Establishing and Maintaining eProcurement Momentum​

September 24th, 2018

 

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

Momentum is important in eProcurement. Without establishing and maintaining momentum, even the best planned cost savings initiatives will stall out and possibly fail. In my experience, the greatest enemy of any cost savings initiative is the lack of momentum. When an organization is starting their eProcurement journey, momentum has typically not yet been established. So, the question is; how do you get momentum? One of the best ways to establish momentum is through getting a successful start to eProcurement. At SafeSourcing, we typically start with a no risk Pilot Agreement so that an organization can both assess the value of such a program and also share the results to create excitement about cost reductions.

Let’s assume that to ensure enough momentum, we’re looking for both mass and velocity and consider what each of these looks like in eProcurement. Both are critical to build and maintain momentum.

We might look at mass as the scope of the project. To build momentum, include as many spend categories as is possible. To identify categories for eProcurement, an organization might consider a spend analysis service like SafeSourcing’s SafeSpendAnalysis which will review the organization’s annual spend and identify opportunities for cost reduction.

Velocity is equally important because the organization will need to complete projects frequently and with regularity in order to keep the hard earned excitement. Without velocity, the cost savings initiative is at risk of being forgotten or pushed aside in favor of faster moving projects.

With both mass and velocity present, creating a high level of engagement within the organization will be relatively easy. Momentum will naturally be present and will be continually fueled by the overall scope and success of the cost savings initiative.

I believe that Newton’s law of motion applies in eProcurement. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. It’s better to stay in motion.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

 

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What is a Salespersons Role Part II of II

September 19th, 2018

In yesterdays Part I of this post, I summarized by stating that SafeSourcings ........

 

Today’s post is by Alex Borbely, Director of Sales at SafeSourcing Inc.

 In yesterday’s Part I of this post, I summarized by stating that SafeSourcing’s flexible service offerings and suite of e-procurement tools deliver savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of the service is one thing, proving it is even easier when looking at historical category savings of retail buyers that have utilized the SafeSourcing tools.? During my second week back at SafeSourcing I attended two pilot events for a smaller size convenience store chain. The pilot agreement contained two reverse auctions for two categories. Bottom line is that the saving realized on both events were over 20 times savings vs event costs. An immediate ROI is very evident to the retailer. Immediate discussions then went in the direction of what other purchases are being done within the organization that similar savings could be realized. It was very easy to assemble a quick list for discussion purposes. The tool used in this example is a reverse auction using SafeSourcing for new contract purchases, spot buys, replenishment, aggregation, and collaboration with other buying organizations, SAVING you the buyer 30% to 40% even from vendors that you currently buy from today. One of the most important pieces of this offering is the SafeSourcing Supplier Database which has over 427,000 global suppliers. It is easy to use and, utilizing SafeSourcing’s Templates Library, the procurement buyer can reduce time and effort for searching for new sourcing initiatives.

 Once the no risk pilot is completed, and a retailer can see the immediate savings that SafeSourcing will bring to their organization, SafeSourcing’s Spend Analysis is offered to assist the retailer in formulating the types of events where

SafeSourcing reverse auctions will be utilized. It is important to remember that the buying event can include up to 20 line items in each event and SafeSourcing even offers a provision in the agreement to protect the retailer in smaller buys so that the cost of the event is tolerable for smaller volume purchases, such as toner cartridges for office and in-store printers or light bulbs for store fixtures.? The results are phenomenal with a ROI second to none with a very quick set up time all provided by a team of professionals that offer a full service offering.

In closing, it is great to be back at SafeSourcing and visiting retailers with such a feature rich offering that provides a low cost of usage and an instant return on investment. I look forward to meeting many retailers representing this exciting full service offering and assisting procurement professionals with striving to bring additional dollars to their bottom line.

For more information on SafeSourcing, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

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What is a Salespersons? Role Part I of II

September 18th, 2018

As a 30 year sales veteran, I am happy to be back with SafeSourcing.......

