Archive for February, 2015

A simple supplier scoring system may provide key performance indicators for the future.

Friday, February 27th, 2015


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

Having a large international supplier database to drive sustainable results in e-procurement events such as ant e-RFX function is critical to that events success. Maybe even more critical is making sure that the suppliers once selected for participation in an event are of the highest quality, professional, responsive and have your best interests at heart. There are several areas in the early strategy stages of a  an e-RFX process which if properly monitored can be leading key performance indicators as to future performance. These KPI’s are; the initial supplier response and supplier training schedule adherence. If suppliers are not interested enough during these early stages, this may be an indicator of future performance in other more critical areas such as on time delivery, back order management, documentation and audit compliance.

A reasonable process for measuring these KPI’s would be to measure the number of days between the project start date or initial supplier contact and the event start date, where the supplier has been sent an invitation but has not responded either positively, negatively or given a reason  for their response. Maintaining an active status of response dates could be scored based on the number of days it takes invited suppliers to respond. The longer it takes a invitee to respond the lower KPI score that supplier would receive.  Another possible KPI measurement or filter once the invitation has been accepted would be the number of days between the date accepted and the event start date, where the supplier has accepted an invitation but has not completed their automated training.

These are not intended to be punitive measures. In most cases suppliers will perform beyond your expectations. Sustainability and quality require measurements regardless of how simple.

If you’d like to learn more about The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

The Lost Lunches…Where are they now?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015


This post is by Alyson Usserman, Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

Have you lost your lunch break at work? Here’s the problem with eating at your desk.

Typically in the beginning of the year people make New Year’s resolutions. This year yours should be to stop eating lunch at your desk. Below I examine the issues that this habit may cause.

The Problems:

   1. You are sedentary all day, every day, when you maintain a desk job. Without moving, your body can become sluggish and bog down your thoughts.
   2. You miss out on socializing beyond your coworkers.
   3. You may not even be able to eat your lunch, because people keep interrupting you.

This habit can potentially affect everyone that works full time. However, the issue that one may run into is that your overall health and mental awareness.

Make sure you get out and move your body, even if you just go to run an errand.

This issue is becoming such an issue that the Oxford English Dictionary added, “al desko” in 2014, which means to eat at your desk.
Let SafeSourcing help you reclaim your lost lunch by allowing us to become an extension of your team to ease the work load. Please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager and let us help manage your workload.

We look forward to your comments.

Pest Control Anyone?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015


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

The other day I saw a fly for the first time in months.  That got me thinking, what happens to the flies when it gets cold?  Do they hitch a ride on a bird and fly south for the winter?  Of course not.  The average fly lives about 15 or 30 days.  During this time a fly can lay approximately 500 eggs.  When it starts getting cold outside the hatched larvae, also known as maggots, eat a large quantity of food and hibernate in a type of cocoon.  When the weather warms up the flies emerge from their cocoons to start the whole cycle over again.  Some other species of flies find shelter in walls, attics and other places and hibernate when it becomes cold.  On sunny warm winter days some of them may come out and crawl to warm places within the interior.  These flies will not reproduce indoors and are only seen because they entered during the fall.  When spring arrives they will emerge from their hiding places and try to find their way outside.  Although flies are a nuisance and do not harm people or property, other
pests or animals make seek shelter indoors during these cold months. 

How about a pest control event before the spring? Savings are typically in the 30% range.

If you find yourself in need of help getting rid of pesky pests or animals, SafeSourcing can help you research and find the best solution.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

Advantages of e-Procurement.

Monday, February 23rd, 2015


Today’s post is by Tyler Walther, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

e-Procurement comes with distinct benefits over manual purchasing, ranging from increased cost efficiency to greater access to suppliers. Let’s delve deeper into some of these noticeable advantages.

 Increased cost efficiency is considered the primary benefit of utilizing an e-procurement purchasing platform. E-procurement puts a single buyer online with many suppliers, thus lessening the leg work traditionally associated with the buyer narrowing his or her field of suppliers.

Using the e-procurement platform, buyers have access to essentially an unlimited list of suppliers, which equates into a wider selection of goods and services. These suppliers have normally undertaken rigorous vetting procedures to ensure that they are the correct supplier for the specific job or work the client is requesting.

e-Procurement applications can be tailored to fulfill the distinct needs of buyers and sellers and be scaled to grow as the organizations expand. For example, suppliers from new territories can be added to supplier databases as the organization grows into new market segments.

e-Procurement processes can greatly increase productivity. Customers can acquire the items they want to procure from a catalog of approved items through an on-line requisition and ordering system. Purchasing staff can be relieved from processing orders, filing paperwork and handling lower priority tasks to focus on strategic sourcing and improving supplier relationships.

