Archive for June, 2015

Business as Usual? We Should Hope Not When It Comes to Contracts!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

 

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

'In conclusion; our major contract expires tomorrow, we have no idea what we want, and no knowledge of the market,  It is time to pass this across to the Procurement Team,,,'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a contract expiring soon? Or are you working from a contract that already expired months or years ago and have not done anything with it?

Now is the time to act, do not let your contract go on any further until you know for sure it is beneficial to your company.

How do you go about making that assurance? By doing a lot of research and homework first and foremost, and asking those who need the goods and services on the contract if there are any changes, modification, recommendations that they would like to see. Many times goods are purchased through the supplier you have always worked with…or why rock the boat when it has always worked great for your company in the past.

In either circumstance, it is great you have confidence in your supplier or their product; but are they offering you the best product, warranty, certifications, services, pricing, and even net terms?

By running a RFI to gather information from your supplier’s competition, you can determine who’s who in the category. By running a RFP you can see if they can implement the same, or better pricing, or net terms.  Running a RFQ with all the suppliers, including your supplier or incumbent, you can be sure they are competitive in their pricing, terms, and goods.

It is never good business practice to let a contract expire or work from an expired contract. 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

What can you do to save energy and money?

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

 

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

Everyone likes to save money.  There are many things that you can do around your house to save energy and money.  Some of the improvements can be costly such as replacing appliances with Energy Star appliances.  There are also many inexpensive things that can be done by you in your spare time.  With the improving technology there are some cool gadgets that can be installed to help.  For instance, installing a smart thermostat that learns your behavior and creates schedules for heating and cooling.  They also make devices that help reduce water consumption in your shower.  These devices work by decreasing the flow of water when the water reaches a certain temperature and when you are ready to shower, the flow of water will increase.  Some of these devices are also Wi-Fi enabled and record usage and water consumption.  This data can be viewed with an app that you install on your smart phone.

Below are some other things that can be done as well.

• Install compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs
• Caulk and Weather strip around doors and windows
• Install ceiling fans to help circulate the air and lower air conditioning use
• Install low-flow toilets
• Fix dripping faucets
• Replace furnace filters regularly
• Add additional attic insulation

If you would like some help researching some of these products, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which solutions meet 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.

When is it time to change vendors?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

 

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

When the right time to change vendors and what is the best way to go about it? Those are essential questions that take on strategic significance and can have serious implications. Maybe you’ve gradually become disgruntled with the quality of service provided by one of your current vendors. If you have determined you need a change, you should review the metrics you are using to assess vendors to see if all the standards for quality of services, provisioning of resources, and responsiveness are outlined in detail.

In reality, if there is a problem that your current vendor hasn’t resolved, the metric that addresses this performance standard will most likely be foremost in your mind. You may take that undesired experience and allow that to impact your view of what your expectations for the next vendor should be. You need to look carefully at all the metrics for success you have in place to see if one or more of your expectations wasn’t detailed clearly enough or defined in an assessable way.

There should always be an open line of communication with any vendor who wants to do business with you long term. Talk with the new potential vendor about what you’re looking for. Get their feedback on what’s achievable, practical, and realistic for the budget that will be allocated.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it.   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.

Time Management and Procurement

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

 

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

Does your procurement team seem like they never have time?

I would argue that working in procurement is one of the busiest careers. Between management of internal projects, working with suppliers on an individual basis, and working with customers, it is easy to forget tasks that are not considered a high priority.

Tools that SafeSourcing uses to manage time effectively:

1. Outlook Calendar- Typically my entire day is planned on my calendar, with reminders set.
2. Task List- Organized by priority first thing in the morning.
3. Checking things off- When you complete a task, make sure you mark it complete.

If your procurement team still seems extremely busy, you may want to consider partnering with a 3rd Party Procurement firm, such as SafeSourcing. Effective time management leads to successful events, and those results lead to savings. Time Management is huge when it comes to managing successful events.

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.

Procure to Pay analysis requires careful planning Part II of II.

Friday, June 19th, 2015

 

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

In yesterdays post “Procure to Pay analysis requires careful planning Part I of II” we began to answer a customers question as to were they actually getting all of the savings from the low quotes in their online RFX process.

Here is an example of what might happen or actually does more often than not as result of the actions in yesterdays post.

If we come up with the math from yesterdays scenario, it takes a full quarter to execute which is not a stretch at all. Unfortunately your incumbent supplier was not selected and your contract with them expired 5 weeks ago. Now your out of contract costs are now up by 5% for the last five weeks because you are not so important to this supplier any longer. So not only has your existing price gone up for the last 5 weeks, you lost the opportunity to buy the product from your new supplier at 20% less over the same five weeks. These combined costs now erode your total estimated savings with your new supplier who you probably have not even added to your accounts payable system which will also result in late fees.

Ask your e-procurement solution provider how they can help you with this process. Or, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Procure to Pay analysis requires careful planning Part I of II.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

 

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

This is actually a great questions and a tough one to answer if in fact it has not been planned for during the planning 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.

There are a number of areas necessary 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. Some of those are as follows.

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

Can anyone guess what the results of these actions are? Check back with us on Friday to find out in Part II. Or,  please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Color Idioms and Your Work

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

 

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

There are many color idioms in the English language, some more familiar than others, and learning just a few can benefit your work. Find out what they mean and how they could apply to you.

Red – “In the red” This phrase is one many of us have heard and refers to a place none of us want to be. It refers to financial accounts, where going below zero means those accounts are in the red. In dire situations like this, a person may be “shown the red card”, or dismissed from a job.

