Are Your Properties and Stores Ready For The Upcoming Winter Season?

October 23rd, 2020

Well it’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again.

 

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

Well it’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again and many of us are saying finally.  The leaves are turning colors and the temperatures are starting to drop.  It’s time to start thinking about what kind of fall maintenance needs to be done before winter weather arrives.  With these cooler temperatures, it makes for the best time to take care of any outside maintenance that needs to be done before the really cold weather arrives.  For example, mowing the lawn for the last time this season.  Your lawn should be approximately 2 to 2 ½ inches by wintertime.  This is considered to be the right height so that it will not be stressed during the cold winter months.  This height will also ensure that your lawn will not be affected by snow mold.  Snow mold is a type of fungus or turf disease that can damage or kill grass after the snow melts.  It is also a known allergen that can trigger allergies and asthma.   Along with mowing the lawn, it is important to make sure that you clean out your gutters once all of the leaves around your property have fallen.  Leaving these leaves and other debris within the gutters can cause them to become clogged which can lead to leaky roofs or water damage to the exterior or interior of your property.  Since the weather is nice, now is a good time to make a list of all the things that need to be done and get prepared for winter.  Below are some things that you may want to add to your list:

  • Aerate the soil
  • Fertilize the lawn
  • Check for foundation cracks
  • Inspect exterior walls for peeling paint
  • Inspect the roof for loose shingles
  • Inspect driveways for cracks
  • Install storm windows
  • Disconnect hoses from outdoor water valves to prevent freezing pipes
  • Clean basement window wells
  • Winterize sprinkler systems
  • Snow Removal Plans
  • Ice Melt or Salt Needs
  • Firewood Needs

If you need help finding a licensed maintenance company to maintain your properties, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   If it’s Snow Removal, Firewood or Ice Melt, we know the providers that you may not. We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, can help you,  please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Watching the RFQ – Part 2

October 21st, 2020

Shining a spotlight on the moments when customer value is created in a live RFQ event.  

 

Todays post is by Dave Wenig is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing Inc.

In this post, which is the second of several, we’re continuing to take a close look at the online Request for Quote (RFQ) from a different perspective. Rather than focus on measuring the value delivered as savings, let’s examine when that value is created and consider the vendor behaviors that went into that moment. If you need a primer on what an RFQ is, click here.

In part one of this series Watching and RFQ Part 1, we reviewed the first five or so minutes of the RFQ. While the beginning of the RFQ can at times be interesting, it isn’t always a good indicator of what will come.

The same can’t usually be said about the middle of the RFQ. I would consider the middle of a typical RFQ to be from around 5 minutes in to around 15 minutes in. While it doesn’t always look like there is a great deal of activity in this portion, I would argue that looks can be misleading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the example above, there are several things that are happening in this 10 minute window. First, the SafeSourcing Customer Services team and some of the participating vendors are usually in communications off and on during this time. The second is that the vendors will start to become active and begin to test the waters. Again, there are different approaches and different tolerances for the emotional impact of participating in an auction. Here, we see that some of the vendors decided to try small reductions in their costs in an effort to “fish” for the Low Quote Indicator that would tell them they are doing well. We see that another takes a drastically different approach and enters significantly lower costs that most of the competition.

In this phase of the RFQ, what we see if the vendors jockeying for position as they head into the final lap. They know that this particular RFQ was scheduled for 20 minutes plus extensions so they will want to be ready to compete in the final phase. We’ll get into the last portion of the RFQ in the next installment.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

 

Where’s the Beef?

October 20th, 2020

We have experienced wide sweeping effects of COVID-19 on the health of the population.

 

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

We have experienced wide sweeping effects of COVID-19 on the health of the population of people as well as on the economy.  The meat production industry has been adversely impacted due to the nature of the work environment which includes the lack of social distancing, inadequate air filtration, and noise levels requiring workers to speak louder and spread more particles.  The outbreaks of COVID-19 in meat packing plants had infected at least 2200 workers at 48 plants as of April of this year, forcing some plants to enact mandatory shut-downs.

