Archive for September, 2014

The 7 Deadly Sins of E-Procurement Pat VI of VIII

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

5. Sloth – Being too slow or lazy at doing something.
     a. Laziness is giving in to the desire to do nothing.  Being lazy can mean avoiding doing something else; whatever the hard thing is that you want to avoid doing.   Taking laziness too far is avoidance of undesirable tasks (including thinking hard).  We grow by doing challenging things.

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In e-procurement sloth can be defined as- not having a contracts register/database meaning renewal dates are missed.

This results in missed opportunities to renegotiate contract terms and influence renewal pricing. This is especially prevalent in the area of utilities but also impacts photocopiers, maintenance contracts and additional services. In many cases you need to be giving notice on contracts 1, 3 or even 6 months in advance.

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  • How to avoid this:
  • 1.  Keep a contract register with all relevant dates. SafeSourcing offers a SafeContract™ for their customers who need to record, store, and track contracts.
  •  2. Make sure you include those categories where others are in charge of renewal too as if the individuals move on, or happen to be off sick when a renewal is due it can very easily fall down the cracks and get missed. It also enables you to engage with colleagues throughout the renewal process to ensure they’re getting ‘best value’ on the customer’s behalf.

Do you recognize Sloth as a sign of sins in your business practices today? Stay tuned tomorrow for the 6th sin in e-procurement: Wrath and how to realize and avoid it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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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The 7 Deadly Sins of E-Procurement Part V of VIII

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

envy

Envy – Jealousy; wanting to have what someone has.

  • Envy is wishing you had an emotion. Example:  I see someone waterskiing, and I am envious of the gleeful feeling that person has.  YOU   CANNOT ENVY AN OBJECT.  Envy is of the people who use the object.  I am not envious of a Corvette; I am envious of a person who owns a Corvette because I would like the emotions of glee, power, and speed that come with driving it.

In e-procurement envy can be defined as- inadequate implementation processes.

Unfortunately, this is a very common sin and means that all the hard work up to this point can be wasted.  Once a new or renewal contract has been signed you never want to say, “now the hard work begins”. It’s imperative that you implement the new processes/systems/logistics as quickly as possible in order not to lose momentum from the negotiation phase. Too many times we see the customer not realizing the potential benefits from a deal because they get side-tracked during the implementation phase and things aren’t set up properly. Photocopiers that never have their full functionality used or IT used to assess who’s doing what, stationery being ordered from the old suppliers because staff haven’t been consulted or trained on the new system for the new supplier. The list goes on.

How to avoid this:

1.  Have a proper implementation plan in place.

2. Ensure that during the entire e-procurement process those involved in the area being reviewed are included. Invite them to comment on, or even assist in the development of, the Request for Proposal. Let them be the subject matter experts. 

3. Ensure they are consulted on the choice of supplier.

4. Most definitely get them introduced to the new supplier as early as possible once a decision to change has been made. The more they feel a part of the process and decisions made the more likely they are to embrace it and implement it in full. This ensures the customer gains maximum benefit from the savings identified in the e-procurement process.

Do you recognize Envy as a sign of sins in your business practices today? Stay tuned tomorrow for the 5th sin in e-procurement: Sloth and how to realize and avoid it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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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The 7 Deadly Sins of E-Procurement Part IV of VIII

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

3. Lust – The need to fulfill unspiritual desires; to have an intense desire or need.
      a.  Lust is blind to consequences.

In e-procurement lust can be defined as- not having a clear specification of what you want before engaging with potential suppliers.

Trust us when we say that if you don’t know what you want before approaching suppliers you’ll be faced with a number of problems in the e-procurement process.

First, the suppliers themselves have the ability to add in additional features, functionality, upgrades etc. Not only will this then confuse as to the best options but you will end up with an inability to compare like-with-like (see Gluttony yesterday’s blog). It’s actually unhelpful for the suppliers too as an inadequate specification brief makes it hard for them to understand your true requirements.

lust

How to avoid this:

     • Before you start any negotiations for a product or service ensure you have a detailed specification of what you are looking for. This helps both you and the potential suppliers. If it’s a cleaning service, have a floor plan and specification document. If it’s a requirement for photocopiers, have details of the functionality you require, how you wish to finance it, what additional features you require.     

     • From your own perspective you can note which requirements are the ‘need to haves’ and which are the ‘nice to haves’. The specification document is just that and it can be changed once you have chosen your preferred supplier.

