Is Your Sourcing a Trick or Treat!

October 15th, 2021

With the approaching Trick or Treat and Halloween season.................................


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

With the approaching Trick or Treat and Halloween season, families may be planning their costumes, parties, and sweet treats. Perhaps you are trying to coordinate all of the above. If you have ever looked around to find the exact things you need – from spooky, scary skeletons to bubbling, green-lit cauldron decorations – you will likely try to find the best deal on the things you need.  Unless you have a knack for magic, you are likely doing what many businesses do too – procure.

While you may go from hobby shop to hobby shop looking for glow in the dark spray paint and cotton to string through your yard as decorative spider webs, a business may do something similar with their items, be it napkins, cups, or overhead logo fluorescent signs. Both of these acts are types of sourcing and trying to find the right thing at the right price from the right place. Ultimately, the more often you source your supplies, the more familiar you may become with who has what and where the best values might be. Just like the Price is Right, if you watch the products and prices enough, you will be able to know what reasonable prices are for different products. This is where a procurement partner can help businesses efforts. A procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, has the experience and knowledge in order to help you find the products you need from vendors that are a right fit at a price you want. This coordination is how SafeSourcing does its e-procurement – and it is no trick, but rather quite a treat.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.



Are you Utilizing the Zoom Application Shortcuts?

October 14th, 2021

We all use Zoom or Teams. These shortcuts may help you. All the best!


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

With a lot of people spending more time working from home, you might have been introduced to the world of video conferencing.  There a lot of apps that you can use for video conferencing and one of the most popular right now is Zoom. If you spend a lot of time using the Zoom application, you could save some time and be more efficient by learning some of the built in shortcuts.  The keyboard shortcuts are used by clicking a combination of the keyboard keys.  Two things that you probably do most often while using zoom can be done by using the shortcuts “Alt+V” and “Alt+A”.  These two shortcuts allow you to start/stop the video and to mute/unmute the audio. Besides these two shortcuts there are many more shortcuts available for use.  For example, using “F6” will allow you to navigate among the zoom popup windows and “Ctrl+Alt+Shift” will move focus to Zoom’s meeting controls.  Memorizing the available keyboard shortcuts will make you more efficient because you don’t have to remove your hands from the keyboard to use the mouse.  Below are some other shortcuts that can be used.

Meeting Shortcuts:

➢ Alt+F1 – Switch to Active speaker view in video meeting

➢ Alt+F2 – Switch to gallery video view in video meeting

➢ PageUp – View previous 25 video stream in gallery view

➢ PageDown – View next 25 video stream in gallery view

➢ Alt+F4 – Close the current window

➢ Alt+M – Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host

➢ Alt+S – Launch share screen window and stop screen share

➢ Alt+T: Pause or resume screen share

➢ Alt+R: Start/stop local recording

➢ Alt+Shift+R: Gain remote control

➢ Alt+Shift+G: Stop remote control

➢ Alt+C: Start/stop cloud recording

➢ Alt+P: Pause or resume recording

➢ Alt+I: Open invite window

➢ Alt+N: Switch camera

➢ Alt+F: Enter or exit full screen

➢ Alt+H: Display/hide in-meeting chat panel

➢ Alt+U:Display/hide participants panel

➢ Alt+Y: Raise/lower hand

➢ Ctrl+2: Read active speaker name

➢ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H: Show/hide floating meeting controls

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently?  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.




What are the Carter 10 C’s?

October 13th, 2021

Here are he details of the Carter 10c’s and their betterment of your supplier selection process.


Today’s re-post is from our archives at SafeSourcing.

Carter’s 10 Cs of supplier evaluation or selection is named after Ray Carter, Director of DPSS Consultants, who originally developed the 7 Cs of effective supplier evaluation. The Carter 10 C’s model is an internationally recognized approach and taught in procurement studies. This has since been extended to 10 and they should be applied by anyone who is involved in either selecting or evaluating suppliers.

