Archive for July, 2014

Part II of II. Why is it so important for retailers to address e-procurement software now?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

In yesterdays post of the same title we discussed many reason why using these tools can help to make your company more competitive and profitable at the same time. What we left out is that the might also keep your company in business.

A number of years ago as a young sales person I traveled to a regional retailers store to demonstrate the newest scanner/scale technology. Yes, believe it or not there was a time when scanners and scales were not an integrated product. I had practiced my demo for days and planned on using labor reduction, customer throughput and error elimination as part of my ROI discussion. When I arrived at the store and met the manager I asked him to find some produce that I could demo. What was curious to me was that there were no customers in the store and I mean none. The manager explained that Wal-Mart had opened a Hyper Mart down the street. These were much bigger than today?s Super Centers. All the productivity in the world could not help this retailer as the competition offered greater selection and better pricing. Throughput, error reduction etc. did not matter because customer traffic was down substantially. This retailer is no longer business today.

I am not against Wal-Mart or any other quality retailer like them that wants to compete for new business. Tesco from the UK actually came to the U.S. with their small Fresh N Easy format a couple of years ago. What should concern retailers, acualty smaller ones is that Wal-Mart now plans to open small urban stores that are predominantly focused on groceries. Because of whom they are and how they buy. small retailers and I mean regional and small chains will not be able to compete, will loose business and unfortunately some may fail.

E-procurement tools just might be what allows your company to compete and exist. It will take quite a while for Wal-Mart to test and roll out this model, so now may be a good time to prepare by improving your bottom line and creating your own war chest.

As an example, SafeSourcing does a lot of work with regional and small drug store chains. These chains have seen average savings of 24.7% during the last year using our tools. That?s not bad for an industry with a 1.5% bottom line.

If you’d like to learn more as to how SafeSourcing can improve your earnings, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

Give us a call at1-866-623-9006; if you don?t save you don?t pay.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Part I of II. Why is it so important for retailers to address their e-procurement software needs now?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Nothing else that a retailer is doing including remodels, customer marketing campaigns, new formats, new products or any thing else focused on sales increases can have the impact on your bottom line that e-procurement tools can. If you choose to use hosted or SaaS based offerings, the cost is so low as a percentage of savings that it?s almost silly. If you want to free up some cash in order to fund those other opportunities mentioned above now is the time to reach out to companies like SafeSourcing.

Cost of goods and services is the largest area of retailers P&L. Focus on this area can drive cost from their business immediately. Since the early 1990?s, initiatives focused on the customer? in the form of CRM programs, Efficient Consumer Response initiatives, and Large scale data warehouses or decision support systems have been implemented, but have not appreciably improved the bottom line for many retailers.. E-procurement solutions? immediately improves the effectiveness of buyers and category managers by offering them a broader universe of choices over a shorter period of time, without the need to conduct detailed research, and as such makes their job easier.

Calculating the dollar and percentage return on investment at the conclusion of an e-procurement event is immediate so the ROI in most cases is also instantaneous. Historical savings in the retail industry? have averaged? as much as 20% and in? many cases has been as much as 10X or greater. In almost all cases these are direct savings versus budgeted expenses. As such the dollars drop directly to the bottom line and can easily be converted to basis points of improvement that are factual and reportable within a current quarter. To this authors knowledge there are no other applications or tools that can make this claim.

If you’d like to learn more as to how SafeSourcing can improve your earnings, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

Or, just give us a call at 1-866-623-9006; if you don?t save you don?t pay.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Increasing Your Online Presence

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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

Last week it was announced that Kroger Company had agreed to buy the online health and vitamin provider, Vitacost, so that they could add a new selling channel for additional nutrition and healthy-living products.   In the move they will be able to leverage the technical and logistical expertise Vitacost has developed to improve its online presence against a slew of online retailers who are cutting into Kroger markets.  While not every company has $280 million to improve their online presence, there are a few key areas to focus on that will help internal departments source products and services to help accomplish the same goal.

Strong web content – There are a few things to look at when creating a strong site for customers.  The first above everything else should be the ease with which customers are able to find what they are looking for.  The content needs to be fresh and current to keep customers coming back to the site and customers need to be able to conduct transactions at all times.  This may not include every type of transaction but if an online version of the company is going to exist it should be useful to customers even outside of business hours.  Finally, the content should be packed with several industry key words so that the site will continue to be included high in search engine results.   Many web development companies can assist with keeping this updated regularly and many will guarantee results for the most important key words.

Mobile, mobile, mobile – Take a trip to any restaurant, bar, retail outlet or other social establishment and one of the first things you will notice is that everyone has a phone, and many of them have their noses frequently buried in them.  This is not a trend that is going to go away soon and will likely get worse.  People are attached to their phones and use them for bank transactions, dinner reservations, making purchases and many other types of activities so making sure a site is mobile-ready to get information and conduct business is critically important.  Once that is established, developing smart-device specific applications that leverage other capabilities of the phones is something virtually every company will need to do at some point.  When people walk into businesses, they EXPECT to have the capability to do things with their mobile devices that take advantage of technologies like Wi-Fi and GPS.

Create goals and measure progress – Part of knowing the success of changes to an online presence is to set goals for each of the pieces being adjusted and includes changes that may not be made directly to the site itself.  Areas such as the messaging being sent through social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook may not be a part of the main website but their message and what customers are responding to is very important and need to be measured as well because they affect the overall strategy.  Google Analytics is a great tool to begin using to help track the activity but there are also many 3rd party companies who can help remove some of the trial-and-error process many companies face when they try doing it on their own.  The beauty of online marketing is how quickly goals can be measured and how easily they can be adjusted if the initial plans do not work as expected.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your team find partners that will increase you online presence 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.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

For guidance with your green purchasing practices, look no further than to our federal governments Environmental Protection Agency or EPA.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a number of programs that as a result of government use offer companies a great opportunity to educate themselves in support of their social responsibility initiatives.

One of those programs, the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) helps the federal government “buy green,” and in doing so, uses the federal government’s enormous buying power to stimulate market demand for green products and services. Geared first to help federal purchasers, this site can help green vendors, businesses large and small — and consumers. Use the easy index to:
• Find and evaluate information about green products and services;
• Identify federal green buying requirements;
• Calculate the costs and benefits of purchasing choices;
• Manage green purchasing processes.

The U.S. EPA website contains a wealth of information relative to finding and evaluating green products in any number of categories from construction to office supplies. If you truly review and evaluate the green portion of your company or individual social consciousness regularly the  U.S. EPA site is a great place to start.

If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can assist your procurement department in the deployment of your environmental initiatives, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.