Archive for June, 2014

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.

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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. 
 
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.

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Planning for Your Next Procurement Hire

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

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

As the landscape of the corporate world continues to change to adapt to changes in the economy, procurement departments are being asked to expand their areas of support throughout the organization.  This expansion will require that procurement staffs begin to look for specialized expertise to augment their current staff whether in the form of temporary, permanent or 3rd party help.

In today’s blog will be look at three areas of expertise that will be important to procurement staffs in the future.

IT – Historically, most companies have let their IT department’s research and negotiate their own hardware and software deals due to the level of expertise needed to understand the company requirements.  This process is beginning to shift as companies are looking to compress the pricing they receive after the RFP process has been narrowed down and the short list of vendors has been selected.  To do this requires staff or a 3rd party vendor who can help facilitate this process, speaking with the vendors at a technical level everyone understands.

Hired Services– Hired services are can be complex categories to understand within an organization and the larger the company the more complex the process to procure these services can be.  Many teams are looking for support help from the administrative and Human Resources departments to understand the scope and SOWs the company needs as well as looking to 3rd party vendors such as Managed Service Providers to help them with this process.

Transportation/Logistics – Very few spends within a large organization are as complex and as mission critical as the freight lanes they use.  Late product is unacceptable and can result in customers changing to the competition.  While they critical to the business they can also be very complex as the fuel prices fluctuate and as regulations, especially of the international variety, seem to change constantly.  Looking for new permanent or temporary staff that have a background in logistics can go a long way to helping your company put programs in place that are flexible enough to adjust with the market but protect you enough to budget the spend.
For assistance in filling some of these areas of expertise in your organization, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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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.

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