  1. Competency – Does your supplier have the ability to deliver the products you require?
  2. Capacity – Does the supplier have sufficient capacity to provide the products you require? Capacity can include equipment, human resources and materials.
  3. Commitment – Does your supplier have the commitment to maintain suitable quality performance?
  4. Control – Is your supplier in control of their policies and procedures?
  5. Cash – Does your supplier have a solid financial standing?
  6. Cost – What is the cost of products from the supplier?
  7. Consistency – Does the supplier guarantee a consistent product?
  8. Culture – Does the supplier share the same cultural values as your organization?
  9. Clean – Does your supplier have an appropriate sustainability policy?
  10. Communication – What tools will you utilize to communicate with your supplier?

Using the Carter 10 Cs will not only better your supplier selection process, but it will also level the playing field while selecting and evaluating suppliers. 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.



So you think you can do it yourself and do it better than an e-procurement service provider?

October 12th, 2021

Are you thinking through e-procurement self service? If so, you should consider what constitutes event services and whether you have the headcount to provide them yourself or can afford to hire and train additional headcount.


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

That is if you want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time; and have a sustainable process moving forward.

The question one needs to ask is; what type of event services does my e-procurement provider offer? If your company is deciding to try self service, which is to be 100% self-sufficient, you need to know if your provider offers readily available classroom education that can be conducted on-site in order to train your team in all the nuances of event creation and support. These skills are the foundation that allows e-procurement providers to support large volumes of events in a full service mode, which drive greater savings over the long term. Knowledge transfer in this area is one thing; the passion, skill and headcount to carry out these practices on a day by day basis are what drive results.

Typically event services falls into two broad categories:

1. Event management
2. Event monitoring and support.

Event management provides end to end e-sourcing support that begins with a companies overall strategy and ends with the actual execution of the e-procurement event. This is a true cross category effort that includes a rather lengthy list of services that may include buyer training, supplier selection, category discovery, supplier communication, data analysis and the overall strategy for taking a specific category to market including timing, training and overall supplier expectation management.

Event monitoring and support is actually the tactical implementation of the over all e-procurement event management process. This may include all communications with suppliers on the day of an event including making sure they have access to the system, get logged in properly, don’t have problems placing quotes, monitoring supplier and buyer system communications techniques during an event such as notes and texting and being available post event for questions as needed.

These services are normally provided by people behind the scenes with a very specific skill set. If you plan to do self service it would be very wise to make sure you have them covered at the same quality level.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools White Paper Offer!

October 8th, 2021

What kind of savings might we expect?


Today’s re-post was written by me  in 2013 and may even be more appropriate in todays current environment than it was then.

So, here again is our  offer of a free white paper on Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools written by Ron Southard, CEO of Safesourcing Inc.

We are regularly asked to comment on a variety of categories by our customers, prospects and suppliers from the 427,000 member SafeSourceIt Supplier Database and SafeSourcing’s daily blog readers. These questions normally occur during the course of the discovery or value assessment phase we conduct with companies with which we do business. The questions vary, but generally have to do with SafeSourcing’s experience with a particular category (in this case, construction) or our impression of successes or failures within that category; when using today’s modern eProcurement tools such as online RFIs, RFPs and RFQs. RFQs are typically called Reverse Auctions and many times are the end result or final step of a much longer and more detailed sourcing process. While the focus is on more than just price, quite often the first question we get is what kind of savings might we expect?

The goal of this Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools white paper is to share a historical perspective, both positive and otherwise, relative to the use of these tools in the construction space from a variety of sources, as well as SafeSourcing’s specific experience with our own customers.

If you’d like to learn more about the many categories discussed in Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools please call Ron a 480-773-7524 or contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.


Why you should consider using eProcurement Tools for your Construction Sourcing!

