Archive for May, 2015

Sourcing IT Contingent Labor!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015


Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives

Temporary staff has long filled gaps within the departments of companies all over the world and no place is this truer than in today’s IT departments where highly skilled technical staff are needed but generally not required on a continued basis.  Companies are beginning to realize that it is more cost effective to supplement their technical staffs with experienced temporary employees; reducing the long-term commitment but getting projects moving quickly.

This contingent labor force, which includes both independent contractors and temporary employees hired mostly through Temporary Labor agencies, is typically managed by a department head or by Human Resources directly.  In some cases, as with large companies, having a more organized model to manage this process becomes a necessity.  Today’s blog will touch on three of these.

Option  I – Internally managed

In this approach, the company manages the entire process of working with the different temporary agencies; including tracking their progress and the processes they are following for supplementing your workforce.  This approach is the most widely used for mid to smaller sized companies or for companies whose need for a contingent labor force is small.  The drawback to this approach is the lack of scalability as the company and the temporary labor force grows. 

Option II – Master Vendor

The Master Vendor model is popular for businesses because it allows the primary temporary labor agency to handle all of the details for the client.  The tracking, the screening, the hiring, the placement, the metrics of the Service Level Agreement are all items that the client lets the vendor handle so that the client can focus on running the business.  Generally any technology/software use is on the vendor side only and the client has little to no visibility into the day-to-day management of the placement process.  This works for many companies as a first step to begin leveraging the focus of their vendor to help them manage the process, but is lacking in the level of insight provided to the client.

Option III – Master Service Provider – Vendor Management System

The third, and increasingly popular, option is to employ technology in the way of a Vendor Management System (VMS) to help provide the visibility and control that many companies are wanting in this process without having to management every little detail of the placement process. 

VMS Software can either be obtained independently by the client or can be included in the contract with a Master Service Provider.  In either case, the Vendor Management System tool can help track requisitions, research candidates (whether from agency or independent contractor), monitor the status of placement as well as other day-to-day metrics, and manage the invoicing and payment.  The advantages of a quality VMS Tool is that it allows the flexibility to work with more than one contingent labor source while at the same time establishing a compliance to process across all of those sources.  With increased implementation, the efficiency will increase and costs will go down; making it a very popular choice of managing a temporary labor workforce

For more information about how begin to develop a contingent IT labor force model for your organization, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Project Manager.  

We look forward to your comments.

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Everything But The Kitchen Sink!!!!!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015


Today’s post is  from our  SafeSourcing Archives

“Everything but the kitchen sink….” has its roots in the early 1900s and referred to situations involving the inclusion of almost everything someone can think of whether it was needed or not.  In procurement terms it means running sourcing projects that include several unrelated items and categories in order to try and maximize the efforts and cost of running the events.  The downside to taking this approach is that the focus becomes fractured among an eclectic mix of goods and services that prevents a project from being as successful as it could be.

Today we will be looking at a few reasons why this approach does not work for many procurement professionals.

Fractured Focus – The first issue that arises with multi-category sourcing events is that is fractures the focus of the items.  Each category gets some attention but not all of it and so specifications tend to be incomplete, internal support for the event not as determined and interest from the suppliers that can deliver on more than one category gets divided among several items that usually are not given a priority by the customer.  With all of these factors it is difficult for suppliers to give their best proposals because they have to divide their attention and in some cases are unsure what items and services are the most important to the customer.

Suspicious Suppliers – Another of the issues when including many categories in a sourcing event is that suppliers who know they can only bid on one or two items begin to get suspicious of the event due to their assumption that the customer will try to consolidate suppliers where they can and use the suppliers who can only bid on a few items to help drive pricing only.  While grouping multiple categories is not a recommendation of SafeSourcing, if a project is going to be run this way then it is recommended that a multi-supplier award be considered and the possibility communicated to the suppliers.

Missed Supplier Opportunities – With so many types of suppliers needed to support a large multi-category event it is often unrealistic to bring in as many companies in each area as a customer would like.  Unfortunately this leads to some very qualified suppliers being left out if they specialize in just one or two categories because otherwise the event would become very difficult to manage.  These types of suppliers can bring great value to an event and because it is their specialty they can often bring additional expertise and in some cases better pricing to the customer.  These lost opportunities are hard to quantify but are a proven side effect of large multi-category projects.