 

 

Today’s post is by Alex Borbely, Director of Sales at SafeSourcing

As a 30 year sales veteran, I am happy to be back with SafeSourcing for the second time in my career. A salespersons role in any organization is to sell the company’s products and support the clients. Challenge number one in selling is always to find the ROI in the product you are representing and being able to demonstrate that ROI to the buyer in a timely manner where investment doesn’t exceed return. I have represented many offerings both SW and HW during my career and that ROI is sometimes not an easy task to find or to explain to a buyer. Many times the ROI is spread over a 12 to 18 month period or longer with dribs and drabs coming in monthly or even annually. I am pleased to have rejoined SafeSourcing and representing a robust procurement full service offering. The ROI is a certainty apparent to the prospect and easily able to demonstrate to a prospect that is looking for a procurement solution with an end goal of reducing cost of goods and services. Who wouldn’t be interested in a 10X ROI?? That is what the SafeSourcing offering will do.? The full service team will help product buyers save considerably on costs by providing tools that enhance the ability to do business in a better, safer, smarter, more streamlined and cost effective way. SafeSourcing Services Team is one of the best in the industry at complimenting existing procurement teams to help structure and develop projects in less time for better results. The flexible service offerings and suite of e-procurement tools deliver savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of the service.

In review until tomorrows Part II, it is great to be back at SafeSourcing and visiting retailers with such a feature rich offering that provides a low cost of usage and an instant return on investment. I look forward to meeting many retailers representing this exciting full service offering and assisting procurement professionals with striving to bring additional dollars to their bottom line.

 

For more information on SafeSourcing, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

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Understanding the Technology of Traceability!

September 14th, 2018

With a Global demand for better traceability have you explored the technologies that can help your business?

 

Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing?Archives

GS1, the global standards body, the FDA, and the USDA are just a few of the organizations that are striving to increase the safety of the food we eat with new standards, processes and regulations.? With recent scares in several food items in the past few years it is no wonder that people are becoming extremely focused? on how to trace our food back to its original source.? In today?s blog we will look at some of the technologies that are helping with this process.

Enterprise Software ? There are many enterprise systems out there for warehouse management and enterprise resource management that can maintain the necessary data needed to meet traceability and recall requirements but the key to these programs working for your business is whether or not they have the additional features necessary to track category/industry specific details such as those faced by seafood and meat retailers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers.? Companies such as JustFoodERP specialize in tracking meat and seafood by-products during the course of their life, tracking not only down to individual cases, but also providing capabilities such as the Recipe Management module to help track the by-products of the meat and seafood into other products they sell.? By managing catch-weights with a serial number tracking system, solutions like these can ensure best practices for traceability throughout their organization.

RFID ? Radio Frequency Identification is not a new technology but continued development of the technology for use in traceability improves daily.? Like a barcode it can contain a unique identifier that will trace the product back to its source.? Unlike a barcode, RFID tags can be secured to be difficult to tamper with or damage, they can be placed in packaging as opposed to outside the packaging like barcodes that must be able to be seen, and unlike barcodes they can be written to and updated as the product travels through the supply chain.? With one scan an RFID tag can provide the appropriate user pages worth of information without having to be connected to an enterprise solution which can be critical when a recall is being tracked.

DNA Sampling ? During the major meat recalls in the early 2000?s, DNA sampling began to take shape and developed as an alternative to typical tracing methods at that time.? With a global database of animal DNA it is possible to trace every product and byproduct back the farm or processing point of origin.? Taking DNA samples from the each carcass at the farm or packaging plant, a profile is created and stored in the database.? At any point a new sample can be taken to verify the contents and origin of the meet.? The process is virtually tamper-proof and would eliminate costly barcodes and documents and would also allow retailers and distributors to know exactly which shipments to recall, saving millions of dollars.

For more information about how we can assist you in looking into these technologies for your business, 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.

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When is it important for National companies to invite regional providers to bid on their business?

September 13th, 2018

 

Todays post is?from our?SafeSourcing Inc?Archives

Every day thousands of National companies with offices all over the country are in various stages of determining what type of product to purchase for their company and from whom they are buying it from.

Part of this decision making process involves deciding on whether they are going to deal only with other National companies or whether they will include regional companies as well.? Today we will be looking at some of the reasons why inviting regional companies to compete for you business is a good idea.

Multi-Award for Geography ? While there are frequently several National companies that can handle the needs of a large National customer, there are certain services and products that can be best serviced with companies who specialize in certain regions of the country.? In these cases it adds great value when the companies that know those geographical regions the best are included in the mix of those competing directly for that portion of your company?s business.

