Archive for October, 2015

Is it time to upgrade your television or televisions

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

 

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

Sometimes personal sourcing requires the same skillset as corporate sourcing.

If you’ve been holding back on upgrading your television now might be the right time. 4K televisions have been available but were not practical because the highest resolution for content has been 1080P.  In recent months, content providers have been increasing their amount of 4K content.  Some of these providers are Netflix, Amazon, UltraFlix, YouTube and DirectTV.  Also, keep in mind that the 4K televisions can convert the lower resolutions to give you a higher quality image.  With the 4k content quickly becoming accessible, you may want to add this technology into your research.  Besides resolution there are many other things to factor into your decision.

Below are some other features to keep in mind when doing your research.

  • Refresh Rate
  • Display Types
  • Available Inputs
  • Available Applications
  • Size
  • Sound Quality

If you are planning on upgrading and would like some help, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which technology 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.

 

 

 

Data Commodity

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

 

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

Unfortunately, most of us have experienced this first hand. You may be looking for more information on a particular subject online and next thing you know you are giving that site your email address. In nearly no time, that company could have taken your information, categorized it, and sold it to other companies looking for leads. Your data just became a selling commodity.

The most surprising thing may be, however, that this selling of information has been going on for a long time and is perfectly legal. Even big internet sites, like Google and Facebook, allow your information to be shared, sold, or used by other companies. Luckily, much of the time, this sharing of information is strictly for target marketing, and won’t bog down your inbox. This kind of marketing can even be beneficial at times, like if you are researching local animal charities, you may suddenly see more animal charitable project ads pop up on the web pages you visit.  On the other hand, though, some sites do take all of your information and simply sell it to whoever will pay.

Before you worry too much about your information, keep in mind that the commonly used websites, like Facebook, take precautions so that your specific information isn’t just given to anyone. For example, they may share how many people like a particular restaurant without disclosing any specifics.

If you have comments, advice, want to share your own experiences with information online, or to find out more about SafeSourcing, our policy to never share information, our Risk Free trial program, or any of our free informational tools, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Resetting the Rules

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

 

Today’s post is  from our SafeSourcing Archives.

I was in a casino recently and overheard this conversation after an explanation of how one of the games worked:

Person 1:

“Well it seems like there are more ways to lose then there are to win.”

Person 2:

“Sure the House makes the rules.”

Person 1:

 “That doesn’t seem very fair.”

Person 2:

“Yeah, but you don’t think they build a new casino here every year because they LOSE money do you?”

Unfortunately many companies move along playing by their vendor rules, paying for services and items that aren’t as favorable as they could be.  Today’s blog will look at a few ways that you can turn that around and begin setting the rules for your benefit.

Price Model Consolidation – One of the common things that happen throughout the course of any Request for Proposal is the aspect of collecting the proposed pricing.  As will happen in almost any request for proposal, the vendors will have slightly different pricing models and fees that they offer you with rarely any two being the same.  Use the results of the RFP to choose the pricing model pieces that suit your company the best and create a strategy that you can then have the suppliers offer a “best and final” proposal before you make your final decision that will allow you to compare each vendor on price as well as value offering.

RFQ Terms & Conditions – One of the areas where companies frequently miss out, is the opportunity to set the foundation of the Terms and Conditions you want before you invite them to submit a proposal.  By determining in advance the terms you expect the awarded vendor to offer you will eliminate vendors who can’t or refuse to meet you terms in advance, saving you time in the end.  If they have an amendment to the terms and conditions you specify you can always allow they submit that requested modification to you in advance so that you can determine if you would still like to see a proposal from them.

Sample Legal Documents – Another area that can really help with the eventual contract that will provide your company the greatest value is to get and receive samples of the legal documents that the agreement will eventually be based around.  This means that getting Letters of Intent or Sample Contracts from your legal department to event participants so that they will know what will eventually be expected of them or collecting Service Level Agreements from the vendor so you know what the scope of what they will offer you can be critical in identifying and overcoming hurdles before they ever start.  It also means that you can work with you suppliers to determine details in advance that provide your company the greatest offering.

For more information how you can begin to start setting your own Procurement Rules, please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.

We look forward to your comments.

Are you monitoring your Contract Leakage? Can You?

Monday, October 12th, 2015

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

The answer is probably not or you would not have any and 80% of all companies not only have contract leakage, but because of it they often do not realize the hard earned savings the negotiated with their new e-procurement tools.

However congratulations are in order, you have used your new e-procurement tools effectively and awarded the business to a new supplier. You may have also offer a Letter of Intent or LOI to get things moving while the contract is being completed. With that assumption in place, how does your organization ensure that the award of business is implemented or delivered as awarded so that you indeed receive all of your savings?

This is probably the most difficult part of the entire procurement lifecycle. The first step is to understand your data and where it is kept, that includes understanding what constitutes contract leakage so that you know what you are looking for. This data needs to be looked at on a regular basis in order to insure leakage is not occurring. This should be at least monthly depending on specific contract language (Meta data). Most contract management systems have alerts that can be triggered as frequently as required against this data.

