Archive for January, 2016

What’s the difference between a non-responsible and a non-responsive bidder.

Friday, January 29th, 2016

 

 

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

The California Court of Appeals offered a good explanation of the difference between responsive and responsible. “A bid is ‘responsive’ if it promises to do what the bidding instructions demand; a bidder is ‘responsible’ if it can perform the contract as promised.” [1]

Non-responsibility is determined based on whether the bidder can actually fulfill the Invitation to Bid (ITB). Does the company have the necessary facilities and delivery capabilities to fulfill the required products? Determining if a vendor is responsible would have you assessing if the bidder is capable of fulfilling the products as specified, not if the bid itself meets the specifications.

Every ITB has product specifications, terms, and deliverables that each bidder must abide by. For a bidder to be considered non-responsive,  they will not conform or meet one or any of these requirements. When determining if a bid is responsive, you would assess if the bid offered meets the product specifications, terms, and deliverables; not at how well the bidder will actually perform.

When a bidder is categorized as non-responsive there are normally three steps. First, you will notify the bidder with indications of their non-responsibility. Second, the bidder will be given the opportunity to contest those indications. Finally the bidder should be permitted to present evidence that they are qualified to fulfill the products.

Please contact SafeSourcing for any needs with your non-responsible and non-responsive suppliers. 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.

[1] http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/3d/195/1331.html

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How is SafeSourcing different from the competition?

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

 

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

 

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SafeSourcing’s professional service offerings support our mission of providing information and services to our customers through e-procurement best practices that proactively support e-procurement events from category discovery to results analysis. As part of our full service offerings, this also includes ROI delivery and focus on consumer safety and environmental standards in the global supply chain. Our offerings include, but are not limited to:

  • Buyer Training
  • Category Discovery
  • Category to Market Strategy
  • Event Set-Up
  • Event Training
  • ROI Delivery
  • Supplier Safety Certifications
  • Supplier Selection
  • Supplier Training

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Are you interested in learning more about SafeSourcing and how we can help your company? 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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Snow, what you might not know. Part 3 of 3

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

If NYC is offering $13.50 per hour for laborers for Snow Removal, what’s that mean to companies that are trying to get their snow removed?

Over the last two days Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant at SafeSourcing has offered some interesting information regarding Snow and Snow Removal in a 3 part post titled Snow, what you might not know Part 1 of 3 and Snow, what you might not know Part 2 of 3.

In part 3 of this series I’d like to take a look at the data in parts 1 and 2 mean or implies. It’s the data about the data or the Meta Data that’s important.

I think the underlying question here, is what does this mean for companies or even individuals about when they consider sourcing Snow Removal Services. When should you do it and how reliable will the service be even if you have a contract in place.

As I was watching the television broadcast of Super Storm Jonas as it buried the Eastern Seaboard in snow, one of the comments I head is that many cities could only plow the main roads and that surface streets and other places would have to wait. New York City as we noted above is offering $13.50 per hour for snow removal laborers. Might those same laborers be the 3rd party’s that you contract with for your businesses snow removal? Maybe you might want to check the language in your contract.  If your price is lower, the service provider most likely won’t be coming, at least in a timely manner so you better get out your shovel.

So, what does this all mean? It means you need to be aware of what services you have sourced, what language is in the contract and any actions that you might take in order to preempt service needs when unusually large storms approach.

Snow Removal is normally sourced during the spring or early summer months and is quite often sourced from the same companies that provide your landscape services. You determine what language goes into a contract. Examples might be.

  1. Hourly Rates
  2. Price escalators based on fuel consumption
  3. Ice Melt or Salt Applications
  4. Time of day for services
  5. Amount of snow required to kick off service
  6. Rebates for missed services.

While there are many mom and pop operators that provide these services, there are only a few national providers. There are also a good number of regionals. Most of the nationals and regionals also outsource their work to the many mom and pop operators and the nationals outsource to the regionals. As such, it’s important to ask who will actually be providing your service and to make sure that they have the required liability insurance coverage in place. This is particularly important if your business may have consumers on your premises while the services are being performed.

The important point here is that while there are multiple types of snow and ice as well as the storms that deliver them, there are also multiple types of service and service providers. If you are not comfortable that you know enough about all of the information provided in this three part series, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Project Manager. We have sourced this category dozens of times across all of North America. We can make sure you get the services you need at a price that is acceptable.

