Archive for April, 2015

The Part over the Whole Approach

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

 

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

Do you know what the part over the whole procurement approach is and how it can help your company?

The part over the whole approach comes from reversing the way procurement specialists analyze data. The “normal” way to analyze the spend in a category is to look at the total first.

“How much did the company spend in this category?”

Typically the answer can lie anywhere from a fraction of a penny to millions of dollars.  But what if we analyzed the data differently?  What if we looked at coffee instead of the entire spend?  This approach typically takes place when a Request for Quote(RFQ) becomes two instead of one.  But what does that really mean?

When a customer decides to split an RFQ into two separate pieces, it becomes the part over the whole. The RFQ still counts toward the million dollars in spend, but it is the part, not the whole.  By taking this approach to procurement you can have great results.  You can then leverage the same suppliers multiple ways instead of just once.  When you take this approach to procurement you have the potential to build stronger business relationships between the suppliers and with your customers.

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.

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Spring is in the air! The trees and flowers are blooming

Monday, April 27th, 2015

 

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

Spring is in the air!  The trees and flowers are blooming and the lawns are turning green, well at least it is in most places.  Is your lawn not looking as healthy as you would like?  If so, the problem could be that it needs to be aerated.  Over time the soil becomes compressed due to traffic and mowing.  Aerating is the act of poking numerous holes into the ground which allows air back into the compacted soil.  This process makes room for the compacted soil to loosen up and allows oxygen and water easier access to the roots.  How often you should aerate a lawn depends on the amount of traffic that occurs on the lawn.  High traffic areas need to be aerated more often because it will become compacted quicker than low traffic areas.  Depending on the type of grass, the aerating needs to be done at different times of the year.  Warm season lawns should be aerated in the spring and cool season lawns should be aerated in the fall.

There are several different tools that can be used for aerating and local landscaping companies offer this service as well for both homes and businesses. 

SafeSourcing can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which option meets 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.

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Clickbait! And you won’t believe how!

Friday, April 24th, 2015

 

Today’s blog post is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant to the CEO at SafeSourcing.

Most of us have discovered clickbait at some point browsing through social media and other internet sites, but perhaps never knew it had a name.  Clickbait is a term used to describe articles or links online that are solely made to peak the curiosity of readers just enough to click the link. Once a visitor clicks, they are redirected to another site where they are asked to post to social media and/or are bombarded with advertisements. They may have the article promised, but it often is put onto several pages, all of which require more clicks. Often times, the original article is completely fabricated and doesn’t discuss what it claimed to in the first place.

“You are losing money browsing! Find out how to protect yourself!”

Advertisers want you to see their ads, so clickbait sites want you to visit. They will try new ways to lure visitors to their site and to keep them there as long as they can.

“Soldier surprises family! But watch what happens next!”

The titles to the articles sometimes never have anything to do with the site you are about to visit nor do they have anything to do with the content you are about to see.

So how do you protect yourself against clickbait? You have already made a step in the right direction. By learning what clickbait is and that there are sites that stop at nearly nothing to get your attention, you can be more cautious when browsing. Know what sites are genuine and what sites are simply trying to get clicks by any means.  If a safe and secure site that you are familiar with says, “By focusing on 10% of your cost of goods, you can improve profitability by 100%,” you can safely click and know you aren’t being lured in for advertising revenue.

For more useful information on safety in technology and social media, or to find out how you can improve profitability by 100%, 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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A positive attitude and its impact on quality of life

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

 

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

Let’s discus the importance of a positive attitude and its direct correlation to a more fulfilling

The power of developing a positive attitude and positive thinking are two of the most significant abilities a person has that can directly impact the quality of  their work and personal lives as well as those around them.

If you were to ask a sample of successful people what they think about most, many would say they think about what they want and how to acquire it. When we think and talk about what we want and how to get it, we feel more content and in greater control of our lives. When we are thinking about something that makes us happy, our brain releases endorphins, which give us an overall feeling of well-being. The most common result is a positive attitude. 