Black – “In the Black” This phrase is not as commonly used and is the opposite of “in the red”. It also refers to financial accounts, where they are well above zero. It also is used to describe someone or something as successful or profitable.

Blue – “A bolt from the blue” Like a sudden lightning strike, this refers to unexpected bad news. News like this can “make you feel blue” or saddened, but hopefully only happens “once in a blue moon”.

Green – “To be Green” Not to be confused with “going green”, which refers to being more environmentally sustainable,  although ”to be green” does stem from nature, when new plants and trees are green when they first sprout, the idiom refers to a person being inexperienced. Green can refer to other positive things as well, like “getting the green light”. This means that a project or plan has been approved and can proceed as desired.

Orange – “Apples and Oranges” Although this idiom refers to the fruit and not the color, it is still an important one to know. It is used to reference two unrelated items and because of differences, cannot be compared in like ways.

Black, White, and Gray – “Black and White” This refers to definite outcomes, like yes and no or good and bad.  “Shades of Gray” refers to all the areas in between the black and white ends of the spectrum, where something is not simply good or bad, but more complicated than that.

If you find yourself in the red or facing the red card, possibly after a bolt from the blue, call SafeSourcing and see if our team can get you back in the black. We go green, but our team isn’t green and with the green light, we can help.

For more information on how SafeSourcing raises the industry standard for customer service, or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

Health Canada, a tool for buyers in Canada that costs little yet contains a lot.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

 

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

In Canada, it’s as simple as visiting the Health Canada Website. According to Wikipedia Health Canada (French: Santé Canada) is the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health. Here you can find news releases, speeches, media notices and research a variety of data related to health and food safety within Canada.

Just as a recent post titled  “Buyers; Do you need a great place to research product quality and recall issues” that talked about The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission  the Canadian Government has many tools that buyers can use that also cost nothing. You just have to spend a little time on their site.

Sometimes the best tools are the ones you don’t have to pay for.

If you’d like to learn more about SafeSourcing tools that are free for your use, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Don’t Call me a BUYER! So just what is a Category Manager?

Monday, June 15th, 2015

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archive, with much respect to all of the Category Managers out there!

The job postings have been in the Financial Services and the Pet Food retail area. Now, someone might point out that pet food is a category by itself within a number of retail verticals. With that said, it is also a category within a category killer format.

The good news is that many companies are getting to the point that they understand the benefit of having categories managed strategically. This takes into account the mix of the category within the scope of its contribution to the entire company from a financial, strategic and tactical perspective. It also requires specific business acumen that combines the jobs of the historical buyer, subject matter expert, marketing professional and financial business analyst. The position originated in retail but continues to evolve into many businesses with certification and education programs to support the skill sets required.

According to Wikipedia, Category management is a retailing and purchasing concept in which the range of products purchased by a business organization or sold by a retailer is broken down into discrete groups of similar or related products; these groups are known as product categories (examples of grocery categories might be: tinned fish, washing detergent, toothpastes). It is a systematic, disciplined approach to managing a product category as a strategic business unit.

The question is, are your buyers acting as category managers, do they have the skill set to do so and if not, how efficient is your procurement department.

If you lack any of these skills on your team, contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager to see how we can help elevate the performance of your procurement team.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Organizing the RFP Presentations – Part II of II

Friday, June 12th, 2015

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archive

Yesterday we looked at the planning that needs to go into the initial phases of Request For Proposal meetings to make them successful.  Understanding the format and agenda are key ingredients to structuring the evaluation of the presentations and in helping guide the vendors on what needs to be talked about or shown.  Today’s blog will wrap up this two-part series by focusing on the final details and the structure for formally evaluating the presentations in a way that will ensure the comparison criteria are as similar as possible.

Fill in the RFP holes – No matter how much time is spent preparing an RFP there will always be holes of information created either by missed content or by new questions arising from how the vendors initially responded.  Many times this will include clarification on pricing models, more depth on service and how it is measured or a deeper dive through a live demonstration of the features of a software tool that is being highlighted in the vendor’s offering.   While there will still be time to follow-up with questions after this meeting, it provides a great forum to level each vendor’s solution with the others.

Scoring made easy – The biggest pitfall many companies fall into when organizing their RFP presentations is determining how they will evaluate the presentations of each vendor.  Having a high-level agenda is a great start and will go a long way to providing a side-by-side view and sometimes that is all that is needed.  Frequently, however, especially with software solutions, giving the vendors a script or use-cases to demonstrate will help build an internal scorecard that can be used to score and evaluate each feature and piece of functionality.  Some vendors choose to publish the scorecard in advance to the vendors so that they know what pieces will be evaluated and sometimes this scorecard is kept for internal use only.

Housekeeping details – Once the dates & times, duration, format and content are decided and delivered to the vendors, the final piece will be to ensure that the vendors have the final “housekeeping” details for the presentations.  If an online method is chosen, this will mean ensuring a webinar invite has been prepared and sent with a tool all evaluators can use effectively.  If an onsite presentation is chosen, making sure that the address and contact details have been provided to the vendors so they know where to go and who to ask for when they get there.  Publish or solicit the need for internet and projector requirements and provide the vendors with the list of people who will be attending as well as receive the list of their presenters in case security needs the information in advance for onsite meetings.

A Request For Proposal is a very valuable information gathering process by which companies are able to gather the what is needed to make important decisions.  Seeing the process of planning all the way through the end will ensure the best comparisons can be made and turned into decisions that provide the company with the most value.  For more information about SafeSourcing 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.