In some organizations, purchasing duties are dispersed over several different departments within the company. E-procurement platforms will enable a company to merge orders for similar items with one supplier, resulting in greater volume discounts and cost savings. Additionally, e-procurement may allow a company to simplify purchasing by reducing the number of products involved. Instead of having to sort through large volumes of paper or electronic catalogs, buyers are able to build custom catalogs that include only the items the company is interested in. Additionally, this method increases volumes of smaller numbers of items, which is another process used to generate volume discounts.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business, 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.


There are many challenges when sourcing freight lanes.

Friday, February 20th, 2015


Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Most people would guess that it is the cost of fuel, new regulations or the age of a providers fleet that keep adding costs for third party freight companies.

An area most buyers of these services might not think about is the cost of and need for qualified drivers. Most 3rd party freight companies are looking for drivers and there are not enough to go around.

Our economy rides on the wheels of the freight companies that ship our goods across the country, in fact all across North America.

So what happens when there is a shortage of drivers? It’s pretty simple, prices go up. Why? Because freight companies have to compete for qualified drivers and when there are not enough to go around, the price for these services go up. It’s a pretty simple supply and demand equation.

In an interesting and  related article in the June 25th edition of USA TODAY titled Trucker jobs go unfilled, leading to delayed deliveries by  Paul Davidson of USA TODAY indicates that the annual driver turnover rate at large carriers rose to a four-year high of 90%.

When you source your freight lanes make sure that you understand all of the dynamics that impact cost.

If you’d like help sourcing your freight lanes, contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

How is the e-procurement process different in a third world county?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015


Todays post is from the SafeSourcing Archives!

E-Procurement  has become a standard business process throughout many developed countries.  It is recognized as one of the most successful applications in the electronic commerce (e-commerce) field and has been used to identify cost savings, improve efficiency and control for many companies’ bottom lines.  This author wonders then, why is the practice of e-procurement not utilized in third world countries? 

As I have found out the answer is a bit complex and sadly unfortunate.  E-procurement has not worked as a reasonable business practice in third world countries because third world countries are partially characterized by low levels of industrialism, widespread illiteracy, poor infrastructure, unsophisticated technology, and poor living standards among their populations as a whole.

That being stated, it is not hopeless to think that a business in a third world country could not strive to make changes that would enable e-procurement as a regular business practice.  Some of the steps that would be needed would be:
  1.  Clearly define a strategic goal and solid reason for the change in the  business practices.
  2.  Progress through simple steps that deliver true value.
  3.  Find an e-procurement system or partner, such as SafeSourcing, that is easy to use and offers support to any participating vendors.
  4.  Understand the barriers and limitations of your own company as well as the economy, environment, and politics of the country you’re working in.
  5.  Appoint a Subject Matter Expert (SME) within your company that can clearly help you outline the items that can be sourced.  A strategic sourcing partner, such as SafeSourcing, can assist with this as well.
  6.  Start the procurement process in sectors of the business that are either most ready to adapt to the changes in process or that are in the greatest need for the change.
  7.  Work hard to share your procurement success within your local market to promote growth within your country’s local economy.

There are factors that make e-procurement risky in a third world county, but the economic benefits that would come from implementing this practice would outweigh the risks long term.  By implementing e-procurement practices for businesses in a third world country it would impact the level of industrialism, the economic infrastructure, and in time possibly help to strengthen the used and accepted technology.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

Monday, February 16th, 2015


Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Procurement can help your company beat the averages!

Friday, February 13th, 2015


Today’s post is from the SafeSourcing archives.

When you see a chart, often times the lines it contains represent some sort of average.   A chart in an article in the Daily Chart section of titled, “Taxing for some” illustrates how procurement fits into where companies place in these averages.  The article is specifically about how corporate taxes have plummeted since the 1950s.  No, the author does not mention procurement, but what is great about charts like this is that they can mean so many things depending upon what the author wants to highlight.

Here, the author is trying to highlight that corporate tax rates have plummeted, insinuating that this is somehow a negative phenomenon.  The chart indeed does show that as a percent of GDP, corporate tax rates have dropped since the mid-50s.  What is really interesting to me in this situation is a second line above the corporate tax line.  It shows corporate profits as percentage of GDP.  Here profits hover above 10 percent in the mid-50s and are peeking over 12 percent today.  The years in the middle, however, show a bunch of zigzagging with a bottom of around 6 percent.