Of course it can be challenging at times, but an optimistic mindset will breed optimism. Optimism is quite interesting in that it is a leaned behavior. If you do and say what other health conscious, content people do and say, you will soon feel a similar way, get better results, and enjoy the same positive attitude and experiences that they do.

Everyone benefits from a glass half full rationale in comparison to the half empty mentality. The happiest, most content people recognize how fortune they are rather than focusing on what they lack. Assume the best of everyone around you. More people than not are decent, honest and are attempting to do the very best they know how to.  When you look for something good in someone, you will always find something.

Finally, make the conscious decision to be happy, even in the most trying of times. A positive attitude, looking on the bright side, the half full glass is one of the most important secrets of life.

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 that is focused on positive business engagements between suppliers and  their customers  waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

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Don’t rob banks with lemon juice

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

 

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

In 1995, a gentleman by the name of McArthur Wheeler decided to rob a bank. What makes his case more interesting than most bank robberies is that McArther knew that lemon juice contained properties used to manufacture “invisible ink”. Thus, McArther reasoned, lemon juice should render him invisible to surveillance cameras when applied liberally to his face. Unsurprisingly, law enforcement wasn’t fooled for long and McArther’s bank robbing career came to an early end. However, we have this man to thank for inspiring an interesting study by Justin Kruger and David Dunning regarding a form of cognitive bias.

Kruger and Dunning theorized that unskilled (or uneducated) individuals suffer what is called Illusory Superiority, which is where an individual mistakenly assesses their own abilities or intelligence as much higher than is accurate. Interestingly enough, they showed this and the converse to be true: That the higher skilled/well educated tend to underestimate their abilities by assuming that the tasks that are easy for them are also easy for others, and they are therefore no more skilled than anybody else.

In Dunning’s own words: “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”

How do you overcome unknown unknowns? According to Dunning and Kruger, it’s overcome through both formal and informal training.

We can only know what we learn about.  Knowledge, even “common sense”, can only be known when learned. This is not the same as intelligence, or our ability to understand. Most people have the raw processing power within their brains to understand whatever you need them to, some just need more information to apply to the problems we need them to solve. This is why Kruger and Dunning emphasized the importance of training for overcoming Illusory Superiority.

Training unlocks the hidden abilities of others, and allows us to maximize the potential of others… McArther’s story is sad, if for no other reason than that just a little bit better education could have kept him from ruining his life. Training can be complex, or as simple as correcting difficult behavior, but it’s always a worthwhile investment.

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.

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Flat tire? Out of Gas? Locked out? How do you prepare for a vehicle emergency?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of the Customer Focus Team at SafeSourcing, Inc.

Whether it is your personal vehicle, company car, or fleet semi-truck and trailer, you should have a plan for an emergency. There are many types of roadside assistance companies in the world. Finding one is easy; finding out if they can service your needs is easy; finding out what the hidden fees and charges are can be hard! Research and knowing the right questions to ask are the two most important pieces of information to have when shopping for companies such as this or any service oriented company.

car                

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some questions to ask:  

  •  Is there a fee to call into customer service? 

  •  Is there a secondary fee if another vendor is needed? (You were broken down and thought you needed a jump start, but now you need to be towed)  

  •  Are there mileage limitations? What is the fee if service is beyond the set limit?   

  •  Is there an extra charge or fees for bringing fluids to the breakdown? (Coolant, gas, oil, transmission fluid)

Additionally, while shopping for roadside assistance, you may want to find out if you may already have a roadside assistance program. Check with your vehicle insurance company, cell phone company, car rental company, even the place where you bought your tires may offer a roadside assistance program. Some of these programs are add-on services and may have a minimal membership fee, others may be offered for free.

