Archive for June, 2014

Customize What You Do

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Today?s post is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

Many of us have heard the popular phrase, ?Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.? No, coming to work dressed as Batman doesn?t count, but the underlying idea is the same. You should customize what you do, based on where you want to go.

I recently read about the popular snack brand, Cheetos, and I was not surprised to learn that the brand is available in 36 different countries. I was, however, surprised to learn how much the snack is altered for cultural preference in order to succeed. For example, in Japan the snack comes in a Zesty Japanese Steak flavor. In China, they have a Strawberry Cheetos flavor.

My take away from that article was about how each and every thing your business does, should be tailored to the results you want. This means doing the research of the areas you want to start doing business and asking the questions like, ?What are the cultural preferences here? Will my product or service succeed as-is or should it be more customized??

The first step toward understanding how to customize your business for success, is first to know the specifications you are working with. When you know everything that is involved with your product, you can be more aware of what could be improved or customized for greater success. One you know those specifications, then the next step is sourcing the things you need to make your product the most sensational it can be.

If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help source what you need to customize your product or on our ?Risk Free? trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

Reflections and Milestones

Monday, June 9th, 2014

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

As I celebrated my 44th birthday yesterday, it occurred to me that birthdays and other life events like, weddings, funerals, graduations all seem to be common checkpoints to evaluate the project we call ?life.?? We evaluate how far we?ve come, remember certain successes and look forward to what is still yet to come.? In so many ways the evaluation of the long term processes and projects run in the procurement world need those same types of checkpoints to evaluate the progress and to make adjustments where needed.? Today we will look at some of the things that should be done during these times.

Sweating the small stuff ? I can honestly say yesterday, when reflecting back on 44 years of life, that I could not remember one time when I stressed over a little mistake or some perceived problem I had at work.? Oh they happened, many of them, but my brain decided to filter out and store only the important pieces of experience.? If only we could employ this same mentality on our procurement projects.? There is a goal and that goal has milestones and tasks that need to be accomplished but there will be challenges.?? Specifications that change and need to be updated, suppliers that choose to be difficult, business owners that change direction for the spend are all things that happen but that need to be overcome quickly and with as little stress as possible so that the eventual goal, the value add, the savings, the new supplier, the one piece that WILL be remembered can be achieved.

Enjoy and recognize the progress ? Business moves fast and business practices, especially in the United States, come with high expectations.? As much as we sometimes try to act like it in our business and personal lives, we are NOT machines!?? We need gratification and confirmation that what we do and who we are is important.? Build it into your business processes and projects to recognize when your teams do well.? Your owners, suppliers, internal customers and peers will have no problem letting you know when you haven?t succeeded so take some time and enjoy when you do.

Evaluate and Adjust goals ? When I was 10 years old I wanted to be a train conductor because that was what my dad was, an engineer.? Many people were amused when I told them my Mechanical Engineer dad drove trains.? When I was 16 I thought I wanted to be a doctor and by the time I graduated from college I was a journalist who knew how to write software.? The point is that my goals changed.? I planned accordingly and set out to meet the goals I set but periodically I had to checkpoint my life to see if there were any factors that were influencing the success of those goals, and decide if changes to those factors need to be changed or did the end result I was reaching need adjusted.? Purchasing Standard Operating Procedures need this same type of review.? Factors will influence the expected outcome that either must be changed themselves or the expected outcome or timeframe adjusted to accommodate the new factors.? This can only be done if the checkpoints are used to honestly evaluate the progress rather than plowing forward with blinders on coming to the end saying ?What happened??

Time and the world will change and it will change your SOPs and projects and require points to evaluate where you came from and where you are heading.? For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you with these changes 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.

How important are your product specifications!

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

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

Here is an all to often typical conversation with procurement solution providers. Be careful to make sure this does not happen to you.

Customer to and e-procurement provider: I need to order some bulk shipping boxes or containers.

Uninformed e-procurement provider: No problem we have specifications on a variety of these products, I’ll get something for you to review.

Customer: No problem we just need to see a sample.

Uninformed e-procurement provider: Consider it done.