Many companies still try to run events of this nature because of their fear of the cost associated with running multiple events.  At SafeSourcing we are constantly helping companies who want to try to source categories safer, smarter and easier.  For more information on how we can help you 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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Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for an eRFX

Thursday, May 7th, 2015


Today’s post is from our archive at SafeSourcing.

Last week we covered the key components in setting up and running a pilot event for a new procurement process or with a 3rd party strategic sourcing partner.  Once you have completed your pilot and moved forward into a roll-out or contract situation the next key step is to develop a Standard Operating Procedure document and strategy so that events can begin with a similar structure each time and adjusted from there.  Today we will be taking a look at some of the pieces that you should consider when creating this document.

Process Overview – The foundation of the SOP document begins with an explanation of the process and why the company has chosen to make the changes supporting this document.  Frequently this will include some language form the executive team showing their support of the process.  In the overview you will want to define the main groups that will be involved and the level of sponsorship and management to be included in each project for its success.  Research, communication, project management and a subject matter expert will all be key pieces to consider.

Project checklist – The project checklist will be the basis from which the expectations of the projects will be tracked.  Key components need to include a detailed breakdown of each stage of the project.  Associated with each activity will be an owner of the step, an estimated duration for completion, and a begin and end date for the item.  Many companies will use a project planning software package to assist with this process or at least a spreadsheet which will track and project the timeline milestones.  The project checklist also provides departments new to the process a view of what they will be expected to be responsible for.  This allows them to budget their time and prevents tasks from slipping through the cracks.

Template Documents – When new processes get introduced to the rest of the company it is very important as stated above to provide departments with as much detail about the process upfront as possible.  While the event checklist will help, one of the other key components of this package is to provide the stakeholders with some template documents to start with.  These documents include suggested notifications to internal resources and external suppliers, RFx templates for goods, services and software, suggested scorecard templates and supplier presentation template agendas and scorecards if that step is one included in the project.  These documents provide value to your internal stakeholders because it does not require them to start from scratch and can shorten project timelines.

Whether you are just starting a new process or improving a procurement you have had in place for years, developing a Standard Operating Procedure package that can be shared with other departments can ensure success for future projects and increase the confidence they have with your procurement team.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with structuring standard operating procedures for these 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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Twelve areas to consider in your spend analysis if you don’t want to lose your hard earned savings.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015


Todays post is a favorite from the SafeSourcing Archive

This is actually a great questions and a tough one to answer if in fact it has not been planned for during the strategy process. We all know that there are all sorts of saving figures quoted in the e-procurement industry for just about any product or service available.

Here are 12 areas of focus to consider when trying to figure out not only your ROI on these projects, but more importantly how much of the savings made their way to the bottom line and what is your leakage percentage.

1. How clean was your GL data?
2. How clean were your specifications?
3. How long did it take you to award the business?
4. How long did it take you to test samples?
5. How long did it take you to sign a contract?
6. How long did it take you to accept your first delivery?
7. Was the first invoice for the exact price you contracted for?
8. Was the shipping and handling exactly as bid?
9. Were there any SOW change requests that raised pricing?
10. What P&L period are you reporting against?
11. What was the budget for this product or service?
12. Can you trace the spend to a specific P&L line item?

It would not be too hard to add another dozen items to this list. The answer here is that proper planning helps eliminate savings leakage. Don’t plan and it will hurt or erode some or all of your potential savings.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Here are Five Basic Tips for Writing a Strategic Online Survey!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015


Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Creating an effective, quality written Online Survey that produces the detailed information you require from respondents can be a challenge. In this post, we’ll review 5 quick tips for writing a Strategic Online Survey.

  1. Create a naming convention for the survey and write a brief summarizing introduction. A Survey name and a brief introduction are great ways to give your respondents some detailed background and a frame of reference.
  2. Write a summarizing, brief survey.  Begin with an outline of details as to what is important to know for the project.  Formulate a question only when the answer will provide data you can use and need.
  3. Think ahead as to how the analysis of the information will look, as in what your end game will look like.  This should impact how you format your questions. Statistical reporting may not be able to be performed if your questions to not adhere to the results framework you have pre planned.
  4. Attempt to use closed-ended questions. Limit the number of open-ended questions as these provide and opportunity to the respondent to get off track. Respondents usually have a better understanding of closed-ended questions because they are more straightforward and offer responses they can choose from.   An excessive number of open-ended questions can frustrate the respondent and affect the quality of the answers they may provide.
  5. Craft a well-written pertinent subject line for the invitation email you plan on sending with the survey in order to capture your respondents’ attention.