Secondary Supplier ? Many companies in today?s market have introduced Board-Level directives requiring a level of division of the company?s business so that no one vendor has the entire share for any one product or service; especially those services critical to the mission of the company.? There are different trains of thought on the effectiveness of this philosophy, but where it applies, introducing regional players, especially ones that can handle a large portion of your spend, can help meet those requirements and provide competitive savings in certain products backing up your primary supplier.

Expanding the selection pool ? Often there will be products or services that by focusing only on National suppliers, will limit the field from which you have to choose.? Expanding the field of vision from which to choose to include regional players provides you, as the customer, an opportunity to see more of what is out there and allow for a more competitive landscape from which to choose.? These companies may not always be selected but in following this approach they have an opportunity for access into an account they may never had had before while providing you with a strong field from which to choose from.

These are just a few of the reasons why expanding the pool of companies allowed to win your company?s business to include regional vendors can be a good idea for you.? For more reasons or for assistance in finding regional companies who can compete for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.?

We look forward to your comments.

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Understanding the Synergy of Culture and Procurement

September 12th, 2018

How does your company?s culture shape your procurement practices?

 

Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing. Archives

The follow-up question to the one above could be, ?Do you even KNOW what your company?s culture is versus what they intended for it to be??

I recently attended a local ISM meeting where the guest speakers from VAP Packaging did a terrific job (with a number of their team members) explaining the importance of culture not only within their organization but for other organizations as well.?? The culture they have developed has empowered their entire team with the confidence to think outside the box and a system or rewards when they do so effectively.? It was impressive.? For a long time, the culture of a company and how that company handles its supply chain have not always been on the same page.? Unity and Teamwork are preached to operations while procurement is still told to SAVE MONEY and CUT COSTS.

Opportunity not just Order Taking ? As procurement professionals we are tasked with assisting the business to run more smoothly, to help save money and to help foster business partnerships that will grow the company.?? In many companies this translates to ?Rick, I need a million widgets.? Go get me some quotes and samples of the best ones out there.? After we decide what we want you can beat them up on price and write up the contract.??? While this does provide some value to the organization by freeing operations time to do what it needs to do, it does not account for the fact that maybe ?Rick? could have presented 2 new options to the business that switch to ?dongles? at half the cost, half the volume and can improve operational efficiency by 25%.?? Not all companies will embrace outside the box thinking from its procurement team so understanding where the current culture stands is an important part of improving that.

Value of cost reduction ? There are so many times people get enamored by the numbers.? They hear about a solution or product that has an ROI of 5x in 6 months or that can generate $500,000 in savings, and they instantly seek for ways to implement that service or bring that product into use.? What can be ignored in the process, is the fact that by introducing this new product that is going to save $500k to operations, internal procedures and personnel must now change what they are doing, resulting in a drop in efficiency of 40%, costing the company $1M over 9 months.? There can be a cost of change to achieve savings and understanding the pressure points with the organization is critical to weighing the value of a new change.

Understand the Relationships ? Many professionals will see this point and think ?See, don?t mess around with the vendor relationships I have spent years developing.?? This is not saying that.? The point being made here is to understand completely what relationships are currently in place so that they can be reviewed for improvement. Partnerships can be good.? They can provide security and assistance in emergencies and they can help strengthen companies when the fit is right.? Partnerships are not always good when they are defined by ?I have been doing business with Jim for 10 years and he has never let me down.? I am sure he is giving me the best prices he can give me.? He even stops by once a month to take me to lunch where I hardly see other vendors.?? These types of relationships have the tendency to cover years of price increases and terms that have benefitted only the vendor.? Understand the relationships in place so that facts and research can be done to either challenge or support the value they bring to the organization.

At SafeSourcing we understand the value of understanding your company culture and have been doing it for our customers to help them effectively structure projects for years.? For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you 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.

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Gas Station or Convenience Store and Truck Stop or Travel Center? Part 2 of 2

September 11th, 2018

In part one of this post titled, Salad from a Gas Station? Sushi from a Truck Stop?

