On the Twelve Days of e-Procurement Christmas.

December 12th, 2018

We know you have all heard the song “The twelve days of Christmas” many times. With that tune playing over and over in your head try substituting the e-procurement lyrics below.

 

Todays post is a holiday favorite by our CEO Ron Southard from our SafeSourcing Archives.

  1. On the first day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, a streamlined procurement process.
  2. On the second day of Christmas our e-service provider gave to us, more suppliers to source our goods from.
  3. On the third day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, pricing that works for smallest categories..
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, consistent and customized product specifications.
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas our e-procurement service supplier gave to us, more time for other priorities.
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, improved quality in our products.
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas our e-procurement service supplier gave to us, better supplier education.
  8. On the eighth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, a simple award of business process.
  9. On the ninth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, support for a better carbon footprint.
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas our e-procurement service supplier gave to us, total category e-procurement.
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, safer products for our customers and planet.
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, a sustainable e-procurement process and improved corporate net earnings.

Now, ask yourself if all of these goals are accomplished on your company’s behalf by your present e-procurement service provider. If n0t, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager. Click CONTACT US!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Continued best wishes for a Merry Christmas  the rest of the Happy Holiday Season.

You can procure anything, including Candy Canes Part I!

December 11th, 2018

First the history of the candy cane!

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. Archives

What does it take to make a candy cane, package it, market it, and distribution? All of these involve procurement. Today, the candy cane makes up a significant amount of the $1.4 billion Christmas candy market. In fact, billions of candy canes are made and consumed each year.

First the history of the candy cane: from the HomeBoy Media Network!

The candy cane is a Christmas tradition that many hold dear but nobody really knows why. Let’s face it, the only things we really know about candy canes is that they taste good and that they are red and white.

Whether the story of the candy cane is a legend or if it is true is not certain, but this is how the story goes: About two hundred-thirty years ago at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, the children that went to church there were really loud and noisy. They often moved around and would not pay attention to the choirmaster.

This was especially difficult for the choirmaster when they were supposed to be sitting still for the long living Nativity ceremony. So to keep the children quiet, he gave them a long, white, sugar candy stick. He couldn’t give them chocolate or anything like that because the people at that church would think it was sacrilegious. So he gave them the stick and he bent it on the end to look like a cane. It was meant to look like a shepherd’s cane, and so it reminded the children of the shepherds at Jesus’ birth.

In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant in Wooster, Ohio put candy canes on his Christmas tree and soon others were doing the same. Sometime around 1900 candy canes came to look more like what we know them as today with the red stripes and peppermint flavoring.

Some people say the white color represents the purity of Jesus Christ and the red stripes are for the wounds he suffered. They also sometimes say that the peppermint flavoring represents the hyssop herb used for purifying and spoken of in the Bible. The shape also looks like the letter “J” for Jesus, not just a shepherd’s cane. It is possible that these things were added for religious symbols, but there is no evidence that is true.

Around 1920, a man in Georgia named Bob McCormack wanted to make candy canes for his family and friends. He later started mass-producing candy canes for his own business which he named Bob’s Candies. This is where many of our candy canes come from today.

Tomorrow we will discuss the raw materials needed to make candy canes.

For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs 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.

Recycling Crisis

December 11th, 2018

It is the time of year when holiday packages will be arriving on people’s doorsteps

 

 

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

It is the time of year when holiday packages will be arriving on people’s doorsteps across the country; however gift boxes this year might not become recycled gift boxes next year. Recycling is now a crisis in the US.  China, America’s go-to nation for processing recyclables into boxes, is now requiring the cleanest, purist loads. This decision has left recyclers without a market causing recyclables to pile up and prices to fall. Waste Management, the trash hauling giant, reported it has become more expensive to recycle glass, plastic and paper. UPS reports that they will deliver 800 million packages this holiday season, an increase from 762 million in 2017. FedEx will add another 400 million, if they match last year’s total.