October 6th, 2021



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

During the period of January through October of a recent year a fortune 100  retail company conducted  a total of eighty seven  eProcurement events utilizing the SafeSourceIt™  eProcurement toolset consisting of on-line RFI’s, RFP’s and RFQ’s or Reverse Auctions. Of the eighty seven events (87), twenty five (25) were specific construction events. This represents 28.7% of all events run by this company. This did not include equipment or related products used by the general contractors to complete the construction projects such as roofing, flooring, fascia, concrete, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning and refrigeration, etc. These additional event results are shown below the construction list as in order to offer a more complete picture of the entire construction category.

Included during the general contractor bid submissions were a variety of specific line items related to the following categories.

1. Demolition
2. Site Preparation:
3. Sediment/ Erosion Control
4. Earthwork
5. Environmental and Wetlands
6. Landscaping
7. Asphalt Paving
8. Traffic Signage
9. Concrete Curb and Gutter
10. O.W. Improvement
11. Traffic Signalization
12. Storm water Management
13. Offsite Utilities
14. Water Service
15. Sanitary Sewer Service
16. Natural Gas Service
17. Electrical Service
18. Telephone Service
19. Fencing
20. Retaining Walls
21. Sight Lighting
22. UST

(Figure 2)

Construction Item Sourced and Savings %

1. Strip curtains 39%
2. Walk in Coolers 29%
3. Signage 79%
4. Graphics 35%
5. Impact Doors 60%
6. Roofing 20%
7. Fire Extinguishers 59%
8. Lighting 22%
9. Mill Work Display 40%
10. Concrete 18%
11. Cooler/Freezer Lighting 27%
12. Remodeling 17%
13. Floor Tile 67%
14. Fascia Graphics Package 28%
15. Construction site delivery – Trailers 12%
16. Storage Tanks 8%

These construction bids listed were for new construction sites and resulted in a 9.5% real price reduction from original bid submissions by the general contractors.

If you would like to read my whitepaper titled “Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools” please follow the link and go to the bottom of the page, or please contact as SafeSourcing Customer Services associate and ask about our “Risk Free Trail Program”.




What is the retail procurement lifecycle?

October 5th, 2021

The good news is that it’s the same whether you are sourcing products or services?


Todays post is an oldie from our CEO Ron Southard that’s still pretty accurate

If your retail procurement team understands the procurement lifecycle of a product or service it will make its sourcing much more efficient. Ask one of your teammates to explain their understanding of the retail procurement lifecycle to you. You’ll be surprised as to how many different answers you get.

A good place to begin discussing this subject is in the discovery phase of a procurement engagement. It helps to get everyone on the same page. Surprisingly the process which is quite simple as a definition is not any different from when this author first learned it over 40 years ago in the U.S. Air Force.

Typically procurement consists of seven (7) steps. Where the confusion generally enters is that each step can have a process of its own or be interrelated with another step in the process. An example would be the contract lifecycle that easily fits within the negotiation cycle and the renewal cycle. Another might be that information gathering which is the generally accepted first step in the process can apply to multiple issues such as information gathering for the related product or services such as specifications as well as the information gathering of prospective supplier data.

As such, the simple steps to the procurement lifecycle that most individuals generally agree upon are as follows.

1. Information gathering
2. Supplier contact
3. Background review
4. Negotiation
5. Fulfillment
6. Consumption
7. Renewal

Most times keeping this simple model in mind will allow retail procurement professionals to answer the question; where are we in the process when a project gets stalled or off track?

If you’d like help evaluating your strategy, please contact the Safesourcing team to learn more.


Retailers; Are you managing your suppliers or are they managing you?

September 30th, 2021

Are you getting the best products and services for the best price available?


Todays re-post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. Archives

In to many cases, for many companies the answer to the question above is who knows on both sides of the relationship. And unfortunately this will not change for many companies.

Historically the primary driver associated with the use of reverse auctions and other related e-RFX tools has been to reduce the cost of goods and services and reduce expense in large part, if a retail company saved money it was deemed to be a successful process for the retailer as well as the awarded vendor. What about the other suppliers? What makes it a positive for them?

