Create Small wins for buy-in.

August 5th, 2021

Everyone has a threshold of buy-in!

 

Today’s post is from our archives at SafeSourcing.

Whether the focus is believing in a leader, a boss (there’s a difference 😉 a spouse, a product, or even themselves, there is a threshold at which a number of perceived failures will begin to cause people to stop believing in certain proposed possibilities. For some people their threshold is very low; all it takes is one setback, one negative comment, one harsh statement from the boss, to get them to lack belief in the viability of a positive outcome. While we can’t pander to everyone’s insecurities, there are ways to start rebuilding confidence, and expanding the perceived realm of possibility for your team.

One such way is to create small wins. A series of small accomplishments for an individual can be a huge bolster to Buy-in. A boss that follows through with his promises is more likely to be trusted when he asks the impossible of his employees. When a leader consistently demonstrates that greater things can be accomplished than what others thought was possible, co-workers will start increasing their self-expectations.

This is one of the greatest differences between incentivizing productivity through negative consequences and positive expectations. You can get people to scramble through fear, but you can’t get them to believe that what you’re proposing is achievable. And study after study has shown that a workforce that believes in a common purpose is always more effective than one that would rather see the project fail because they resent the fear tactics.

Learning what the threshold of buy in is, and consistently exceeding those expectations one step, one “win” at a time, is essential to managing a buy-in paradigm shift. Creating buy- in is what keeps clients patronizing your business; your employee’s following your vision, and your self-confidence high enough to accomplish your goals.

If you’d like to discuss getting your e-procurement program off to a quick start with focused small wins, please contact a SafeSourcing Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Overcoming Cognitive Dissonance in Purchasing

August 4th, 2021

Concepts for engaging decision makers!

 

Today’s post is  from our Archives  at SafeSourcing

Cognitive Dissonance is the state of having a set of beliefs, attitudes, and ideas, and being faced with information that conflicts with those concepts. Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance theory holds that all people attempt to keep all of their beliefs, attitudes, and information in harmony. The problem that often comes up, however, is that we sometimes unconsciously suppress or modify correct information in order to avoid having that information conflict with what we already believe.

An example of this in purchasing would be when a procurement decision is made, and the project turns out badly. Often times the decision will be defended and even REPEATED, rather than the decision maker admitting fault. Why? Because most people automatically feel they need to defend their decisions in order to preserve what they believe about themselves. If you believe you are a great decision maker, you will look for information that supports that belief, and avoid information that conflicts with that belief. Here are a couple of ways to help avoid pitfalls on both sides of the purchase:

The Enthymeme

An Enthymeme is a truncated form of syllogism, where a premise or conclusion is left out of the argument. It is always easier to let someone convince themselves of something than it ever will be for you to, even if your audience’ belief is fallacious. When we pose a logical argument, but don’t explicitly state the conclusion, we allow our audience to extrapolate on their own instead of risking putting them on the defensive because we are demanding they believe what we are advocating. Example; “XYZ Company isn’t certified and the manufacturing process requires certification”. This type of statement can be much more effective than shooting straight for the conclusion “Don’t go with XYZ Company.”

The Ben Franklin Effect

When we do a favor for someone, we tend to justify our actions to ourselves that we did the favor BECAUSE we liked them. We naturally tend to avoid Cognitive Dissonance by changing other beliefs, in favor of holding onto beliefs we have about ourselves. Be on the lookout for people who would use this concept against you; how often have you heard a sales pitch that starts off by asking you for a small favor? It’s a commonly used tactic to use your beliefs against you in order to obtain something the sales-person wants.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team 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.

We look forward to your comments.

Data Driven

August 3rd, 2021

How does your organization make a decision?

 

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

In every organization, decisions are made that can affect not only the organization, but also clients and customers. Every person within an organization must make decisions to some degree, with the more impactful decisions usually resting on those higher in that organization.

So how are big decisions made? Often in movies, television, and stories, we hear about how a decision made on the fly or based on a gut instinct can play out, sometimes to a great fortune or profound success. While situations like this can and do happen, the opposite likely happens far more often. Those in an organization are far more apt to weigh all options before making any decisions and, possibly most importantly, have the data to back up that decision.

