Archive for March, 2015

The Do’s and Don’ts of Procuring Enterprise Software Licensing

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archive by special request.

IT purchases can be daunting for many businesses and a task many procurement teams leave to that team for the best recommendation with or without regard to the best overall value to the company.  This can get even more daunting with “commodity”-type purchases such as Microsoft Enterprise Software Licenses. 

It is important to note that even in the cases where there can be no substitute for the software, competitive vendor analysis can and should be performed to ensure you are getting the best agreement for the company.  In these cases, where the pricing can be difficult to compress between IT resellers, there are additional things to look for that will differentiate the companies from each other.  In today’s blog we will be looking at a few of these items.

The Training – Most IT resellers have extensive offerings to train you and your staff on the best way to configure and use the software licenses that you are purchasing from them.  Being a Certified Training Partner of the software manufacturers will provide a great value to your company.  While many times there will be some charges applied to this training, it is a great tool to leverage when deciding who to award your software purchases to.

The Service – Another offering that IT resellers will frequently provide their customers, either as part of the purchase, or for an additional fee, is the installation of the software.  So many companies have IT departments that are already extremely under-staffed, overburdened, or both that the option of having the IT reseller assist with some of the rollout can be a great value-add in the decision making process.

The Expertise – One of the biggest area to collect information on and references for is the expertise that the vendor brings to your company.  The amount of training that their employees undergo in order to service you is critically important and something you should be understanding about any vendor you consider purchasing from.  The main reason this background work is so important is because this training will ensure the company has the resources to accurately assess your organization and provide the best recommendation for based on cost and based on your needs and future growth.  Millions of dollars can be saved or wasted if inaccurate assessments are performed. It is alarming at how often this occurs in companies all over the world every year.

IT purchases such as enterprise licensing can be intimidating on the surface but it is this the extra things vendors can offer you aside from the software that become important. This is also why this category needs to be run through a competitive process, so that you get the best value possible for the organization.  For more information about sourcing IT categories like enterprise software licenses, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Share This Post

The “Problem” with Custom

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

 

Today’s post is by Alyson Usserman, Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

Over the weekend I threw a party for my now two year old son. He loves Frozen’s Olaf, (who doesn’t?) so therefore, we had an Olaf themed birthday party. In preparation for his party, I shopped for a couple of months for the specifics; the cake, his shirt, and other decorations. His party was completely custom; there was nothing that would be considered a standard specification. His cake was a custom order, as was the shirt that he wore, both products being more expensive than a cookie cutter party.

cake

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

But how does this effect sourcing products and services?

Sourcing is a valuable resource for many companies, but what happens when there is a custom specification?

When presented a specification that is considered, “custom”, we vet it out. Is this really custom? We reach out to suppliers.  Who makes this? What is the quantity? Is it enough to engage supplier interest? How much will this custom product cost the end user? Will it be worth it for them instead of a more cost-effective approach?

These are all questions that we at SafeSourcing work through to source products. Just because a product is considered a custom item, does not mean that you are stuck with the same supplier who may be overcharging you.

Let SafeSourcing’s knowledgeable staff help you reduce costs for your “custom” products and services. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs 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.

Share This Post

Is there an alternative to Cloud offerings?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

 

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

Are you using a Cloud offering to share data between devices?  If so you may want to consider purchasing a Network Attached Storage Device (NAS).  A NAS is a device that contains one or more hard drives and is plugged into your current router.  Once it is attached, you can then store all of your files directly to it and access them from all of your devices.  This gives you a central location to save all of your data.  The device can be accessed on many platforms, such as Mac, Windows and LINUX devices.  With a NAS you are provided with software that allows you to access your data via the internet as well.  This means that you can access all of your data from anywhere an internet connection is available.  Another benefit that you receive with a NAS, is to know that your data is protected.  This is accomplished with what is called RAID protection.  If one of the drives in the NAS fails, you simply replace the bad drive with a new drive and the data is replicated to the new drive.  This kind of technology has been used within businesses for years and is now very cost effective for home use. 

Below are some benefits of owning a NAS.

  • Sharing Files, Media and Photos
  •  Media Streaming
  •  Sharing USB Printer
  •  Remote Access
  •  Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) to protect against Hard Drive Failures
  •  Auto Backup

There are several things to keep in mind before purchasing a NAS such the number of users and the amount of space you will need.  At SafeSourcing, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which NAS fits your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

Share This Post

What is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification?

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

 

Today’s blog has been written by Ryan Melowic Senior Director of Procurement Process Improvement at SafeSourcing.

Over the past two decades, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)  has received the status as the most difficult to obtain credible forest certification. Therefore, there are significant benefits to selecting FSC-certified products.

FSC is an independent, member-led group. Members elect the board of directors and vote on major decisions. Anyone committed to responsible forest management can apply for a FSC certification.

FSC’s forest management standards protect water to insure its quality, outlaw the harvest of rare old-growth forests, and prevent loss of natural forest cover.  In addition, FSC prohibits the use of atrazine which is legal in the US, but forbidden in Europe because it has been attributed to cause water pollution and birth defects. There are other forest certifications that allow the use of atrazine and even aerial spraying of the chemical.

