ER Evolution

March 26th, 2019

A visit to the emergency room is never a pleasant experience for anyone

 

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.

A visit to the emergency room is never a pleasant experience for anyone, but for the elderly it can be downright dangerous, chaotic, and confusing.  I had never given it much thought until my 85-year old mother-in-law was in town for an extended visit and had to be taken to the ER after experiencing chest pains.

Maneuvering in an ER facility can be quite frustrating for someone with diminished vision, hearing, and mobility. The medical staff is busy taking vitals, and inquiring about the current multiple medications, all of which is taking place under bright harsh lighting along with the “normal” commotion of the medical facility. Fortunately, in my mother-in-law’s case, there was a family member there to assist with answering questions and providing information.

A recent initiative by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to accredit geriatric emergency departments, is encouraging EDs to better address the needs of older patients and is providing guidance on which EDs are best able to care of such patients. This new voluntary accreditation requires doctors and nurses to have specialized geriatric training and facilities which include mobility aids and easy access to water. Some geriatric EDs include services of a transitional care nurse to coordinate older adults’ transition from the ED to home, which helps to avoid inpatient admission, as well as unnecessary patient risks and costs. Properly caring for elderly patients requires structural design and compliance with guidelines for care coordination services to optimize visits and provide cost-effective care.  In 2016, the U.S. spent 17.8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on medical spending according to study results. In comparison, other countries spent 9.6 percent to 12.4 percent of GDP on healthcare.

SafeSourcing, Inc. has assisted our clients in sourcing providers of health resources to manage risk, while achieving their operating and performance goals in Interdisciplinary Care Plan, Post-Acute Care, and Utilization Management. 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.

References…………

  1. https://newsatjama.jama.com/2018/09/12/jama-forum-transforming-emergency-departments-to-better-care-for-elderly-patients/https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/practice-management/jama-us-spends-most-healthcare-and-imaging-reason-why

Information about Cyber Security Part II

March 22nd, 2019

The three main principles behind cyber security...……………………..

 

 

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

To recap fairly quickly with some key points from my blog last month, I stressed the importance of cyber security. We probably hear something or read something about breaches happening every day. In this blog, I would like to focus on the three main principles of cyber security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Before I explain each principle, understanding the role of cyber security is very important. Per Transunion, anything that relies on the internet for communication, or is connected to a computer, or other smart device can be affected by a breach in security. This includes, but is not limited to, government databases like social security numbers, educational systems like grades and reports cards and transportation systems like traffic control and airplane navigation systems. Any of these can be hacked or breached.

Again the three main principles behind cyber security: confidentiality, integrity and availability. Per Transunion here are their explanations for all three:

  • Confidentiality involves any information that is sensitive and should only be shared with a limited number of people. If your credit card information, for example, was shared with a few criminals, your credit rating and your reputation could suffer very quickly.
  • Integrity involves keeping information from being altered. When malware hits a hospital’s computer systems, it can scramble patient records, lab results and can prevent staff from accessing a patient’s allergy or drug information.
  • Availability involves ensuring those who rely on accurate information are able to access it. Availability is often related to integrity, but can also involve things like a cyber attack preventing people from accessing specific computers, or from accessing the internet.

Here are some tips to help protect you from hackers, viruses and malware:

  • If you receive an email that you do not recognize, do not open it. Certain links can cause your computer to be infected with a virus.
  • When you receive warnings on your computer that are unfamiliar to you, do not click on these. They are known as scareware. They also can cause your computer to become infected with a virus. These can be sent through email or can be pop ups on in your browser windows.
  • Always make sure you have the most updated antivirus and anti-malware.
  • Never give out any personal information to anyone that you do not know or websites that are unfamiliar to you. People can use it to hack your personal information and steal your bank info or any other personal info that you have.

I hope this at least helps one person be more aware of the information you put out there. Here at SafeSourcing, we take this very seriously and never give out any data or personal information with any of our clients or vendors that we work with on a daily basis.

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.

 

 

 

March 20th, 2019

In this series, the author will work to educate you on how you CAN take your proprietary product out to market.

 

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

In this series, the author will work to educate you on how you CAN take your proprietary product out to market. While there are many confusing words associated with proprietary products; such as trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, trademarking, and many more, the author will break down the meanings and how many of them are in place to protect you and your product.

You may be thinking: why should I go to all this trouble? My product has been the same for years or decades without problems. How will this save me money? How will I know my product won’t change? This seems like a waste of time. Why would I rock the boat or ruin my current relationship with my incumbent?

