One or the other; Efficiency vs Effectiveness

December 8th, 2016

Many believe you must sacrifice effectiveness for better efficiency or vice versa

 

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

Many believe you must sacrifice effectiveness for better efficiency or vice versa. However, in the proper hands this could not be more wrong. As hard as it may seem there are ways to improve both at a company. BusinessDictionary.com defines Effectiveness as “The degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. In contrast to efficiency, effectiveness is determined without reference to costs and, whereas efficiency means “doing the thing right,” effectiveness means “doing the right thing.” BusinessDictionary.com also defines efficiency as “The comparison of what is actually produced or performed with what can be achieved with the same consumption of resources (money, time, labor, etc.). It is an important factor in determination of productivity.” As you see from above effectiveness basically means doing the jobs that are assigned to you and handling any problems that may come up while working on those tasks. Whereas, efficiency basically means how fast you can correctly do your job or what resources can you utilize to help save time, money, material, or labor while completing the task. With this being said it is easy to assume that you must sacrifice one for the other.

However, believe it or not, some of the best ways to improve both is to slow down. Let me explain, the faster you move the more likely you are to mess up what you are working on and if you slow down too much you will not complete the task in the timeframe needed. This is why many companies like to utilize a Strategic Sourcing company like SafeSourcing as a resource. As I come to the end of my first month at SafeSourcing I realize I have been taught ways to improve both my effectiveness and efficiency. I have noticed the time it takes me to complete tasks is slowly starting to go down. It is easy to see why the SafeSourcing team can complete so many tasks in one day to ensure a quick turnaround of events with the highest ROI to the customer.

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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“What Is Efficiency?” BusinessDictionary.com. Business Dictionary, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

“What Is Effectiveness?” BusinessDictionary.com. Business Dictionary, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

The SafeSourcing Way

December 6th, 2016

The Value of a Warm Welcome.

 

Today’s post is by Jericia Stevens, Account Manager at SafeSourcing, Inc.

The Value of a Warm Welcome.

In a rapidly evolving world, are we losing the art of welcoming someone into a new situation? Is our culture too casual in the way we conduct business or form meaningful relationships? Have we taken for granted the meaningful notes and thoughtful extras that gives life meaning?

As of today, I’ve officially been employed at SafeSourcing for two weeks. As I reflect on the things that I learned over the last two weeks, it is only befitting to reflect on the warm welcome I felt on my first day; week. I walked into the office suite to notice a sign that read, “Welcome to SafeSourcing Inc. Jericia Stevens” sitting on the front desk.

SafeSourcing knows the value of a Welcome. We want to ensure that our customers feel welcomed while we manage their procurement needs.

Our procurement team works diligently to provide our customers with quality training and customer service. Our flexible service offerings and suite of e- procurement tools deliver the savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of our services.

We work closely together and make sure that we all have a role in providing our customers with the best value for their product and services.

I am glad to be a part of a company that knows the value of a welcome. Partner with us and experience The SafeSourcing Way. Let SafeSourcing manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. 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.

 

How can I extend the battery life on my laptop?

December 1st, 2016

If you travel and like to work on the road.......

 

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

If you travel and like to work on the road, you probably have run into the issue of battery life with your laptop. Although batteries are getting more efficient, this is still one big complaint for laptop users.  There are settings that can be changed on the laptop to help reduce the drain.

One of the biggest drains on the laptop is the display. Reducing the screen brightness in low light situations can have a big effect.  This can be done on most laptops by holding down the Function Key (FN) and pressing the brightness buttons located on the laptop’s keyboard.  This can also be done by using Windows Mobility Center within the operating system.  For example on Windows 7 this can be done by holding down the Windows Key and pressing the X key.  Other options for controlling the display are to have your display dim automatically or turn off automatically.  This is good practice if you step away from your laptop periodically throughout the day.  This can be done by adjusting your settings within the Power Options Screen.  To access Power Options click start, click Control Panel and then click Power Options.  From here you can adjust the times for dimming the display, turning off the display or putting the computer to sleep.

Another way save battery life is to disable or unplug any devices that are not being used. For example, if you are not using your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth then disable it.  These devices use power when they are enabled.  So, if you are in situations where Wi-Fi is unavailable then simply disable it by holding down the Function Key (FN) and pressing the Wi-Fi button located on the Laptop’s keyboard.

