Archive for March, 2016

How much are you paying to stream Television and Music to your stores?

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

 

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

It’s hard to believe that the average cost of watching cable television is around $100 per month. Even though there are hundreds of channels to choose from, the average person only watches about 10 percent of them.  If you want to lower your monthly costs, there are a ways to accomplish this.  Try contacting your local cable companies and see what packages they have to offer.  There may be a package that contains the channels that you currently watch for a lower cost.  Some companies may work with you and lower your monthly cost so that they do not lose your business.  Another option is to cut the cord and remove cable completely.  This option is not as hard as hard as you may think and can be done at a fairly low cost.  Your local channels are broadcasted in HD and can be received for free using an Antenna and there are streaming apps and sites available for streaming popular cable channels.  Below are some things to consider if you want to cut the cord.

  • Choose a streaming service such as Amazon, Netflix, and Sling TV
  • Choose a streaming device like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku
  • Choose an Antenna for receiving local channels
  • Choose a DVR for recording local channels

If you are interested in making a change, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which options meet your needs. If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

What Packaging Program is Best for Your Company?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

 

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

When it comes to packaging supplies, companies have multiple options for managing their inventory. Below you will see the different options and what each model entails.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – Vendor optimizes your company’s inventory by observing usage, floor stock and lead-time to define what model (dynamic historical model, min-max model, input forecasted model or combination of all three) will work best for your company. The vendor may also beresponsible for inventorying your packaging requirements and warehousing it.

Just in Time (JIT) – This program is designed for company’s who require numerous transactions on a regular basis and make best use of available floor space. The vendor conducts a detailed examination of the company’s packaging needs to create a solution that is custom.

Contract Packaging and Fulfillment – This program allows the customer to focus on their core competency by placing the full packaging function in the hands of packaging experts. Contract packaging creates fixed item costs for packaging regardless of production volume.

By utilizing any of the three types of programs, companies gain the following advantages.

  1. Freed up cash flow
  2. Maximized workspace for other core capabilities.

For more information on how we can help you with your packaging needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Upgrade to LEDs? But I Just Made the Switch to CFLs!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Last month GE announced that it has begun phasing out its compact fluorescent light bulbs. The company stated that it will stop making and selling CFLs in the United States all together by the end of 2016 citing that there are now “so many choices that a consumer has for one socket in their home that it’s overwhelming. This will help simplify that.”[1] While other manufacturers like Philips and Sylvania are planning to continue producing CFLs for the foreseeable future, GE’s announcement implies that with their falling cost and rising availability, LED bulbs are establishing a real foothold in today’s marketplace.

But wait… before you throw out all your CFL bulbs and make a run to the nearest big box store for brand new LEDs, let’s make a quick comparison:

  • Cost
    • CFLs are markedly less expensive up front
    • LEDs prices are dropping, but are still typically higher
  • Energy
    • CFLs provide greater energy efficiency than traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs
    • LEDs can last up to five times longer than CFLs saving countless kWh’s (kilowatt hours) over time
  • Color rendering
    • CLFs are considerably better at rendering color now than when they were first introduced to the market
    • LEDs display colors with greater accuracy than was once thought possible
  • Dimming/Directional
    • CFLs are not dimmable but do produce extremely bright light that diffuses evenly
    • LEDs are dimmable but are only capable of producing directional light
  • Mercury
    • CLFs contain mercury albeit smaller amounts than traditional fluorescent tubes
    • LEDs do not contain mercury and are thus far better for the environment
  • Buying decision
    • CLFs offer a much simpler shopping experience because of their limited variety
    • LEDs present a myriad of options that can potentially overwhelm the buyer

At some point in the not too distant future incandescent and CFL bulbs will no longer be available for purchase. In the meantime, don’t panic. You can start by upgrading your lighting one fixture at a time (perhaps in a difficult to reach spot that with its new LED bulb will not require replacing for years to come), or even one room at a time. While there’s no perfect way to make the switch; the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin saving!

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/02/business/energy-environment/ge-to-phase-out-cfl-light-bulbs.html?_r=0

K-Cups – Convenient? Expensive? Environmentally Friendly?

Monday, March 28th, 2016

 

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

We asked for a Keurig for Christmas. Although we love the convenience of the coffee brewing machine, we have found out a lot along the way.

