What are my Internet connection options?

January 20th, 2017

When looking for an Internet connection solution, there are several types of connections available

 

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

When looking for an Internet connection solution, there are several types of connections available. The most common are DSL, Cable and Fiber Optics.

DSL(Digital Subscriber Line) uses telephone cable to transmit data. When using DSL you have a dedicated connection that is not shared with others within your area.  The speed is, however, affected by the distance between your location and the location of your Internet Service Provider(ISP).  There are two types of DSL connections, asymmetric and symmetric.  Asymmetric uses the phone line to connect to the internet and still allows you to use the same phone line to make phone calls.  Because of this design, the upload speeds are slower than the download speeds.  Symmetric also uses the phone line for the connection but uses both parts of the phone line for its connection.  This allows for increased upload speeds, but the line cannot be used for incoming or outgoing phone communication.

Cable uses coax cable to transfer data. Cable is generally faster than DSL, but it is not dedicated so you are sharing bandwidth with others in your area.  So there may be peak times during the day when the connection is slower because of the amount of usage within your area.  Since most of the internet usage is used for downloading, cable is designed to give priority to downloading and upload speeds are much slower.  If you are planning to upload a lot of data then you may want to consider DSL or Fiber for your solution.

Fiber Optics, which is the future for transmitting data, uses optical fibers to transfer data. Instead of using electricity and metal cables it uses light and glass to transmit the data.  Because of this, it offers faster speeds because of its ability to move large amounts of data over great distances.  Along with DSL, Fiber is a dedicated connection and not shared with others in your area so your speed will not be affected by other users.  One downside to this technology is that is new and expensive to install so it may not be available in your area.

If you would like some help finding the right Internet solution, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one will meet your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

Why Knowledge Management is Important?

January 19th, 2017

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”—Benjamin Franklin

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing Inc.

“Knowledge management (KM) is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers.”1.

KM is about making the right knowledge available to the right people. It is about making sure that an organization can learn, and that it will be able to retrieve and use its knowledge assets in current applications as they are needed. In the words of Peter Drucker it is “the coordination and exploitation of organizational knowledge resources, in order to create benefit and competitive advantage” (Drucker 1999).

Three key reasons why actively managing knowledge is important to a company’s success are: 1.) Facilitates decision-making capabilities, 2.) Builds learning organizations by making learning routine, and, 3.) Stimulates cultural change and innovation 2.

Fortune 500 companies lose roughly “$31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge” (Babcock, 2004, p. 46), a very scary figure in this global economy filled with turbulence and change. Actively managing knowledge can help companies increase their chances of success by facilitating decision-making, building learning environments by making learning routine, and stimulating cultural change and innovation.2 By proactively implementing knowledge management systems, companies can re-write the old saying, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional” to “Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.”2

Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore more about explicit and tacit knowledge management.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. 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.

 

The Importance of Marketing your Brand

January 18th, 2017

How are you marketing your brand? Is it bringing in the customer base you desire?

 

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

How are you marketing your brand? Is it bringing in the customer base you desire? Are you achieving your desired results?

Your company brand is your mark of distinction; it’s what sets you apart from your competitors. When you establish your brand, it is important to also develop a plan of execution by implementing a brand marketing strategy. Your level of commitment reassures consumers, suppliers, and anyone else that your company does business with that they can trust you.

“Brand management is so important that Reputations Corporation, a Vancouver-based consultancy group, reports that 72 percent of consumers say reputation influences their buying decisions; 80 percent of employees will accept less pay to work with a company with an excellent reputation; while another 89 percent say reputation is a tiebreaker between equal products. Whether you’re trying to influence key decision makers or attract and retain top talent, you’ll want to consider the following tips on managing your company’s brand.” (Fenn, 2010)

If you need help with: buying marketing tools, hiring the right marketing consultants or with any advertising avenues. We can assist you with your sourcing needs and look into the potential savings in the process.

SafeSourcing, Inc. provides innovative eProcurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers, and provide superior value for all stakeholders. In addition to providing information, tools and services, SafeSourcing proactively supports consumer safety and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain management process. To learn more, visit SafeSourcing.com

Let SafeSourcing manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

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Ahearn, Cale (2016, September 21). : Read more: Business Ethics Definition | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/business-ethics.asp#ixzz4Vx9u5zDh Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

 

Where to start with eProcurement

January 17th, 2017

Choosing the right categories for the right reasons

 

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

When an organization begins leveraging eProcurement for its sourcing needs, there are many great ways to select the initial categories. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the three most common considerations that we see and often recommend to our clients who are either beginning their utilization of eProcurement or are looking to strategically plan their sourcing schedule.

One consideration when choosing categories has to be the spend. We recommend considering large spend categories as they are often a great way to reduce costs significantly. While the reward of sourcing your large spend categories will be great, bear in mind that these categories are likely to be more complex.

Another consideration is the number of suppliers in the category. We work with our customers to identify and understand categories with high supplier counts. Once we understand the category better, we often find that there is opportunity to reduce the number of suppliers. Often there are many suppliers who are all providing similar products or services. Reducing the number of suppliers creates an opportunity to better control the category and to create a larger opportunity for savings by consolidating the spend as well.