FSC requires the results of certification audits get released to the public, even on private lands, which makes FSC distinctive among all other forest certifications.  FSC even requires forest managers to engage local community members to protect the rights of the indigenous people to ensure their voices are part of the certification process. 

Numerous companies have adopted policies that state a preference for FSC-certified products.  US Green Building Council’s (USGBCLEED program provides incentives for using FSC- certified materials. Consumers are also requesting that FSC-certified products are carried in retail stores across the country. In addition, many governments require the use of FSC-certified products. Companies that produce FSC-certified products achieve access to these markets as well as many others.

SafeSourcing does the due diligence to ensure its supplier database is packed full of quality suppliers.  The FSC certification is an example of one of the many certifications that SafeSourcing tracks.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you with insuring certified suppliers, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We look forward to an appreciate your comments.

Share This Post

Successful supplier relationships

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

 

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

When searching out new suppliers, or assessing the performance of current suppliers, companies should consider many aspects when evaluating their options.  Several factors should be taken into consideration, some listed below:

  • Commitment to quality—Product quality is normally regarded as the most critical factor when selecting a supplier.  Specifics in this area  include the suppliers’ process control methods, their quality control certifications, its approaches to preventive maintenance, and its methods of equipment calibration
  • Communication—Suppliers that do not maintain a policy of open communication—or even worse, actively use deceptive tactics—should  always be avoided.  The issues of dealing with these companies will normally result in negative effects. Additionally, allowance of such tactics will have an adverse effect on internal staff.
  • On time delivery—Businesses planning is frequently forecasted on schedules, which in turn are based on receiving shipments at agreed-upon times.  When those shipments are late, business plans suffer. This can be particularly problematic if the supplier is inattentive or late in reporting the delay.
  • Financial stability—Businesses that allot large amounts of money for purchasing materials often prefer to contract deals with suppliers that are financially stable.  These relationships not only bring security, but they allow companies to learn about the other and gain a better understanding of each business’s needs, wants, operating processes, and planned goals.
  • Flexibility and special services—Many purchasers express their thankfulness for suppliers that take extra steps to satisfy their customer’s needs.  These benefits can range from after-hours availability to training or inventory support.
  • Ability to offer technical assistance—Suppliers with worthy technical support capabilities can be quite valuable to purchasers, providing them with substantial savings in both cost and quality.

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.

Share This Post

Can you be your own SME?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

 

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

Could you be your own subject matter expert?  Is this someone a business really needs?

This is a tricky question, but simply put, no.  You shouldn’t be your own SME.  This position proves again and again to be essential in any business.  For example, if a nuts and bolts manufacturing business was looking to branch out into a new direction, like washers, they would need to consult with a knowledgeable person on the subject.  A SME could provide necessary details that could otherwise be easily overlooked.  Any information received from any consultant should be valued and considered, even if it is not heeded.

However, you should aim to be your own SME.  Doing research and finding out as much as possible on any given subject will only benefit your business.  This can provide an outside perspective and can help if any questions or problems arise.  Just like when visiting a doctor, you should listen to their advice, but also find out as much as you can so that you can make more educated and beneficial decisions.

If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help with your subject matter experts 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.

Share This Post

Leadership Through Confidence!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

 

Today’s post is by Michael Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

If I had to name my top 3 role models, they would be:

• Elon Musk
• Greg Plitt
• Steve Jobs

I would choose each one for different reasons, but they each represent some aspect of the ideal self I want to achieve. Steve passed away October 5, 2011, and Greg January 18th 2015. Greg died in an accident during the filming of a commercial stunt, and in light of that tragedy it was difficult for many to understand why so many looked up to him. Greg was best known for his time as a fitness icon, retired Army Ranger, actor and motivational speaker. And while Steve deeply understood innovation, Greg deeply understood inspiration. Steve made people want to be him, but Greg made people want to be the best version of themselves, and he started with believing in those willing to follow him. Counterintuitively, believing in someone else can’t begin with doing anything for or in place of them; it has to start with equipping them.

Equipping someone means giving them the tools to do the job themselves. Have you ever tried to help someone, only to be resented for it? Helping someone who doesn’t believe in themselves or doesn’t feel they’re reaching their full potential simply sends the message “I don’t believe in your capabilities either, so I’m going to do this for you”. The defensive reaction comes off as being ungrateful, but if you look deeper, it’s actually a self-defense mechanism of someone looking for the opportunity to believe in themselves.  People tend to fill the expectations placed upon them. What I loved about Greg, is he thought you and I were capable of anything we put our mind and heart into, and it was evident in his own words:

   •  “Behind your every fear, there’s a person you want to be… When you destroy that fear you’ll realize “my God, what else was I capable of? What else has been holding me back?”
   •  “It’s not the guy with the greatest genetics who wins, it’s the guy who’s got the greatest perseverance, willing to fail and get back up again and again”.
   • “The hardest things in life are done the least but provide the most reward”.
   • “Give yourself 90 days to meet your goal, today is 1/90’th of that opportunity”.
   • “Time is the most valuable asset on Earth, a depreciating asset, don’t waste another moment of life where you are not at your fullest potential getting the most out of the time you have in life”.
   • “It’s the heart of a champion, not the ego of a champion or the bicep of a champion; it’s the heart that dictates success”.
   • “If you don’t check your pride at the door, forget about growing that day, or any day”.

