Archive for September, 2015

Learning How to Increase Morale in Your Employees Without Breaking the Bottom Line? Part 2 of 2

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015


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

From the previous blog, you have seen several reasons of what can cause employee morale to drop, but now you want to learn how to increase the employee morale and not spend a fortune doing it.








Here are 11 ideas to recognize employees without spending a penny!From the bambooHR?s Reward vs. Recognition: Do you know when to use which motivator slide show.

  1. Send a personal note.
  2. Say a sincere ?thank you?
  3. Recognize in a meeting and/or applaud
  4. Send a shout-out on a social site
  5. Mention their success in a speech or presentation
  6. Give a long lunch or get-out-of-work free day
  7. Have a higher manager say thanks
  8. Swap tasks with them
  9. Give a team lead role or title promotion
  10. Offer flex hours or work-from-home options
  11. Create a ?Wall of Fame? or white board.

While all of these are great ideas, the biggest is saying Thank You. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, wanted, and welcome. Gold stars, high fives, pats on the back, atta-boy/girls go a long way in those feelings of appreciation.

The slideshow mentioned above gives the following statistics and quotes:

  • ?Employee recognition is the number one factor when motivating employees in the workplace.?
  • ?69% of employees would work hard if they were better recognized.?
  • ?82% of employees find it annoying when they are not recognized for the accomplishments they contribute to the team and the company.?
  • ?Did you know employees want some form of recognition ever work day? Yet only 12% of employees say they often receive appreciation for great work.?
  • ?You have to use recognition again and again to build people up. It is one of the many tools and practices to each manager to boost people up and elevate work performance.?- Barbara Ann Corcoran, Shark Tank

To quote Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom,? To some business owners, “office morale” seems like a term invented by employees who simply want to have more fun at work. However, it’s a very important characteristic of any workplace and one that can be measured and improved. Low office morale can wreck total productivity, while high office morale can keep everyone not only productive but happy and fulfilled in their work.?

Happy employees do equal a happy and successful business.

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.


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Do Your Employees Seem Sluggish or Unhappy? Part 1 of 2

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


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

Do you get the sense that once excited and happy employees are now lifeless sitting at their desk, or on robotic mode? The thrill of the job seems lost to them?







Image from

This multi-part blog will discover causes to low morale and helpful tips on how to increase morale. This is not only a great beginning for businesses in procurement, but in any business or industry.

But what is morale? According to; Morale is an emotional or mental condition with respect to cheerfulness, confidence, zeal, etc., especially in the face of opposition, hardship, etc., and explains morale as, ?the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time.?

There are multiple reasons for low morale and some of them could be overlapping one another, but there is good news! Identifying the underlying reason for the low morale is the first step in increasing morale.

  1. Poor Communication
  2. Management Decisions
  3. Lack of Training
  4. Limited Personal Growth
  5. Limited Professional Growth
  6. Lack of Respect
  7. No Common Goals
  8. Misaligned Goals
  9. Economy
  10. Layoffs
  11. Impending Layoffs
  12. Other Industries Suffering
  13. Lack of Work/Life Balance
  14. Little or No Accountability

List from


These are just a few of many reasons, but do not be discouraged in learning what brings morale down. Knowledge is power and knowing a few of the reasons for low morale in your employees helps discover what will increase morale.

Stay tuned for the next blog on how you can increase morale in your employees and increase productivity.

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.


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Autumn Equinox

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015


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

The Autumnal Equinox, happening September 23rd this year, is right around the corner, and that means football season, changing colors, and cooler temperatures are almost in full swing. But what does all this mean for you and your business? Here are a few things to watch for in autumn that may not be obvious at first.

Football Season ? Americans love their football and love celebrating with friends over tailgates. With tailgating, comes an increased need for supplies. Expect an increased demand for charcoal, propane, beef, and brats. In addition, there may likely be a need for extra lighter fluid and, consequently, fire extinguishers.