JBS meat packing company had invested in a robotics company in 2018, to reduce its labor force in favor of machines that can do it quicker.  A New Zealand company called Scott Technology has unveiled its butcher robots. A production line of a dozen robots which can strip meat from 600 lamb carcasses per hour and you only need one human to oversee the process. Many meatpacking plants use automation machinery, but the New Zealand based robotics company is developing fully automated meat processing bots, which can extract different cuts from lamb, pig, and beef carcasses which many companies believe is more efficient. The goal of these robots is to yield more meat, improve the safety of the process and do it with fewer people, eliminating the costs of human error while reducing injuries, but the costs for maintenance on these robots could slow global implementation down considerably.

Reports indicated that these robots could become main stream within the next 20 years, and the idea that a machine could replace human workers brings up all kinds of hot button political issues.  Will robot butchers take the place of human workers? This is a viable consideration, as we now have the realization of the impact on human lives during a pandemic.  The real dilemma is the profitability of the meat packing business versus the cost of jobs and the health and well-being of workers.

Consumers have seen a spike in meat prices due to the meat packing shut downs, and we depend on the availability of ample supply of meat at a reasonable price. The health crisis that we have experienced over the past few months has widened the gap between productivity and safety.  In the future, these questions must be addressed because we do not want do sacrifice our economy at the expense of a safe and healthy work environment.

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

We look forward to your comments.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

October 16th, 2020

Have you ever heard that two heads are better than one? Why not Collaborate?

 

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

Have you ever heard that two heads are better than one? While two heads may make putting on a t-shirt more difficult, most often two heads will benefit whatever project you are working on. The idea behind this is that there are more people working on a project at the same time and can be beneficial in a few different ways.

First, having more than one person working on a project can lead to new insights. Recently, I saw a motivational poster of a runner at a cliff and the words were something along the lines of taking a leap in life. While the author may have meant the poster to inspire people to go for their dreams despite difficulties, it could also be interpreted as encouraging someone to jump off a cliff. Simply having an outside perspective on a project can lead to seeing things in a new way, and possibly prevent you from releasing something that could backfire.

Another way two heads are good is that there is simply twice the available brain power. This can be especially helpful if you are working on a project with a deadline. One person can only work so fast, but having another head on the team can potentially get the work done twice as fast, making the deadline much more reachable. Even more than that, if a project is daunting enough, several heads can help even more so long as expectations and instructions are clear and well defined.

Finally, another good way two heads are better is in procurement. If you have ever wanted to take out a certain product but just didn’t think your volume was big enough to interest major suppliers, then maybe you and others can put your figurative heads together, combine volumes and gain the interest you were seeking. One way to do this is through SafeSourcing’s own SafeCollaborative. The SafeCollaborative event can showcase multiple companies’ volumes of a particular product and allow suppliers to quote everyone at once. Not only does this bring the suppliers into the discussion, but also can save money on the sourcing costs. This outcome winds up being a win-win-win for everyone involved.

For more information on ways we can with your procurement goals or projects, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

Balancing Deliberate vs Emergent Strategy

October 14th, 2020

Even the best laid plans need room for adjustment and adaptation!

 

Today’s post is from our archives at SafeSourcing

People can be unpredictable. Its part of what keeps life interesting. But when a project gets thrown a curveball by someone who missed a deadline, overlooked a requirement, or is just plain uncooperative, the complexities that emerge are not typically the kind of “interesting” we want to experience. Michael Porter and Henry Mintzberg were the originators of the concepts of Deliberate vs Emergent strategy more than 25 years ago, and their views are still relevant today. We can account for most of the variables rational players bring to the table, but human beings aren’t always rational, and therefore not always predictable. This is why a balance between deliberate and emergent strategies must be achieved for any project.

