Archive for July, 2016

Empathy in Your Business

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

 

 

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

This is the seventh blog within the author’s series of Emotional Intelligence in Business explaining empathy and how it will affect and help your business. Despite a bevy of research and best-selling books on the topic, many managers still downplay emotional intelligence as a “touchy-feely” soft skill1. The importance of characteristics like empathy and self-awareness is understood, sure, but intelligence and technical capability are seen as the real drivers of professional success1. Evidence suggests quite the opposite: that high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of a success1. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops1.

“Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark,” (Goleman, 2015, pp 3).2

4). Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

a.) Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers. (In an educational context, empathy is often thought to include, or lead to, sympathy, which implies concern, or care or a wish to soften negative emotions or experiences in others.)3 

Three Kinds of Empathy: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate:

The first is “cognitive empathy,” simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Sometimes called perspective-taking, this kind of empathy can help in, say, a negotiation or in motivating people. A study at the University of Birmingham found, for example, that managers who are good at perspective-taking were able to move workers to give their best efforts.4

The second is “emotional empathy,” – when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This emotional contagion, social neuroscience tells us, depends in large part on the mirror neuron system. Emotional empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world, a plus in any of a wide range of callings, from sales to nursing.4

The third is “compassionate empathy,” also known as “empathic concern”, with this kind of empathy we not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed4. It is not out of place at work: you see it when a leader lets people know that he will support them, that she can be trusted, that they are free to take risks rather than maintain a too-safe defensive posture5.

Please stay tuned for the next and final blog in Emotional Intelligence on how social skills can help you and your business.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you 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.

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References:

  1. http://www.dce.harvard.edu/professional/blog/emotional-intelligence-no-soft-skill
  2. http://cultureofempathy.com/references/Experts/Daniel-Goleman.htm
  3. https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/goleman.htm
  4. http://www.danielgoleman.info/three-kinds-of-empathy-cognitive-emotional-compassionate/
  5. http://www.danielgoleman.info/empathy-101/

Google search tools

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

 

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

Google’s search algorithms are notoriously complex and secretive. After all, if a savvy online company cracked the code to becoming the first result you see no matter what your search, they could stand to profit immensely. The ambiguity and complexity also makes it difficult to conduct research effectively and avoiding false-positives within your search results. What many users don’t know is that there are many shortcuts embedded into the search bar that allow you to get more specific with your results. We have passed through the many shortcuts available, and ranked the ones we think would be the most helpful to any procurement professional:

Search term format, followed by description:

    1. Word1 Word2: The default search parameter used by most users will search BOTH terms as separate terms. Therefore your search results won’t necessarily use the same word order, which may not return the correct results when using compound words or specific phrases.
    2. “Fourscore and seven years ago”: Using quotation marks will search the exact phrase entered in its exact order. This is best used for searching exact quotes, or product descriptions that must have an exact match.
    3. Star -Trek: Is your search result giving you too many false positives? If searching a word like Star is giving you too many results within a popular science fiction category that doesn’t belong in your scope, placing a “-” symbol before a second term will prevent the results from returning results containing that second term.
    4. Logistics site:www.safesourcing.com: Enter a search term, and then use “site:” to limit the search results to a specific domain. This can be helpful when looking for a specific product within a manufacturer’s website, but aren’t certain where to find it.
    5. Filetype:pdf: This shortcut allows you to search for files of a certain extension type. For instance, if looking for a sample specification, sometimes limiting your search to a pdf or word filetype will return the most relevant results.
    6. Fluid Milk Type VI 2008…2013: Placing three periods between two numerical terms will limit your results to between those numbers. For instance, if you are conducting historic market research for a commodity within a certain timeframe, this search will only return results containing numbers within the year range given. This can be useful if shopping for within a known price range as well.
    7. Related:www.cmegroup.com: When looking for similar suppliers or services, a “related:” search can be helpful for returning other sites of similar scope.

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.

 

 

Cold calling is a necessary part of all businesses, not just sales.