While the process of procurement of proprietary products or items can be a long process, it does have multiple benefits. It identifies if you, or your current manufacturer, are making your product in the most cost effective way, using the best ingredients or materials to make the product, using the most cost effective and/or green packaging materials, and it opens the possibility for growth of your product.

Over the next few months, this author will provide examples of proprietary products being taken through the steps of procurement, covering the concerns that arose in the process, and how clients were successful in protecting their product and name in the process and obtaining savings and education along the way.

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

We look forward to your comments.

 

Baseball Season and eProcurement

March 19th, 2019

Baseball and eProcurement are interconnected at SafeSourcing

 

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

Any SafeSourcing customer know we measure eProcurement success using baseball terminology. It’s a fun way to monitor the level of savings achieved as our customers watch their online Request for Quote (RFQ) Events. Today’s blog post is the first in a series in which we will take a deep dive into the different levels of savings and highlight some of recent wins in each.

SafeSourcing tracks these savings levels in real time as our customers watch their live RFQ Event via an easy-to-understand baseball diamond.

  • Single– savings over 5%, but less than 10%
  • Double– savings over 10%, but less than 15%
  • Triple – savings over 15%, but less than 20%
  • Home Run – savings over 20%, but less than 25%
  • Grand Slam – savings over 25%

The typical SafeSourcing RFQ Events results in a Home Run as our average savings is 24.8% across all customers and categories. While the average savings is a Home Run, our actual results vary widely depending on the category. In the coming installments in this series, recent wins at each savings level will be highlighted. Our customers know that, while Home Runs and Grand Slams are incredible, it’s just as important to get a base hit as we work through all of their spend categories over time.

In the next installment in this series, we will highlight examples of how even a Single is impactful and worthwhile. We’ll discuss when you might expect a Single and why you should actually try for them just as you would a Grand Slam.

Contact SafeSourcing if you’re interested in learning more about how RFQ Events can help your company advance the bases and achieve savings.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

College Admission Scandals, Grounded Planes, and Political Convictions

March 15th, 2019

What are the news headlines going to be next?

 

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

When we hear big news stories, it seems to be all the talk for the next few days or weeks. Once that initial buzz wears down, life seems to go back to normal until the next story comes crashing through.

So, what do these news stories have in common and how do they affect us? I think any kind of scandal, especially political or involving the integrity of the education system, has further reaching effects than many of us realize. It is left to be determined what effects those will be in the long run. While we know the latest education scam has been exposed, how many kids missed out on chances at those schools? Planes have been grounded, but how many lives could’ve been saved if it were done earlier? Since we have seen recent convictions in the political arena, how many policies were affected and what kind of propaganda has yet to been discovered?

While SafeSourcing can’t help with your college admissions, we can help your business save money, which can be used to help send a kid to college. SafeSourcing may not have the power to remove corruption from politics, but we can help your organization find a vendor that better aligns with what you are hoping to achieve. SafeSourcing can’t go back and ground planes before tragedy, but we can help your organization source its travel needs, including planes, trains, automobiles, and everything in between.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working Like It’s 1999 Can Still Help You in Business

March 14th, 2019

Starting a business in 1999 is a lot different than starting and running a business in 2019

 

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

Starting a business in 1999 is a lot different than starting and running a business in 2019. In 1999, Google was just launching and people searching for businesses relied on the Yellow Pages. Social media hadn’t been thought of and the iPhone wouldn’t be invented for another decade. Heck, the first millennials were just entering kindergarten!

Looking back twenty years, Rhonda Abrams, a columnist for USA Today, reflected on some of the resolutions she made in 1999 and how they are still relevant today.

  1. Keep Learning. Attend trade shows, read journals, attend seminars. Your brain is your most important asset.
  2. Keep Priorities Straight. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. Make a list of a few items that make a difference in succeeding and failing both in business, as well as your personal life.
  3. Keep in Contact With Former Clients. Find a way to communicate with both current and past customers at least two or three times a year. Former clients are a great asset.
  4. Use Technology Better. Perhaps moving your contact list from paper to digital files.
  5. Know When to Not Use Technology. Every day find time to turn off technology and interact with people and get in touch with yourself.
  6. Throw Stuff Out. Get rid of old files. Transfer stuff off your computer and put it on a zip drive.
  7. Back up Data. Today files can be moved to the cloud and backed up automatically.
  8. Reflect. Stop and think what you’re doing, what you’re saying, and how you are saying it. This is so important in our busy lives. Take a breath, pause and reflect.

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.

References …………………………………………….

Rhonda Abrams, USAToday, 1/10/2019

 

 

Five (5) Vendor Evaluation Criteria

March 12th, 2019

Looking beyond cost alone...........................

 

Today’s post is   from our SafeSourcing Archives.

