Managing your RFP process

April 26th, 2017

Minimize the burden and maximizing the value of complex RFPs

 

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

While the biggest reason that an organization sites as they begin to leverage eProcurement is to reduce costs and many first think of reverse auctions when they think of eProcurement, there are other benefits as well.

For example, when an organization is considering a complicated Request for Proposal (RFP) and want to understand much more than price alone, they often turn to their eProcurement partner for assistance. In fact, one of the more common misconceptions about eProcurement is that it does not work well for categories that are not commodities.

Actually, there are many reasons, including cost reduction to use eProcurement to better manage your RFP process for complex categories. The complexities may exist in the service requirements and might be considered difficult to quantify. They might also be in detailed technical requirements. These complexities create an even greater burden on a purchasing organization than other less complex categories.

A traditional RFP process can be cumbersome to manage internally. Beginning with the creation of the scope, requirements and other details, your team will typically have a heavy burden and are often under the additional pressure of a tight timeline. Then, once the RFP is ready the responses have to be solicited from vendors. From there, each vendor will respond, likely in varying formats and with varying levels of detail.Finally, all of these responses has to be reviewed thoroughly in order for decisions to be made. It is a substantial undertaking that will significantly tax your resources.

So then, what does eProcurement offer to address these challenges? First, you’ll have the guidance of your eProcurement partner in the creation and preparation of your online RFP. They will lighten the load for your team by taking on much of the burden associated with the process. Second, and this is a big one, your eProcurement partner will ensure that you’ll have vendor responses submitted and organized in a manner that allows for easy and efficient review and comparison of the vendor submissions including pricing. No more digging though vendor documents to align their response to your requirements. Each response is in its proper place for consideration. Third, you’ll have all of this at your fingertips electronically. Finally, you’ll continue to have support during your review process.

Dave Wenig is the Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss many more reasons why our clients choose to host their RFPs online. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

How Do You Ensure You Are Getting What You Paid For?

April 25th, 2017

We often hear about Terms and Conditions

 

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

We often hear about Terms and Conditions, though many people do not actually read them. In this blog, I will be touching on the Terms and Conditions associated with a Request for Quote (RFQ). These Terms and Conditions often include specific details about Shipping, Price Protection Terms, Quality Requirements, and in some cases the Specifications. Terms and Conditions are basically the rules and guidelines that one must follow during a transaction.

Another step of the Procurement process that often does not receive the credit it deserves would be the Specifications. The specifications play a major role in the procurement process because it lays out specific details of each particular item your company wishes to purchase.  Also, the specification will detail essential characteristics that are required. The document will cover every tiny detail of the product and service that the buyer wishes to accumulate. The Business Dictionary Defines Specifications as “Exact statement of the particular needs to be satisfied, or essential characteristics that a customer requires (in a good, material, method, process, service, system, or work) and which a vendor must deliver. Specifications are written usually in a manner that enables both parties (and/or an independent certifier) to measure the degree of conformance. They are, however, not the same as control limits (which allow fluctuations within a range), and conformance to them does not necessarily mean quality (which is a predictable degree of dependability and uniformity).”1 As one can see there is a lot more time and focus that would go into a Specification document, or even a Terms and Conditions document for that matter. Thankfully SafeSourcing will cover all the Terms and Conditions and Specification documents for you and your company; though we will of course, need to know what you want.

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.

Resources—————————————–

“What Is a Specification (spec)? Definition and Meaning.” BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

Joe, Dirt, Java, Brew, Cuppa, Go Juice, Jitter Juice, Bean Juice, Brain Juice, etc.

April 21st, 2017

There are many names for coffee, with people making up their own pet names....

 

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

There are many names for coffee, with people making up their own pet names for the beloved brew. With the warmer weather approaching, iced coffee becomes very popular with the coffee-drinking crowd.  But why is iced coffee more expensive than hot coffee?  Depending upon where you buy your coffee, iced coffee can be as much as 60% higher than hot coffee.  A Starbucks grande cup of Nitro Cold Brew averages $3.60, much more than the company’s regular cold brew, which cost $3.25, and over a dollar more than a hot drip coffee of the same size.