A week later the customer follows up to ask when the sample will be here.

Uninformed e-procurement provider: They said they are waiting for a flatbed to deliver it.

Customer: Why do they need a flatbed!

Uninformed e-procurement provider: To deliver it.

Customer: Send me a copy of the specification:

Uninformed e-procurement provider: I’ll do better than that, I’ll send you a picture.

 

SafeSourcing Moral: It’s important that you understand what you are asking for, it’s more important that you e-procurement provider understands what you are asking for.

If you don’t want your specifications screwed up, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager. Be careful out there.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

When using e-procurement tools to source services make sure you have a well defined change of control process.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

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

Awards of business, contracts and statements of work are all important after and event has taken place if you want to maintain your hard earned savings.

If you want to ensure the savings associated with your new services contract make sure you identify or reference a structured change of control process in your terms and conditions.

Change happens. It can result from poorly designed specifications, terms and conditions, quoting instructions and other data related to a bid. The normal process for managing these changes is a change of control process which governs how any changes to the services being provided as identified in the actual bid.

The change of control is normally managed as a request that communicates the requested changes to the services deliverables. Normally the change request will describe the following at a minimum.

1.?The change
2.?The reason for the change
3.?The effect the change may have on the existing Statement of Work.
4.?Impact on cost or savings

In most cases a project manager or the associate with responsibility for managing the program deliverables will be required to submit a written change request to the contracted or warded supplier.? The supplier will then develop and return the response to the contracting company.?
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The contracted supplier and the contracting company will then review the proposed change request and either approve it, modify it or reject it. When approved the contracting company as well as the contracted supplier must sign the change request in order to authorize the work as well as the implementation of the work and its potential impact on the existing project plan or project time line.

If you don?t want erosion?of your savings, make sure you spend the time to cover this process in your bid parameters.

If you’d like to work with project managers that are not looking?to increase the cost of doing business with their company at every turn, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The Factors that People Love

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

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

Last week, Marketing Daily, released 2014 survey results on the top loved grocery store chains in America.?? Personal attention, cleanliness, speedy checkout, and low prices were just some of the reasons the top chains scored well.? Overall, however, customers scored their desire to actually DO grocery shopping relatively low, creating potential for improvement for everyone in the space.? Many of these reasons mirror the same areas for dissatisfaction that departments within an organization tend to have with their internal procurement team and we will look at some of these today.

Long Checkout times ? Nobody likes to wait, and waiting at grocery stores would probably top many people?s list of frustrations.? This frustration can also present in the procurement process as understaffed procurement teams takes months to complete even the most straightforward projects.? Best practice procurement processes are important and once standardized can save a company much pain and frustration, but without the flexibility to adjust those processes to each individual project, however, projects that should take a few weeks can last months.? Balancing the expected results and cost savings with changeover costs and time to contract must happen with each project in order to allow other departments to get what they need in a way that provides the most overall value to the company.

Inability to get what you want ? Many companies? procurement departments tend to be nothing more than price negotiators and contract executers.? They let the others departments do their own research, find their own products and select their own suppliers.? Because many of the people being allowed to make these decisions have little to no procurement experience, the end result for the company may not be beneficial, especially if that department is having difficulty finding the right service or product to fill their need.? When a procurement team can use their experience and internal or 3rd party research team to assist other departments, it is possible to provide them with several options to choose from that will give them more flexibility and provide greater overall value to the company.

Poor Service ? This failure by businesses is a universal problem and a universal frustration to their customers.?? No matter what is being sold, no one likes poor customer service and many times it is this reason that causes people to switch their loyalty from one store or supplier to another.? Virtually every successful procurement team around the world has one thing in common; they view the rest of the organization as their customer; they market to them; they sell to them; they service them; and? they assist them when emergencies arise.? Many of these successful teams have been given staffs to accomplish this and others have 3rd party vendors to act as an extension of their team.? By treating the rest of the company like a customer, these teams consistently achieve procurement goals, get better value for their organization and develop a stronger rapport with the rest of the company.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in creating a procurement team that provides great service to your internal customer 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.