The following list although not all inclusive speaks too many of areas in which contract leakage can occur. This happens in all companies large and small. If you are aware of them, capture them and report on them regularly there is a good possibility of controlling them.

1.  Award Date
2.  LOI Date
3.  Contract Date
4.  Delivery Dates
5.  Quality specifications variances
6.  Making payments at a prices different from the contract
7.  SOW creep
8.  Rebate misses
9.  Escalator Misses
10.  Invoice discrepancies
11.  Missed volume discounts
12.  Insurance discrepancies
13.  Shipping discrepancies
14.  Expiration dates
15.  Expiration Notification Dates
16.  Auto Renewals & Evergreening

Don’t work hard to drive benefits from your procurement organization and then lose much of what you have gained to contract leakage. If you’d like to learn more about SaaS based Contract Management offerings, contact your SafeSourcing customer services representative and ask how they can help.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

 

Today’s post is from SafeSourcing.

During the month of October you see the color pink almost everywhere you go. You see it in stores, offices, on cars, even grown men in the NFL are wearing pink football equipment head to toe, to raise awareness on breast cancer. Dedicating a month to such an important cause helps raise money and helps to get closer to a cure.

In previous posts we have discussed how BPA products can increase your risks for breast cancer. We hear more and more different types of products, foods, etc. that can be harmful to our health and increase our risks for many types of cancers and other health risks.

In your business how aware are you of how the business is run? Are you sure you are getting the best prices on everything you purchase? Are you absolutely sure your business is the most successful it can be and consider yourself low-risk? Taking control and becoming more aware of how your business is run can lower your risk for financial problems and increase your potential for success! E-procurement is a great way to trim the fat and make your financial plan a leaner choice. It allows you to make purchasing decisions more clearly and know that you are getting the all-around best value.

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, I challenge you to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Representative for more information on our “Risk Free” trial program. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative at 888-261-9070.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Understanding “The Internet of Things”

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

 

Today’s post from our SafeSourcing Archive.

Although it is a term that has been around for almost 17 years, “The Internet of Things” is really starting to pop its head up in research industry reports, magazines, news specials and other business journals.  The question is what is “The Internet of Things” and what does it mean for your business as we head into 2018.

The concept which had its roots begin with radio-frequency identification tags that were designed to track equipment more easily, the Internet of Things was coined to define a world in which sensors, tags, and other data points will continue being imbedded into equipment and devices allowing them to not only be tracked, but to share information like health, location, status, and supply or service levels.  In essence the network of information will expand outside of the internet into the world of objects.

So the question still becomes for businesses of how this new concept can be used to help them.  Today we will look at a few of the ways you may already be using this concepts today without even knowing it.

Intelligent Sensors – One of the downsides to human beings collecting and creating much of the data available on the internet today is that we tend to be inaccurate and fallible in the manner in which we go through this process.  No one wants to sit for 24 hours a day recording the temperature, humidity and air pressure in a room so that they at some point notify someone else that there may be an issue.  With intelligent sensors that can send alerts through a company’s network of through the internet, accurate and frequent readings can be taken every second if need to be report changes as they occur real time.  Add to the fact that this becomes independent of the most rural locations or extreme conditions and the value of these sensors becomes extremely important to companies where changes in these types of conditions can drastically affect their products.

Object to Object communication – In the example above the sensors on objects become important channels to collect information, aggregate and analyze the data and provide decision points for people to act on.  What is also part of the Internet of Things if the capability for objects, based on data from their surroundings, to communicate and request changes right away.  If the sensor on a multi-million dollar reel of airplane material could read the temperature, which must be kept in a freezer, and then send an alert to the system controlling the temperature of that freezer to slightly adjust the environment you could reduce the possibility of damage in real time without having to wait for a response.

Image and voice recognition – As technology changes and information data centers grow in size, the Internet of Things will be able to take input such as photos, video and audio and create actions based on what they see.  Consider a network video appliance that has the capability to analyze and recognize objects in the video frames as it streams and saves them.  Recognizing the shape of gun, the metrics of a car wreck, the numbers on a license plate or the shape of a face could all be used and sent to other Internet of Things objects to help create scenarios where lives are saved and disasters averted.

Over the next few months you will be hearing a lot of the Internet of Things and the affect it can begin to have on your business from financial, safety and efficiency standpoints.  To understand more about the Internet of Things or how you can begin to look at this concept in how you source your goods or services, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

 

What’s your BHAG?

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

 

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

A BHAG (pronounced bee-hag) is a statement regarding your company’s strategy that may be too extreme for an external audience, but inspiring and directional for those conducting everyday business. The term was originally coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last[1], as a tool for achieving long term strategic goals. Used properly, a BHAG can be a powerful way to communicate the ambition of the company, and align the efforts of a team. But what make up the components of this statement?