Cold brew coffee is brewed with cold or room temperature water instead of hot water. The lower temperatures mean the extraction is slow and take hours to make – often half the day.  It also requires more coffee.  A standard water to coffee ratio might be 17:1.  For cold brew, it might be 4.5:1.  This coffee, labor and time simply make it a more expensive process.  What is left after this process is a concentrate that is cut down with water.  Other things to consider when ordering a cold brew is that plastic cups cost more than paper cups – also factor in the straws.  Ice is also very expensive.  “Ice is a fortune, Michael Pollack of Brooklyn Roasting company told Gothamist last year.  If you think we go through coffee fast, double that for ice.  We actually store ten gallon refrigerator boxes of ice because our needs are so tremendous.”1

SafeSourcing has a lot of experience sourcing coffee and coffee products. It is a category that is sourced regularly.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Representative we have an entire team waiting to assist you today,

Resources:

[1] Ethan Wolff-Mann, Money, 5/31/2016

Why should I schedule a HVAC maintenance appointment?

April 20th, 2017

There are many benefits for maintaining your HVAC units.......

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.
Spring is here and the temperature will soon be rising.  That means we will be turning on our air conditioners for the first time in a few months.  One thing to consider before it gets too warm is scheduling your annual HVAC system maintenance.  This will ensure that your system is running efficiently, help prevent costly breakdowns, and give you piece of mind during the warm season ahead.  During the inspection the technician will inspect the unit and make sure that everything is clean and running correctly.

There are many benefits for maintaining your HVAC units, such as lower energy bills.  Just because the unit is cooling and heating does not mean that all is well.  A system that is not well maintained slowly loses its ability to keep the same temperatures at the same efficiency it once did, therefore leading to slightly more expensive energy bills over time.  Regular maintenance will also prolong the life of the unit.  Units that are not maintained will become dirty which makes some of the parts work harder and shorten the lifespan of those parts.  Below are some benefits of a having a well maintained HVAC unit.

➢ Increased Energy Efficiency

➢ Extended Lifespan

➢ Decrease in Repairs

➢ Early Warning of Worn Parts

➢ Improved Air Quality

➢ Better Humidity Levels

➢ Safer Operation

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

 

How are you spending your hours?

April 19th, 2017

There are just not enough hours in the day!

 

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

There are just not enough hours in the day! Everyone has heard or said this phrase at least once in their life. Sometimes this phase is true and there is simply not enough time to complete a project in one day. However, more often than not, it is a product of poor time management. I am going to give just a couple of tips to better help with your time management.

First, we must understand what time management is.  Dictionary.com defines time management as “the analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workplace.” An easy way of defining time management is to simply say, “How to utilize the 24 hours that a day provides you?” Simple right? Not so much.  It is very easy to get carried away with a project and to put something else on the back burner. To ensure you are utilizing your 24 hours properly, simply stop and perform a few of these tricks:

1) Write down the task you would like to see accomplished in one week.

2) Prioritize those tasks by importance.

3) Write down the task you should be able to complete in one day.

4) Order your daily task by importance.

5) Put an estimated time limit you expect each task to be completed.

6) Schedule your day according to your task.

7) Buckle down and complete the task on your list.

8) If unable to complete a task, make it your top priority for the next day.

I truly believe that if you follow the above task list you will find yourself getting more accomplished in a single day than you thought was possible. This is why at SafeSourcing we have a daily morning meeting where we prioritize the tasks we must complete in a day. Give us a call so you can witness firsthand how quickly we can get an event complete and start saving you money.

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.

Source:

“time management”. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 17 Apr. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/time-management>.

Savings Now

April 18th, 2017

Acting quickly to realize savings faster

 

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

Many post have been written about the reasons for implementing eProcurement into your purchasing process. Today, we’ll assume that this decision has already been made. The question now is how do you start realizing savings? When will we see the results?

The reality is that you should be able to see results within the current quarter. Whether or not you do depends on several factors, but is completely within your control.

First, have you targeted categories that range in complexity from simple to complex? The quick win categories are often fairly simple and can be achieved while you continue to work through the details necessary for more complex categories. Make sure that you constantly achieve savings by avoiding the pitfall of only selecting complex categories, especially as you begin sourcing with eProcurement. The excitement from success is contagious

Second, you’ll need to be sure that the entire team understands the eProcurement process. The most successful eProcurement initiatives are driven at the C level. From there, everyone involved in the purchase process should know what is involved in the process and how the award of business will be made. This will go a long want to prevent rogue spending and negotiations with vendors outside of the eProcurement process; both of which will derail your initiative.