Although these five simple steps are enough to get you started in the right direction reaching out to professionals like SafeSourcing about their SafeSurvey™   tool for additional guidance will guarantee the results you are looking for. A well-written online survey has much higher completion rates and is an effective method for gathering disparate data from differing sources in a format that us usable.

If you’d like to learn more about the Safesourcings SafeSurvey™ please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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RFX Strategies for Success – Getting the most out of your sourcing events!

Monday, May 4th, 2015


Today’s post is an excerpt from a White Paper titled RFX Strategies for Success  SafeSourcing.

The world of procurement is continually changing, and this includes the world of e-procurement when it comes to the requirement for information, a proposal, or a quote.  The differences between the three requests, what expectations are when receiving the requests back, and how to make a sound business decision with what has been presented are what separate each stage in giving procurement professionals a blueprint on where to start in the process.

The Request for Information (RFI)

A request for information (RFI) is a request made typically during the project planning phase where a buyer cannot clearly identify product requirements, specifications, and purchase options. RFIs clearly indicate that award of a contract will not automatically follow.1

An example for a use of a RFI would be if a company acquired a used warehouse that need to be turned into a distribution center. It has some racking installed but needs more.  There has not been a defined idea of what  layout will be needed to improve the warehouse for DC use, nor what types of rack are needed, how much material is needed, nor how long it will take to install the racking. The existing racking is in adequate shape but it is unknown whether it is safe, placed appropriately, outdated, or even needed. This situation often is a good time to rely on experts to provide feedback as to these needs.  The best practice is to get at minimum of  three (3) but I’d recommended getting 4 to 6, submissions from your requests for information from racking manufactures, distributor, and/or installers.

The higher supplier count, in an area where you have no knowledge, provides the data to begin to make more decisions from multiple perspectives. With at least 3 it begins to become more clear to see if there are major differences between suppliers and how they operate.  Lead time, outsourcing, geographical coverage are all very important pieces of information to gather from the suppliers at this stage.

The application of an RFI can be used on new goods for use, re-sale, packaging design, any and all services, software, hardware, equipment of any kind, actually it is limitless as to what you can utilize a RFI for in business.

If you’d like more information as to how to use the three unique steps of the eRFX process at your company, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Is your procurement team keeping up with the times?

Friday, May 1st, 2015


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

Why not apply the same strategy that you would for your personal health when reviewing your first four month e-procurement results.

Listed below  are  12 questions that companies can ask themselves with the resulting answer going into either an assets or liabilities column in order to provide a semi-annual health check of your e-procurement progress or lack there of. Hopefully the former.

1. How many new suppliers were reviewed to provide new or existing products and services during the past four months?
2. How many of those suppliers were actually selected to provide new products or services during the past four months?
3. How much of your total spend was assigned to e-procurement tools such as RFI’s RFP’s and Reverse Auctions or RFQ’s.
4. How much of your private label spend was assigned to e-procurement tools such as RFI’s, RFP’s and Reverse Auctions or RFQ’s.
5. How much of your services spend was assigned to e-procurement tools such as RFI’s, RFP’s and Reverse Auctions or RFQ’s.
6. How much of your supplies spend was assigned to e-procurement tools such as RFI’s, RFP’s and Reverse Auctions or RFQ’s.
7. How many of your category managers and or buyers have on line accessible product and services specifications for each product or service they buy.
8. How much time is now being invested in gathering existing or new product specifications?
9. How much were your total cost of goods reduced during the last 4 months through the use of e-procurement tools.
10. How much was your gross margin improved by reduction in cost of goods during the last 4 months as a result of using e-procurement tools.
11. How much time do your category managers and suppliers spend doing supplier research weekly.
12. How many suppliers have been contributing greater than 75% of specific category volume for a period of greater than 5 years?
13. Of those suppliers, how many provide multiple products and or services to your company?
14. Are you satisfied with the product safety of all products from all sources?
15. How much was total company net profit improved by the use of e-procurement tools last four months?

It’s important to remember with eight months left to go in the year that if a company assigns just ten percent (10%) of their cost of goods to e-procurement tools, net earnings can improve by up to 82% or more. You can not accomplish this without advanced tools that extend your productivity.

If you don’t believe it, email me at and let me prove it to you. you won’t be sorry!

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

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