Supply base management or the attempt at it is the newest focus area of many strategic sourcing suites. Many vendors do not offer this functionality today; in fact some have trouble describing what it is when asked. Although elements of this functionality exist within a variety of surround type service offerings, no one vendor offers complete functionality in this area today even though they may think they do. A significant reason for this is suppliers concern with the thought of being managed at all because it means giving up perceived control. Additionally, retailers, suppliers nor vendors have agreed as to what the correct Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should be or how to collect the data that would allow you to manage them. As these types of tools are developed, the most successful supply base management tools will be those that can manage the largest supplier database to the continual benefit of both retailers and suppliers that participate and compete for their business

This author believes that the most probable result of this process will be a set of automated robust supplier scorecards that monitor and report on supplier performance versus a range of KPI’S that are applied against well-known quality guidelines resulting in a continuous improvement procurement methodology.

If you’d like to know how SafeSourcing can help improve and measure improvement in your e-RFX process please contact us!

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Prices going up or cannot get enough Product to satisfy demand?

September 29th, 2021

What is the benefit of a large global supplier database?


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

If used properly a large supplier database like SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database provides companies with   readily accessible data that supports growing their spend with e-procurement tools

Companies should have continuing success when running prior e-procurement events over again, one area of commonality that has historically made this difficult is a lack of new sources of supply.

There is a proper way to ensure the sustainability of your eSourcing events such as RFI’s RFP’s and RFQ’s or Reverse auctions going forward. Since you have already conducted or should have conducted a detailed discovery the 1st time around a robust supplier database like the SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database Query Tool with over 500,000 supplier companies will allow you to do the following based on up to date vetted data.

  • Conduct a detailed supplier discovery
    • Rank the suppliers
    • By Size
    • By Experience
    • By References
    • By Environmental certifications
    • By Safety Certifications
    • By Location
  • Develop a three-year supplier game plan
    • Identify suppliers for each category over the sourcing horizon
    • Develop a three-year supplier rotation bidding schedule
  • Ask the following questions
    • What suppliers will I invite and why
    • Keep in mind the unique benefits of distributors vs. manufacturers
    • Discuss potential award of business strategies

If you don’t have a reliable new source of supplier information and only use the same suppliers that you originally used to conduct your category sourcing events, don’t expect continuing savings as you really don’t have the appropriate leverage points. If you don’t know where to access this type of data, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.


Sourcing For Dummies!

September 28th, 2021

Maybe elsewhere, but not at SafeSourcing!


Today’s post is another interesting perspective from our archives SafeSourcing.

As I was searching for a book in my local mega book store (maybe not during these times), I was looking for the technology section. Once I found it, I saw a wide range of the popular For Dummies series with subjects like, iPhone, Microsoft Office, and the one I purchased, HTML XHTML and CSS. I often wonder how store personnel answer the phone when someone calls asking for help and they try to explain the For Dummies series without insulting the customer. Anyway, I digress. I started thumbing through the different books and found that the paper stock and printing were all different. Noticing that, I started to think about the different aspects that went into making and producing a book.

As a sourcing expert I tend to view the world a little differently than most folks. When I see a book, it reminds me of the different weights used in the paper world as well as what drives the cost of the paper like the pulp market. For the pages of the book it is most common to use 120-170 gsm. The next thing I see is the type of binding that is used for a book. The most common and cost effective type is case binding.

At SafeSourcing we are very careful to take the time required to learn everything we can about what makes up a product or service. We conduct extensive research relative to all products and services in order to learn all that specific categories ins and outs. We don’t just do this sometimes, we do this each and every time to ensure that we not only have a complete specification, but a specification that will maximize a list of potential vendors, insure quality and drive the best price possible at this particular point in time. We do that, so that you don’t have to, because we are the sourcing experts.

To understand more about how we can help you source your projects, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.