After years of conditioning Americans to throw all of their reusable containers and papers into a recycle bin, cities across the US are charging higher collection fees, as well as eliminating certain items they will not pick up. Nearly 35% of the nation’s waste is diverted to recycling from the solid waste stream. That accounts for millions of tons of material that can be repurposed, saving energy and time rather than making product from scratch. Mixed paper was worth $85 to $95 a ton to recyclers a year ago. Today the price has dropped to $6.50 to $8.50. Lesser-quality plastics were worth $45 a ton. Now it costs $35 to get it recycled. Cardboard prices fallen too.

There are about 100 Waste Management recycling processing facilities in the US. The cost of processing recyclables was $85 a ton, now sorted loads only bring in $65 a ton. Instead of receiving a check for recyclables, some cities are being asked to pay to have them removed.

Waste Management reported that 25% of recycled material is contaminated. Junk such as dead batteries, hoses, broken lawn furniture, plastic grocery bags, greased-stained pizza boxes, are some of the items that should not be put into recycle bins.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Trade Shows

December 10th, 2018

 

Today’s post is by Ashley Riviello, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Trade shows are like a one stop shop. You have hundreds of vendors and companies coming all to one area marketing their business. I think trade shows are an amazing way to network, not only your business, but support other businesses that are participating in the trade shows as well. Even if you are not one of the vendors in the trade show, the huge opportunity that is there for potential business for your own company it unreal.

Did you know? 46% of trade show attendees are in Executive or Upper Management roles. That’s almost half of people attending trade shows! They are high up on the ladder and have the ability to make any big decision for the company right then and there.

81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. That means the majority of the people there have the capability to make any buying decisions right there on the spot.

78% of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles. This allows you to have the opportunity to meet with people all over the US.

The average attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits at a show. That is a solid 8 hours of people continuously walking by your booth or you walking around for 8 hours getting your name out to the people who do not know your company or what you do.

92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products. Almost every person going to these trade shows are looking for new business and for something cheaper but better.

The top 3 goals for exhibitors at trade shows are brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building. I think these 3 goals are the most important goals to have as a company.. Brand awareness, you want people to know who you are and what you do. People want people talking about their company and referring other people to use their services or products. We also want new leads, people we can reach out to that do not know who we are. Find people that are looking for exactly what your company offers. Last, and I feel most important, relationship building. You have to build that relationship first and foremost before anything else. You have to make them like you and want to do business with you.

I wish I was able to attend more trade shows. I think they are essential in getting your name out there and having that first impression be face-to-face , not a phone call or quick email. Some of these facts I shared today are crazy. There is absolutely no reason your company should not be partaking in these trade shows as much as possible. Hopefully my company will send me to one soon. Wink wink.

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.

 

Why it is Important to Know What you are Buying…

December 7th, 2018

For years you purchase from the same supplier...………………..

 

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

For years you purchase from the same supplier, expect the same product level, anticipate some price increases due to market changes. You think you know what you are ordering; however, when you want to take your product out to test the market prices from other suppliers is when you realize you have not been purchasing what you thought you were.

In procurement we see this often whether it be elastomer requirements in an O-ring or broiler chickens. History has told us that elastomers are critical to the function of mechanics, as we lost the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 due to an O-ring failure. There are over 24 synthetic rubber and thermoplastics that make up O-rings and over 8,000 different sizes. Does your product require heat and freezing variables? Does your product require a specific lubricant that is EPDM compliant?

In another example, recently a client wanted to test the market for their diced chicken needs. They provided their current product specifications and pricing and quickly found out that the major manufacturers could not meet the client’s needs. Why? Because the client thoughts they were getting broiler chickens from their current supplier and they were receiving fowl chickens. Fowl chickens are the older chickens that can no longer produce eggs and the meat is considered by some to be a tougher meat. Needless to say, this was a big awakening for the client and they needed to re-evaluate their needs for their product manufacturing.

Are you sure you are purchasing exactly what your specifications require? Are you testing your suppliers products to ensure quality, quantity, safety expectations are met? Are you paying a fair price for your product needs? If you answered no to any of these questions, 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.

 

 

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 5 of 5: Service

December 6th, 2018

What characteristics are you looking for in an eProcurement Solution Provider?