Do you ever feel like you’re carrying the teams you’re trying to lead, instead of being supported by them? Equip them to do what you need them to, and then give them permission to succeed on their own terms. Most people will work twice as hard with a little autonomy, but do just the bare minimum to get by when they know their leader will predictably always swoop in to micromanage them one way or another. The highly skilled have confidence in themselves, the highly respected have confidence in the people around them, and the highly effective have confidence in both, because you’ll always accomplish more as a team than as an individual.

We’ve worked with a large variety of businesses, and love the challenge of becoming a part of your team and accomplishing your organizational goals together. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process 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.

Share This Post

Even though your facilities looks safe, there are pests everywhere

Monday, March 16th, 2015

 

Today’s post is by Gayl M. Southard, Administration Consultant at SafeSourcing Inc.

When we built our home in 2003 in the Sonoran Desert, I quickly learned of new bugs/insects that I had never come in contact with.  Because we are on a desert preserve, and our neighborhood was a newly developed area, the scorpion population became disturbed.  The first year living in our new home, I would learn a lot about scorpions.  Out of necessity, I found a reliable pest control specialist.  He likes to be called “Tom the Bug Guy”.  He sprays my home monthly.

Scorpions don’t bite, but they do sting.  The Arizona Bark Scorpion is the most dangerous of the many varieties found in Arizona. The Bark Scorpion is light brown in color, and can range to be 2-3 inches long (stretched out). The sting is not likely to be fatal, or even to have long lasting effects. 

The venom scorpions have is used to capture their prey.  Not all scorpions have venom that is harmful to humans.  The sting can be very painful.  People that have allergic reactions to stings, or have underdeveloped or compromised immune system (the young and every old) may have strong or severe reactions.  Small pets may also have adverse reactions.

Scorpions enter homes in search of water and insects.  Therefore, it is prudent to rid your home of insects (i.e., ants, roaches, etc.) to keep the insect population down.  The perimeter of the home should also be treated.  The Bark Scorpion can be found in many places due to its ability to climb.  It can be found not only under rocks or in rock crevices, but also in trees or high on rock walls.  They can be found inside of people’s homes trapped in sinks or bathtubs, climbing walls, or in a dark closet.  Sealing your home is important as a scorpion can slip through an opening of 1/16”.  Caulk holes and cracks in your walls and baseboards.  Close windows tightly.  Get door seals to prevent scorpion entry.

A cat, or even chickens, can help keep the population down.  I don’t think my HOA will allow chickens! 

Scorpions are preyed upon by large centipedes, tarantulas, lizards, birds (especially owls), and mammal such as bats, shrews, and grasshopper mice.

Is your business in need of pest extermination? If you’d like assistance with your pest control needs, please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Share This Post

What is “The International Green Construction Code”?

Friday, March 13th, 2015

 

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

We have posted about LEED  in the past as a certification we use when vetting our SafeSourceIt™ construction suppliers. However,  that is not the only way for companies to address their desire to support green construction projects.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED seems to get most of the press, and is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council or USGBC. However there are multiple ways to drive construction projects in a green direction.

In addition to LEED, in 2009, the International Code Council  or ICC launched the development of a new International Green Construction Code (IgCC) initiative, subtitled “Safe and Sustainable: By the Book,” committed to developing a model code focused on new and existing commercial buildings addressing green building design and performance.

In the future SafeSourcing will be vetting SafeSourceIt™ suppliers against both of these initiatives in order to provide the broadest support of Construction Company’s support of our customers CSR initiatives.

If you’d like help sourcing construction suppliers that help to reduce your carbon footprint, please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Share This Post

Will a Reverse Auction always result in savings?

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

 

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

To the above point, this author has never seen a single category or product that can not be sourced using a reverse auction. And, I know many will argue this point with me. My answer however is a little more complex and is based on the evolution of original reverse auction or e-negotiation tools. As these tools have evolved, so have the processes associated with them whereby today’s tools have many features that support the entire RFI to RFP process within the same toolset resulting in a final compression event of reverse auction?

The process is really what determines the success of your e-negotiation event and that includes the determination of what it is you are looking to measure. Simply indicating that you want to reduce last year’s price or the price from your last contract is not always a fair analysis. Markets fluctuate daily and a year after your original contract, markets that drive the product you are sourcing may not be favorable to reducing your current price. However utilization of these tools may be able to help you reduce prices you might have to pay while prices are rising or put another way help you avoid costs. Cost avoidance is a good thing, particularly if your competition is not doing the same thing.

In many cases, if your contracts are not current and you have not used these types of tools to negotiate your current pricing and you do not know where to find alternative sources of supply; you will most likely see savings during the first year. After that the category and commodity driving it will determine further compression, holding prices constant or cost avoidance. All are a benefit of todays best of breed e-negotiation tools.

If you’d like to learn more as to how SafeSourcing can reduce your cost of goods, capital budget or expenses, please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Share This Post