Archive for July, 2011

Green Waste Disposal – Four Rs in Practice

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

There has long been the concept of the three (and now four) Rs of preventing waste, and some argue that there may be a couple more you could add to that list (i.e. recover, replenish, rethink).  Next week will begin a 5 part series on the Four Rs, but today we are going to focus on how this concept applies to corporate waste disposal and how sourcing professionals can learn more about what some companies are doing in these areas to make a “greener” planet.

With so much trash being generated in the U.S. every day, it is increasingly important that business owners begin to look at what can be done to offset this trend and become more “green.”

Composting – Several Solid Waste Management Departments throughout the nation have introduced compost programs allowing companies and residents the chance to take their green waste (grass, leaves, brush) and have them converted into compost that is then used in the city parks and other city facilities.  These programs not only save landfill space in the process, but also help maximize the soil nutrient value and conserves water needed to maintain these areas.

Biomass energy – A few weeks ago we did a series on new green energies such as biomass energy, the processing of organic material to create energy, are how they are being embraced by the large waste disposal companies.  Waste Management, a leader in the waste disposal industry, has introduced several steps to increase creation of this new energy by supplying residents with recycling bags for them to fill with yard waste that will be turned into energy.

Education – As we move further into a new “green” millennium, it is ever more important for individuals and companies to get more educated on what they can do to become more observant of waste and what it means for our planet.  Companies such as Rumpke, are committed to this process by providing training sessions, videos and other material to help educate the public on what they can do to begin the “green” transition in their homes and businesses.

This list could go on, but the important thing is that there are companies that are serious about the long-term affects solid waste has on the environment and are committed to helping change the mindset and culture to begin protecting our planet.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with sourcing with companies with this commitment, please contact a Customer Service Representative.

We hope you have enjoyed this week’s series and look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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This is a repost from three years ago titled “Thinking Green”.

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Let’s start with an old truism. “You can’t improve what you don’t measure”. This applies to green and safety standard compliance. Importantly, companies also can’t expect their trading partners to know what they are not told. In a 2008 white paper (that you can find on our website) titled “Safety in the Supply Chain, an Irony” I listed nine steps to safer and a more eco-friendly procurement. Although simple, these simple steps go a long way towards accomplishing the most important step in any endeavor. If you don’t write it down, it won’t happen. As a guideline I offer the following:

Nine steps to safer and more eco-friendly procurement

1. Be pro-active in driving not for resale and for resale product safety within your company, and also supporting eco-standards in the procurement process.
2. Pay it forward with all of your trading partners by sharing what you are doing, and asking what they do to support yours or similar initiatives of their own.
3. Educate your employees and trading partners about common safety standards and guidelines such as the SQF Certificate www.sqfi.com  and the Global Food Safety Initiative www.ciesnet.com.
4. Educate your employees and trading partners about common eco-standards such as Green- Energy National Standard www.green-e.org or EcoLogo www.ecologo.org
5. Point associates and trading partners to free educational websites such as www.safesourcing.com to use their free SafeSourcing Wiki or the Sourcebook professional social network for procurement professionals.
6. Only use trading partners that follow your lead.
7. Train your team to understand and use all available tools that insure supply chain safety such the free daily safety in sourcing blog at www.safesourcing.com  or the low cost SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database and Reverse Auction Tools.
8. Write it down and then impose a system of measures and controls to monitor performance against clearly defined goals.
9. Start at the top and engage all levels of your company.

We look forward to your input on this weeks posts.

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NAFTA still a challenge at Seventeen and a half?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

It’s hard to believe that The North American Free Trade Agreement went into force on January 1st of 1994 or seventeen years ago. This agreement covers a trade bloc consisting of the United States, Mexico and Canada.

How well this agreement has worked is a completely different subject at least in part. Can you believe that it took until this year for the governments of the United States and Mexico to agree to let each countries trucks travel on each others highways. Arguments, tariffs, security issues and other concerns have kept this vital part of any free trade zone from working as designed.

Maybe we have it right now and sourcing products from our free trade zone partners will be a bit easier.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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How socially focused or responsible is your company.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Well if that’s the case why not apply for B Corporation certification. In essence this would be putting your money where your mouth is. At this point there are no real hard financial incentives for a company to do this. At least four states  have passed or proposed B Corp legislation, but it is pretty clear that all will in the future.

So just what is a B CORP? I’m glad you asked. If you visit the Certified B Corporation website you’ll learn that Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  B Corps are unlike traditional businesses because they:
        • Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental    performance standards;
        • Meet higher legal accountability standards;
        • Build business constituency for good business

SafeSourcing is going to add B Corporation certification to our database of supplier certifications and ask companies our customers’ partner with what their plans are to achieve B Corp Certification as part of their current or future CSR initiatives. We do the same for over 30 other certifications today such as Eco Logo, SQF and LEED.

If we do a small part and our customers do a small part and their suppliers do a small part, the parts will add up. Pay it forward and do your part.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Ron Southard CEO SafeSourcing

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Who is reviewing your contracts? Are they missing anything?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The answer is neither or maybe both. The first important question for each is who is actually evaluating the contracts, and just because they have a law degree does not mean that contract evaluation is a specific skill set the individual possess. This author recommends choosing who will provide this function within your company and then makes sure they have the skill set to do their job and stay up to date.

There are any number of contract management certificate programs available from prestigious and well know institutions. To name a few, there is Villanova University, The University of California Irvine and St. Louis University. In addition there are organizations that also offer this training. Probably the most well know is, the National Contract Management Association or NCMA that has been around for over 50 years.

Many of these organizations offer on line courses that can be completed within a reasonable period of time. Many of the University and College courses are actually accredited as well as affiliated with NCMA.

Once you have resources that are certified, provide them with the tools they need to do their job. All companies have 100’s to as many as 1000’s of contracts and most do not have a contract management solution. These solutions today are available via the cloud in Software as a Service models for very little investment. Most of these providers will also assist you in the creation of your Meta data and database population. 

Contact SafeSourcing for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Buyers; Soybeans are down and the Corn harvest will be up. So What?

Friday, July 1st, 2011

It appears as though the corn crops will be better than expected this year and as a result drive prices down on the supermarket shelves. The reason is because farmers planted more corn than usual based on what the futures market was telling them relative to other crops. Because they planted more and the yield will be higher futures actually went down. This should impact the price we pay for a variety of products impacted by corn.

If you don’t think that corn impacts many products, think again. Corn impacts beer, aspirin, livestock feed, carbonated beverages, Ethyl alcohol, textiles, soaps and hundreds of other products.

If you’re a buyer, you need to be aware of this as the impact in the market typically trails the crop by about 3 to 6 months. So while you are buying products you need to understand that costs should come down before year end and make sure the language in your contracts allows you to take advantage of this. Think de-escalator language on any contract between now and year end.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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