While a good instinct is highly valuable in an organization, being aware of and basing decisions off of tangible data may be even more valuable. For example, if a procurement department sees a company offering a product for 20% lower than what they currently pay, one may say switching to that company for that product would be most beneficial. However, if that data is reviewed and analyzed it may show that the new company charges switching fees, administrative fees, minimum order fees, and delivery fees. In this hypothetical case, that same procurement department would likely stay with their current supplier.

Like the company in the example, SafeSourcing values data and uses that data to best help their clients and customers. We review and analyze internal information and market trends to see the best categories to take to market or not take to market and use that information to make decisions and help those we are involved with.

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

 

 

Why should suppliers want to participate in eRFX events?

July 30th, 2021

There are any number of significant benefits that Vendors/Suppliers receive by participating in eRFX events. Here's TEN!

 

Today’s re-post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

Quite often when speaking with new suppliers in order to invite them to participate in an eRFX event like a reverse auction or an on line request for information or proposal the question comes up; “What’s in it for me”? This is almost never the case for suppliers that have been involved in the practice before.

Supplier benefits may include but are not limited to the following:

1.  Suppliers can accurately represent their company and its capabilities to a buyer or group of buyers.
2.  Suppliers benefit from reduced cost of new business acquisition.
3.  Suppliers are exposed to more opportunities for new business.
4.  eRFX events bring more potential business partnerships directly to the supplier’s door
5.  eRFX events are transparent and all requirements are clearly defined
6.  Suppliers can have access and compare their offering to the best pricing during the auction, which helps suppliers position themselves correctly in the marketplace
7.  All of the buyers terms and conditions, product specifications, and other pertinent information is clear and concise which allows for accurate quoting
8.  Suppliers are introduced to tools they can use in their businesses in order to compress their pricing.
9.  Suppliers can instantly submit and modify their bids electronically rather than submitting paper bids, providing a faster, more efficient purchasing process.
10.  Suppliers can upload pertinent CRM data that they would like the host company to consider.

The next time an customer sourcing company like SafeSourcing calls you on behalf of their host company requesting your participation in an eRFX events, ask to be added to their database and what you have to do to be invited to all events in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about the SafeSourceIt™ Global Suppler Database, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What is Collaboration? Part III of III.

July 29th, 2021

Company buyers need to think individually first, but then act collaboratively in their negotiations.

 

Today’s Post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This post is an excerpt from one of Ron’s White Paper’s titled The Art of Collaboration

The art of negotiation is just that, an art, but so is the art of collaboration. This can be as simple as aggregating the spend for copy paper across multiple companies or as complex as sourcing an entire catalog of office supplies and any mix between the two. In order to be successful at this collaborative process, being able to convince all parties in the negotiation that each has something to gain is an important skill. Most companies do not possess these skills. Some procurement solution providers, like SafeSourcing Inc., have both people and tools that do.

This is as true for e-negotiation events as it is for personal negotiations. The question is how the tools and other resources allow the flexibility to accomplish collaborative goals.

The Art of Collaborative Procurement

There was an older article from USA TODAY by Jillian Berman titled, Negotiate your way to savings. The lead-in was that Cable TV and cell phone bills are ripe for cutting. A case could be made: so is everything else.

So what is the art of collaborative negotiation? According to Wikipedia, negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution.

What this means in terms of this discussion and the previously cited article, is that these are tools that assist companies in thinking outside of the box by encouraging suppliers to act on behalf of the collective relative to pricing, services, and other decision making points of interest.

Category Managers, Buyers, and all other knowledge workers with spend authority need to do the same and the ability to think individually and act collectively when they are developing their specifications and rules that govern their negotiations. Think like this! What if buyers asked themselves how their process would differ if they you were buying this product or service for themselves or their family. What if they were just as aggressive and detail-oriented when it came to their department and company. The simple fact is that no single buyer or group of buyers can assemble, collect, collate, evaluate, and persuade suppliers to act in this manor for this process to be successful on a massive or collective scale. Specific tools and skills are required. Procurement professionals need to be able to make decisions on data, not collect data. Procurement professionals need to be able to apply tactics to drive the required outcome. To do this collaboratively requires today’s modern tools, such as the SafeSourceIt™ family of eProcurement tools.

So when in doubt why not collaborate?

The concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts is important, but the art of the process is in defining the why. At least that was my intent when I began this paper. A company’s survival may depend upon mastering that art.