The aspects of your project that should be deliberate are things like financial goals, timeframes, logistical requirements, etc. High level criteria for success often do not change and should be deliberate, pre-planned, and static. When our expectations regarding the execution of this strategy collide with reality in a way that will not resolve without adaptation, our ability to develop emergent strategy is essential.

No two procurement projects have to be run the same, and in fact usually should not be. Often times the optimal strategy for achieving pre-determined goals will not be known until some insight has been gained about the supplier base; how many suppliers are capable of providing the product/service? What is the geographical availability of capacity? Is pricing market regulated? What service level guarantees are available? Is the market experiencing price increases/supply shortages? These variables should influence our strategy for execution, by changing things like baseline pricing, terms and conditions, SOW’s, and freight considerations.

Some managers believe that any form of adaptation is a weakness of strategy. It isn’t. The old way of thinking about strategy is to assume all outcomes can be known and predicted. That’s why most of the Fortune 500 Companies that existed 50 years ago don’t exist anymore. They believed their position to be a product of previous strategy that should never be changed. The companies that have thrived over the years have continuously adapted, reinventing themselves over and over again to stay relevant, and capable of exceeding their customer’s expectations.

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.

We look forward to your comments.

Snow Removal-The time is NOW!

October 13th, 2020

With all that's going on have you forgotten about Finding a company to do all of your snow removal this year?

 

Today’s repost is from our archives at  SafeSourcing, Inc.

Finding a company to maintain your snow removal for multiple locations can be very time consuming and complicated. Currently I am working with a client to help them find a vendor that can do all of their 80 plus locations. According to S&I Management, there are four types of buyers that comprise the S&I industry, including: residential, mainly single-family housing; retail, primarily small businesses; industrial, typically commercial offices and facilities; and other, including hospitals, universities, airports, sports arenas, etc.

  • Residential makes up 34% of the S&I industry, an estimated $7.6B
  • Retail is just over ¼ (27%) of the market, $6B
  • Industrial represents another ¼ of the market, $5.8B – and given the larger footprint of industrial clients, is typically served by regional or national operators
  • Other, such as hospitals, airports, etc. make up the remaining 17%,$3.3B

Snow and Ice services are growing at a fast pace. It’s expected to grow 3.2% every year until 2021. Now is the time to reevaluate what you are spending on your snow removal services. In the last few years we have saved our clients about $22,000 per RFQ. I know every company would love to have an extra $22,000 in their budget. If you are in the market, there are 110,000 companies in the snow removal industry, 88,000 are sole practitioners. The average operator has been in business 15.4 years and about 1/3 have more than 20 years of experience. Finding you a new vendor to do all of your snow removal services would not be difficult to find and there are companies that would love new business. The saving is there, you just need us to go look for it.

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………………………………………………………

  1. https://www.google.com/search?q=snow+removal+and+landscaping+market+2019&oq=snow+removal+and+landscaping+market+2019&aqs=chrome..69i57.16970j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  2. https://www.buildings.com/news/industry-news/articleid/21059/title/private-snow-removal-a-16-8-billion-industry

Some key procurement trends re-visited!

October 9th, 2020

As procurement is gaining more strategic importance within an organization.....

 

 

Today’s post is from our archives at SafeSourcing, Inc.

According to Zycus, there are 7 major trends that are happening in the procurement world. They started back in 2018 but are expected to grow quickly for 2019 and 2020. Here is a list of the new trends to look for in the procurement world:

  1. Having a Digital Strategy- 32% of procurement companies will start using a digital strategy. 85% of them believe that digital transformation will change the way they deliver procurement services over the next 3-5 years.
  2. Building a Talent Pool- 51% of the procurement owners believe their teams do not have sufficient capabilities to deliver on the digital procurement strategy. Companies are starting to use proper training programs to make sure their employees will be able to execute correct strategy.
  3. Thinking Suppliers Beyond the Price- Suppliers will have visibility of all the steps in the  procurement cycle to help in getting the best pricing and reducing the risk quotient. This plan stands for a focused, smart and effective method of measuring, analyzing and improving supplier performance and reducing costs, increasing efficiency, enhancing vendor customer relationship, enhancing performance, preventing product issues and driving improvements in the supply chain.
  4. Risk Management- 65% of the procurement companies has little or no visibility in their supply chain.
  5. Indirect Spending- Indirect spending or tail spending follows the 80/20 rule, i.e., it constitutes 20% of the organization spent and involves 80% of the suppliers.
  6. Artificial Intelligence- Procurement teams will design and deliver intelligent robots to complete most procurement tasks with minimal human intervention. This will speed up the procurement process and minimize human error.
  7. Effective Change Management- In 2019, more organizations will focus on a smooth change management plan through increased focus on regular communication with the employees; engage them through the process and by providing training and support. Having proper support by management is key to running a successful procurement company.

Per Zycus, as procurement is gaining more strategic importance within an organization, the expectations from this function are also increasing. This year, procurement function will continue to deliver on traditional cost savings while focusing heavily on digital technologies and supplier synergies. Overall 2019 seems like a promising year full of challenges and opportunities for procurement to undertake. This is a great time to try the procurement world if you haven’t already. It’s growing and becoming a huge part of how people do business. We save our customers thousands of dollars every month.

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……………………………………

https://www.zycus.com/blog/procurement-technology/7-procurement-trends-2019.html

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Season

October 8th, 2020

Pumpkins are native to Central and South America

 

 

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

Pumpkins are native to Central and South America, pumpkins are a key ingredient for traditional Thanksgiving dishes such as pies, soups, and breads. They are also widely used to carve jack-o’lanterns for Halloween, a tradition that originated in Ireland, where locals carved jack-o’lanterns out of turnips and potatoes.  Pumpkin patches are typically planted in early summer, as they require warm soils to germinate. Before you plant your seeds, make sure you know what kind of pumpkins you want to harvest. Do you want to use them to carve or decorate, eat, or both?

Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, melons, cantaloupe, watermelons, and zucchini. They grow on vines and need plenty of space! Pumpkins can easily take over your entire garden patch before you know it. Generally, you will need 10 ft. by 20 ft. for several pumpkin plants, but you can also plant these to grow around the base of other crops, such as corn. Pumpkins require at least eight hours of direct sun each day.  Plant your pumpkin seeds in mounds and place four to five seeds in each hole, one to one and a half inches deep, spacing the mounds about four to six feet apart. Add a thin layer of compost to the top of the soil. Once the seeds germinate – usually in a week – wait seven to ten days and then carefully thin the seedlings with scissors, leaving only the strongest two plants. Do not pull the seedlings out by hand so as not to damage the roots of the remaining plants! After thinning the plants, add a layer of organic mulch to conserve water and suppress weeds.  Although pumpkins are fairly hardy and drought tolerant, water them deeply a few times a week. Manage your pumpkin patch by looking out for any pests and diseases.

Generally, pumpkins take 90-120 days to mature after seeds are planted, depending on the variety. Pumpkins are ripe when they are fully colored and have a hard rind and woody stem. Carefully cut off the stem with a knife, leaving several inches of stem on the pumpkin. Pumpkins can be stored for a long time in a cool, dark storage area and can be used for all your fun fall activities and delicious recipes long into the winter.

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.

 

 

 

 

Information Reliability

October 7th, 2020

How reliable or trustworthy is the information you read?

 

Today’s blog is a timely repost by Margaret Stewart, Director of HR and Administration.

There is a trend in today’s society of calling the news that one doesn’t like “fake”. This, however, is a dangerous trend, as it sends the wrong idea that just because information is not liked, it can just be dismissed. The even more reckless effect of this trend is that people may accept that any true and factual news heard that goes against personal beliefs may simply become “fake”. With some cases, this may not have a detrimental effect on society as a whole, but there are some instances where it very well could. Take, for instance, the anti-vaccination trend of recent years. People believe that vaccines are bad and no amount of facts or proof will sway people to vaccinate, sadly to the detriment of those too small or sick to be vaccinated themselves.