 

Today?s post is written by Heather Powell,?Manager of Major Accounts and Special Projects?at?SafeSourcing Inc.

In the blog,?Salad from a Gas Station??Sushi from a Truck Stop? This author raised a couple of questions, in addition to the actual questions, both of the?questions may seem odd to us in 2018. There are two parts to inquire about within these questions.?The first?was?getting food typically not found within these establishments and second is the common name of the establishments. For today?s blog, I will focus on the?common naming of these establishments.

In some rural areas of America today, there are places of business that just serve gasoline and maybe vehicle lubricants and these were the true gas stations found in every town; however, today the gas station you may visit will carry grocery items, health and beauty items, health and junk foods, even bakery items, some fresh baked on site and some brought in by local bakeries. These establishments are called convenience stores or C-stores. They offer the consumer a small variety of items that a grocery store, bakery, or even a retail store may offer at a convenience from going to multiple places to get items needed.

Convenience stores usually charge significantly higher prices than conventional grocery stores or supermarkets, as convenience stores order smaller quantities of inventory at higher per-unit prices from wholesalers. However, convenience stores make up for this loss by having longer open hours, serving more locations, and having shorter cashier lines.1

Truck stops are similar in naming conventions. The traditional truck stop was a little more than a few diesel gas pumps and a large parking lot for truck drivers to stop and rest. Many years ago, the traditional truck stop might have had a locally owned diner attached or associated with it. Today, the word truck stop brings up a?stereotype?of large stations that are dirty and filled with truckers and a regular vehicle and its driver feel out of place.?This is why the term Travel Center has replaced the term truck stop.?Travel Centers are worded to make a place a business seem open, inviting, and clean for all drivers not matter what vehicle they come in with. ?Travel Centers are often right off the highways and interstates and have lower fuel prices than conveniences stores that are usually miles off the freeway and in town.

  • Author Mark?Sedenqist?said it best,??I like the gas prices, but what I really like about truck stops is the retail stores. I love to walk the aisles and marvel at the array of merchandise on the shelves. Some of the automotive tools may look familiar, but few stores offer the following items all within 20 feet of each other: an audio tape on New Age mediation, a Browning knife, a Garmin fish finder, an aromatherapy reed diffuser, a genuine wood-grain noise-canceling CB mike, a Joan of Arc VHS tape, a 250-channel preprogrammed police scanner, a die-cast collectible fuel tanker, a metal detector, the complete “Seinfeld” series on DVD, a rocking chair, a deep-fat fryer, an excellent selection of women’s watches, cameras, the world’s largest assortment of beef jerky and other salty snacks, a DISH satellite “finder meter,” a cordless drill, a 12-volt ionizer and air purifier, several styles of small refrigerators, coffee makers, mugs, T-shirts, flashlights, electric blankets and the little gizmos that truckers use to lock their trailer doors.?2

As a consumer and a driver, you have a?variety of choices available to you today when your parents, grandparents and even older generations of drivers did not have luxuries of buying anything other than fuel for their vehicles and had to go to another store to buy a meal before getting back on the road. ?You now have a clearer understanding of the new names for establishments that have been around for decades.

Are you interested in?more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our ?Risk Free? trial program?for RFPs and RFQs,?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.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_store
  2. https://www.roadtripamerica.com/tips/Truck-Stops-Not-Just-For-Truckers.htm

 

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Planning for Your Next Procurement Hire

September 7th, 2018

"How are you filling your department?s needs for specialized category expertise??

 

Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing Archives.

As the landscape of the corporate world continues to change to adapt to changes in the economy, procurement departments are being asked to expand their areas of support throughout the organization.? This expansion will require that procurement staffs begin to look for specialized expertise to augment their current staff whether in the form of temporary, permanent or 3rd party help.

In today?s blog will be look at three areas of expertise that will be important to procurement staffs in the future.

IT ? Historically, most companies have let their IT department?s research and negotiate their own hardware and software deals due to the level of expertise needed to understand the company requirements.? This process is beginning to shift as companies are looking to compress the pricing they receive after the RFP process has been narrowed down and the short list of vendors has been selected.? To do this requires staff or a 3rd party vendor who can help facilitate this process, speaking with the vendors at a technical level everyone understands.