It’s easy to imagine that procurement managers look at cost alone in evaluating potential vendors.  At SafeSourcing, however, we have worked with procurement managers in fortune 500 companies and small business all over the world, and we understand there are innumerable variables to be considered with any purchasing project. Today we’ll boil down those considerations into our top 5. While these aren’t exhaustive, they should get you the majority of the way to a complete evaluation:

Net Price: Not only is price of the product important, we must take into account tax, freight, rebates, even installation and maintenance in some cases. We must take into account the total cost of ownership, which will vary depending on the use the product gets in servicing your particular business model.

Location: The obvious consideration here is whether or not the vendor in question even services or ships to your area from their’s. If so, what does it cost to get the good or service to you? What are the freight or travel rates? Is the vendor licensed in your area?

Capacity: What is the production rate and MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)? Some categories will have growing seasons or other production considerations that will require a buyer to contract capacity within certain seasons; and, of course, the production run capabilities will have to scale with the size of your typical orders.

Lead Time: How much time will it take between your first order, and delivery? Some products need to setup manufacturing equipment for a specific run, others may have full harvest seasons committed and will need 6 months before they can plant, harvest and pack their crops.

Risk: What variable commodity prices are your product dependent on? Does the vendor you are considering have pricing subject to currency exchange rates? How do they handle fluctuations? Are there any changes in the regional regulations, tariffs or licensers that could disrupt the flow of product? For international organizations these concerns multiply for every country involved in the production of the good being sourced.

What other considerations do you have when evaluating a vendor? Please leave a comment or 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.

How do commodities influence market pricing?

March 8th, 2019

Commodities influence the economy by impacting future prices of goods that are tied to them within the market.

 

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

So are you a buyer, a category manager, a commodities trader or a little bit of each? Be careful because commodities make your job of buying tricky.

As an example, Oil is the most widely watched commodity. This is because the price of oil changes daily which has a great effect on other goods and services that are produced around the world. As such commodities have an impact on supply and demand of almost all products.

Let’s take a look at a fairly simple example. As a buyer you are planning to buy Windshield Washer Fluid, Anti Freeze products or both. Consumers buy these products at Grocery Stores, Auto Parts Stores, General Merchandise Stores, Convenience Stores and Drug Stores and on line at Amazon. There are many global suppliers for these products whether they are private label in nature or mixes for use at service stations. The products can be near shored and off shored. The commodity markets that drive pricing in these items are actually quite a few such as the methanol market, ethylene glycol market and resin indexes that effect packaging. If that were not enough, the product is also influenced by the price of oil because of its impact on the logistical component or how the products get to market. This can be a combination of ocean bound freight and land freight both of which are impacted by the price of fuel as well as issues like availability of drivers. The packaging of these products is also influenced by another commodity which is the pulp market that drives pricing for corrugated and other paper based packaging.

So, it’s a pretty simple product and you just got a good price for. The question is did you really? You better go back and take a look at the fine print. You might want to look for things like escalator language and contract termination language. These and other similar tactics can result in higher prices.

Your best bet however might be to find someone that knows what they are doing in the procurement solution provider space.

If you think that’s complicated, how many products do you think are influenced by the price of corn, maize or its genetic modifications? The answer is 100’s including non edible products like glue for packaging. As such the influence may be actually in the 1000’s. How do you keep up with the changes in this commodity? One way would to discuss it with a company that sources categories dozens of times every year when you may source it once every few years which is also a mistake. SafeSourcing Inc. is that type of company that annually saves our customers in excess of 24% across all expense, cost of goods and capital spend areas.

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Project Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The components of information

March 7th, 2019

Avoid communication mistakes through negative entropy!

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archive. Please Enjoy!

Communication is a funny thing. We communicate day in and day out, most of the time successfully, but it’s easy to think of examples where our message has not be received as intended, or we just weren’t able to pick up what someone else was trying to communicate to us. Much of the time, we find that the fundamental issue in miscommunication is that the message giver and the message receiver have different understandings of the concepts being traded back and forth. For example, one person’s idea of “love” looks completely different from someone raised in a family that expressed love in a totally different way. Another simple example could be if you’re sent to the grocery store with instructions to get “apples”. In your mind, when you hear the word “apple” you have a picture of a Honey Crisp apple, but the person who sent the request has an image in their mind of green Granny Smith apples. All communication is based on templates stored in our minds, on hard drives, on documents, etc. And if we don’t understand what information IS, we’re bound to make mistakes in how we trade it with others in our professional lives.