This trend of dismissing unpleasant news, however, is grounded in truth. There are in fact, false news stories out meant to mislead and hype audiences toward particular conclusions for a variety of reasons. So, how can one go about verifying that what is read is truth and not false, misleading, or rooted in bias? While in some instances, the folks at the show MythBusters have helped viewers determine fact from urban legend, and those at Snopes help to determine validity of true and false articles, not all stories can necessarily be proved true or false. This is where looking into precedence helps.

Throughout school, many of us were taught, and reinforced through much practice, to find good and credible sources and cite them. Today, this exercise is one that can help those who seek reliable information. When reading or viewing an article or story, pay attention the named source of the information. Also, pay attention to whether or not facts are displayed, and not where those facts came from. If names and organizations are unknown, a quick google search can tell you more. There are some highly respected news sites that, despite what some may say, have consistently and thoroughly reported true stories grounded in facts. While not all audiences like the stories, The following agencies are reliable and trustworthy and often issue retractions if anything is a story is incorrect: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC, The Associated Press, NPR, and CNN, as well as many others.

At SafeSourcing, we believe in having true and reliable information for everything we undertake, and will use our knowledge and experience to find the best information for all of your sourcing projects. For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help your organization, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

How to tell when you need to simplify your processes

October 2nd, 2020

Or when to expand process complexity and scope

 

Today’s post is our archives at SafeSourcing

Finding the right balance of complexity in your processes is a tough thing to juggle for businesses large and small. I’ve worked in companies where you literally had to read through and comply with hundred page manuals for every email sent, phone call made, or lunch break taken. On the other end of the spectrum, were companies who had so little structure that no one had any idea what standard procedures were, roles were not identified, and whether or not you were performing well was determined more by the owner’s mood than any objective metric.

The problem is similar to the dilemma of Emergent vs. Deliberate strategy[1]. Each side of the argument carries its own merits; highly process oriented organizations are usually highly efficient, and low risk. The tradeoff however, is that adaptability and innovation suffers. The more flexible and open ended your process, and the more you give your team the authority to deviate from those processes, the more they are able to deal with crisis, unexpected changes, or to innovate in order to meet the needs of the business. So how do we determine if our organization is leaning too far in one direction?

A basic rule of thumb is:

If the cost of your process > the value of the process, you may need to re-balance.

This of course, requires that you have a correct understanding of the cost of all your processes.

Many businesses have a hard time wrapping their heads around the true process capacity of their workforce. Typically this results from not having an up to date or objective measurement of all processes rate of finite resource consumption. Do you have an accurate listing of every activity performed by each member of your team? Have you found averages for all costs of each of these activities, in time, money, and materials? Most likely each of your team positions specializes in a certain activity, and will be aware of activities associated with executing that position that no one else is. Performing this evaluation will identify your process capacity “budget” if you will. And of course, all things that consume finite resources must have a budget of that resource.

Once you have a clear and objective picture of your activity costs, you can evaluate the costs and value inherent in your processes. Do you have redundant processes that only add marginally increased value? Do you have processes so narrow in scope that a large number of activities get bypassed? Do you have activities whose execution is so sensitive that a miss-step would shut down your business? You may need to add processes or capabilities that eliminate these risks (For more on that topic, see my blog “Mistake-proofing your business”).

In summary:

  1. Objectively measure your organization’s process capacity
  2. Evaluate the cost to benefit balance of your processes
  3. Appropriately budget your process capacity to maximize overall value/decrease risk

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.

[1] “Balancing Deliberate vs. Emergent Strategy: SafeSourcing …” 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://blog.safesourcing.com/2015/06/01/balancing-deliberate-vs-emergent-strategy/>