Archive for October, 2013

How does your organization ensure that every award of business is implemented or delivered as awarded?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Stopping contract leakage is one of the most difficult tasks in the entire procurement lifecycle. To begin with, you need to understand where the data to be measured is kept. Good luck if you do not have a contract management solution. Once you have a clear idea as to the location of the data, it needs to be looked at on a regular basis in order to insure leakage is not occurring. The question here is what constitutes leakage and how often it should be reviewed such as monthly depending on contract language. Most contract management systems have alerts that can be triggered as frequently as required.

If you had a contract management system, most of the following list speaks too many of areas in which contract leakage can occur and can also be measured. These discrepancies happen in all companies large and small. If you are aware of them, capture them and report on them there is a reasonable possibility of controlling them. Again, you can’t do it without a contract management system

1. Buying without a contract.
2. Expensing something outside of a contract
3. Having multiple contracts in place:
4. Executing a new agreement when one is already in place
5. Paying a price different from the contract
6. Delivery variances
7. Quality specifications variances
8. Making payments at a prices different from the contract
9. Scope creep of the product or service purchased without change control
10. Resulting Invoice discrepancies
11. Missed volume discounts
12. Insurance discrepancies
13. Shipping discrepancies
14. Expired contracts resulting in price uplift (evergreening)
15. Overtime Violations
16. Material discrepancies
17. Sub Contractor discrepancies

Don’t work hard to drive benefits from your procurement organization and then lose much of what you have gained due to contract leakage. Ask your e-procurement solutions provider how they can help.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Now it appears as though BPA can cause breast cancer and other conditions!

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The post titled “What can you do to lower your risk from BPA” by SafeSourcing was dated March 31st of 2011. Unfortunately not much seems to have changed.

Liz Sabo of USA TODAY in an article titled Doctors sound alarm about prenatal health hazards, sites a study from the Breast Cancer Fund. The report cites 60 animal and human studies, which link prenatal BPA exposure to an increased risk of a variety of health problems, from breast cancer and prostate cancer to decreased fertility, early puberty, neurological problems and immune system changes.

As many of our followers know, we have posted regularly about the risks associated with BPA and other products that put consumers and the companies that sell them end use products at risk.

I was reading USA TODAY this morning and there was an article by Wendy Koch titled Study: “Eating fresh food lowers BPA in systems”. The article actually addresses BPA and DEHP and the impact that a fresh diet has on their levels within a person system.

Although I love my vegetables, I’m not sure I can move to a completely fresh diet, but the Silent Spring Institute that conducted the study does offer the following six steps that individuals can take to limit their risk.

1. Fresh is best

2. Eat in

3. Store it safe

4. Don’t microwave in plastic

5. Brew the old-fashioned way 6. Take action

For more detail on each of these items, visit the following Silent Springs link.

We look forward to and appreciate your opinions.


Hand Dryers Revisited

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Today’s post is by Steve Schwerin, account manager at SafeSourcing. 

A few days ago, we wrote about sourcing hand dryers.  Hand dryers are something that people probably don’t think about often, but probably should, so here is another reminder.  I suspect that most everyone likes the idea of hand dryers in restrooms.  They like the fact that they are potentially more sanitary and they like the fact that there is no paper waste.  Well, I suppose they would think this if they were actually thinking about hand dryers.  If there was ever a list of certifiably boring topics, for most people hand dryers would be on that list.
Going back to the IDEA of hand dryers, they just haven’t quite lived up to expectations, I would propose.  Who doesn’t remember walking into a McDonalds or Wendy’s bathroom and seeing that ubiquitous white hand dryer on the wall with that round metal press button that probably came nice and shiny and  chrome plated out of the box, but for some reason was pitted and a little intimidating by the millionth press?  How did it get that way?  Are people banging their rings on it?  Worse, did those initial dryers ever really get your hands dry?  There were a lot of reasons not to think about hand dryers.

Those days are over.  You probably already know this.  One day you noticed what may have been an Excel Xlerator hanging on the wall as you stopped to wash your hands.  It blew air so fast and so loud you probably thought it might hurt a little.  There was some fun in this.  Fun in hand drying?  Imagine.  Today there are wondrous creations like the Dyson Airblade which boasts that your hands will be dry within 12 seconds.  Did you know that these modern marvels don’t even use heated air?  They force the air off of your hands by sheer will power.  Actually, it is air power, but if there is some will involved, I won’t hold it against them.  Dyson, for example, claims that the air velocity at the nozzle of their Airblade is 400 miles per hour!