We at SafeSourcing can provide you with quality vetted suppliers, with the ability to fulfill all your specific needs for yourself or your fleet. Even more, we can assist in certification and insurance capabilities, clarification of fees, and identification services from each of the suppliers.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in emergency commercial roadside assistance 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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Paper Bag Buyers, Do You Know What the Lacey Act Is?

Monday, April 20th, 2015

 

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

According to the World Resources Institute, “On May 22, 2008, the U.S. Congress passed a groundbreaking law banning commerce in illegally sourced plants and their products—including timber, wood, and paper products. The law is an amendment to the Lacey Act of 1900, named after the congressman who first championed it”.

“To address illegal logging and other illegal plant trade, the amended Lacey Act does three main things:

   1. Prohibits all trade in plants and plant products—including furniture, paper, and lumber that        are illegally sourced from any U.S. state or foreign country;
   2. Requires importers to declare the country of origin of harvest and species name of all plants contained in their products (a provision that is currently being phased in); and
   3. Establishes penalties for violations of the law, including forfeiture of goods and vessels, fines,  and jail time.”

A company can hold FSC certificates, but that does not mean that all of its products are necessarily FSC certified.  Companies can choose which product lines to certify. These may include all the products they sell, or just a small percentage. An FSC certificate for one product line guarantees nothing about other non-certified product lines manufactured and sold by the same company.

SafeSourcing does the due diligence to ensure its supplier database is packed full of quality suppliers.  The Lacey Act is an example of one of the many requirements 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 and appreciate your comments.

 

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You won’t know unless you ask!

Friday, April 17th, 2015

 

Today’s post is by your SafeSourcing Team.

It’s an old saying you’ve probably heard a million times, “You don’t know unless you ask.”   Usually another saying goes right with it, “What’s the worst thing they can do, say ‘No’?”  There are so many situations this can apply to and our space in procurement is no different.  As departments work harder and harder to control their prices with suppliers, eventually a point comes when the costs are as low as they can go before the suppliers make no money.  That is when it is time for companies and their suppliers to get creative.

Today, we will look at a few areas you can use to work with your suppliers to generate additional value that is outside of the cost of the goods and services they are contracted to provide today.

Cash Incentives – Like most good companies, driving more sales is a key to being successful.  The more business a company is willing to give a supplier, the happier they are.   To that end, many suppliers are willing to offer cash incentives for activity, such as an increase in length of contract, volume of spend, better payment terms, etc. The problem for their customers is that those programs are not always common knowledge, and many times are only given when the customer asks for it.  Requesting details on incentive programs in RFP/RFQ projects will give insight into what suppliers are willing to offer when they get an opportunity for more business.

Blocks of billable hours – Contracts are tedious, long, complex documents that many people outside of lawyers have never fully understood, much less read all the way through.  Included in most contracts, somewhere in an appendix, is a list of billable hours should something occur outside of the scope of the work that has been contracted.  These not only protect the supplier from having to do hundreds hours of work for free, but also are hours that can and do happen, otherwise they would not be in the contract.  One of the biggest charges is for custom reporting and development, which can range from $150 to $300 an hour.  This is an area that can also be improved upon and many companies are willing to compromise on when a customer requests 100 hours of free custom work as part of the deal.  At $300 an hour, that is an additional $30,000 in value to the company.

Additional Services – Much like asking for blocks of billable time, many times customers don’t try to negotiate other billable services, such as installation and configuration.  These services generally show up on the proposal as a line item with costs attached to it, but many times these are areas that vendors are more willing to negotiate.  Knowing the category, and getting advice on which pieces are the most likely to budge, is an important part of getting these fees.  It can come from an internal team or from outside consultants.  Once again these are services with costs that should be realized as additional savings.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with ideas for other areas to create increased value on your projects 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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Making a Decision on Uniforms

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

 

Today’s post is by your SafeSourcing Team.

Uniforms serve many purposes within a company. 

It allows customers to quickly identify employees, projects a unified company image and statement of company’s brand, and eases the decision from employees on what is appropriate.