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archive!

Strategic sourcing companies each have their own unique offering whether that is based on a price model, category focus, supplier database or some other defining trait, but the overall goal is to help their customers source products and services easier, smarter and with an end result that creates more value than the customer could achieve on its own. Over the past four days we will be looking at some of features and characteristics you should be looking at when evaluating a new or existing sourcing partner. Today we will close out the series by focusing on the one trait that should be examined closer than any of the other five; Service.

Having great data, tools, reporting, or technology will only be as good as the team helping you to run new projects and your partner should be as strong, if not stronger in their customer service offering than anything else they do. Today we will look at a few of the specific areas you should be looking at when evaluating your current or a new strategic sourcing partner.

Experienced – Sourcing experience across dozens of category is not something that every strategic sourcing has. There is a reason why some sourcing partners focus on travel, energy, and logistics only for their customers. Experience in sourcing events from both a consumer, sourcing partner, and supplier side is a big key to understanding the perspective of all the parties involved. This experience helps with the management of the suppliers as well as that of the customer to keep the projects moving and details and communication delivered. Well rounded strategic sourcing companies will have had sourcing experience in IT related products and services, software, warehouse materials and equipment, construction related goods and services, temporary services, For Resell goods, transportation and logistics, commodity goods, and normal indirect spend items to name a few.
Supplier management – The most difficult task in running a sourcing project, outside of collecting the data necessary to run the event, is managing the suppliers during the process. Management begins as soon as suppliers are contacted to participate in the event. Your strategic sourcing partner should be able to assist you with fielding all questions from suppliers, speaking to suppliers on your behalf to get them engaged in the process, handling objections they may have about the process, and training them on how to follow the process and tools with live support. Once a sourcing project begins, your strategic sourcing partner should manage the process and all communications so that your team can be allowed to focus on the important things they will do later. Support should continue through the entire process all the way until the project completes and suppliers have submitted everything requested.

Post event support – In some cases once the sourcing event is completed, handling and communication of the suppliers selected for award goes back to the customer. In many other cases, the sourcing event (RFI, RFP, RFQ) is just the beginning of the evaluation process. Many times samples will need to coordinated, presentations scheduled with the selection committee, scorecards and evaluation materials developed and distributed to the internal decision makers as well as agendas to the suppliers. These are all ways that good strategic sourcing partners stay involved and take the load of the sourcing process off of the customer. Many times the suppliers are used to the customer service member they have been dealing with and having that same person take them all the way through the process is a big advantage to the process going smoothly.

Many things should be looked at when evaluating a strategic sourcing partner and depending on the structure of your department, some characteristics will be more important than others but all should be considered at some point. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with sourcing projects 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.

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 4 of 5: Tools

December 5th, 2018

What characteristics are you looking for in an eProcurement solution provider?

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

This week we have been looking at the different characteristics strategic sourcing companies and solutions have that should be evaluated when making a decision as to what is most important to your company. At the beginning of the week we looked at technology, data and reporting capabilities and the different aspects of each and the importance they could play in sourcing projects. Today we will look at the different types of tools strategic sourcing companies can sometimes offer that can make your job as a procurement professional event easier.

Information Gathering – In Tuesday’s blog we discussed the importance of a good supplier database and template library foundation to beginning a sourcing project. This addresses the external data but does not always help explain the internal spend data and specifications especially when the category is a new one to your company. Being able to send electronic surveys to resources within your company in a way that requires very little effort can save a procurement team hours of time in legwork but, more importantly, can ensure that the picture of your spend you are painting for potential suppliers is accurate. Being able to understand who in your company is buying something, what they are buying, how much they historically purchased, how much they expect to purchase and whether they like the current product and supplier are all details which will shape a very successful event and can be easily collected with an online survey tool.