We hope you have enjoyed this Three Part Post.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

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Snow, what you might not know. Part 2 of 3

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

 

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

After a three-week holiday in, Ohio we prepared for three-day journey back to Arizona. We had not encountered any significant weather on the way to Ohio, but learned that our final day would entail heavy snow from Albuquerque to Sedona.  By the time we reached Flagstaff, it was white-out conditions.   As we hadn’t seen any snow removal on the highways until we reached Flagstaff, I was curious how that process was handled.  I  learned the following:

Snow Removal Status – Key Phases:

Phase 1: Alert

What the county does –

-A winter storm has been forecast for the region. Snow crews are on alert and treat roads and designated trail where necessary

What you do –

-Move parked cars off the street, or coordinate with neighbors and/or civic organizations to move cars to one side of the street only. Snow removal vehicles need at least 15’ to pass down a street.

-Be prepared. A three-day supply of food and water is recommended.  Stay informed.

-Neighbors may need your help. Register through you civic association as a volunteer.

Phase 2: Primary Routes

What the county does-

-A winter storm is in effect. Snow crews are treating and plowing primary (red) and secondary routes (blue) only while the snow is falling.

-Roads may only be passable with one lane in each direction. Roads may be icy and have snow accumulations of 2-4” or greater.   Designated high-volume routes are treated and plowed.

What you do-

                -Do not drive unless necessary – roads are for emergency use and snow removal vehicles.

-Help neighbors clean sidewalks on the same side of the street where cars are parked.

-Keep snow cleared from hydrants, storm drains, and downspouts on your home.

Phase 3: Residential Streets-

What the county does-

-Snow crews are treating and plowing residential streets.

-Residential areas may only be passable with one lane. Red and blue routes are being widened to the shoulder.   Additional county trails are cleared.

What you do-                                                   

-Help neighbors clean sidewalks. Snow Removal Ordinance enforcement begins 24 hours after snow stops falling.  Clear driveways and entrances.  Shovel snow into yard instead of the street.

Phase 4: Clean Up

What the county does-

-Snow crews are working on cleanup operations. After treatment and the sun have done its work, crews are removing ice and slush off roads and designated trails.

-Staff is removing snow from schools and county property.

SafeSourcing can research your snow removal needs, whether its services, equipment or supplies. Want to try us out risk free?  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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Snow, what you might not know. Part 1 of 3.

Monday, January 25th, 2016

 

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

After a three-week holiday in, Ohio we prepared for three-day journey back to Arizona. We had not encountered any significant weather on the way to Ohio, but learned that our final day would entail heavy snow from Albuquerque, NM to Sedona, AZ.  By the time we reached Flagstaff, it was white-out conditions.  We had left snowy conditions behind us some thirteen years ago when we moved to Arizona and I was not ready to drive through wintery conditions.

I had grown up in New Hampshire and I was used to significant snow. I can remember shoveling our long driveway, walkway, as well as my mother’s clothesline area (yes, the olden days).  We had shovels, sand, and salt at the ready.  Growing up in a large family, there were many helping hands to get the job done.

Times have changed now. Many people own their own snow blowers; some have trucks with plows attached, some hire the work out, and some people still do it the old-fashioned way by shoveling.

I researched the snow removal process and phases during a major snow storm. I learned the following:

During the Snowfall

  1. Snow crews focus on keeping main arteries open for emergency vehicles and public transportation (red primary routes). This includes snow emergency routes, arterial streets, high volume routes, bus routes, and roads to hospitals, fire stations, police stations, and metro stations.
  2. Plowing begins when snow reaches 2-4 inches deep.
  3. When accumulation is less than 2 inches, the roadways are only treated (sand or salt).

After the Snowfall

  1. Snow crews clean snow from all streets and county trails as soon as possible.
  2. Neighborhood streets are cleared last.
  3. After a severe storm (greater than 10 inches), it may take 36-48 hours after the snow stops   falling for snow crews to start clearing residential areas.

SafeSourcing can research your snow removal needs, whether its services, equipment or supplies.  Want to try us out risk free?  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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How to tell when you need to simplify your processes

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

 

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

Finding the right balance of complexity in your processes is a tough thing to juggle for businesses large and small. I’ve worked in companies where you literally had to read through and comply with hundred page manuals for every email sent, phone call made, or lunch break taken. On the other end of the spectrum, were companies who had so little structure that no one had any idea what standard procedures were, roles were not identified, and whether or not you were performing well was determined more by the owner’s mood than any objective metric.

The problem is similar to the dilemma of Emergent vs. Deliberate strategy[1]. Each side of the argument carries its own merits; highly process oriented organizations are usually highly efficient, and low risk. The tradeoff however, is that adaptability and innovation suffers. The more flexible and open ended your process, and the more you give your team the authority to deviate from those processes, the more they are able to deal with crisis, unexpected changes, or to innovate in order to meet the needs of the business. So how do we determine if our organization is leaning too far in one direction?