Green Mountain Coffee Roaster bought Keurig in 2006 for $160million. The National Coffee Association reported that Keurig Green Mountain is the biggest change in coffee-brewing since Mr. Coffee in the 1970’s.  The method of brewing coffee by injecting hot water into a plastic pod has quickly rivaled drip coffee.  It is a faster and more convenient way to brew coffee.  People in the workplace got used to a Keurig in the office and began buying them for their home.

Keurig’s patent on K-Cups expired in 2012. This has opened doors for many companies to make pods at cheaper prices.  Private-label cups went from 7 percent of the market to 14 percent in the second half of 2015. Credit Suisse reported the sales of private- label cups increased by 203 percent over last year, while Keurig’s Green Mountain cups grew by only 12 percent (keep in mind, they had the monopoly previously).

Keurig’s business model was built on selling the coffee units cheap, but with the intention of recouping their money on the K-Cups. “Keurig is trying to establish a technological one: its new brewer, which goes on sale this fall, has a mechanism that scans each pod for Keurig’s markings and locks out any unapproved capsules.  It’s essentially digital rights management (DRM) –a mainstay in music and video – adapted for coffee.”[1]  Currently, the Keurig literature tells the consumer to buy only Keurig-approved pods.  Many food companies have tried to get a piece of Keurig’s single-cup coffee market.  Starbucks, Nestle, Kraft Foods are a few examples.  Currently these companies are packaging K-Cups for Keurig.

A big reason why K-Cups are preferred is because you know you are drinking fresh coffee. Keurig grinds the beans in a factory, flushes them with nitrogen, and seals them in air-tight capsules.  Oxidation is what makes coffee go stale.  The second appeal to K-Cups is the convenience.  You can’t mess up!  Unlike brewing a whole pot of coffee in a traditional coffee maker, you can brew single cups of coffee, decaf coffee, as well as flavored coffees—pleasing everyone’s taste.   Although pods are convenient, they are much more expensive in the long run than brewing coffee.  The environmental concerns of disposing these plastic cups are significant.

For more information on how the team at SafeSourcing can help your company, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

1  Josh Dzieza, The Verge, 6/30/14

No regrets.

Friday, March 25th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, who was recently pleased to find some savings in his mailbox.

This week, I opened my mailbox to find our first check from an online cash back program. You’ve probably heard of these. They promise cash back for the purchases you’re already making. That’s a concept that really hits home for me.

I believe my number one priority is making sure my clients are saving money. It’s an oversimplified statement, but it’s true. In our business, ROI is very much dependent upon the savings that our customers enjoy though the use of our e-Procurement solutions. When a client’s online Request for Quote (RFQ) is a “Grand Slam,” which means they saved over 25%, the excitement is incredible and the effort is a success. Fortunately, this happens often.

If you have a Source-to-Pay or a Procure-to-Pay strategy, but you’re not utilizing e-Procurement as part of that strategy, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to save money on products and services that you’re already buying. Even without a formal strategy in place, e-Procurement will significantly reduce your spend.

Personally, I regret that I didn’t try a cash back program sooner and I don’t want you to have similar regrets. If you’re responsible for reducing spend, consider what an additional 30-40% reduction would mean for you.

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing and is a devoted champion of saving money. As Dave suggests, avoid regret and contact SafeSourcing to see how much adding e-Procurement to your sourcing projects will save your organization. For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing representative.

 

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Taking Up a Second Language

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

  1. You will gain better appreciation of other cultures. Even if you end up in a country where you have no grasp of the language whatsoever, by speaking two languages you’ve multiplied your chances of finding someone with whom you can communicate. Effective communication is the key to understanding and respecting most, if not all, cultural differences.
  2. You will become more marketable. In the 21st century, nearly 20 percent of all Americans speak a second language (as opposed to 56 percent of Europeans and 38 percent of the British). If you are fluent in a second language, your skill set is doubled. You are more versatile. You’ve moved up onto a whole new level. Fluency in another language can translate into new opportunities to communicate with international clients and perhaps even to travel abroad.
  3. You will be able to comfortably travel abroad. The ability to read road signs and placards, ask for directions, and order off a menu convincingly will all make your travel abroad more safe and relaxing. Making sense of the local vernacular will also allow you to tune into certain nuances and cultural references that will definitely make your travel abroad more interesting.
  4. You will improve your memory. Learning an additional language requires a lot of brain power, what with all the conjugating and the memorizating of new vocabulary words. Studies have shown that bilingual adults possess improved memory and executive function as opposed to people who only speak one language.[1] This will come in handy when recounting all of your wonderful new travel tales.
  5. You will stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s. In 2013, the medical journal Neurology published a study of 684 patients with dementia. The study found that bilingual patients developed Alzheimer’s or dementia nearly five years later than the patients who spoke only one language.[2] Compelling, right?
  6. You will just be all around smarter. A 2004 psychological study concluded that people who speak two or more languages were more adept at problem solving, planning, and other mentally demanding tasks, and that they had higher levels of cognitive brain function.[3] Bilingual people can switch between languages several times throughout the day. This constant shifting back and forth acts like a workout for the brain making bilinguals better at multi-tasking, quicker on their feet, and yes smarter overall.