RFx – The concept of moving from Request to Information to Request for Proposal to Request for Quote/Tender is not a foreign one in the procurement industry and virtually every strategic sourcing company offers some type of tool or service to support this flow. Where the differentiator begins to come in is how seamless the flow from one step to another is. Do suppliers need to learn multiple tools? Is it online? Are details from step automatically moved over into the preparation and documentation of the next step? Each step of the RFx process is unique but has common threads that tie each together. Good RFx solutions will tie these threads together in a way that reduces the time it takes run from beginning to end and the amount of repetitive tasks required of the suppliers with each step.

Result Management – The information is gathered, the project is complete and the results are better than you could have expected. The problem is that without the tools to put those results into effect, they become worthless. Being able to manage the results of your sourcing events is considered by many to be more important than the results themselves and can take several different forms. Top begin with is a catalog/ordering/purchase order system that will allow your company to place the orders they need at the new pricing you have negotiated. Implementing a catalog system can also prevent rogue spending from unapproved suppliers based on past history. Another useful solution is a contract management tool to track your contracts and important details and dates, ensuring that the contract will not roll over into a situation that costs you even more money than you saved. Managing both aspects of a new deal are critical to maintaining your project’s success.

Having covered the technical, data and tool aspects of strategic sourcing partners and tools, tomorrow we will conclude with the most important piece of the puzzle which is the service your strategic sourcing partners can offer you that can save your team hundreds of hours and provide experience where you may have none. 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.

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 3 of 5: Reporting and Audit Trails

December 4th, 2018

What characteristics are you looking for in an eProcurement solution provider?

 

Today’s post is our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Strategic sourcing companies each have their own unique offering whether that is based on a price model, category focus, supplier database or some other defining trait, but the overall goal is to help their customers source products and services easier, smarter and with an end result that creates more value than the customer could achieve on its own. This week we have looked at the importance of data and technology when making a decision on a strategic sourcing partner and today we will be looking at the reporting and audit trail capabilities and how they fit into the mix of successful events. The best supplier research and technology will not be useful without the view of results in a way to make meaningful decisions.

Strong base reports – Every eSourcing solution has a standard set of reporting that they provide their customers when an event is complete. There are certain aspects of this report package which should be present in order to review the most basic details of an outcome. Supplier activity should be captured in a way that timestamps every quote entered in the system and who entered it. This is also part of the audit package described below. Any online notes should be reported on as well as the supplemental documentation many suppliers provide. The final outcome in a detailed and summary view should be provided as well as copies of all of the documents that were involved in the sourcing process. Basic award scenarios and supplier performance during the process should also be included in a standard spreadsheet or executive summary style report.

Capable of additional analysis – As important as the base set of reports you get from event are, the capability of your strategic sourcing partner to be able to provide additional analysis is just as important. There will be times when special circumstances surrounding the event need to be considered, or the way an incumbent factors into an award decision must be reviewed. Your sourcing partner’s ability to provide scorecards, provide additional award scenario details or break down situations where a primary and secondary supplier need to be awarded by location are all realistic and important ways that they can help save your team dozens of hours and allow them to do the other things they need to do for your company.

Audit Packages – There are usually not many times when a company will need an audit trail of what happened during a sourcing project but typically when they do it is of critical importance. So when evaluating technologies or partners make sure they can provide a package that includes copies of all documents and electronic versions of communications that went to any potential supplier. They should be able to provide time stamped documents of all notes and quotes entered into the system as well as who entered them for the supplier. All verbal communication and questions submitted by a supplier to the customer should be captured in a central place that either be accessed by the customer or by the administrators for reporting purposes. This package should be easily available and contain the trail of all communication with the suppliers.

Tomorrow we will look at some of the sourcing tools that are available and being used by many companies. 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 and appreciate your comments.

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 2 of 5: Data Foundation

November 30th, 2018

What characteristics are you looking for in an eProcurement solution provider?

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Blog Archives

We have begun looking at some of features and characteristics that are important when evaluating a new or existing sourcing partner this week beginning yesterday with technology. While not all characteristics we will cover will carry the same weight from company to company, they are all important factors for consideration when selecting a strategic sourcing partner or solution. In today’s segment we will be looking at the data that supplies the backbone for the projects you work on with your sourcing partner.