Third, there comes a time to simply take action. Avoiding analysis paralysis is necessary to achieve savings. It’s understandable that you wonder if making optimization changes to your existing program will drive better savings or to seek out higher volumes in search of better savings. However, the time required for these considerations comes at a cost as you continue to purchase at your existing price. The alternative? Decide to reduce your current costs now and plan to optimize process or collaborate and renegotiate again only once you are ready. This allows you to buy at a much better cost while you work on your longer term strategies within that category.

There are other considerations as well, but the fact is that the success of your eProcurement program depends on your organization’s commitment to identifying and achieving savings at every opportunity.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments

Equipping to Deliver

April 17th, 2017

As companies demand better results from more complex projects, what are you doing to provide the tools to your team to succeed?

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing archives

In a recent study performed by Noosh, Inc., of over 5,000 companies handling almost $12 billion in procurement projects, some not so surprising trends were confirmed by the data.  One of these dealt with companies expecting their procurement teams to handle more sourcing projects with a higher degree of complexity in the same amount of time than in previous years.  Today we will look at a few areas that can be addressed to help achieve these results.

Helping hand – Several 3rd party strategic sourcing companies exist with the purpose of helping extend procurement teams in order to tackle more projects in a shorter amount of time.  Where individuals on your team may source a category like stretch wrap every year or two, 3rd party companies are sourcing the same category several times a year all over the world for companies of varying sizes.  Not only can they run a project from beginning to end, but they can also provide advice on the best way to structure a project based on what is currently working in the industry.

New tools – Investigating tools that can streamline certain areas of the sourcing process is another important step.  One example of these types of tools is a survey tool.  This tool will allow departments to quickly gather the information they need to assemble projects and structure the best approach.  When this information is combined with online RFx or Reverse auction tools, it allows the department to have several suppliers compete for the business in a LIVE online format that produces hundreds of quote adjustments from several suppliers all at once.  This frees the procurement team up to concentrate on other aspects of the eventual contract that will be signed.

Get better at tracking – Once the decision on getting extra help and getting the right tools in place has been made, developing ways to standardize and track the progress of these projects is the third area that should be examined.   Most strategic sourcing companies can assist in this area as well but in standardizing the sourcing approach, documents, project plans, expectations and roles can all be defined in order to streamline how future projects will run but also to provide an accurate timeline of when it will be completed.  This reduces the company’s vulnerability that can happen when a department attempts to source something on their own.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help be a helping hand, provide new online tools or assist with developing stronger tracking and standardization 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.

Reverse Auction

April 14th, 2017

The WHO, WHY and WHEN.......

 

Today’s post is written by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

True or False

Even though reverse auctions have been used by businesses since the early 2000’s, there is still a misunderstanding on exactly how they can benefit both the vendors and the clients and why and when to utilize the practice. Here I will dispel falsehoods and shed some light on the benefits.

Only large organizations or public owned companies can organize reverse auctions- False

It is true that large companies were first to use this tool, but now reverse auctions have been successfully implemented in all size companies, across all market sectors. All you need is the right tool or hire the right company to facilitate your needs.

Only big organizations can afford reverse auction, because you need to invest a great deal of money and time. Also you need to construct the reverse auction structure-False

Today, SafeSourcing and their E-procurement tools can assist you to achieve savings without wasting time or hire additional staff for a reasonable fee.

Reverse auctions are a short-term method, for organizations that want to save money-False

SafeSourcing can open up doors to companies you might have otherwise thought you could not help, with both short and long term needs.

Reverse auctions are only effective for commodities and raw materials purchasing, and are not appropriate for services-False

SafeSourcing have been successful in all areas. Savings can be easily achieved for service needs through clear requirements with both specifics and cost.

Reverse auctions apply only to substantial budget procurements-False

There is no minimum amount for a successful reverse auction. If it is important to your company, you should choose what gets you the best value.