As you can see, uniforms are important in various aspects, and knowing the right uniform solution for your company is equally important.

Types of Uniforms

Most uniforms are made from a blend of polyester and cotton fabrics. They require standard washing without ironing.  You can order uniforms in multiple different colors, patterns, and styles.  Many job positions and companies allow street clothes to be worn with the uniform over top, such as lab coats or vests, to keep appearances clean and consistent.  The average life expectancy of these uniforms is 3 to 5 years.  This fabric is more common in retail and food industry.

Different fabrics must be considered for other industries though.  Medical Scrubs need to be sturdy enough to endure many wears, resist different bodily fluids, and stand up to multiple washings. Automotive industry requires special uniforms to prevent fabric rips, wickability, and utility pockets. There are many more uniforms specific to an industry’s needs.

Buying vs Renting

Many companies offer a rent or buy program for uniforms.  The majority of companies choose to buy uniforms. Buying uniforms means you are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the uniforms. Either you hire a launderer to clean uniforms, or you trust your employees to do so. On average, uniform sets range from $20-$40 to purchase.

When renting a uniform, the rental company supplies and cleans the uniforms.  If you have a high turnover rate, you will not be left with constantly purchasing new uniforms.  The rental firm provides the number of uniforms needed at a given time.  Average rental of uniforms per employee, including cleaning, is $200-300 per year.

The best option, whether buying or renting uniforms, will depend on the industry and goal of the uniforms.  If the number one goal of uniforms is for brand and appearance to customers in retail, where turnover is high, renting may fit your company better because you know they are being cleaned and maintained.  However, if turnover is low, and well-laundered clothes is not expected (automobile industry) rental may not be your best option.

Let SafeSourcing help analyze your options. If you currently are buying and want to continue buying, are you working with the correct supplier?  Specialty uniforms can be usually found cheaper though vendors that specialize in that uniform. Call us today to start your risk-free trial.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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How does a low cost airline stay afloat?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

 

Today’s post is from your team at SafeSourcing Inc..

Large major airlines struggle to stay afloat, so how can these low-cost smaller airlines do it?

When I need to buy a plane ticket, I go to a search engine for various airlines and enter my destination and time. I am then given several flight options. They all get me to the destination, but at different times, and that makes all the difference in price. My decision for a flight is weighted between cost and departure/arrival times. Others may also factor in layover ports or even preferred airlines.

We have had a few smaller airlines develop inexpensive and basic flights from limited cities at very low costs. These low costs mean that corners have to be cut. No food service offered during flight, no free non-alcoholic beverages, a lack of air conditioning until in the air, less foot-room, or poor customer service are just a few of the differences in low-cost flights. Other cost-cutting initiatives are present with legacy airlines, such as fees for checking bags or no food service on short distance flights.

So the low-cost airlines cut out frills to save money, but what major costs are also cut?

    •  Labor costs at majority of low-cost airlines are non-unionized (Nice to know whenever you are looking into service. The consumer will eat that cost).
    •  Selective routes and airplanes opt for less training, which help costs.
    •  Sell directly to the consumer – low-cost airlines do not use search engines for their tickets because it costs extra money. To buy from them you will want to go directly to their website.

When you go to search for flights, you will see pricing, arrival/departure times, and any layovers, but rarely do you see “Less foot-room” or “No Free Non-Alcoholic Beverages”. These facts do not sell tickets to all audiences. So how do you know what your money is buying you without experiencing it yourself? Or why is the airline cheaper; is it because of cost cuts mentioned above or poor service?

when it comes to personal purchases, the best practice is to read reviews before buying any good or service. If you are a corporation, the purchase can be done with more confidence. Through RFI/Ps the hidden costs and/or lack of ability is uncovered.

SafeSourcing works with corporations to uncover what suppliers may be hiding. We will help your company reach its end goal, discover what factors are important, and help with what your company needs.

Please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

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