eProcurement Planning

September 28th, 2016

Up front analysis drives increased results through prioritized focus.

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing. In this blog, Dave discusses eProcurement Planning.

We often talk about how an organization can utilize various eProcurement solutions to drive savings and find safe, qualified sources of supply. We also commonly talk about the results of eProcurement efforts derived from the same. These are two incredibly important pillars of any organization’s eProcurement strategy and are certainly deserving of the attention paid to them. That said, there is another eProcurement strategy pillar on which I’ll elaborate. This pillar, often overlooked and infrequently discussed compared to its counterparts, is eProcurement planning.

eProcurement planning can be done in any number of ways either with an organization’s own internal resources, external consultants, or some mix of both. In the remainder of this post, I will discuss the approach which SafeSourcing recommends. We offer this approach as a spend analysis service called SafeSpendAnalysis™.

When we engage with an organization to deliver a SafeSpendAnalysis™, we are looking to analyze 100% of that organization’s spend for a 12-month period at minimum including all capital, cost of goods, and expense spending.

The SafeSpendAnalysis™ service compares your spend data to the SafeSourcing database. The spend data is run against our SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database of over 432,000 global suppliers to fully identify the companies within. Then that augmented spend data is compared to historical SafeSourceIt™ Events to identify appropriate supplier categories and subcategories. We then run that data set against the SafeSourceIt™ historical Events to establish potential savings based on category averages.

The output of SafeSpendAnalysis™ is a detailed presentation with an in-depth category analysis; recommendations, questions, and savings opportunities identified in several key areas such as high spend categories, high supplier count categories, and quick wins.

During the SafeSpendAnalysis™ review with the leadership team and the teams responsible for the various spend categories, SafeSourcing works with your organization to identify appropriate categories for which you will utilize eProcurement in the future. It is common for SafeSpendAnalysis™ to identify tens of millions of dollars in potential eProcurement savings and offers the deep insight required to prioritize resource planning for maximum impact in the minimum amount of time.

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with SafeSpendAnalysis™. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

What is a Novation Agreement?

September 27th, 2016

Tyler is adding to the SafeSourcing Wiki and defining Novation agreement.

 

Today’s post is by Tyler Walther; Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Tyler is adding to the SafeSourcing Wiki and defining Novation agreement.

A novation agreement is a legal document implemented by the original parties in a contract and a designated alternate to whom responsibilities of the contract have been transferred by one of the parties. This agreement transfers all rights and responsibilities under the contract to the successor. Novation requires approval from both parties of the original contract. Novation agreements are frequent in circumstances where companies that have entered into an agreement or contract are bought, sold, or in cases of merger.

Let SafeSourcing better 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. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

I’d Rather Eat Bark

September 26th, 2016

Chances are you already have.

 

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

Most people know that being green is important at home and work. Not only does it provide energy savings, but also benefits the environment, making energy sources more sustainable. Early in school, most are taught about how plants work with our atmosphere, cleaning and providing the air we breathe. This should be reason enough to be green, but there are also numerous benefits to keeping trees around that many don’t even realize. Bark is just one part of the tree that has a multitude of uses that our lives would not be the same without.

First, an annual autumn favorite is anything Pumpkin Spice. So, what makes it so good? Pumpkin alone can be bland, so other spices are usually added, hence the name Pumpkin Spice. Nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are all added in small amounts, but mostly cinnamon is added. While ginger and cloves come from other plants, both nutmeg and cinnamon come from trees. The nutmeg spice is derived from the seeds of a few trees found in Indonesia. A significant ingredient in anything pumpkin flavored, cinnamon comes from dozens of trees found mostly in Indonesia and China, specifically from the inner bark of trees. So, if you have ever tried cinnamon, you have eaten bark. Without cinnamon, pumpkin spiced treats would not be the same, and one can only imagine a world without cinnamon rolls, cinnamon toast crunch, Big Red chewing gum, or even many liquors.

Second, a household staple, believed to be a life saver for many people, and originally came from bark is aspirin. Stemming back to ancient Egypt and even mentioned in works of Hippocrates, people with pain or inflammation would find a willow tree, scrape the bark off, and brew a tea. The willow bark contained a chemical called Salicin (which is metabolized into salicylic acid), which temporarily reduced fever and aches. In our modern society, the active ingredient has been isolated and synthetically manufactured under the name aspirin. The name “Aspirin” was originally a brand name coined by the Bayer Company, but has since become a generic term for the pain reliever. [i][ii]

The non-edible uses for tree bark could be compiled into a long list, many uses we may not even realize, like adhesives, cork, and natural latex. When sourcing any of these products, we at SafeSourcing do the research to find out as much as we can about a product, because sourcing a product is more than just finding someone who sells it. It involves digging in and doing the research. We all know that being green is important for a multitude of reasons, and the uses of tree bark is included.