Dyson is not the only game in town for high speed hand dryers.  Explore other options.  As the saying goes, the best time to act is yesterday.  For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs, including hand dryers, or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative at 888-261-9070.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.


The Great Deceleration!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Today’s post is by Steve Schwerin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Your procurement solution provider professionals may not have funky offices in San Francisco, London or New York to their credit-a picture painted by another author to describe another industry-but they may have what it takes to help your company address what was described as, “The Great Deceleration” in The Economist on July 27, 2013 as well as at  I have to believe that we are going to see more and more written about how slower growth rates in emerging economies will affect the world at large.

Economies like those of China and India are slowing down.  This might not be something to dread as emerging markets like these have experienced extended periods of double-digit growth over the past decade.  Now that they are bigger economies, smaller growth numbers don’t necessarily mean fewer goods and services produced.  They do, however, mean that there may be fewer low-hanging fruit to pick in a company’s search for cost savings through off-shoring and importing.

Where to turn in times like these?  Procurement might hold some of the answers, specifically eProcurement.  I think there are two things to consider here.  First, you may not be able to drive savings by merely looking off shore.  Second, as emerging economies slow, some prices in older markets are likely to become more competitive.  Rising prices in emerging markets are certainly one cause of this, but competition driven process improvements in older economies is another.  As you look around for options, your eProcurement solution provider professionals are in the perfect position to help you source the best products at the best price as these changes take effect.  Focusing on “The Great Deceleration,” if there is one, will not help you grow your business.  Contacting your eProcurement solution provider professional, however, IS a step that can do just that.     

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative at 888-261-9070.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Shopping Carts….What’s the Big Deal?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing

Shopping carts and baskets seem like such a basic thing to source and yet because so many retailers have not changed their supplier in years, looking at new sources can be more complex than thought.  All of the details below will eventually come up and be addressed, but getting in front of them at the beginning can make the difference for the level of success achieved from the event and in having the proper information to decide whether to stay with an incumbent vendor or go with someone new.   Today we will look at a few of things to have prepared when starting a sourcing project for shopping carts.

Have the Art Handy – The first thing we run into when helping our customers run an event for carts or plastic bags or marketing material is that finding the original artwork that was provided to the incumbent vendors becomes a much bigger task than it should be.  Many times because of the long-standing relationships built with incumbents, details like the original artwork get held by the incumbent and forgotten by the customer.  This gets especially tricky if the original sourcing resource is no longer with the company.  Finding it in-house or requesting it from your incumbent is the first place to start.  Every other supplier will want to review the file and if a change is made it will be required for the work to be done.  Make sure that new artwork setup fees are either waived for a transfer of business by the new vendor or at least accounted for in a decision to switch vendors.

Stop the Thief – Shopping carts and baskets are coming with more and more options.  Anti-theft bars, drink holders, and improved child seats are all options which will need to be considered when the sourcing project begins.  Changes in business and culture may demand that you begin considering options like anti-theft bars that can be attached to the cart or specially made wheels that lock up when outside the range of the store.  Even if your company has no intention of changing anything about the current specification, now is the time when the suppliers are engaged for the opportunity for the business to understand wheat new options are available.  Many times they can provide migration paths for credit on your old carts while new carts come in to replace them.  This allows companies to upgrade their carts without absorbing the entire loss of the existing fleet.

Include the fees – New contracts and agreements are always great times to go back and investigate the past invoices and agreements that have been put in place and if necessary request that your incumbent provide you a detailed itemized breakdown of the fees they are charging you that are usually lumped into one line item on an invoice that read “Shopping Cart A – Qty-50 – Price $X,XXXXX”.   The longer the relationship has been in place the more important it is to see how that details behind that price are put together.  By understanding these extra fees you can begin to lay out a project that collects them from all suppliers in the same way and also provides you the leverage to have some of those fees eliminated or reduced in order to gain or keep the business.

Whether you are sourcing shopping carts for the first time or for the dozenth, being prepared with details about your current landscape and where you want to head are very important to establish early.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with structuring one of these projects 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.

Facing and Overcoming Challenges in any Procurement Process!

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Today’s post is by Sarah Kouse; Customer Services Manager at SafeSourcing.

Below I will discuss some challenges that can take place with your client, the vendor/supplier, and also providing your client with overall results, as well as ways to overcome those challenges when they approach you.

Client – Challenges in all stages of the process can take place with your client. In the early stages, maybe the data provided does not contain the information needed or pieces of the data are missing. In the late stages of the process, maybe one of the vendors/suppliers is requesting information that you have to clear with the client. For example, if the vendor/supplier is requesting to meet with the client before they will accept to participate in the event.