A BHAG must be:

  • Inspiring: Emotionally compelling, motivational to the team
  • Attainable: Difficult enough to be audacious, but not so impossible that no one will attempt it. “Out of reach but not out of sight” as the old maxim goes.
  • Company appropriate: Aligns with your mission and core competencies
  • Long term: 10-30 years, or unless your organization exists to solve a certain problem within a certain timeframe.

Some examples of publicized BHAGs:

  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure: A world without breast cancer.
  • Amazon: Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home
  • John F. Kennedy: Land a man on the moon by the end of this decade and return him safely

Collins and Porras also recommended that a company develop its BHAG while in its infancy rather than wait for it to reach a mature size in order to help the company stay focused in its crucial developing years. Your organization needs to be adaptive of course; however its core reason for existing should not. Throughout the life of your organization, many targets of opportunity will arise, but identifying your BHAG in your professional or personal life will help you keep on course.

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.


[1] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Built_to_Last:_Successful_Habits_of_Visionary_Companies>

Global Food Risks

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

 

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

This year alone California farmers are predicted to lose $3 billion due to persistent drought[1]. Avian Flu has cost nearly $3.3 billion nationwide in the US[2], while the resultant egg shortage continues to wreak havoc with the market by doubling egg prices[3]. Yields in North Korea are feared to come in as low as 50% below normal due to drought, which could pose huge humanitarian needs and market risks[4]. The average amount of arable land needed to support an American standard of living is approximately 10 acres per capita[5], though as of 2012 there were only between 0.49-0.6 acres of arable land on earth per capita[6]. The UN has stated that food production must double by 2050 in order to meet demand[7] due to rising population as well as rising global affluence. As the world population continues to increase the number of hungry mouths on the globe, it becomes ever more vital to have a strategy for dealing with disruption in food production markets.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges to this problem is understanding what all of the potential risks are. As unpredictable weather patterns emerge, we are warned to expect the unexpected by the scientific community due to global warming, and political disruptions are equally unpredictable. Though there are recommended steps for discovering the unknown variables, and managing what is known.

Identify the risks: Does your organization have a risk mitigation department? One that focuses on proactive measures to ensure continued production in a crisis, not just financial hedging?


[1] “Drought May Cost California’s Farmers Almost $3 … – NPR.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/03/411802252/drought-may-cost-californias-farmers-almost-3-billion-in-2015>

[2] “Bird Flu Cost the US $3.3 Billion and Worse Could Be Coming.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/15/bird-flu-2/>

[3] “Egg prices in the US nearly double after outbreak of avian flu.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/16/egg-prices-in-the-us-nearly-double-after-outbreak-of-avian-flu>

[4] “North Korea fears famine as drought halves food production …” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/19/north-korea-fears-famine-as-drought-halves-food-production-says-un>

[5] “The State of World Population 2011 – UNFPA.” 2011. 19 Aug. 2015 <http://foweb.unfpa.org/SWP2011/reports/EN-SWOP2011-FINAL.pdf>

[6] “Arable land (hectares) | Data | Table – The World Bank.” 2010. 19 Aug. 2015 <http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.HA>

[7] “Food Production Must Double by 2050 to Meet Demand …” 2014. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.un.org/press/en/2009/gaef3242.doc.htm>

 

Coordinated risk management: Form alliances with national and international producers and brokers establishing protocols for responding to shortages that protect the most vulnerable populations from food shortages.

Identify the weaknesses in your supply chains: An example would be diversification of farm location can mitigate drought risk confined by geographical location.

Move to non-biofuel energy production: Using energy sources such as nuclear, solar, and wind allow farming capacity to be used for food instead of bio-fuels, which some studies have shown to be a net-energy loss product[8].

Early warning: Have mechanisms in place for capturing information regarding shortages and market disruptions.

Supplier resilience standards: If you are a purchaser, adopt requirements of your suppliers for managing risk that incentivizes food production resilience.

In the face of dealing with all of the food commodity disruptions in the market, and increasing pressure to shave already thin margins, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a major disruption doesn’t just mean loss of revenue, but can also mean loss of life within the markets of the most vulnerable consumers. For example, US food aid to foreign countries comes from US commodity surplus, but aid has decreased by 64% in the last decade due to reduced surplus[9]. This and many other examples are why it’s so extremely important for those of us working in the food procurement and production industries to build resilience into their long term strategies.

For additional insight on this topic I highly recommend the report by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience[10].

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.


[8] “Economic Cost of Biodiesel and Corn Ethanol per Net BTU …” 19 Aug. 2015 <http://www.ag.auburn.edu/biopolicy/documents/Economic%20Cost%20of%20Biodiesel%20and%20Corn%20Ethanol%20per%20Net%20BTU%20of%20Energy%20Produced.pdf>

[9] “Food Aid Reform: Food For Peace By the Numbers … – usaid.” 2013. 19 Aug. 2015 <https://www.usaid.gov/foodaidreform/ffp-by-the-numbers>

[10] “Extreme weather and resilience of the global food system.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/extreme-weather-resilience-of-global-food-system.pdf>