Below are some other tips for extending battery life.

  • Reduce the number of open programs
  • Turn off unused Ports
  • Add more RAM
  • Keep out of extreme hot or cold
  • Upgrade Hard Drive with a Solid-State Drive
  • Replace old battery

If you frequently use your laptop where there is no power available you may consider purchasing a second battery.   If you would like some help finding the right solutions, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide what will meet 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.

We look forward to your comments.

Enjoying the Benefits of eProcurement

November 30th, 2016

Realize savings faster by knowing what to do.

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing.

First, the good news. You’ve successfully completed an eProcurement event and you have a very significant opportunity to realize the savings generated by that effort.

The question many ask at this point is; now what do I do?

  1.  Review the results in detail: Following a successful eProcurement Request for Quote (RFQ) event, you should take the time to fully review the results of the RFQ. Of course, you’ll want to take a close look at the pricing entered during the process, but there is much more involved. You will also review any notes that the participating suppliers entered to accompany their quotes. Perhaps you’re also interested in understanding how and when suppliers entered their quotes. What was the activity level and what can you learn from the bid activity? As a result of any SafeSourceIt™ RFQ, you’ll have all of this information and more at your fingertips.
  2. Lean on your partner: Often, even after reviewing the results, the best path might still be unclear. For example, perhaps you now have several potential suppliers who could meet your needs and are offering their products at roughly the same price. How do you choose between them? One way to make this decision easier is to confer with your eProcurement partner. While they may not be in the position to make the award decision for you, they might have insight as to what other factors you might take into consideration. Is this a category for which samples are commonly tested? What recommendations does your partner have relative to that sampling process? Did any vendor go above and beyond and offer up additional benefits such as more favorable payment terms or a rebate program? Your partner has experience reviewing the results of an RFQ. Ask their advice.
  3. Keep negotiating: The RFQ is not the end of the negotiations, it’s just another step. At the conclusion of an RFQ, you may deem a supplier to be the best overall value, even if that supplier is not the lowest cost provider. Internal pressures to reduce costs might make awarding to the supplier with the higher cost difficult. In this stage of your review, it may be appropriate to negotiate for further cost alignment with this supplier to achieve a final agreement that is beneficial to both buyer and seller.
  4. Make your decision: Stay with incumbent or try something new? Change is difficult. You may have had a long relationship with your incumbent supplier which had been perceived as a good working relationship. Over time, that supplier may have taken on duties that are outside of the scope of your agreements. Ultimately, as you review the results of your RFQ, this choice will be yours to make. You’ll consider the value of the long term relationship and the value of the known entity against the potential represented by an eager new supplier. Weighing heavily on that decision will be the potential savings. If the new supplier’s cost is 5, 10, or 15% lower than the cost of your incumbent, you’ll have to consider the monetary value you would associate with being able to maintain your current source of supply.

Dave Wenig is a North American Director of Sales at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you attain and quickly realize savings. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

A Christmas related spend cube analogy. “Little Jack Horner sat in corner eating his Christmas Pie.”

November 29th, 2016

Be careful of spend cubes, unless you want to spend a lot of money and maybe not get what you are looking for.

 

Todays post is an oldie but goodie from Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing.

And is still true three years later.

The rest of the Little Jack Horner spend cube analogy might go like this. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a peach and said what the heck is a peach doing in a plumb pie?

If you look to Wikipedia, there is no definition of a spend cube. You can find information relative to spend cubes in a discussion about spend analysis. However t the original discussion we are talking about data in this case multi-dimensional data about spend information. Consultants love to talk about it because it allows them to charge you a lot of money without necessarily delivering any results other than, well a spend cube.

Quite frankly you are going to hear terms like data model, data warehouse, data scrubbing, data cleansing, data access, data sources and incomplete data. All of which allow consultants to charge you more money in order to develop yours from what is likely incomplete data kept in many places like GL’s, ERP systems and the like.

Once you get your model or cube, I promise you additional discovery is going to be required in order to determine what categories or products should go to market. One category manager’s category is another category mangers product. So now what?

Don’t get confused by consultants touting their spend cube analysis software because if you do, you will be in for a dime in for a dollar and continue to get peaches when you are looking for plumbs.

