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.

recognition

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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?

 

 

smile

 

 

 

Image from Westminsterpromotions.com

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 Dictionary.com; Morale is an emotional or mental condition with respect to cheerfulness, confidence, zeal, etc., especially in the face of opposition, hardship, etc., and Google.com 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 www.slideshare.net/LoriReed/Morale-issues-in-your-library

 

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.

 

Who is MakeOurFoodSafe.org? What do they do?

Monday, September 28th, 2015

 

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

Our regular readers are certainly aware that we have challenged the government for years to take the necessary steps to make measureable progress on food safety. In fact here is a link to our Sourcing Safe Foods blog category where you will find 126 posts covering everything from BPA to Foodborne illness posts.

However, let’s get back to our original subject. I was reading the August 2nd issue of USA TODAY and came across a great advertisement on page 5A that was paid for by the Pew Charitable Trusts in support of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. And by the way; the current administration has not yet managed to get enacted. The advertisement recommends that readers go to MakeOurFoodSafe.org to urge the current administration to take action to enact this legislation. SafeSourcing completely supports this message.

The Make Our Food Safe coalition includes public health and consumer advocacy organizations, as well as groups representing the families of victims of foodborne illness. The coalition pressed for enactment of historic food safety legislation that provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with improved authorities to oversee the safety of the nation’s food supply, and will advocate for full implementation and funding of the law.

If you’d like to learn more as to how SafeSourcing supports food safety in our sourcing initiatives, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Personal relationships are critical for successful business

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

 

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

The importance of a personal relationship with colleagues, clients, and suppliers in our world of social networking, emailing, and text messaging.

We are guilty of quickly pressing the “Reply” button on an email. How often do you consider picking up the phone? Social media, text messaging, email, and Instant Messaging applications are all frequently used and accepted methods of communicating in today’s technology driven business.

None of these methods of communication give you the trust earning cues that voice tone, eye contact, or posture can give you. Of course, technology has made us more efficient, we can get more done, in less time. However, this efficiency does not necessarily lead to the trust that is required for a prosperous business relationship. It takes less time to reply to that email but if you pick up the phone, walk to their desk, or visit them, there will be substantial benefits.

We have witnessed suppliers lose business over the personal relationship, not realizing its impact. Think of all of the business deals that have been closed on only a handshake. That is not possible without trust. It is important to get out and visit your customers and suppliers to keep them engaged. When travel is not possible, try calling them before you send that text or respond to that email. You will find that your relationships with your customers, suppliers, and colleagues will drastically improve.

Let SafeSourcing call you. 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.

 

What always causes delays in the running of any e-RFX?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

 

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

Have you ever heard a buyer say I can’t find or don’t have a specification for that product or service? Or, I’m not sure how much we spent on that last year. Or I’m not sure if we have a current contract in place or when it expires if we do. Don’t’ laugh, because this is all too common at the best of companies. We all know this is true and that it happens every day of every week. How in the world can the specification be missing or not exist in the for something you are currently buying? How would we even understand if what we are receiving is what we ordered? Back door receiving systems have tracked this for years. What happens if we order one type of copy paper like recycled 96 white, and receive a lower quality product?

The above examples have always amazed me because an original order had to be placed at some point in time. In many cases the invoice (at least the original one) may even reference the product number or description if not both. Sometimes the invoice even calls attention to the terms and conditions. In fact, it’s a pretty good bet that the incumbent supplier has a copy of the original contract and specification on file that can be obtained with a simple phone call. On many occasions when hosting e-negotiation events new sources of supply may help to clarify specifications through their questioning about the upcoming bid collection. And then, and it is a big and then, there is of course the internet and sites like Yahoo, Google, and Bing.

If your procurement department has this type of issue, please contact a SafeSourcing customers services account manager. I’m sure they can bail you out in about 5 minutes ninety nine percent of the time.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.