Vendor/Suppliers – As I stated above, there may be a situation where a vendor or supplier refuses to participate in an event unless they can meet with the client. You may also have challenges with the way items are laid out in an event to submit pricing. Some vendors may price a little differently than most of the other vendors and they have a hard time developing their pricing for the event.

Overall – Challenges can take place in all stages of the procurement process and can be especially difficult when they apply to analyzing and creating the results of a project.  These challenges can come from many different sources but most have basic elements of planning, communication breakdown or incorrect expectations to begin with.

The best way to overcome these challenges is first of all; stay calm and maintain a clear head. If you get frustrated or flustered, it can cause you to not think clearly and sometimes make it difficult to make the best decision. Secondly, communication is the most important key to everything. If the communication is poor, without question, there will definitely be challenges. Lastly, know that there’s always a solution for everything. Sometimes the solution is not exactly what you would like, but with a clear head and quality communications, you can feel confident that the solution will be the right decision.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help make sure your eProcurement event run more smoothly and produces great results or for information 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 and appreciate your comments.

A Supplier from a recent RFP mentioned he loved the SafeSourcing eRFX process!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Today’s post is by Shelly Hayre a COE account manager at SafeSourcing.

I was recently following up with a Supplier from a past SafeSourcing eRFX event. He told me he loved the eRFP process as it seemed so seamless. The Supplier then went on to describe the standard RFPs he is used to; submitting hundreds of page documents and proposals, sending multiple hard copies, clueless on the company’s objectives and needs.

An RFI/RFP allows you to qualify a supplier for your company’s needs. Why give yourself more work than necessary? The following tips will bring your company more useful and painless information through the eRFX process, specifically eRFI’s and eRFP’s.

1. Be Specific!:  When you are setting up your RFI/RFP questions try to keep as many questions as possible closed. If you are searching for a specific answer then make sure you are asking the right questions to receive the correct response. I have seen RFI/RFP’s that ask such broad questions that every supplier interprets them differently and it is hard to do a true comparison between the answers.

2. Share with the suppliers:  Know what your company’s needs and values are. If having a national supplier and covering all locations is important, then provide suppliers with a list of locations to verify they can cover all those locations. If this is a deal breaker, then it is as simple as a yes or no question. Providing suppliers with all the needs and values of the company will provide you with the best answers.

3. Pricing Model:  Instead of asking for their pricing model, determine a standard direction for your RFI/RFP in order to steer the gathering of pricing in that direction. If you let the vendor provide you a general pricing model there could be many hidden fees not required. This will make comparing pricing between suppliers difficult. 

Successful RFI/RFPs may require some extra effort and time at the beginning, but it will save you more time at the end. SafeSourcing prides ourselves on creating successful RFI/RFPs that will bring value to your company.

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 and appreciate your comments.

Why didn’t the government use the eRFX process to reduce new exchange based health insurance premiums?

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Today’s post is by Ryan Melowic; Assistant Vice President of COE at SafeSourcing.

The significance of this post on this day, October 1st, 2103 is that medically uninsured Americans can now register and pick from private health insurance plans currently controlled by our government.  The actual coverage will be effective January 1st 2014.  These health exchanges will benefit a large number of people, but it will also put a burden on those who choose to remain uninsured. The creators of this plan had to have put great thought into this plan. 

Did our Government utilize strategic online eProcurement tools for final price negotiations with health insurance vendors? If not, I believe that uninsured Americans could have been paying as much as 8 to 15 percent less than they should.  There would be no change in the quality of the health plan and the government would only have to pay the event fee.

Online eProcurement events are setup around specific terms and conditions and specifications.  With that said, during the Government’s creation of this plan, terms and items were hopefully well thought out.  If so, these Items can be taken to market and bid on by the key vendors in the heath market industry.  Plan details would be referenced in the terms and conditions of the event.  Once the bidding plan was developed and the vendors have an opportunity to work through pricing in the agreed upon structure the actual eRFQ itself could conclude in a matter of a few hours.  If it lasts longer, it is just additional money that the American people can use for other than health care commitments.

This same process can and has been used by companies in order to lower their health plan rates.  Just think what 8 to 15 percent reduction in your health care expenses could add to your bottom line.

SafeSourcing wants your company to complete eProcurement events with us!  We have the category knowledge, vendors, tools and commitment to insure that your company’s eProcurement events are a success.  For more information as to how we can help you with your company’s health insurance category procurement needs, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative

We always look forward to your comments.