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

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_aspirin

To Procure or Not to Procure

September 22nd, 2016

Have you ever considered implementing procurement solutions into your business?

 

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

Have you ever considered implementing procurement solutions  into your business? Find out the pros and cons before you decide.

The smartest way to make a big decision about your business or organization is to do the research and know the ins and outs of what you are getting into beforehand. Often times, big decisions on how you spend your money come with other side effects, both good and bad.

The idea of whether or not to implement procurement into your business’ processes has been a common theme for much debate and numerous articles. Many of these debates and articles say much of the same thing as they are important aspects to consider. This blog will highlight some of the stronger points on both sides of the debate so you can know better make a decision for your business.

Cost – Typically with procurement efforts, a business or organization will reduce their costs of the services and supplies they are already getting, often significantly, without sacrificing any amount of quality. However, the best way to realize those savings is to use an e-procurement provider, which does cost the business some amount of money, but those are typically small compared to the savings achieved.

Technology – Modern procurement efforts are most efficiently realized through the use of technology, like reverse online auctions. This technology can make things both easier and harder in different ways. More suppliers can participate from any location, diversifying options and enlarging competitive bidding. However, preparing businesses to use electronic systems can be time consuming and always runs the risk of human error.

Service – This is one area that often requires finesse. Negotiations, technical assistance, reporting, training, and management of accounts all fall under customer services and ineffective teams can jeopardize relationships with suppliers, possibly affecting any savings found during the procurement efforts. On the other hand, an experienced customer service team can help strengthen relationships with suppliers and even see increased savings.

Although there are many other pros and cons to implementing procurement, the above areas tend to appear in most conversations on the topic. If you decide to integrate procurement into your organization, SafeSourcing can assist you the entire way. Complete with experienced customer services, modern technologies, and a risk free trial offer, SafeSourcing can exceed your needs.

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

 

What are my headphone options with the iPhone 7?

September 20th, 2016

This week is the release of the new Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

 

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

This week is the release of the new Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. With this version they announced they are removing the standard mini-phone jack that is widely used by portable devices.  When I first heard this I was worried that I may have to buy new headphones or buy some sort of Apple adapter.  The good news is that the phone comes with a lightning to mini-phone adapter that will allow users to connect their iPhone to their current wired headphones.  The Phone also comes with lightning EarPods that connect using the lightning port.  Standard Bluetooth headphones will work with the iPhone 7 and will connect using the Bluetooth pairing functionality as before.

Along with the launch of the new phone apple released its new wireless headphones called AirPods that contain a new W1 wireless chip designed by Apple. This wireless chip allows the headphones to connect seamlessly to the phone without pairing and uses less power than standard wireless chips.  This will allow the wireless headphones to run for up to 5 hours of listening time before needing recharged.  The case has a built in charger that will allow for more than 24 hours of charging.  When the battery is low the case and headphones can be charged by connecting the case to the lighting cable.  A fifteen minute charge is equal to 3 hours of battery life.  If you are not a fan of the new Apple EarPods, there will also be 3 pairs of wireless Beats by Dre headphones containing the new W1 chip as well.

Below are some of the new features for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

iPhone 7

  • 12MP camera
  • 4.7” Retinal HD display with wide color gamut

iPhone 7 Plus

  • 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras
  • 5.5” Retina HD display with wide color gamut

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

  • Optical image stabilization
  • 7MP FaceTime HD Camera
  • New Home Button
  • Water and dust resistant ip67
  • Stereo speakers
  • A10 Fusion chip
  • LTE Advanced up to 450 Mbps
  • Longest battery life ever in an iPhone
  • iOS 10

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial?  Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

The End of Antibacterial

September 15th, 2016

What’s happening with antibacterial soap?

 

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

In the past decade or so, the market has seemed to be flooded with antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, detergents, and other cleaning products, but recently the FDA has essentially banned those antibacterial products. Many of us are asking, why would they do such a thing?

In today’s world of keeping things extra clean and preventing the spread of bacteria and other causes of illness, many of us see antibacterial soaps as a step in the right direction to keep our surrounding areas clean and our families healthy. This ban on antibacterial comes as a shock to many people. The problem is, however, that the antibacterial soaps have not been found to be any better than classic soap, and the chemicals used in the “antibacterial” do not even kill bacterial, but rather expose the bacteria to low levels that help the bacteria breed into strong, highly antibacterial-resistant bacteria. To top it off, scientists have found that antibacterial soap chemicals actually do more harm to people, including, according to an article by NPR, a disruption in hormone cycles and muscle weakness.[i]

So is this the true end of “antibacterial”? Not quite. The ban of 19 different antibacterial chemicals in soaps haven’t been banned from hospitals and food service, but rather banned from household use. Many soap companies have already stopped use of the chemicals in question in their over the counter soaps and have begun using other chemicals thought to be antibacterial. In response, the FDA has set a limit of one year to show scientifically proven effectiveness before another ban takes place.