If you’re totally confused, SafeSourcing can help, and we deliver results quickly. Contact a SafeSourcing representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

EPA and Business

November 28th, 2016

What does the EPA have to do with business?

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in December, 1970 in response to growing population concerns over heavy pollution. In the 50 years it has been around, the EPA, through research, monitoring, and enforcement activities, has accomplished numerous things, such as regulating clean drinking water, prohibiting hazardous toxic dumping, removing dangerous carcinogens from food and pesticides, removal of harmful lead from paint and gasoline, implementing recycling programs, and helping to reduce toxic air emissions. On top of that, the EPA helps with environmental cleanups, including natural disasters, oil spills, and brownfields. All of these things help to provide a safer and cleaner environment for people and animals.

With all the good the EPA does for our health, safety, and environment, they also make impacts on our daily lives and businesses. For example, over the last ten years there has been a rise in the number of Energy-Star appliances that use less water and other resources to perform household tasks, like heating, cooling, and washing. This in turn, can save residents hundred or even thousands off of their annual energy bill and help conserve resources.

The EPA has had tremendous impact on agriculture as well. By eliminating harmful pesticides, the food grown by farmers has become safer to eat. By eliminating industrial dumping, streams and rivers have been cleaner and safer to drink, allowing livestock to drink untainted water, thus living longer, healthier, and providing people with better, healthier, toxin-free milk and meat.

Possibly the biggest impact the EPA has made, however, is in the industrial sector, often with less than happy industry owners. For example, a factory has to spend significant amounts of money to prevent heart and lung disease-causing smog to be reduced, to safely contain and dispose of water-based industrial waste instead of dumping into fresh streams, lakes, and rivers, and using safe chemicals in products instead of cheaper, known carcinogens.

To help support environmental regulations, the EPA offers green awards to businesses that make positive change and steps toward healthier, greener business culture. Through education and green policies, the EPA has made huge positive impacts on the country over the past 50 years, helping not only the environment, but also the health and safety of wildlife, livestock, and every single person in this country.

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

Thanksgiving is really a story of a supply chain found and developed!

November 25th, 2016

And without it, the possibility of Retailers servicing your needs this Black Friday would be ZERO!

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend from SafeSourcing

One hundred and two pilgrims and crew arrived in Massachusetts after a 3,000 mile trip from England on the Mayflower. It is safe to say that as a result of that distance there was no existing supply chain to leverage, so one had to be developed and quickly. This began with basic hunting and gathering and later included trading with the areas indigenous peoples known as the Wampanoag’s for corn, seed and foraging and planting techniques.

The Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621. Since the pilgrims had only arrived on November 21st of 1620 they had really not been there long enough to develop a fully reliable and renewable supply source. They had however established collaborative relationships with the local Wampanoag people who became regular trading partners and who helped them celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest.

The most detailed description of the “First Thanksgiving” comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:”Our harvest  being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.

The fowl referred to above certainly could have included a wide range of fowl that was plentiful in the area such as wild turkey, pheasant, goose, duck, and partridge and unfortunately by today’s standards even eagles.

The pilgrims probably didn’t have pies or much of anything sweet at the harvest feast because they did not yet have ovens. They had brought some sugar with them on the Mayflower but by the time of the first Thanksgiving, the supply had probably run out.

Their meals also included many different types of meats. Vegetable dishes, one of the staples of today’s Thanksgiving, didn’t really play a large part in the feast. Other items that may have been on the menu certainly included sea food such as clams and lobster, Indian corn, wild fruits and nuts, meats such as venison and seal and certain dry herbs and spices.

The Thanksgiving meal that has today become a national holiday is a symbol of supply chain cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend 2016 from SafeSourcing. Who were the Pilgrims?

November 24th, 2016

This author is pleased to be descended from both Myles Standish and John Alden both Mayflower passengers neither of who were members of the religious congregation that was originally responsible for coining the word pilgrim.

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

According to the Mayflower Society, as history has evolved, any of the 102 Mayflower passengers who arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower and survived the initial hardships is now considered a Pilgrim with no distinction being made on the basis of their original purposes for making the voyage.