Global coverage – While there are obvious advantages from working with National, regional and local providers, it is important to be able to look at other global sources of supply. Having the options gives leverage to be able to make decisions as it relates to primary and secondary sources of goods and services. This is especially true for global companies who need to source goods and services local to their international offices. Working with a supplier that has a global supplier database is important to be able to develop a view that looks at all options of origin.

Feeding itself – Data by itself is useful, but data that gets smarter and fresher be leveraging the fruits of its labor is the key to running a better sourcing organization. For most companies the limited view they have of the supplier community goes only as far as their own experience or research. When you work with a third party strategic sourcing partner and/or tool, you are getting the benefit of experience that company has had with those suppliers, products and services. If a supplier has been great to work with, you should be getting the advantage of knowing that from your sourcing partner or tool. Likewise, if a supplier has not done well with delivering after an award of business, access to that information should be available as well. As thousands of sourcing projects complete each year the data you are looking at should be leveraging that information as much as possible.

More than the basics – Along the same lines as “feeding itself” your data should be more than just the basics about who a supplier is, where they are from and how big they are. Strong supplier databases should provide the level of detail on par with a mini-RFI before a project ever begins. This data should include who their biggest competitors are, what new products or releases they have completed in the last 2 years, who they are doing business with and where their core strengths lie. This should also apply to categories and having access to template libraries with starting documents for RFIs, RFPs, and online bidding specifications.

Data is still the key to succeeding in the business world. The more information you can get to help make informed decisions before projects begin, the quicker your projects and results can be put into effect and realized by your financial department. Tomorrow we will take a look at the points to consider from an audit perspective and how your eSourcing solution should be helping to provide you the trail of communication during a sourcing event. 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.

Spend Analysis Part I of II

November 29th, 2018

The Typical Steps of Spend Analysis are...…………………………...

 

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

In yesterday’s post we explored what Spend Analysis is and some of the experiences I have had spending time with customers during the review process.

Today we’ll look at the steps involved in Spend Analysis.

Typical Steps of Spend Analysis: Identify all the sources available for your spend data, from all of your departments, plants and business units. This includes accounts payable, general ledger, pCard, eProcurement systems, etc. Gather and consolidate all of your spend data into one central database. This can be difficult if your data is in different formats, different languages and different currencies, however, there are programs available specifically designed to accomplish this however not necessary and a simple Excel workbook may be used.

Cleanse your data. This includes finding and correcting errors in descriptions and transactions, as well as standardizing the spend data for easy viewing. Group, or link, your suppliers for better supplier management. For instance, purchases made from IBM, IBM Corp., or Cognos should all be grouped together, since they’re the same supplier. Categorize your spend. Whether you use specific industry standard classifications or your own company-specific categories, you need to be able to determine where your money is being spent. Office supplies, marketing travel, legal, direct and indirect spend should all be categorized appropriately.

Analyze your spend data. Ensure that you have negotiated the best contract deals per supplier now that all of your spend is identified. Ensure that all of your buyers are purchasing from preferred suppliers. Reduce the number of suppliers per category. Repeat. Performing a spend

analysis once is a great start to identifying savings, however, you need to continually update your data to ensure that contract terms are being adhered to, that buyers are purchasing from preferred suppliers and that savings opportunities are being identified.

Once the Spend Analysis is completed, and reviewed with the client, there are several lessons learned as a result:

  1. Upon completion you now have a baseline for sourcing initiatives
  2. Spend Analysis now becomes an enabler for process improvement
  3. The known data is now a measurement device for cost reduction programs such as SafeSourcing’s Reverse Auction Events
  4. Significant cost-savings opportunities through supplier and commodity consolidation
  5. Enhanced compliance through effective spend and supplier monitoring, which by the way is part of the SafeSourcing full service program
  6. Comprehensive spend visibility across direct and indirect commodities and services

In closing I cannot help but to remember something that was drilled into my head as a young individual by my parents: “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how you save it.” This says it perfectly as to why spend analysis is such a vital part of procurement planning.

For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our Risk Free Pilot program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.