Information, generally speaking, is a representation of other objects stored within a physical medium. All information is stored in physical objects, such as hard drives, CD’s, brain cells, etc. The higher fidelity of information is stored, the more accurately it represents the object of its focus. For instance, a picture of a widget in low definition, and vague description in a specifications sheet, won’t represent that widget as well as a high definition picture, with several pages of precise descriptors. Similarly, a cell phone recording of a symphony won’t represent the event as well as an IMAX recording would. But the IMAX data will be potentially thousands of times larger, because it takes larger physical space, to record information at higher fidelity. This is because the more possibilities your information CAN’T represent, the more detailed it has to be and the more likely it can only represent what you intend it to.

In the Information Theory context, entropy can be defined as the delta of change from order, to disorder/randomness. Information entropy is the average information of all possible outcomes. In other words, information is most precise, when it disqualifies EVERY possibility other than the very specific one it is trying to represent. If the information you are sending could mean any one of a dozen things, you are bound to have some unavoidable margin of error in communicating to your audience. The tricky thing though, is there’s a tradeoff.

The greater fidelity the information is, more precise your communication will be. However, this increases the size of the information content, making it more difficult to manage, decode, or asses. The tradeoff is that the more precise the information, the more difficult to use. How this translates into procurement specifically, is that there will always be some margin of ambiguity in any specifications document. However, that doesn’t mean an RFP can’t be flexible enough to meet a buyer’s needs. Here are a few ways procurement professionals can make sure their documentation avoids falling into some of the common communication pitfalls inherent to the transfer of information:

  •  Identify the most important attributes, and focus your specifications on those. For instance, perhaps the business goal of the purchase doesn’t depend at all on color, or pack size, or the availability of support staff. Keep the more detailed information limited to the important attributes.
  • Add flexibility to your bid for consideration of equivalent products. Sometimes being too specific means that a vendor who may have a superior product to offer, isn’t able to propose his alternative if a specification calls for an exact match to a lesser product.
  • Ask yourself “would something I wouldn’t want qualify under the specifications I’m creating?” Remember, information should guide your audience to a specific concept, and disqualify all other possible concepts, as much as is possible without overburdening your audience.

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.

Multi vs. Single Stream Recycling

March 6th, 2019

Do you recycle correctly?

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives. Please Enjoy!

Not long ago, if you wanted to participate in recycling programs, you had to have several different bins in your home that separated glass, plastic, and paper. But increasingly we see bins in public businesses that simply say “recycling”, and have a single roll-away blue container accompany our regular trash cans. In a nutshell, the old system I described is called “multi-stream” recycling, and the second system is known as “single-stream” or “mixed” recycling.

The advantage of single-stream is that it allows users to fill a single recycling container with almost any kind of recyclable material. This in turn makes it easier to participate in recycling programs, because it doesn’t require any pre-sorting by the person disposing of the material. This ease of use dramatically increases the amount of material that is actually recycled (usage triples on average), whereas there was a lot less participation in recycling programs when consumer had to do their own sorting. There are some limitations however.

There are actually a lot of materials you cannot recycle in the typical single-stream recycling program. Most of these banned materials have their own recycling program, such as electronics recycling centers, composting centers, etc. Users must prevent these materials from going into their recycling:

  •  Food waste
  • Grass, leaves, or any kind of yard clippings
  • Styrofoam of any kind
  • T-shirt bags (plastic grocery bags) or any kind of plastic film
  • Medical or hygienic waste of any sort
  • Electronics or batteries

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Perhaps the most important reason, is that the above materials contaminate the materials that are meant to be recycled. No facility will ever be able to separate materials down to 100% purity. When there is glass or food in the bales of cardboard that are collected to be recycled, it lowers the quality of the product, therefore lowering its reusability. If material is contaminated badly enough, it just goes to a landfill anyway, making the effort to recycle it pointless. Furthermore, having food, battery acid or medical waste be a part of the recycled material used later to hold someone’s meal may have unknown health consequences.
  2. The sorting facility can become damaged by inappropriate use of materials. A nail stuck in a sheet of cardboard for instance, can ruin the very expensive machinery meant to break down the material into paper fibers.
  3. Most facilities sort recyclable materials they receive both mechanically, and by hand. Food, medical waste, and electronics can be hazardous to handle. At the very least, be considerate of those that have to sort through your recycling, and don’t expose them to waste that could be dangerous to their health.

The bottom line is that recycling hasn’t advanced to the point that we can dispose of it the same way we would anything we typically throw away. There is still some degree of sorting we have to do. Without this, if a large enough percentage of users inappropriately recycled, it could cause the whole enterprise to become too expensive to maintain, or too contaminated to reuse. However, with the simple rules of what to exclude listed above, we can maintain and even increase the 33% of waste that we recycle in the United States.

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.