With the soap market changing dramatically, many businesses may find themselves needing new soap products. This opens up a whole new window of opportunity for new business and renegotiating for new products. SafeSourcing can help with both ends of this process through its procurement specialties.

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

[i] http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/02/492394717/fda-bans-19-chemicals-used-in-antibacterial-soaps

 

Your Procurement Health Dashboard

September 14th, 2016

How are you tracking the health of your company’s procurement?

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archive

Today, we will look at some of the principles of this dashboard and how you could be using them to help track the health of how your company spends its money.

Establish the baseline – One of the premises with which most dashboards work successfully is that of establishing where you are right now.  Even better than that is being able to go back 1-2 years to see where you have come from.  When you can go back over historical data, you can begin to establish the trends of how you have done and what areas need the most attention.  If a category has consistently increased year after year, then you may need to source a different vendor or item.  Other areas of the company can use this data, too, to determine if a total shift in products or raw materials should be used to get away from those made with material that continues to increase.  The baseline will establish your health before you do anything else.

Pull from other sources – Often times, procurement departments do not have access to the best data they need to make decisions.  This may be because it is held in systems they do not have access to or because the company itself has never had a process to track the details.  By looking to outside sources, you may uncover data that is useful in making decisions, such as going to the suppliers you do business with and asking for historical performance for purchases or pricing.  It could also mean that you research internally for data that isn’t dollars and cents.  You may purchase material handling equipment, but the warehouse uses it.  How the equipment holds up and runs and how the supplier supports you for fixes and replacement parts are just as important in determining your procurement health as is the cost of the equipment in a contract.  The more data you have, the better choices you can make for the company.

Correlating Data Points – With data from several sources, you can put the final piece in play.  Just like the new Apple Health Dashboard can correlate calories consumed from MyFitnessPal and burnt from MapMyRun, to the blood pressure measurements taken from an iHealth wireless device, you should be looking for solutions that can help correlate the key data points you are receiving from external and internal sources.  When you correlate which resource runs projects quickly but with good savings you can begin to examine what they are doing differently than other team members, for instance.  The correlations of savings and the time it takes to realize the savings is just one correlation we can provide.

At SafeSourcing, we can help your company establish a procurement dashboard to monitor your company’s spend health with our SafeDashboard™.  For more information on this tool 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.

The ABC’s (or MSPs, VMSs, SOWs) of Temporary Labor

September 13th, 2016

Are you still sourcing contingent labor the way you have always done it, dealing with temporary labor service providers directly?

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archives.

The landscape of temporary labor has changed drastically over the past 10 years.   New business strategic planning processes have created needs and opportunities to source help in ways not previously available before.  Companies are moving to defined stage-driven projects that have clear beginning and ending points that create the opportunity for hiring a contingent workforce driven by focused, definable parameters.  Instead of hiring a group of temporary workers to augment your staff and not knowing if you will really have work for them the entire time they are there, companies have projects with well-defined entry and exit points that can be easily staffed by a professional contingent workforce that optimizes their stay.   This style of contingent labor hiring has created new needs for companies for the management of this workforce and in today’s blog we will be covering some of these aspects.

SOW  – Statement of Work – This is a set of predefined criteria that combines timelines, deliverables, tasks and skillsets needed to complete a project or stage of a project for a company.  Often it will also contain details surrounding the safety, design or other legal terms and conditions which must be adhered to for completion.  The statement of work must clearly define the objective of the project along with expectations of the end result and the timeframe it needs to occur within.  For example a company may have a software project that is going to require 120 hours of development and 50 hours or testing.   To accomplish this they need 2 software developers, 1 database developer, 1 QA resource and a project manager to manage the project which needs to be completed in two weeks.  With an SOW, the need and expectations are clearly defined and contingent resources can then be easily added to accomplish the goal without carrying the burden of those resources long-term.

MSP – Managed Service Provider – With the embracing of SOWs to the contingent labor landscape came the need of partners to help manage the procurement and placement of the resources to make them happen.  While Managed Service Providers tend to be found mostly in the IT space, there are many other service and consulting areas that they can and do oversee.  MSPs may have their own contingent resources from which they can augment their clients’ staffs, but many times they are working with other temporary staffing agencies in order to manage the customer needs.  A good MSP will be able to handle a normal temporary labor staff augmentation as well as SOW needs as they arise.  They understand the needs of their customer and how to most efficiently use the contingent labor while they are onsite saving thousands of dollars in the process.