A third consideration that we recommend is to identify quick categories that can be sourced right away. These categories should be of a relatively lower complexity, but should also still be categories where there is sufficient spend and very large savings opportunity. We identify these quick categories as great areas to begin and to help build momentum for the overall eProcurement initiative within the organization.

Ultimately, where to start is driven by your organization’s spend and is best decided after careful consideration including analysis of spend data and budgets. We work with our customers to develop this plan with them and more often than not, the outcome is a plan that has a healthy mix of each of the three types of categories that we considered in this post.

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 how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

The Importance of Keeping Your Heating/Cooling Systems Well-Maintained

January 16th, 2017

Climate control systems can represent half of a home’s or businesses energy expense

 

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

Climate control systems represent half of a home’s energy bill or more, according to Energy Star.gov. It is recommended inspections of the unit be done twice a year – one in the spring before the summer heat and again in the fall before cooler weather arrives.  Maintaining your heating and cooling system is much the same as keeping your car maintained properly.  There are five reasons a heating inspection is recommended this time of year.

  1. Warranty. Whether your system is currently under warranty that covers your HVAC system, your best assurance for coverage for a major repair is a receipt from a certified technician who has inspected your unit twice a year.
  2. Clean and Safe. An inspection twice a year will most likely reduce the buildup of soot in the burners. When valves are adjusted regularly, you can avoid potential system failure. Cleaning out dust and debris around the system, keeps the system running safely.
  3. Technician Tips. Heating and cooling inspections done regularly by a certified technician will provide homeowners with tips on how to save energy. Regular filter changes need to be done. Do not clutter items around the system. The unit needs room around it in order to run more efficiently.
  4. The Best Time of Year for Discounts. After the hot summer months when the system has been running continuously, you can save money on the “off season”. Many discounts are available after the summer months and before the cold weather hits.
  5. Six Key Factors to be Aware of When a System Replacement is Recommended.

Furnace age (12 years or older); energy costs keep rising; several repairs over the las few years, burner flame is yellow instead of blue; system makes strange noises; and you and your family members feel ill when the heat is running.

SafeSourcing can provide you with all your service needs. 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

 

Could YOUR Company be saving more money?

January 6th, 2017

The Overton Window and limiting your procurement success.

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

What prevents a business from reducing costs by engaging in eProcurement best practices? The most common obstacle we see is simply a limitation in mindset, or the lack of will to change practices that maintain the status-quo. eProcurement practices have been around for as long as the internet has, and yet we still find businesses that aren’t aware of the most up to date tools for sourcing, and for whom suggesting a change in practice is akin to blasphemy. What is the barrier to change, and how can you overcome internal objections to improving procurement practices within your organization.

A concept that has come back into the spotlight this election cycle is The Overton Window. This concept is sometimes called “the window of discourse”, and signifies the range of ideas that your audience will accept. Though typically applied to political ideas, it simply relates to what ideas a group of people is willing to consider, and not willing to consider. However, the effort to enact any type of change within an organization will come up against this concept, and will require that The Overton Window be widened. Once the window is widened/the range of concepts willing to be considered has grown in scope, you can begin to garner buy-in of improved processes. So how can we accomplish this in the procurement space? Here are a few recommendations:

  • Let the results speak for themselves: We run risk-free pilot events for new customers to demonstrate what can be accomplished with eProcurement practices. We routinely saving upwards of 20% on spends in excess of a million dollars using our process. Seeing one category save hundreds of thousands of dollars can quickly get your team to see the possibilities open to them for other categories across the business.
  • Implement cost reduction goals: If you create goals that can’t be accomplished by maintaining the status-quo, your team will have to open their expectations to considering new possibilities. “Necessity is the mother of all invention” as they say.
  • Find examples of being overcharged: We often do analysis of a company’s spend categories and uncover situations where companies are being charged 50% more for products/services than other clients of ours being charged. The only difference is that they’ve never addressed that spend and taken it out to market. If your boss isn’t interested in eProcurement, find a spend he’s losing money on that a category RFP has high historical savings in to demonstrate how much money is being left on the table with current purchasing practices.

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.

Happy New Year 2017. This year’s strategic sourcing plan should already be in place

January 3rd, 2017

Now you should be focused on tactics and execution.

What specific short term tactics will you deploy that support your plan and drive immediate and measureable results.

One example of the above might be to augment the manual processes that many  sourcing professionals use today in order to find new sources of supply interested in bidding for their business rather than continuing to live with the same small, known group of suppliers they have used for years. Historically this has been a very time consuming practice that results in few if any new sources of supply. This represents a great opportunity to deploy a tactic that can have an immediate impact for an organization without the need for the implementation of a complete new sourcing strategy.