Changing colors ? For the northern parts of the country, the changing color of the leaves is a beautifully astounding spectacle that many enjoy and look forward to. There are, however, things to consider during this time. Those beautiful leaves fall, and then they must be raked or mulched, bagged, or burned. Again, the sales of fire extinguishers could be on the rise along with rakes and compost bags. In addition to leaves falling on yards, they fall in the streets too, so extra precautions should be taken as leaves tend to make tires slip and slide, especially when wet, and may spur an increased demand for all-weather tires.

Cooler Temperatures ? The cooler temperatures can be a great relief after hot and humid summer days and nights. Those dropping temperatures can signal a decrease in electricity (from ac units) and an increase in natural gas (from furnaces). Cool temperatures also spur more campfires and bonfires, so one could expect to see an increase in, say, marshmallows and hot dogs, not to forget another reason the demand for fire extinguishers may be on the rise.

With each change we see in nature, there will always be changes within business. If you could use help in sourcing your needs for the upcoming changes, or on our ?Risk Free? trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

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Fair Trade Certified

Monday, September 21st, 2015


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

According to the SafeSourcing Wiki, ?The Fair Trade Certified? label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social, and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product. Fair Trade Certification is currently available in the U.S. for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, and vanilla. TransFair USA licenses companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label on products that meet strict international Fair Trade standards.?

Today more than ever, companies care about their effect on society and the environment. Therefore, it is important to them who they buy from. By knowing that a potential new supplier has The Fair Trade Certified? label, they can be assured that the product meets strict guidelines.

SafeSourcing does the due diligence to ensure its supplier database is packed full of quality suppliers. The Fair Trade Certified? label 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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Would you like to have a more secure home?

Friday, September 18th, 2015


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

There are many devices out that can help protect you and your home. One such device is a smart doorbell. There are several companies that make such a device. These devices can be attached to your WiFi network and setup to send you alerts when someone rings the doorbell. You can then view and talk to the person at the door using an application on your phone. Using this feature allows you to interact with whoever is at the door and gives the effect that you are home even if you are not.

With some of the devices you can view more than just your doorstep. With their 180 degree view you can set up zones that will notify you if any motion is detected within the zone at any time of the day or night. The video can be recorded and stored on the cloud for later viewing.

If you would like some help finding a smart device, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which device 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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What Vendor is Right for You?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015


Today?s post is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant for SafeSourcing.

After living in our home for twelve years, the carpet needed to be replaced. High traffic areas were looking worn and dingy. I decided to use a Berber constructed of nylon fiber, as they wear and clean very well.

Nylon versus Olefin Berber:

In 1986, DuPont StainMaster was launched. New Stainmaster fibers have made carpet cleaning easy on nylon Berber. Also, carpeting was offered in many colors versus the drab colors previously available.

Around the same time as the Stainmaster was launched, olefin extrusion plants came on line and olefin (polypropylene) fiber jumped considerably. Both nylon and olefin carpets have their advantages. Olefins will resist stains, except oil-based stains, but will tend to flatten or crush in time. Olefin carpeting will clean very well, but will gray due to soil abrasion over time. Olefin Berber is one of the best values in terms of pricing. It is important to note that all carpet gets dirty and it is recommended that it be cleaned at least once a year.

I researched four different businesses. One was a big box store, two were exclusively flooring companies, and one was a flooring and window business. Although pricing and product was relatively the same, I choose the small flooring/window business. What became extremely important to me were the warranty and the fact that they had their own installers. The other three businesses sub-contracted the installation. I preferred to have a licensed-bonded installation team that the carpet company employs.

The SafeSourceIt? Supplier Database plus our exclusive vetting process insures that you will have suppliers that meet your needs and provide the service you deserve.

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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What constitutes a very complex e-negotiation event?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015


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

According to Wikipedia, in general usage, complexity tends to be used to characterize something with many parts in intricate arrangement.

Definitions are often tied to the concept of a set of parts or elements which have relationships among them differentiated from relationships with other elements outside the relational regime.

So how does one define a complex e-negotiation event? On the surface it may be an event with a large number of line items within a particular product set such as MRO or Fleet Maintenance in the distribution space or raw materials used to manufacture components that require special handling, shipping and standards adherence. The amounts of the total spend for an event really has nothing to do with the complexity of the event. The complexity is determined by the data points requiring management in order to drive the best possible value to the buyer and the supplier.

