5 part series that is always good to re-share from our Archives at SafeSourcing.

Information rules the world and the sourcing world is no exception.  It is often said “you only know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know.”  This may seem like a simple concept but it is amazing how often it gets ignored and decisions get made without people having all the facts they need to properly make those decisions.

In this week’s series, we will be exploring how simple information gathering techniques can help make better million dollar decisions and we will finally answer the reoccurring question “What really is the difference between an RFI and RFP and an RFQ and when should I use them?” Before we do that let’s focus on determining what, if any of these things, is needed to make the right purchasing decisions.

When faced with an upcoming purchasing decision there are several factors that need to be determined to know which direction to take should you need to gather additional internal or external information.

  1. Is this something you have purchased before?
  2. If this is not a new purchase, do you have current copies of contracts or agreements for these items or services?
  3. Is it clear who is providing this product or service across your entire company?  (In many cases, the larger the company the hazier the answer to this question becomes.)
  4. Are the current suppliers national companies or is there a mix of regional vendors included?
  5. Is it clear within your organization how much is being spent and is that information broken down by region, state, division or some other fashion?
  6. Are you pleased with the performance and quality of the item(s) or service(s) your incumbent supplies?
  7. Are there additional features or services you are not currently purchasing that you would like to gather information on from suppliers?

These are the basic questions that need to be asked before determining if more information needs to be collected.  In the end all of these questions lead to this, “Do I have what I need to supply information to potential vendors and then properly and fairly evaluate their responses in order to make a purchasing decision?”

Later this week we will dissect the different methods of information gathering as it relates to the questions above, explaining the purpose and expected result of each in order for you to determine, project by project, which will serve you best.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with this process, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Here are Five Basic Tips for Writing a Strategic Online Survey!

June 30th, 2020

If they are written correctly, Surveys are a great tool for procurement knowledge workers looking for specific data.

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Creating an effective, quality written Online Survey that produces the detailed information you require from respondents can be a challenge. In this post, we’ll review 5 quick tips for writing a Strategic Online Survey.

  1. Create a naming convention for the survey and write a brief summarizing introduction. A Survey name and a brief introduction are great ways to give your respondents some detailed background and a frame of reference.
  2. Write a summarizing, brief survey. Begin with an outline of details as to what is important to know for the project. Formulate a question only when the answer will provide data you can use and need.
  3. Think ahead as to how the analysis of the information will look, as in what your end game will look like. This should impact how you format your questions. Statistical reporting may not be able to be performed if your questions to not adhere to the results framework you have pre planned.
  4. Attempt to use closed-ended questions. Limit the number of open-ended questions as these provide and opportunity to the respondent to get off track. Respondents usually have a better understanding of closed-ended questions because they are more straightforward and offer responses they can choose from. An excessive number of open-ended questions can frustrate the respondent and affect the quality of the answers they may provide.
  5. Craft a well-written pertinent subject line for the invitation email you plan on sending with the survey in order to capture your respondents’ attention.

Although these five simple steps are enough to get you started in the right direction reaching out to professionals like SafeSourcing about their SafeSurvey™ tool for additional guidance will guarantee the results you are looking for. A well-written online survey has much higher completion rates and is an effective method for gathering disparate data from differing sources in a format that us usable.

If you’d like to learn more about the SafeSourcing  SafeSurvey™ please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

During a pandemic we can not afford to lose sight of our Environmental Goals.

June 29th, 2020

What are some actions that companies can take to reinforce your environmentally conscious purchasing program?

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archive!

Environmentally focused or Green sourcing should continue to be a primary focus during todays distractions caused by COVID-19. Let’s take a look at some actions companies can continue with in order  to purchase environmentally focused, low cost quality products.

Request Green Products – When executing RFIs, RFPs and RFQs make sure you are clear with the participants on what it is that you want.  Be sure to ask suppliers to offer you the most environmentally friendly product, with the highest quality and at the lowest price.   Remember, if you don’t ask you will not get it.

Create a Business Rule that includes Green – Express to potential vendors what you expect from your suppliers.  Industry groups have rules of conduct that stipulate behaviors in terms of emissions and handling waste.  Make reference to those and or create your own, but be clear that it is more than a suggestion; that it is the way you want to continue todo business regardless of other distractions, and that you expect them to follow suit.