Do you recognize Lust as a sign of sins in your business practices today? Stay tuned tomorrow for the 4rd sin in e-procurement: Envy and how to realize and avoid it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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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The 7 Deadly Sins of E-Procurement Part III of VIII

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

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  2. Gluttony – Similar to greed, but gluttony is the action of taking too much of something in.

     a. Gluttony is excessive consumption of something.  This usually relates to eating too much, but broadly speaking it’s any time you use more   than is your right to.  This is not greed (desire for power over others).  This is the mistreatment of your own body and the absorption of constantly doing something.  It’s possible to be a glutton in the use of video games or social media; you’re using the entertainment as brain candy.

In e-procurement gluttony can be defined as- comparing apples with oranges.

This is probably the single most difficult aspect of e- procurement. To make a decision about offers on the table it is imperative you are comparing like with like. This ‘sin’ encompasses a number of the others i.e. not reading the small print, not having a detailed brief and confusing low cost with value for money. All of this will lead to you making an ill-informed decision.

How to avoid this:

 1. If your current supplier is providing a service which you feel may need to be changed, ensure that prospective suppliers provide two quotes – one like-for-like and one based on an enhanced specification.
 2. Draw up a robust RFP (Request for Proposal) document asking for all sections to be completed as detailed but then having an additional section for the supplier’s own suggestions about how to improve the current offering.
 3. It’s also helpful to add a weighting to the responses in a RFP i.e. 10% of the marks for product specification, 10% for financial strength, 20% for customer service and so on. This ensures every supplier is benchmarked in the same way.

Do you recognize Gluttony as a sign of sins in your business practices today? Stay tuned tomorrow for the 3rd sin in e-procurement: Lust and how to realize and avoid it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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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The 7 Deadly Sins of E-Procurement Part II of VIII

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

1. Greed – Wanting too much of something.
     a. Greed is wishing you had more power over the people around you.  This comes from having money or valuable objects.   (Note: wanting   the power of respect is a sin of pride, not of greed.)  Greed is wanting the power to force someone to do what we want.  Money is the universal solvent; enough of it can make anyone do anything.  Wisdom is knowing what your price is.  Greed, the obsession with power, can drive out all positive forces in your life, even if you think your objective is a just one.

2. In e-procurement greed can be defined as- confusing low cost with value for money.

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An area to be wary of is maintenance contracts. The headline cost of an annual maintenance contract may look very attractive but delve in to the details of labor and parts costs and you may discover that the low price will work out as anything but.

Likewise, we all know that poor service often negates the benefit of low cost.

Think too about items such as desk top printers. The printer itself may look like good value for money but what about the ink cartridges? These days you might be better off looking at a MFD (Multi- Functional Device) with toner included as a more cost effective option.

How to avoid this:

• Look into the details of ALL of the potential costs of a contract including those aspects that might initially be a little ‘hidden’.
• Ensure when benchmarking goods you don’t just use a select basket, do the whole lot. With regard to the service element, always take  references on potential suppliers to check they’ll be able to deliver. There is nothing worse than choosing a new supplier based on a good price only to discover you have to waste hours of your valuable time because their service is not up-to-scratch.

Do you recognize Greed as a sign of sin in your business practices today? Stay tuned tomorrow for the 2nd sin in e-procurement: Gluttony and how to realize and avoid it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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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The 7 Deadly Sins of E-Procurement Part I of VIII

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

This series of blogs will focus on the 7 deadly sins of e-procurement and how to overcome them, but first what are the original 7 deadly sins and why do they correspond with life and business as we know it?

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 Seven things that are the worst things to do:

1. Greed – Wanting too much of something.
2. Gluttony – Similar to greed, but gluttony is the action of taking too much of something in.
3. Lust – The need to fulfill unspiritual desires; to have an intense desire or need. 
4. Envy – Jealousy; wanting to have what someone has.
5. Sloth – Being too slow or lazy at doing something.
6. Wrath – Vindictive anger; angry revenge.
7. Pride – Being too self-satisfied; quality or state of being proud – inordinate self-esteem.
Will you recognize any of these sins in your business practices today? Stay tuned on how to realize each and avoid them.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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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Balance: Do you have it?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Alyson Usserman, an Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

When I was in high school, the teachers would stress the importance of “balance” in your life, and then give you a mountain of homework. During college the same thing happened. So what is this concept of “balance”, since no one really taught us about it? Our employers, significant others, and kids may complain to us that our “balance” is off. But what are they really saying? Usually they say that we should leave work at work, and leave home at home. However, the practicality of this issue is not very clear. Sometimes the babysitter calls me at work, sometimes, work calls me at home. So what is “balance?”