This author would suggest that any event including multiple market baskets, thousands? of? SKU?s all with different specifications, order quantities, delivery locations, multiple suppliers not bidding on each line item, a split award of business and the size of the spend and optimization scenarios qualifies as a complex event. Adding to the complexity may be the overall strategy required when sourcing the right mix of suppliers to compress pricing properly and drive early and consistent bid activity. This can be further complicated by trying to determine the correct decile based sourcing strategies for the event and including product affinities where they make sense. And that sometimes means they may not make sense. Think of the old examples of baby diapers and beer sales going up on Saturdays and being purchased by men. Do you know why? It?s an old example of big data. Think sports?

The above example would qualify as organized complexity where there is a non-random, or correlated, interaction between most of the parts. In order to support? complex events, your e-procurement solution provider needs to have an understanding of the specific market place, practices and processes in place that allow them to drive these activities in order to bring complex events to market? in the shortest period of time. Generally this should occur within less than three to five weeks from event notification to event completion.

Last year, this author tried to define the relative complexity of the retail environment and its potential impact on the use of e-procurement tools. Specifically we identified the following areas of interlocking complexity.

1.?Supply Chain complexity.
2.?Rate of change in the global supply chain.
3.?Long term inherited supplier relationships.
4.?Lack of Accurate data.
5.?Dysfunctional ERP systems
6.?Lack of retail procurement staff.
7.?Lack of time.
8.?Multiple sources of supply.
9.?Limited view of new sources of supply.
10.?Confusion as to who?s the customer and who?s the supplier
11.?Sales People
12.?Third Party Providers
13.?Collaboration complexity.
14.?Lack of an integrated view of the category spend
15.?Not understanding the relationships or affinities of your products and services.

Being comfortable that your solution provider understands your market place and has a well defined process for hosting Complex e-negotiation events insures that they are not difficult to host and drive a well summarized and optimized result set.

If you?d like to learn more about sourcing complex categories, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.



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Be careful when you make disparaging remarks about Food Manufacturers; you may find yourself facing a civil liability suit?

Friday, September 11th, 2015


Today?s post is by Ryan Melowic; Sr. Director of Procurement Process Improvement at SafeSourcing.

Food libel laws are laws that were passed between 1991 and 1997 by thirteen U.S. states that permit food manufacturers to sue anyone for libel that say anything negative about the food they manufacturer. The thirteen states that have these laws are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.

With Food libel laws, the legal standard for guilt is lower; therefore, to avoid being found guilty in this sort of civil liability suit, the defense employed must be stronger than even a criminal liability suit. In some states the burden of proof is on the party being sued. In addition, regardless of the outcome, punitive damages and attorney’s fees for plaintiffs are allowed.

With all the debate surrounding the foods we eat, it is important that you remember the Food libel laws when you share your stance. These laws are meant to sit on the books and discourage public speech by their mere presence; however, many would not pass constitutional scrutiny,

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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Evaluating eProcurement Solutions ? Part 5 of 5: Service

Thursday, September 10th, 2015


Today?s post is?our SafeSourcing?Archive!

Strategic sourcing companies each have their own unique offering whether that is based on a price model, category focus, supplier database or some other defining trait, but the overall goal is to help their customers source products and services easier, smarter and with an end result that creates more value than the customer could achieve on its own. Over the past four days we will be looking at some of features and characteristics you should be looking at when evaluating a new or existing sourcing partner. Today we will close out the series by focusing on the one trait that should be examined closer than any of the other five; Service.

Having great data, tools, reporting, or technology will only be as good as the team helping you to run new projects and your partner should be as strong, if not stronger in their customer service offering than anything else they do. Today we will look at a few of the specific areas you should be looking at when evaluating your current or a new strategic sourcing partner.