Some companies have shied away from new eProcurement tools and collaboration with other companies because either they don’t think their individual spend was large enough to make a difference or they don’t know how to find other companies to partner with. The old saying about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts has a role even in eProcurement, and solution providers can provide the direction required to accomplish this. That is, if it’s the right solution provider. Think about how this concept could help find savings in procurement.

  1. Coordinated effort leads to the benefits of scale. SafeSourcing regularly runs events where multiple customers reap the benefits of going to market with a combined larger spend.
  2. Working together offers different things to different companies in different proportions. All companies may not be buying the exact items as each other, but combined, the similar items give a vendor the opportunity to offer greater savings than would otherwise be viable.
  3. Collaborating can prevent companies from seeking different procurement solutions in the first place. The benefits of working with others may go beyond the simple numbers initially calculated.
  4. Collaborating in and of itself might be a new procurement strategy, but a tool and expertise are still needed to facilitate the process.
  5. For companies concerned that these tools are an impersonal solution, time is revealing that the internet and electronic solutions are anything but impersonal. They are different and they allow interaction in ways that were not possible before due to communication and time barriers.

Summary

Middle of the road traditional procurement practices will not work in the art of collaborative procurement. The same old same old does not work. The pace with which change occurs today requires companies to be able to turn on a dime and think outside of the box. For that, procurement leadership is required, leadership that looks at the art of the process. Leadership that creates and innovates is required for the benefit of all involved in the collaborative process based on their individual needs.

If you’re serious about reducing your capital costs as well as those of your goods and services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager and ask about our risk free trial

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

What is Collaboration? Part II of III.

July 28th, 2021

Collaboration In the Retail Sector today! Yes? No? Maybe?

 

Today’s Post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This post is an excerpt from one of Ron’s  White Paper’s  titled The Art of Collaboration

Retail collective buyer organizations, consortiums, share groups and the like have evolved primarily in order to compete with the mega retailers and category killers in support of independent retailers.

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge negotiation and procurement tools. Their retailer members are also benefiting from the use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs in many different ways.

These types of organizations can go by many different names, such as wholesaler, collective buyer, consortium, cooperative, share groups, and more. Even large Private Equity Companies that control very large portfolios of vastly disparate companies have adopted these methods and they all have one thing in common; they endeavor to consolidate purchasing volumes for a wide array of business structures to try and compress or contain cost in order to improve financial performance.

In the retail vertical, companies may actually belong to several different buying groups because their primary group does not offer expertise in a certain area or category. Examples can come from direct or indirect spend and can be as specialized as safety equipment and technology or a wide variety of specialized sectors like legal services.

Buying groups and consortiums are also evolving and beginning to focus on mixed markets where it makes sense. Historically, these groups tended to be vertically focused, such as a drug industry consortium with the members generally representing the drug industry only. Some consortiums are beginning to market themselves outside of their vertical to retailers or other companies who want to take advantage of learned expertise in the categories that are common across more than their own vertical and offer increased volumes. An example of this might be drug stores sourcing very similar products that health care organizations such as hospitals source. Although this may seem like a stretch for most, it is now very common within retail for non-vertical specific players to work together.

Today’s advanced e-negotiation or e-procurement tools, such as the SafeSourceIt™ eProcurement family of products, make it much easier to accomplish collective buying and aggregating outside of a consortium’s initial area of expertise. Large and small retailers alike now have the capability of viewing a much broader universe of suppliers through the use of supplier databases, like the SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database, while also coordinating and participating in collaborative events from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Suppliers now have an opportunity to earn business they did not know about and could not have competed for in the past.

All companies should ask their respective collective buyer organizations how they plan to make use of today’s advanced procurement tools, many of which are cloud based and offered in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS), which means they can be deployed almost immediately with no IT involvement and with extremely attractive ROI’s. They should also ask what the GPO has to offer in terms of introductions to other companies beyond their current group for increased collaborative aggregation volume. This is also a significant benefit that eProcurement solution providers like SafeSourcing Inc. can assist with.

If you’re serious about reducing your cost of  capital and goods and services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager and ask about our risk free trial

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

What is Collaboration Part I of III?

July 27th, 2021

STILL TRUE, The fact is neither internal nor external aggregate collaboration is happening on a large scale!

 

 

Today’s Re-Post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This post is a excerpt from one of Ron’s  previous White Paper’s titled The Art of Collaboration

The fact is neither internal nor external aggregate collaboration is happening on a large scale in many companies and collective organizations. This is especially true in mid-tier or loosely organized larger national and multinational organizations.