Being an average, the chart line represents both companies whose profits were above the line and those whose were below the line.  Why did some fall above that specific point and some fall below?  Certainly, there are innumerable factors.  I just have to ask myself what role procurement played.  Even back then, I have to believe that some companies were good at procurement and others were not so good.  This article does not tell us why some companies were above the line and why some were below it, but procurement was certainly a factor.  Profits being profits, they boil down to revenue minus expenses.  I have to wonder how many of the companies who were bringing the line up in the 50s were doing so partially because a savvy procurement department kept expenses in line with the current costs of goods and services at the time.  That being said, is your company above or below the line in today’s economy?  Regardless of if you find yourself in the 50s, the 70s or the 2010s, you can always strive to do things better? 

If you’d like to keep your expenses in check, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager. 

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

What are you doing about your Contract Management Needs?.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


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

If you want to insure against contract leakage that can be as much as 5% per year and also protect the savings from your hard fought eNegotiations, it may be time to take a look at your contract management needs.

Most contract management systems have relatively short ROI periods. In fact a company might even be lucky enough as they go through their data collection process to find a single contract that when analyzed might pay for the entire system.

There are all sorts of benefits associated with using contract management software. Probably the most important and least recognized of which is finally having all spend data in one location enabling more effective negotiations. If you have ever run an e-procurement event and tried to assemble a simple specification or incumbent supplier data you already understand the time involved. Administrative costs alone can be reduced by 25-30%.  That’s a huge number in today’s world of insufficient staff.

If you want to get started, here are some basics that a system should be able to provide.

  1. Create contracts
  2. Maintain contracts
  3. Control contracts
  4. Track user access to contracts
  5. Track and monitor the status of contract Meta data
     a. Award date
     b. Contract begin date
     c. Contract end date
     d. Begin delivery date
     e. Escalator language
     f. Notification clauses
     g. Termination Clauses
  6. Automatically alert buyers and management of required actions
  7. Custom Reporting
  8. Supplier Scorecards

If you want to get started tomorrow, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager and ask about SafeContract™.

We look forward to and appreciate you comments

Your Supplier Relationship Management in 2015

Monday, February 9th, 2015


Today’s post is by Heather Powell, Director at SafeSourcing Inc.

I recently read an article, “Procurement & Sourcing Predictions for 2015,” that speaks to new trends in 2015.  One piece of the article caught my eye.

Supplier Relationship Management in Highly Regulated Industry Supplier relationship management (SRM) is becoming a more widely accepted best practice across global organizations, but still lacks popularity due to unclear program definitions and/or lack of internal buy-in. However, in highly regulated industries, such as pharma and banking, SRM is an ideal solution for managing supplier risk as well as cultivating value from the supply base after the contract has been signed. SRM provides a controlled framework to manage suppliers who handle proprietary information or work directly with customers.

Strategic sourcing projects frequently generate significant cost savings, which have a very favorable ROI considering the low-cost required to implement. However, as these gains are realized, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies today to generate the same level of returns year after year by utilizing the same sourcing techniques and tactics. Moreover, research has shown that, as supplier relationships are proactively managed, the initial benefits derived from the strategic sourcing efforts are not only maintained, but improved. The opposite is true for those supplier relationships that are loosely managed or benignly neglected by the buying organization.

Companies are becoming more dependent on a complex supply base. In many cases, key processes and functions have been outsourced and the supply base has collapsed due to strategic sourcing projects. This complex “virtual organization” type of structure begs for the need to drive performance improvements, manage risk, and efficiently manage supplier relationships. These Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) capabilities are being developed at top companies who are reaping the rewards of their investments. These capabilities include supplier management development, processes, governance mechanisms, and systems to manage suppliers on a day-to-day basis over the supplier life-cycle (onboarding to exit).

The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database is one the largest eSourcing supplier databases in North America with over 427,000 suppliers. The database contains global suppliers with over twenty-five unique certification standards that are supported by our best practice initiatives such as GFSI, ISO 22000, Green Seal, ECO-LOGO, Fair Trade, SQF, and Certified Humane Raised & Hand-Fed.

 In order to achieve maximum savings when using an e-procurement event, you need numerous suppliers aggressively vying for your business. SafeSourcing customers can request summary or detailed data from the same tool and download it to a variety of file formats.

We at SafeSourcing can provide you with quality, vetted suppliers with the ability to fulfill all your specific category needs. Even more, we can assist in certification identification of all of the suppliers. This way, if you have partnerships with existing suppliers or are looking at new partnerships, you can remain compliant with their practices.  Once certified suppliers are located, SafeSourcing can provide the opportunity for price compression, making your category financially attractive, as our historic ROI is greater than 10x.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your supplier relationship management and 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.