The Mayflower Pilgrims and their fellow travelers were authors of the first true governing document created in a New World colony. The Mayflower Compact is considered to have set the stage for the Constitution of the United States.

These were the same pilgrims that were responsible for the holiday we celebrate today called Thanksgiving.

We wish you and yours a peaceful and happy extended holiday weekend.

Update…Do Not Procrastinate!

November 23rd, 2016

This is your 30-day notice that your annual contract is coming up

 

Today’s post is by Heather A. Powell, Director of Customer Services & Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

Dear Buyer,

This is your 30-day notice that your annual contract is coming up, let’s discuss how we can extend your current contract…

Sincerely,

The Seller

STOP! Do not call the seller! Research, research, research your options! I wrote this blog almost five years ago, and the truth is nothing has changed when it comes to doing your homework and researching what you are purchasing and what is within your contract.

Worse than getting the above notice is the evergreen clause. An evergreen clause is a statement within a contract, that says something to the effect of “this agreement shall automatically renew for another one (1) year term, unless either party provides notice to the other of its intent to terminate this agreement not less than thirty (30) days before the end of the then current term.”

Do not procrastinate to the point you are struggling whether to stick with your current supplier (evergreen a poor contract/poor service) or search for a new supplier. Give yourself time to research your alternatives. If you know a contract is going to expire within 60 or 90 days, start your research NOW! There is no harm in learning as much to know as possible about your product and your company’s annual needs for that product.

Maybe your current supplier does have the best price in town, maybe not…. If you could save 5, 10, 15, even 20% or more on your current product why would you stick with your current supplier, and why not explore your options with a new supplier who can give you better savings, maybe better service, with a better product? Are you lost and not sure which way to look? Are you unsure of where to start or who to talk too? You don’t have enough time to start the process or do the research you know needs to be done? Let SafeSourcing be your guide and source to getting you the answers you need, even if you did procrastinate and have 30 days left. We can do all of this for you and your company from research of the product, to research of the suppliers, to follow through of hosting an RFQ to get your company the best possible savings and value of your product.

Don’t become the King or Queen of Procrastination! For more information about how we can assist with sourcing your needs for your company, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative

Contract Types

November 22nd, 2016

Do you know what your options are?

 

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

If you don’t like the pricing model of the contract you’re working within but didn’t know you had other options, here is a high-level overview of a few of the standard contract types being used today:

Cost Plus: An agreement wherein the seller agrees to charge based on cost of goods sold, plus whatever profit margin is required to make the project viable. One example is where a highly commoditized good is subject to price regulation or index pricing, and therefore will have their pricing fluctuate based on the market constraints. The only pricing the vendor has control over in this scenario, is their profit margin, which will be the only pricing variable the vendor can agree to discount during negotiations.

Guaranteed Maximum Price: Similar to a Cost Plus contract, a GMP agreement is where the contractor is reimbursed for their actual cost, but also is paid an agreed upon fee. This fee is not to be exceeded unless the scope of the project changes, for which a formal “change order” can be enacted.

Incentive Contracts: This agreement begins as a cost reimbursement model, but varies based on whether or not previously determined goals were met. The incentives can be positive or negative, such that a vendor can be rewarded for underrunning the estimated cost of the project, or penalized for being over-budget. Both scenarios still require timely delivery of finished project. One potential drawback though, is that it can be difficult to monitor quality of work/product meets standards, as this model can also incentivize vendors to cut corners.

Time and Material: This contract type is fairly self-explanatory, in that the basis for pricing is on the number of man-hours used, and any necessary materials to complete the work contracted. Profit is either baked into the hourly rate, or invoiced as an add-on. This contract type is most typically used in situations where it is difficult to forecast the number of hours needed to complete, and must be billed as needed.

Unit Price: In this contract type, the activity or good is grouped into a pre-defined unit. The vendor is then paid a fixed amount for each unit completed. Profit and overhead is typically included in the unit rate, and rate is determined in part by estimated total units contracted.

Lump Sum: A Lump Sum contract is typically enacted when a full scope of work is well defined, enabling the vendor to quote the exact amount required to complete the project. This contract type can be financially risky to a vendor who could later discover hidden costs to perform the project, and can be risky to the timeline of the principle, as the contract would not penalize or reward timeliness as would an Incentive Contract.

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.