There is a specific process to follow that will encourage new sources of supply to want to bid for a companies business beyond just being invited. Simply having your buyer assigned the task of picking up the phone and calling new sources of supply will not result in new suppliers agreeing to bid for your business. There are specific objections to overcome and questions to answer that require a specific skill set.  This is a perfect opportunity for Software as a Service providers that offer supplier research. Skilled providers in this area can provide companies with as many as a half dozen or more willing new sources of supply in as little as thirty minutes  that may in fact reside within a companies existing marketing  area.

Sourcing tactics can be isolated procurement related actions or events that take advantage of opportunities offered by the gaps within strategic plans such as lack of new sources of supply mentioned above.  So our tactic here would be to find additional sources of supply that we can invite to compete for a companies business in a variety of categories. The fact is that additional sources of supply competing for a companies business results in compressed pricing and often better quality products.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 from Safesourcing; Your GLOBAL SOURCING PARTNER!

January 1st, 2017

No matter your location or language, the world is not really that big of a place anymore. Consider your global sourcing alternatives!

picture of world

If you’d like to learn more about alternative sources of supply around the world or locally, contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager to learn more about SafeSourceIt™ our 427,000 global supplier database and let us translate it into increased profits for you.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Teamwork in a Moment of Crisis or Emergency

December 30th, 2016

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ― Phil Jackson

 

 

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

While these guidelines were created for management roles, it is important to note that in a team environment that these suggestions apply to ALL members of the team:

Many of us in businesses are ill-prepared to handle the traumatic events- death of immediate family members, natural disasters, accidents, etc., and yet these events can and do occur in our workplaces. They are events, for which preparation helps.

Let all employees know that you are concerned and doing all you can to help them. You represent the organization to your employees, and your caring presence can mean a great deal in helping them feel supported. You don’t have to say anything profound; just be there, do your best to manage, and let your employees know you are concerned about them. Be visible to your team, and take time to ask them how they are doing.

Let people know, in whatever way is natural for you, that you are feeling fear, grief, shock, anger, or whatever your natural reaction to the situation may be. This shows your employees you care about them. Since you also can function rationally in spite of your strong feelings, they know that they can do likewise.

Share information with your employees as soon as you have it available. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Particularly in the first few hours after a tragedy, information will be scarce and much in demand. If you can be an advocate in obtaining it, you will show your employees you care and help lessen anxiety.

Encourage employees to talk about their painful experiences. This is hard to do, but eases healing as people express their painful thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, and come to realize that their reactions are normal and shared by others. Your team may prefer to discuss the situation among them. Don’t be afraid to participate, and to set a positive example by discussing your own feelings openly. Your example says more than your words.

Build on the strengths of the group. Encourage employees to take care of one another through such simple measures as listening to those in distress, offering practical help, visiting the hospitalized, or going with an employee on the first visit to a feared site. The more you have done to build a cohesive work group, and to foster self-confidence in your employees, the better your staff can help one another in a crisis.

Build on your work group’s prior planning. If you have talked together about how you, as a group, would handle a hypothetical crisis, it will help prepare all employees, mentally and practically, to deal with a real one. Knowing employees’ strengths and experience, having an established plan for communication in emergencies, and procedures can help you “hit the ground running” when a crisis actually strikes.

Be aware of the healing value of work. Getting back to the daily routine can be a comforting experience, and most people can work productively while still dealing with grief and trauma. However, the process of getting a staff back to work is one which must be approached with great care and sensitivity. In particular, if anyone has died or been seriously injured, the process must be handled in a way that shows appropriate respect for them.

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While we, the team at SafeSourcing, are no stranger to moments of emergency or crisis, we pull together as one team and one family ensuring that our customers and suppliers are taken care throughout our crisis. We take pride in offering the best customer service in the industry and will do whatever it takes to ensure that it remains our top priority and invisible to the outside world.

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.

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Resource: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/worklife/reference-materials/traumaticevents.pdf

 

It’s Time to Plan Your Procurement

December 29th, 2016

Do you have your procurement planned for 2017?

 

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

With the year coming to a close, many companies are focusing on the upcoming year and what changes they may have in store. Whether the change is increasing head count in the office, opening more locations, or even trying out a new product in your store, changes need to be planned out.

Typically, a business needs to plan for its year financially, budgeting money for labor and overhead and trying to plan for goods and services expenses, plus any changes they foresee in the upcoming year. Opening new locations, buying new products, and hiring more employees require financial planning.

With all the other planning at year end, what many companies overlook, though, is planning for procurement. If a company will need temporary labor in the next year, they should reach out to their procurement partner sooner rather than later to identify needs. A procurement partner can help get the right services for you at a competitive price. If, like many other businesses, a company needs to hire landscapers to maintain company property in the spring and snow removal companies in the winter, now is the time to begin the procurement process.

With proper planning and with help from your procurement team, your company can not only have the financial year planned, but also have vendors and suppliers in place ready to begin whatever work might need done. On top of that, many of those suppliers and vendors could be even less than you initially thought, all through the help of your procurement partner and tools like the ones offered by SafeSourcing. This could, in turn, lead to even more financial means to grow your company even more in the upcoming years.

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

We appreciate and look forward to your comments!