The terms collaboration, collaborative partners, collaborative supply chains, collaborative commerce, and collaborative networks are often used when discussing procurement. It rolls off the tongue like everyone knows what they are talking about. According to Wikipedia, Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together toward an intersection of common goals, and, an aggregate is a collection of items that are gathered together to form a total quantity.

Since collaboration can happen with groups or organizations of any size working together toward the same goal, it can also apply to virtually any business function. When we combine it with the word aggregate to form the collective eProcurement term Collaborative Aggregation, however, we arrive at something potentially meaningful.

Collective buying organizations and share groups often combine purchasing volumes of similar products and services in order to drive better discounts. Large companies often aggregate their purchases among departments and are doing the same thing across different operating groups or companies within a larger organization in order to drive economy of scale in purchasing.

The unfortunate truth is that not much out-of-the-box thinking or art is going on in this process. They are so involved in the process (weeds) that they cannot see the forest for the trees.

If you’re serious about reducing your cost of goods and services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account manager and ask about our risk free trial

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

July 26th, 2021

The fastest growing area in eProcurement is Services.

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)
25.Logistics

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Here’s how to ensure your services sourcing projects results Up Front!

July 23rd, 2021

When using e-procurement tools to source services make sure you have a well-defined change of control process.

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Awards of business, contracts and statements of work are all important after a services event has taken place. However, if you want to ensure the savings associated with your new services contract make sure you identify or reference a structured change of control process in your terms and conditions.

Change happens. It can result from poorly designed specifications, terms and conditions, quoting instructions and other data related to a bid. The normal process for managing these changes is a change of control process which governs how any changes to the services being provided as identified in the actual bid.

The change of control is normally managed as a request that communicates the requested changes to the services deliverables. Normally the change request will describe the following at a minimum.

  1. The change
  2. The reason for the change
  3. The effect the change may have on the existing Statement of Work.
  4. Impact on cost or savings

In most cases a project manager or the associate with responsibility for managing the program deliverables will be required to submit a written change request to the contracted or warded supplier.  The supplier will then develop and return the response to the contracting company.

The contracted supplier and the contracting company will then review the proposed change request and either approve it, modify it, or reject it. When approved the contracting company as well as the contracted supplier must sign the change request to authorize the work as well as the implementation of the work and its potential impact on the existing project plan or project timeline.

If you do not want erosion in your savings, make sure you spend the time to cover this process in your bid parameters.

In order to learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate. Be sure to ask them about our Risk Free Trail Program

 

 

 

 

Procurement As A Service (PaaS)

July 22nd, 2021

Procurement as a service isn’t new, but it is getting some attention.

 

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

In the past, we’ve talked repeatedly about how SafeSourcing delivers our services in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. As a refresher, here is a post from 2014 that details our SaaS software suite. We also often talk about how we treat our SaaS offering as full-service and have done so for a long, long time. Here’s another quick read from 2017 talking about our full-service approach. The way we combine our tools with our expertise and the way we actually deliver the services to achieve our customers’ goals have pretty well always been what you might describe as procurement as a service (PaaS).

I mention this because it seems to me that I am hearing more and more about PaaS recently as if that is a new or emerging trend and it surprises me greatly. SafeSourcing has always operated as an extension of our customers’ own procurement capabilities in order to allow them to outsource much or all of their needs to us. We’re comfortable delivering against this model and we rarely operate outside of it.

The entire procurement process can be managed by SafeSourcing beginning with spend analysis. In all reality, the process never really ends because procurement is truly cyclical. There are other buzzwords as well and just like with PaaS, there will be a marketing campaign that will rise to the occasion. As a term like PaaS gains momentum, more and more companies will roll out their offering. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it can make it harder to identify which companies are actually experienced in delivering a PaaS offering.

Anyone interested in offloading more of their procurement function should be careful to find a partner that can truly take on the load in a SaaS model. Many lack the expertise needed in their services teams to truly deliver on the wide variety of categories that need to be addressed. SafeSourcing has this expertise and delivers strongly in the as a service model. To be effective you really need a partner that has the people, the intellectual property, and the software to drive savings in an efficient outsourced model.

Procurement as a service isn’t a new concept and we like to think we’ve been doing this all along. Personally, I would be leery about choosing any provider that talks about PaaS like it’s a new concept. 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.