Archive for May, 2011

Effective Supplier Data Management Improves Procurement Process

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

The following excerpt is from the above titled article.

There is more to an effective e-procurement program than cost reduction.

While buyers frequently record cost reductions in the range of 30% to 40% when utilizing an e-procurement or reverse auction process, the issues of quality and performance cannot be overlooked.

The foundation for successful e-procurement is the supplier database
that has been developed and is maintained by the e-procurement service provider. Significant time and capital investment goes into the development of an effective supplier database. It provides the buyer with a recognizable advantage in terms of classification of supplier capabilities, historical performance and the quality of the products provided.

The scope, accuracy and functionality of the supplier database are critical components for buyers when using e-procurement. These elements allow buyers to identify the best sources of supply quickly and cost-effectively, oftentimes uncovering alternative sources that were previously not even considered. This is one of the major advantages of including the services of an online reverse auction service provider like SafeSourcing in the procurement process.

Supplier data management is an excellent example of pairing technology advancements with intellectual property to produce an effective, economical support tool that benefits both suppliers and buyers – better pricing,better quality and better sources of supply.

Click here in order to view the entire article.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Knowing Who Your Suppliers Are – Onsite Visits – Part I of II

Monday, May 9th, 2011

One of the important practices recognized by many successful procurement professionals is that of performing onsite visits to both their new and incumbent suppliers.  So much can be learned about how your suppliers do business that may affect your future decisions and contracts.

Today’s blog will be focusing on visits to domestic suppliers and Part II will have more details on visiting your international suppliers.

If you are dealing with a new supplier and scheduling an onsite visit, this is the opportunity for you to validate all of the details they have presented in their RFP/RFI response or presentation; validating that they have the staff, resources and facilities to handle the demand you are requiring of them.

This will be an opportunity to meet the sales and support team that will be assisting you and your company when the inevitable problem does occur, so take advantage of this time to get acquainted with the supplier’s staff.
If you are dealing with an incumbent supplier, make sure you have thoroughly reviewed your existing contract so that details about the level of service and quality promised can be focused on as part of the visit.  Make sure that you request, in advance, any additional reporting from your IT department or from the supplier on the history of the relationship so far.  This would include quality issues, shipping issues, product delays, inventory availability or any other special circumstance that may have occurred.  This visit will be the right time for you discuss these with the supplier face-to-face.

A final very important area to spend time in your visit, whether new or existing supplier, is the shipping area.  Here you will have a very clear idea of how the supplier is organized and you may even get a glimpse at the companies they get their raw materials from as well as other customers they are shipping too for future reference and follow-up.  Information found in this area will also go a long way when having contract negotiations with your incumbent suppliers for concessions on how your products and deliveries are handled.

Onsite visits are critical to understanding who you suppliers are and can be extremely valuable negotiation checkpoints.  My next blog will focus on the differences and things to consider when visiting international suppliers.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

A cold cut or a burnt at the steak. This sounds more like a Knight’s tale than a food safety initiative.

Friday, May 6th, 2011

There was an article in today’s MONEY section of USA TODAY by Elizabeth Weise titled “CDC: Over 50? Heat those cold cuts to 165º”. The sub title indicated the Goal is to cut the risk of listeria bacteria. Without getting into the article which contains some great educaional content, these are the recommendations of the CDC and have been for some time.

This author used to love fried bologna sandwiches with yellow mustard as a kid and when I lived in St. Louis I would buy a hot salami sandwich from a deli on The Hill. However, I ate them on the spot. Have you ever friend bologna and then put it in a sandwich to take to work or have your child take to school. Does the word hockey puck or shoe leather or jerky mean anything to you?

The idea behind a cold cut is that it is cold. How about figuring out a way to eliminate the risk of Listeria in cold cuts instead of changing the way the product has been used since its inception.  In yesterdays post “What is the financial impact of food-borne illnesses”   Listeria was one of the top 10 pathogens that collectively cost us $8B a year.

When I used to visit New York City on business, I loved to eat at Katz’s Deli and still do and will continue to. Above the counter hung a sign that read “Send a salami to your boy in the army” I was told this was from World War II but is still done today. I guess they are going to have to add something to the sign now that says cook before shipping so this can be used as a baseball bat.

Come On. Let’s figure out how to fix the problem without ruining the product.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What is the financial impact of food-borne illnesses?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

One thing we have learned or at least taken a step towards understanding is the financial impact of these types of events. The Emerging Pathogens Institute of the University of Florida has issued a Report that indentifies the top 10 pathogen-food combinations that cause illness in the U.S. annually as well as their financial impact. Salmonella is the leading pathogen and the culprit in the recent tomato recall costing $3B per year. According to the report the top 10 pathogens cost us $8B per year.

This author believes you could actually triple those numbers as most cases of simple diarrhea and vomiting never make there way to the hospital or other medical centers, but do in fact cause loss of work, productivity and wages. $24B is a big number.

The lesson hear is that we have still not solved the food-borne issue illness or the farm to fork issue that requires a supply chain that is traceable to it’s original source. Until we do, what goes around will continue to come around and the costs will continue to go up.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What are we learning about food safety?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Yesterday Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc., a California-based food supplier for a number of retail companies announced the recall of grape tomatoes produced by one of their growers based on a possible salmonella contamination.

Here’s the title of a post from three years ago on cherry tomatoes which are basically the same product, “I say Tomato, and you say Tomah to. I ate some last night”!

So the question is what have we learned and how has it been applied to these products. Food recalls cost money. They create lost revenue for retailers and lost work hours for consumers affected by the illness they cause.

If you are a retailer or a supplier affected by these recalls and you want to improve performance, give SafeSourcing a call.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Getting to know the Organizations Helping to Protect Us – Part 4 of 4

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

For more than 20 years, Ecologo has been working diligently to certify products all over the world that meet strict standards for leading the way in environmental responsibility.

Founded in Canada in 1988, Ecologo is only one of two North American eco-labeling programs approved by GEN as meeting internationally recognized ISO 14024 requirement and has certified thousands of products, creating one of the world’s largest pool of sustainable products.

Like many organizations of its type, Ecologo goes beyond just ensuring that companies who want to be certified are following the guidelines set, but they also play a huge part in marketing those companies and products to the world so that people and companies can choose to align themselves with companies who show a bigger accountability to this planet than just making money.

Extremely active, in just the month of April alone, Ecologo announced certification of new printer cartridges and standards for ink and toner, household cleaners and copy paper.   You can read more about these press releases at

For more information about how you can ensure that you are including companies and products who have been certified by organizations such as Ecologo, the Marine Stewardship Council, the Gluten Free Certification Organization, and the Forest Stewardship Council, please contact a SafeSourcing customer service representative today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.