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

[1] http://dana.org/Cerebrum/2012/The_Cognitive_Benefits_of_Being_Bilingual/

[2] http://www.everydayhealth.com/alzheimers/bilingualism-may-slow-alzheimers-progression-9826.aspx

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html?_r=1&

What are supplemental documents?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

 

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

Supplemental documents are information, such as charts, illustrations, brochures, and technical data, supplied by a bidder on request as part of a Request for Proposal. It will describe the items offered in greater detail. It may also show the characteristics or construction of a product and explain its operation to enable the purchaser to determine the acceptability of the item.

Many RFI’s, RFP’s, and RFQ’s will require supplemental documents, or supporting documents within their specific projects. Traditionally, this information acts as a backup and provides greater depth to agreed-upon or quoted items.

Let SafeSourcing better manage your sourcing projects. 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.

 

Food Grade Film- Non-Forming Film (Part 2)

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store to the meat department and notice that the meats in the cases have clear film on them? This film is typically on the meat in two layers. This blog will discuss the second layer that adds protection to the meat.

The non-forming layer of the packaging is sealed directly onto the forming layer instead of the meat typically by heat vacuum sealing. After the non-forming layer is placed on the meat packages, it is typically clear to allow the consumer to view the product. However, most of the suppliers do offer other colors of non-forming layers to match the distribution branding.

The requirements for the film are specific within the USDA and other government regulations. This film is the second layer to the meat packaging.   This process is the same throughout the entire meat industry in the United States.

The meat market is heavily regulated and controlled all throughout the suppliers of the film and the distributors of the meat itself. The second reason it is heavily controlled is because it is a closed market in regards to suppliers that can support the business.

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.

 

 

 

Food Grade Film- Forming Film (Part 1)

Friday, March 18th, 2016

 

Today’s post is from the  SafeSourcing archives.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store to the meat department and noticed that the meats in the cases have clear film on them? This film is typically on the meat in two layers. This blog will discuss the first layer that goes directly onto the meat.

The forming layer of the packaging is sealed directly onto the meat – typically by heat vacuum sealing. After the forming layer is placed on the meat packages, it is clear to allow the consumer to view the product.

The requirements for the film are specific in the USDA and other government regulations. This film is only the first layer to the meat packaging. This process is the same throughout the entire meat industry in the United States.

The meat market is heavily regulated and controlled throughout the suppliers of the film and the meat distributor industry.  The second reason it is heavily controlled is because it is a closed market to the suppliers that can support the business.

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.

 

 

Do you find yourself struggling with your workload?

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

 

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

If your workload may at times be overwhelming and you find yourself struggling to keep up, organization may help with your prioritization. One of the best ways to get organized and keep up on your workload is by creating lists. Here are ways lists can help you.

  1. Lists help you to simplify. Tons of paperwork, deadlines, and emails can feel overwhelming, but making a list can show your to-do list is not quite so mountainous.
  2. Help your process. When your tasks are clearly defined, you may discover ways in which you can accomplish all your duties more productively.
  3. Breeds commitment. Many times, tasks get avoided or pushed off, but when it is clearly stated and kept in mind, procrastination is met with action.
  4. It prioritizes. Once all your duties are listed in front of you, you begin to notice what are the big projects and which aren’t quite so important. This is especially useful when the workload is greater that available time.
  5. Positivity and accomplishment. When items on your list are checked off one by one, you get a sense of accomplishment knowing that you have made progress. That satisfaction leads to greater positivity and even helps you to work more productively, happier, and smarter.

Not only can lists help in all these ways, but reading a list oftentimes is preferable to reading memos, notes, or even paragraphs. Even if you aren’t the type to make your own lists, try it sometime and test how well you accomplished your tasks. Chances are, you saved much more time completing your duties than it took to think about, write, and edit your to-do list.

If you need ideas or help on how you can save time in your procurement efforts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

Thanks. We look forward to and appreciate your comments.