A basic rule of thumb is:

If the cost of your process > the value of the process, you may need to re-balance.

This of course, requires that you have a correct understanding of the cost of all your processes.

Many businesses have a hard time wrapping their heads around the true process capacity of their workforce. Typically this results from not having an up to date or objective measurement of all processes rate of finite resource consumption. Do you have an accurate listing of every activity performed by each member of your team? Have you found averages for all costs of each of these activities, in time, money, and materials? Most likely each of your team positions specializes in a certain activity, and will be aware of activities associated with executing that position that no one else is. Performing this evaluation will identify your process capacity “budget” if you will. And of course, all things that consume finite resources must have a budget of that resource.

Once you have a clear and objective picture of your activity costs, you can evaluate the costs and value inherent in your processes. Do you have redundant processes that only add marginally increased value? Do you have processes so narrow in scope that a large number of activities get bypassed? Do you have activities whose execution is so sensitive that a miss-step would shut down your business? You may need to add processes or capabilities that eliminate these risks (For more on that topic, see my blog “Mistake-proofing your business”).

In summary:

  1. Objectively measure your organization’s process capacity
  2. Evaluate the cost to benefit balance of your processes
  3. Appropriately budget your process capacity to maximize overall value/decrease risk

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] “Balancing Deliberate vs. Emergent Strategy: SafeSourcing …” 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://blog.safesourcing.com/2015/06/01/balancing-deliberate-vs-emergent-strategy/>

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Workplace Discipline vs Self-Discipline

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

 

 

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

Nobody hates workplace discipline more than those that are forced into having to dole it out. For management, performing disciplinary tasks are time consuming, awkward, personally taxing, and carry a huge opportunity cost. However, the need for disciplinary action can be reduced by getting ahead of the problem through investment as a preventative measure, and with exponentially better return compared to the alternative.

Most infractions can be reduced to shortcomings in SELF-discipline: Wasting company time, miss-management of schedule, not learning best practices, tardiness, lack of effort, lack of respect, etc. In these common examples, improving self-discipline proactively, prevents the need for discipline reactively. Self-discipline is not just a character trait to be valued in our personal lives; it’s a worthwhile investment for any company to make in its workforce. Although there are many different approaches to improving self-discipline, my research has found several recommended practices common to most approaches, shared below:

  •  Do an assessment of your self-control: How “in control” of your life do you feel? When you have a goal, do you always accomplish it? Or do you feel rolled around by whatever random thought, unhealthy food, uncontrollable desire, distraction or consequence of poor planning might get in your way? Are your circumstances in control of you? If the answer is yes, you’ve found the reason to look seriously at the rest of the steps below, and identified their targets.
  • Increase delayed/deferred gratification: Avoid activities of instant gratification for a while, with one target at a time. Rather than going out to eat: Cook a meal. Instead of buy: Build. Instead of streaming the movie: Read the book. Go throughout the day looking for opportunities to practice delayed gratification, find things you have to “earn” before you get the reward. Start with small things. The point here is to improve your ability to wait for the payoff. Once you can apply that to small goals with short waiting periods, you’ll can keep building up until you are able to accomplish anything no matter how long the investment period, or how hard the work..
  • Increase “grit”:  Angela Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. This trait is not the same as delayed gratification, but the two do depend on each other. Grit is a little bit darker, in that it deals with maintaining the belief in our abilities and a positive outcome, in the face of failure or hardship. How do we increase grit if our “grit score” is low (you can take a survey that will score you here https://sasupenn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_06f6QSOS2pZW9qR)? Small wins are your key to success. Don’t give in to the temptation (or bad advice) to accomplish overwhelmingly large goals before you’re ready. Start small, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and get some small wins under your belt before graduating to larger ones.
  • Find alternatives for accountability: Accountability can be summed up as ‘find something you value, and put it at risk as a consequence of failure’. Although it should be used carefully so as not to lead to discouragement or take unwise risks, many people have found this useful in keeping their feet to the fire when they would otherwise slack off. Online programs like www.stickk.com allow you to put money or other objects on the line, and partner with coaches to hold you accountable.

 

  • Positive self-talk: Have you ever had someone give you encouragement that made you feel what they were saying, even if you didn’t believe it? That’s because the brain’s mirror neurons reflect what we hear emotionally, even if our cognitive functions believe something differently, and hearing ourselves works the same way. Try a quick experiment if you don’t believe it: The next time you find yourself assigned something you don’t want to do, keep telling yourself how tired you are/how difficult it is/how pointless it is. Then the next day compare the difference in how you feel to telling yourself that it’s NOT that difficult/you’re NOT that tired/this IS very important, etc. Using self-talk to get through a task or challenge you find particularly difficult can give you the small edge you need to get over the finish line.