Hired Services? Hired services are can be complex categories to understand within an organization and the larger the company the more complex the process to procure these services can be.? Many teams are looking for support help from the administrative and Human Resources departments to understand the scope and SOWs the company needs as well as looking to 3rd party vendors such as Managed Service Providers to help them with this process.

Transportation/Logistics ? Very few spends within a large organization are as complex and as mission critical as the freight lanes they use.? Late product is unacceptable and can result in customers changing to the competition.? While they critical to the business they can also be very complex as the fuel prices fluctuate and as regulations, especially of the international variety, seem to change constantly.? Looking for new permanent or temporary staff that have a background in logistics can go a long way to helping your company put programs in place that are flexible enough to adjust with the market but protect you enough to budget the spend.
For assistance in filling some of these areas of expertise in your organization, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

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Selective Exposure

September 6th, 2018

Are you oblivious to what falls outside of personalized information feeds?

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Today?s post is?our SafeSourcing?Archives

Mark Zuckerberg once famously said “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa?. Along those same lines, Eric Schmidt of Google fame proclaimed “The power of individual targeting?the technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them”. Often times statements like these disquiet our fears of artificial intelligence, or of Google powered robots taking over the world. But I think there?s a much bigger, and more immediate cost to what is being described above.

Have you ever noticed how many of the news feeds, search results, and advertisements that you don?t have a choice in seeing are often customized to your interests? What kind of long term effects do you think this will have on a society, especially one that is only getting more and more embedded into online networks of all types? Some believe it will necessarily lead to us only seeing the information we agree with, and that can be a dangerous thing.

This is why Eli Pariser, executive director of moveon.org, believes that opinions are becoming both more polarized, and more narrow minded. One way this problem seems to be manifesting itself is through the increasing polarization of opinions in topics ranging from global warming, gun control, ISIS, and vaccines. The claims of both sides of any argument seem to get more extreme and certain of their views, and rarely ever less. This is because the algorithms that review our history and populate our search results, also tailor our information feeds to what we want to see. But how then will we learn things we need to know, without being limited to the things we want to know?

Right now, the options are limited. All of your Facebook and Google results go through algorithms that customize their outputs to your activity. Google gives some tips for how to prevent that in PC browser searches by deactivating your history[1], but that option is not available for mobile browsing. Don?t forget, these companies are advertising revenue based, so they’re incentivized right off the bat to give you output that will sell ad space, which is more effective with personalized marketing. In this case, although there doesn?t seem to be a black and white answer, age old advice seems to be the most useful: Never stop learning, listen to opinions different than yours, be humble, and never assume you are right without considering the alternatives.

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.

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[1] “Search and browse privately – the Google Help Center.” 2014. 14 Dec. 2015 <https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/4540094?hl=en>

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Coca-Cola is Getting Boozy

September 5th, 2018

Canned drinks known as chuhai have been popular in Japan for sometime

 

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

Coca-Cola took its first fly at a lemon-flavored alcoholic drink that went to market in Fukuoka, Japan at the end of May 2018. Canned drinks known as chuhai have been popular in Japan for sometime.? Often they are made with distilled grain-based alcohol, known as shochu, along with carbonated water and fruit juice.? This new lemon-flavored alcoholic beverage is called Lemon-Do.? The beverage is sold in 3%, 5%, and 7% alcohol, including a salty lemon version and another flavored with honey and lemon; however, it contains no Coke!? Currently, Coca-Cola is a big competitor of non-alcoholic drinks in Japan.? To date, Suntory Holdings, Ltd., Kirin Holdings Co. and Asashi Group Holdings products dominate the convenience-store and supermarket shelves.

With a population of 13 million, the southern island of Kyushu will allow Coca-Cola to see how this test market of Japanese-style booze will be received and, hopefully, give it insight into how to apply their knowledge in other countries. ?Despite falling demand overall for alcoholic drinks in Japan owing to the country?s shrinking population, demand for canned booze has been growing, in part because it is taxed less than beer and is cheaper.?? The product is well received by both men and women.? Coca-Cola wants to appeal to women with a low-alcoholic product.

For more information on SafeSourcing,?or?on?our Risk Free trial program,?please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you.

References————————————————

Suryatapa Bhattacharya, WSJ, 5/29/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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