As you can see, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding the use of a reverse auction. A reverse auction can enlighten you where you stand in the marketplace. You might be very surprised what percentage of savings you are losing.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Retailers if you want to reduce shrink and improve liquidity try a Forward Auction

April 11th, 2017

There are so many reasons why stock is being left in the backrooms of stores across the country.

 

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

For major chains the liquidation of this stock in a timely manner can significantly reduce reported shrink numbers and improve financial results and liquidity.

A Forward Auction is part of most e-negotiation tool belts. Probably the most well known type of forward auctions are those run by eBay. These tools are often overlooked as a way for companies to sell items that represent overstock, out of cycle, buffer stock, new old stock and other types of inventory that has been paid for and not sold through.

Placing these items for sale on your e-procurement provider’s website so that buyers from a variety of formats such as dollar stores, liquidation companies and other overstock resellers can bid for the items can positively impact shrink.

The simple philosophy here is that getting something for inventory that has already been paid for is better than getting nothing. The biggest dilemma to this solution is that most retailers do not know what is in the back rooms of their stores or how long it has been there.

An issue the above can create is the misinterpretation that shrinkage caused by employee theft, error or other mistakes is actually higher than it is.

There are any numbers of sources that report on annual retail shrinkage numbers. It is safe to say that average shrink numbers across the retail industry has hovered around 3% for years, although you will find significantly higher numbers by specific retail industry vertical.

The fact is that for a one billion dollar supermarket company, this represents $30,000,000.00 annually. With net earnings in this vertical averaging 1%, a reduction in shrink of 33% can improve earnings by as much as 100%.

A quick hit to these numbers can be accomplished by a forward auction. What do you have to lose? Better yet, what do you have to gain?

If  you are profitable enough or don’t care about your shareholders, then  don’t bother to contact a SafeSourcing customer services project  manager. After all, shrink has not gone down as a percentage in 30 years, so most don’t seem to care anyway. Maybe we could help make you a hero. It’s just a click away.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Tactical and Strategic Sourcing

April 10th, 2017

Procurement Sense: The Difference Between Tactical and Strategic Sourcing

 

Today’s post is written by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Let’s define each one then note the differences. This will aid in better understanding how procurement professionals justify adopting one sourcing method or the other.

Strategic Sourcing

Strategic sourcing is a precise, long term approach to acquire supplies and or services for an organizations current need at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and the lowest risk to the supply chain. This process creates a relationship between the customer and vendor that will ensure continuous improvement in quality, delivery, cost and service while providing the means to attain ideal proficiencies with both parties. There are three key components of strategic sourcing; spend analysis, market research and supplier evaluation and relationship management. These steps require a specifically trained staff using a specific software tool to achieve desired outcomes.

Tactical Sourcing

Tactical sourcing is a short term, transactional activity practiced in small to medium companies. This approach to purchasing goods and services uses quick quote and order processing to support the company’s production or needs. This approach does require management within the company to ensure the right material is purchased at the right price and at the right time. Unlike strategic sourcing, companies are not concerned with the vendor’s core capabilities or creating a long-term relationship.

So based on the two sourcing methods one might think that the strategic approach makes for best practices compared with the tactical method. So why do many companies choose the latter of the two.

Consider a small to medium sized company where purchasing has the ability to use just about any supplier that fits their need. Typically, buyers will use their own best judgement to find the right supply that meets both their pricing and best shipping dates. This is very common in companies that don’t have the luxury of time or technology to assist them from shifting form tactical to strategic purchasing. Their biggest concern is to keep things moving while keeping an eye on costs, hence why tactical sourcing makes the most sense.

Now compared this to a larger company where they could have a suite of ERP technology and a dedicated team of purchasers. They have the time and resources to properly vet suppliers, develop reports, perform a spend analysis, and conduct market research. With these capabilities, procurement can negotiate lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), taking into consideration, quality, price, delivery and lead times. These buyers will have a deeper understanding of the company’s overall needs and requirements. Taking a strategic sourcing approach makes the most sense in these cases.

Finding the best sourcing method for any size company should be a priority, yet time and time again, companies fail to implement any thoughtful process or policy costing them time and money. SafeSourcing, with its dedicated staff and E-procurement suite of tools could do just that. Lower your risk and increase savings without hiring additional staff or buying expensive software. It’s a win-win!

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.