Train your suppliers – Most large companies have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals employed to help steer the roads of procurement and the supply chain.  Most medium to small companies, however, don’t have a devoted employee that is dedicated to learning about sustainably.  By creating training programs you can indicate what you are looking for from your supply sources.  When you do this, you’re raising the bar because you are training your suppliers in your best practices. These programs can be supported and participated in even by remote associates and vendors.

Award Companies that are doing things correctly – Keeping tabs on your suppliers and encouraging them to achieve  new certifications that support your CSR initiatives will show them you’re committed to being environmentally conscious or Green .   Having these certifications required as part of how you review bids and award business will show them that it is beneficial for them to be similarly focused.

There will always be examples of companies whose reputation has been tarnished by some supplier. Proactive management of your suppliers in support of your goals is a way to mitigate your risk. This can also promote your company’s promise to reducing the environmental effect or carbon footprint of your business by honoring those suppliers that honor you and your customers.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Price is a potential benefit but not the only benefit of enegotiations.

June 26th, 2020

Consider the obstacles to purchasing with purpose!

 

Today’s post is from our blog archives at SafeSourcing Inc.

With billions at stake in retail purchasing, it is imperative for buyers, category managers and others with purchasing responsibility should remember that there can be more benefit to contracts than just price alone. Any retail procurement is actually a purchase with purpose to ensure customer safety, satisfaction and a myriad of other issues.

Consider the obstacles to purchasing with purpose. The world market is too large and overwhelming for a procurement knowledge worker to know if products are safe, secure or socially responsible. Often when a purchaser seeks to buy accordingly, they find that the price of certainty is too high. They opt for a less expensive, less trustworthy option. This may mean accidentally endangering customers, alienating some customers who expect a certain level of quality, or even inviting legal or public relations problems. Retailers simply lack the time in order to determine purchasing with purpose for thousands and thousands of products and services.

That’s why SafeSourcing offers a secure, intelligent e-procurement suite of tools under the SafeSourceIt™ banner that are delivered as a “White Glove Service” that do  much of the work for retailers procurement professionals. Additionally, the SafeSourceIt™ Global Retail Supplier Database uses unique certification standards plus well-known standards such as Fair Trade, Green Seal, ECO-LOGO, GFSI, SQF, and, for meat products, Certified Humane Raised/Hand-Fed to vet is vendors before they are invited to participate in any eRFX sourcing event such as an RFI, RFP or RFQ  which are also  called a reverse auctions.

With the standards already in place, procurement is a matter of matching demand with supply. SafeSourcing sets up eRFX events such as auctions in as little as minutes and even finds purchasing partners to increase bulk buying power.

With over 500,000 suppliers being vetted during the bidding process, cost is still one of the final factors when filling the retailer’s procurement needs. Yet each purchase is a purchase with purpose. Goods are safe, secure and support companies social responsibility programs.

Reducing the cost of safe, secure, socially responsible goods cannot be accomplished by one purchaser alone. If retailers want to match quality products to the best prices, they should look to SafeSourcing for efficient and fast e-procurement which can also be performed as Procurement as a Service.

For more information on this topic, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

Managing Tail Spend

June 24th, 2020

Do you have the visibility and capability to manage your tail spend?

 

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing.

Along the same lines as my recent post about Procurement as a Service (PaaS), I thought I would focus on tail spend. Here again, the concept of managing tail spend isn’t new, but it has also been receiving more attention recently. I would argue tail spend is finally getting the attention it deserves.

I’ve often thought that tail spend is undervalued. I suspect the term tail spend gives the impression that the spend in the tail is insignificant. The reality is that the tail can be awfully long and represents a much larger percentage of overall spend than one might think.

To me, the ability to manage tail spend is essential. SafeSourcing’s approach to tail spend management starts with our SafeSpendAnalysis™ service to identify the categories and subcategories in which the spend can be found. Until you have gone through this process, it is easy to underestimate just how much purchasing is taking place on an annual basis that should be considered the tail. One-off purchases, rogue purchasing, and categories with many vendors providing the same thing are just a few of the common culprits. It’s all too easy for this type of spend to fly under the radar when an organization lacks a proper procurement policy and the ability to proactively manage against that policy.

Again, to SafeSourcing, the concept of managing this type of spend is nothing new. With our SaaS model and our tools and capabilities, we have been targeting tail spend for management and cost reduction since we started. Where others have marketing around this tail spend management, SafeSourcing has experience.