According to Webster’s Dictionary, “Balance is a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”

But how do we achieve this as a company whole, and as a healthy individual? Companies will not survive and thrive if their employees do not have enough balance. If they can never take a break, they will inevitably burn out. They will no longer be interested in the company or their goals anymore.

Just as individuals, companies can become burnt out too. If they try many different avenues but their costs are not lower than their overhead. If this sounds like your company, let SafeSourcing help you find the balance.

Please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Communication Tools Your IT Team Needs

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Director of Development at SafeSourcing.

With the release of the new iPhone 6, you may be considering a new cell phone or carrier.  Choosing a new carrier can be a tough decision with all of the carriers available and all of the different packages that they offer.  Many carriers know that for a business to switch phone carriers it can be a strenuous task, therefore they may offer incentives to do so.

the right plan that is cost effective and delivers the type of service that you need may not be as easy as one would think.  Make sure to review the plans in depth and read the fine print.  Some plans state that they can have up to a maximum number of lines for a low monthly cost but only some of the lines maybe used for Smart Phones the remainder of the lines are for Basic Phones only.  The pricing for the plan may also only be for the first year and additional costs may be added for the remainder of the contract.

When making this decision it is not just all about the cost.  Here are a few other factors that you may want to consider.

•  Which phone(s) meets the needs of your organization?
•  How is the carrier’s coverage in your area(s)?
•  Which data package will I need?
•  Are the data speeds sufficient?
•  Do they have a plan to meet you current and future needs?
•  Will the customer service meet your employee’s needs?

At SafeSourcing, we can gather all the necessary information for your company and help you decide what carrier would be a good fit for your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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What will business be like in 100 years?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

Often, the best way to stay on top of the business trend is to know where it is heading. Any predictions are pure speculation; however, there are ways to make educated guesses based on current information.

First, ask the right questions. Often times, all you need are the right questions to point you to the best answer. Yes and No questions fill this exact purpose. They are often the simplest to answer and can guide you to where you should be going.

For example, do you think technology will increase in the future? Do you think consumers want more technology? Would better technology help your business? If you answered yes to these, then you likely have a better direction of where to take your business.

Next, do your homework. So now that you have an idea of what the future might bring, now is the time for specifics. In order to know what the specifics are, you need to do your research. For the case above, you may want to start researching what technology is currently available. Then you can research what areas are being explored. This can provide an even more pointed direction for the future.

Finally, look for the critics. The most knowledgeable person knows the ups and downs to any changes. Again for the case above, see what people do not like about technology. See what roadblocks are present for certain aspirations. Look at what some of the technology could bring.

By focusing on these three steps, you can better prepare yourself and your business for what may come and may even get a jumpstart ahead of your competitors.

If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help your business prepare for the future 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.

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What elements make up the Total Cost of Ownership in the Material Handling Equipment Category?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Today’s Blog is by Ryan Melowic Director of Special Projects at SafeSourcing.

Today I will be reviewing the items required in constructing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Category.

Experience teaches us that in the MHE category, there are five major items that require review in order to understand the TCO for the MHE category.  Understanding these items in detail, how they interact and what part they play in the TCO for MHE provides key stakeholders and other decision makers the information needed to make strategic award of business decisions.   The five major items that make up the TCO in MHE are as follows.

  1. Purchase Price
  2. Maintenance
  3. Labor
  4. Electricity
  5. Interest

Over the life of your company’s spend for MHE equipment; your company can expect to see a breakdown in these items weighted as follows. Labor is the largest piece of the spend with actual purchase price being second and maintenance third and typically a few points below the purchase price. Electricity is the fourth component of TCO followed by interest which generally represents three to four percentage points. 

Understanding these components of your total price will provide you the opportunity to pull the various levers required in order to maximize price control of your MHE spend.  SafeSourcing has extensive experience in this category and knows what these levers are and how to manipulate them.

SafeSourcing has recently seen double digit savings in this category.

For further information on how SafeSourcing can help your company with the MHE category, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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