Experienced ? Sourcing experience across dozens of category is not something that every strategic sourcing has. There is a reason why some sourcing partners focus on travel, energy, and logistics only for their customers. Experience in sourcing events from both a consumer, sourcing partner, and supplier side is a big key to understanding the perspective of all the parties involved. This experience helps with the management of the suppliers as well as that of the customer to keep the projects moving and details and communication delivered. Well rounded strategic sourcing companies will have had sourcing experience in IT related products and services, software, warehouse materials and equipment, construction related goods and services, temporary services, For Resell goods, transportation and logistics, commodity goods, and normal indirect spend items to name a few.
Supplier management ? The most difficult task in running a sourcing project, outside of collecting the data necessary to run the event, is managing the suppliers during the process. Management begins as soon as suppliers are contacted to participate in the event. Your strategic sourcing partner should be able to assist you with fielding all questions from suppliers, speaking to suppliers on your behalf to get them engaged in the process, handling objections they may have about the process, and training them on how to follow the process and tools with live support. Once a sourcing project begins, your strategic sourcing partner should manage the process and all communications so that your team can be allowed to focus on the important things they will do later. Support should continue through the entire process all the way until the project completes and suppliers have submitted everything requested.

Post event support ? In some cases once the sourcing event is completed, handling and communication of the suppliers selected for award goes back to the customer. In many other cases, the sourcing event (RFI, RFP, RFQ) is just the beginning of the evaluation process. Many times samples will need to coordinated, presentations scheduled with the selection committee, scorecards and evaluation materials developed and distributed to the internal decision makers as well as agendas to the suppliers. These are all ways that good strategic sourcing partners stay involved and take the load of the sourcing process off of the customer. Many times the suppliers are used to the customer service member they have been dealing with and having that same person take them all the way through the process is a big advantage to the process going smoothly.

Many things should be looked at when evaluating a strategic sourcing partner and depending on the structure of your department, some characteristics will be more important than others but all should be considered at some point. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with sourcing 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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Evaluating eProcurement Solutions ? Part 4 of 5: Tools

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing?Archives

This week we have been looking at the different characteristics strategic sourcing companies and solutions have that should be evaluated when making a decision as to what is most important to your company. At the beginning of the week we looked at technology, data and reporting capabilities and the different aspects of each and the importance they could play in sourcing projects. Today we will look at the different types of tools strategic sourcing companies can sometimes offer that can make your job as a procurement professional event easier.

Information Gathering ? In Tuesday?s blog we discussed the importance of a good supplier database and template library foundation to beginning a sourcing project. This addresses the external data but does not always help explain the internal spend data and specifications especially when the category is a new one to your company. Being able to send electronic surveys to resources within your company in a way that requires very little effort can save a procurement team hours of time in legwork but, more importantly, can ensure that the picture of your spend you are painting for potential suppliers is accurate. Being able to understand who in your company is buying something, what they are buying, how much they historically purchased, how much they expect to purchase and whether they like the current product and supplier are all details which will shape a very successful event and can be easily collected with an online survey tool.

RFx ? The concept of moving from Request to Information to Request for Proposal to Request for Quote/Tender is not a foreign one in the procurement industry and virtually every strategic sourcing company offers some type of tool or service to support this flow. Where the differentiator begins to come in is how seamless the flow from one step to another is. Do suppliers need to learn multiple tools? Is it online? Are details from step automatically moved over into the preparation and documentation of the next step? Each step of the RFx process is unique but has common threads that tie each together. Good RFx solutions will tie these threads together in a way that reduces the time it takes run from beginning to end and the amount of repetitive tasks required of the suppliers with each step.

Result Management ? The information is gathered, the project is complete and the results are better than you could have expected. The problem is that without the tools to put those results into effect, they become worthless. Being able to manage the results of your sourcing events is considered by many to be more important than the results themselves and can take several different forms. Top begin with is a catalog/ordering/purchase order system that will allow your company to place the orders they need at the new pricing you have negotiated. Implementing a catalog system can also prevent rogue spending from unapproved suppliers based on past history. Another useful solution is a contract management tool to track your contracts and important details and dates, ensuring that the contract will not roll over into a situation that costs you even more money than you saved. Managing both aspects of a new deal are critical to maintaining your project?s success.

Having covered the technical, data and tool aspects of strategic sourcing partners and tools, tomorrow we will conclude with the most important piece of the puzzle which is the service your strategic sourcing partners can offer you that can save your team hundreds of hours and provide experience where you may have none. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist 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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