VMS – Vendor Management System – The tool that is used to manage this process of procuring, tracking and paying the contingent resources used, is typically an internet web-based application that allows a customer to submit a request for resources based on a staff augmentation need or statement of work need. This system will also handle the billing and reporting needed by a customer to track how and when they are spending their contingent labor dollars.  Managed Service Providers will either have an in-house VMS or have partnered with an external VMS provider for this solution.  This tool will help the customer streamline the interview and hiring process as well as act as the collection of time worked and approval system of payment.  Having a VMS makes the SOW process much more effective as it allows the customer to focus on finding resources to fill a specific need more efficiently, finding the right people, quickly, and delivering on-time results.

SafeSourcing has successfully helped dozens of companies evaluate and hire Managed Service Providers and Vendor Management Systems.  For more information on how we can help your team in its own search 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.

Sourcing Value and Private Label Products: Reboot

September 8th, 2016

With the economy moving the public to lower cost products is it time to review your private label strategy?

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Three years ago the Wall Street Journal published an article about how the economy is forcing consumers to consider lower priced stores and goods to save money (Article Link).  Since that time major retailers such as Kroger’s have invested heavily into private label brands that consumers trust as much if not more than the National brands they used to buy.   Just announced in June were three brand new private label store brands from Kroger to bring in quality products at a lower price point.

In today’s blog we will be looking into some new areas of private label sourcing you might not have thought about previously.

Services – One of the areas that companies do not always think of for private label sourcing are services.  Many of these services deal directly with the design and marketing of the private label products themselves helping to develop campaigns for the retailer.  There are other services, however, such as Kosher services and product development services that can also be sourced.

Product Ingredients – In some cases the retailer manufactures or is considering manufacturing their own private label products and the raw materials needed for those products need to be sourced.  Flavorings, chemicals, fragrances, pharmaceutical ingredients and organic ingredients are just some of the items that can be sourced.

Supplies and Equipment – When it comes to private label products there are also unrelated equipment and supplies that are needed in order for the inventory to get to the consumer.  Advertising vehicles, pallets, shelving, signage, coolers and freezers, and doors and curtain systems are just a few of the many types of connected purchases which are necessary in order for private label products to be sold.

Not For Resale – This area of private label spend is growing larger every day as more retailers are beginning to offer food and/or beverages in their stores.  Towels, cups, bags, trays, paper products, and stretch wrap are all additional areas of private label products which can be sourced on a regular basis.

Whatever your private label Sourcing need is, the economy is quickly demanding that companies begin to pay more attention to the mix of products they source for their customers.  For assistance in sourcing these categories for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

What Motivates Employees?

September 7th, 2016

Gayl Southard discusses 5 Ways to Motivate Employees.

 

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

Traditional methods of motivating employees is all very familiar within organizations: good compensation and bonuses for targets achieved, praising teams’ performances, encouraging joint decision  making, and leading by example are all second nature to many business people.  As time and business evolve so must the ways we try to get the best from employees.  Listed below are five ways to motivate employees.

    1. Help Employees Understand the “Why”. When a new employee is added to your organization, make sure they are aware their role is vital. Explain exactly why they are doing their job and what they are out to achieve in making clients and customers’ lives easier. Give employees a purpose. A self-motivated employee is more personally accountable for their objective.
    2. Acknowledge all Progress Made. It is imperative for employees to feel like they are accomplishing something and their work makes a difference. Make sure to acknowledge progress is being made rather than a target not being hit. It is demotivating if a specific target has not been hit and giving up at that point is detrimental to future success. If employees receive recognition for whatever they do in the right direction, it will inspire them to work harder to exceed their objectives.
    3. Provide Career Development.Encourage employees to develop their skills, as well as the role within the organization. Opening job vacancies to existing staff will increase motivation and entice them to invest more in the organization.
    4. Encourage Work-Life Balance. Modern workplace puts emphasis on the importance of a balanced work-life. A happy employee is a motivated employee – develop fun and leisure activities in your organizations, such as celebrating birthdays, graduations, first-home purchases, as well as other significant milestones.
    5. Know Employees as Individuals. It is wise for Directors and team leaders to invest time in developing a good rapport with their employees. Every individual – even when doing the same job has a unique skill set and work style. Having an open-door policy so people feel you are accessible and open to their views makes them feel appreciated.

Safesourcing is motivated to help you achieve your business goals! 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.

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Executive Insight, Omar Hosari, 12/15/15