 

  • Mindfulness Meditation: I love learning. A lot. Sometimes so much so that I lose track of really important things, because I have so many thoughts running at one time that I’m not able to choose and prioritize. Mindfulness meditation involves concentrating on your breathing, then your pulse, then your muscle movements, and so on, until you are keenly aware of the here and now. If you find yourself distracted by your own thoughts, mindfulness meditation can help to pull your head out of the theoretical things you’re learning about, and into the present moment, where you can prioritize and accomplish the tasks in front of you. There are many places online where you can find more detailed instructions.

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.

 

 

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Need help improving your Wi-Fi connection?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

 

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

Installing a wireless router can be a very simple thing to do to allow internet access throughout your home or business. Depending on the location of your router, the signal may be too weak for your devices to connect reliably.  One solution to this problem would be to move the wireless router to a central location to improve the signal.  In some cases, moving the router is not an option.  If this is the case, there are several devices that can be used to improve the signal within the weak areas.  Below are some devices that can be used to extend and improve the Wi-Fi signal.

Wi-Fi Extender

A Wi-Fi extender is a device that can be plugged into a standard power outlet. It receives your current signal, amplifies it and then transmits the amplified signal.  This allows the existing signal to travel further to allow access to other rooms or floors.  There are also weatherproof extenders so that you can extend your current signal to your outdoor property as well.  More than one extender can be used to amplify your current Wi-Fi signal.  The extenders are easy to setu;, they just need to be connected to a computer and authenticated on your network.  Once on the network, disconnect from the computer and plug into an outlet where the signal strength is weak.

Powerline Ethernet Adapter

Powerline adapters allow you to use your current electrical circuits as Ethernet cables. Using this method is faster than the extender because the extenders can experience some speed loss due to the communication between it and the router.  Installing the adapters is quick and easy as well.  To install, plug the first adapter into a wall outlet by the router and connect the adapter to the router with an Ethernet cable. Next, plug the second adapter into a wall outlet next to the device to connect and then connect the device to the adapter using an Ethernet cable.  The device is now connected to your internet connection and ready to use.  Multiple adapters can be used by simply plugging them into additional outlets and attaching the other devices.

If you are having connectivity issues and would like some help finding the right solution, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which option 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.

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What is Crystalized Polylactic Acid?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

 

 

Today’s post has been written by Ryan Melowic Vice President of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

Crystalized Poly Acid sounds scary, however, according to Wikipedia “Polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA, Poly) is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the United States and Canada), tapioca roots, chips or starch (mostly in Asia), or sugarcane (in the rest of the world). In 2010, PLA had the second highest consumption volume of any bioplastic of the world.”

Uses

Crystalized Polylactic Acid is used to manufacture the following types of products.

  • T-shirts
  • Coffee cups
  • Packaging
  • Bottles
  • Other everyday items

Advantages

  • Compostable in commercial facilities, meaning that it will break down under certain conditions into harmless natural compounds.
  • Heat-Resistant to 185°F
  • Sturdy feel, stronger than starch plant based products
  • Product is 97% USDA certified bio based product

Unfortunately, the current PLA production process is costly and creates waste. In July of 2015, researchers in Belgium developed a new production technique that is less expensive, greener and makes PLA a more attractive alternative to petroleum-based plastics.

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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The Supplier selection process

Monday, January 18th, 2016

 

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

Selecting proper suppliers provide the best goods or services at the best prices and in the right time frame for your specific business needs. This process is broken down to a few select categories to assist you in doing so.

Price – A key consideration for choosing suppliers is affordability. Competitively priced suppliers are usually the most attractive option. Affordability does not always represent the best value for money. If the quality of your supplier’s product is subpar, you may incur additional costs for returns and replacements, and risk losing business. If you decide to pass poor quality on to your customers, you risk damaging your business reputation.

Reliability – Reliable suppliers deliver the right goods or services on time. Large suppliers are generally more reliable because they have enough resources and systems in place to make sure they can still deliver if the unplanned happens, which it usually does.

Stability – You will want experienced suppliers with a proven track record. Stability is important, especially if you are entering into a long-term contract with a supplier or they are the only supplier of a particular item critical to your business.

Location – Consider location when selecting suppliers. Dealing with distant suppliers might mean longer delivery times and extra freight costs. When lead time is the most critical, a local supplier might be a better option. I recommend investigating freight policies of distant suppliers. Bulk orders, for instance, might get you free shipping or you might be able to combine different orders to reduce costs.

Safesourcing would like to assist you with your supplier selection process. 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.

 

 

 

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