It’s really great to see the recent interest in tail spend and in controlling costs in general. Expense management is so critically important right now. The best strategy a company can have is one that considered their entire spend to be within the scope of their expense management initiatives and that includes the tail.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Warranty Work! Or any other Service?

June 23rd, 2020

 

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

 I decided to repost this BLOG from about 5 years ago because having a home warranty has again saved us several thousand dollars. This time we were having trouble with our air conditioning system. The warranty company sent out a technician and without the home warranty we would have had to pay over $2,000. But since we do have the warranty we only had to pay the $100 deductible.

Do you own a home or are looking to buy one? If so you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty. A home warranty covers numerous items around the house with a small service fee. When you have an issue you call the company and they will send out one of their approved service providers to diagnose the problem. If the item can be fixed, the service provider will fix the item and if it cannot then it will be submitted to the warranty company for replacement. If this was a major component such as a heating and air conditioning unit, having the warranty could save you thousands of dollars. Below are a few items that may be covered by a warranty.

  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Water Heater
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Appliances
  • Garage Doors / Garage Openers

There are many companies out there that offer warranties, so be sure to read the contracts carefully and make sure you understand what items are covered and which are excluded. If you would like some help finding the best warranty for your home, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which option 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.

 

Choosing the Right Words

June 22nd, 2020

There are many words in English that can be used interchangeably, but…………………………..

 

 

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

There are many words in English that can be used interchangeably, but sometimes you must be careful doing so.

There are many words in English that can be used interchangeably, but sometimes you must be careful doing so. Whether it is paraphrasing or using literal translations from one language to another, the results can vary from humorous, to confusing, or even deadly. For example, in 1977 a Pan Am airplane and a KLM airplane crashed into one another, killing 583 people, all because of a miscommunication due to using a literal translation of English. While this is certainly not common, it is something that we must each be careful of.

There are some instances of literal translations that are just funny rather than deadly. For example, the word hedgehog in English is translated to “needle mouse” in Japanese. The English word for gloves is translated to “hand shoes” in German. Another example is the potato is translated to “apple of the ground” in French.

Sometimes, misuse of words can affect your business as well. If you choose the right words, some may even say “buzz words”, then your business website could potentially get more traffic and likely more resulting business. The following is an example sentence that contains numerous words that help bring visitors to your site: To alleviate or avoid budget traps, some of these words can guide consumers deals, coupons, or code to buy the cheapest and best bargain deals with the best discount to easily eliminate, end, and cure and protect your purchase quick, for men, for women, for students, for guys, for girls, for children, for sale.

In addition to the uses of words already mentioned, when using contracts or other terms or conditions in your business, it is exceedingly important to choose words carefully and expand on any language that could have multiple interpretations. This may add to the amount of paperwork that a business needs, but should accurately relay the ideas or information that is intended. Carefully reading and reviewing documents can help ensure your business language is on point.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

References……………………………………………………

 

  1. Airplane Crash: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/tenerife-airport-disaster/
  2. Literal Translations: https://thelanguagenerds.com/hilarious-literal-translations-from-different-languages/

Buzz Words: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/increase-website-traffic/

Grocery Bills on the Rise

June 19th, 2020

The Coronavirus has led to the fastest rise in food prices in more than four decades.

 

 

Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Lead at SafeSourcing.

The Coronavirus has led to the fastest rise in food prices in more than four decades. Supermarkets are restoring promotions and value food packs are being designed by food makers. Because of the increased costs for labor and transportation, it is likely higher prices will remain the norm for a while. Companies are buying equipment to keep customers safe and configuring the store layout to keep customers socially distanced. All of these measures result in more trickle down costs to the consumer. Prices rose 2.6% in April from a month earlier, according to the Labor Department, the biggest monthly increase since 1974.

“Mondelez International Inc. said it is considering smaller packages of some products like it’s Oreos and other snacks that cost less overall. Campbell Soup Co. said it might add more family-size packs that will cost less per ounce.”1

It is expected that food, as a percentage of disposable income, will rise this year for the first time in decades. Many people are still out of work, or their hours have been cut, lowering their monthly income. The jump of meat and poultry has propelled the increase in food cost. The pandemic has disrupted food plants because of shutdowns. Meat prices rose 15% the end of May from a year prior. Some consumers have switched to generic brands and discount stores in order to save money. Some people are opting to cut back on meat, or are going meatless.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

References…..……………………………………..

Joe Flint, WSJ, 6/10/2020