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

 

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

I come from a history of cold calling. When my mom was in junior high (circa 1955), my grandmother started her own catering business. A hard working Hungarian immigrant, she would sit at their kitchen table every Sunday afternoon after church and call the family of every single young woman listed in the engagement announcements to ask if they had decided on a caterer. My dad is a mechanical engineer, turned salesman, who spent the bulk of his career in the tool and dye industry selling everything from diamond grinding wheels to linear ball bearings.

I guess you could say that I was born into it. Although I resisted for the first several years of my career, once I finally gave in to the sales call, I never looked back. One of my favorite parts of the sales cycle is the cold call. It’s the first introduction of the product or service that you have to offer to a person or business that may have a need for it. I see cold calls as a challenge, each one a fresh opportunity. Apparently not everyone feels the same way. Here are a few suggestions that might help your cold calls be a little less frightening and a little more fun… like mine!

  • Be Confident. Go into each call with confidence and optimism. You are a business professional providing a viable product or service to someone whose company might very well have a need for it.
  • Listen. You’re prepared. You have a good understanding of your value proposition and basic understanding of the businesses that you’re calling on. Now have a conversation, paying close attention to what’s being communicated verbally and otherwise.
  • Be Yourself. Believe it or not, discomfort is easily perceived over the phone. You do not have to be unnaturally pushy or super aggressive to make sales calls. Using your own assets and unique personality to create a genuine rapport can be much more effective.
  • Speak at a Normal Speed. Or even slightly slower than normal, and enunciate. You want to do everything you can to help your potential customers hear what you’re saying. There is nothing worse than struggling to understand someone who is speaking too quickly or mumbling.
  • Be Succinct. Get to the point quickly, keeping in mind of course that if your potential customer feels like engaging in a little small talk to feel more comfortable, you’ll be happy to oblige.
  • Know Who To Ask For. When making sales calls, do your best to understand who the decision maker is for your particular product or service. For some clients, it might be VP of Marketing, for others it could be the head of Human Resources. Learn who makes the final decision before picking up the phone, so you’re not wasting their time or your own.

Would you like to learn how SafeSourcing could help your company run more efficiently? Interested in a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact SafeSourcing. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Why are there so many kids outside?

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

 

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

If you haven’t already heard there’s a new app taking the world by storm. Pokémon Go is a new free application that can be downloaded to Android and iOS.  According to an article on Forbes.com on July 11th, 2016, the application has at least 7.5M US downloads on iOS and Android (Google Play only) since early Thursday, with $1.6M in daily revenue in Apple’s iOS store alone.  The application is free to play, but purchases can be made within the application to improve player’s experience.  The object of the game is to capture, train, and battle virtual Pokémon while roaming around your town or neighborhood using the location-based augmented reality application.

There’s one positive side effect coming from the playing the game that kids may not realize and that is the app is getting them outside and exercising, which is the opposite of most of the games they are used to playing. I can attest to this because I have two children that downloaded the app last evening and have already caught the Pokémon Go fever.  Since it’s summer vacation, they usually sleep in but they were up by 8 this morning and roaming the neighborhood for wild Pokémon.  I’m not sure how long this craze will last but it pleases me to see they’re having fun and enjoying the outside like my generation.

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!

 

What is a CertiPur-US® Certification?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

 

CertiPUR-US is a voluntary testing, analysis and certification program

Today post was written by Ryan Melowic, Vice President of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

According to the CertiPUR-US® website “the CertiPUR-US® program was developed to provide the comfort and confidence of knowing the flexible polyurethane foam meets standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Today, foam producers from all countries may participate in the program, as long as they meet our rigorous certification guidelines.

CeriPUR-US approved foams are:

  1. Low emissions (VOCs) for indoor air quality
  2. Made without ozone depleters
  3. Made without PBDEs
  4. Made without mercury, lead, and heavy metals
  5. Made without formaldehyde
  6. Made without prohibited phthalates

CertiPUR-US is a voluntary testing, analysis and certification program developed by the global flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) industry.”

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.

Force Majeure

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

 

 

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

Tyler is adding to our SafeSourcing Wiki and defining force majeure.

  1. According to Merriam-Webster, force majeure is defined as 1. Superior or irresistible force 2. An event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled.[i]

Force majeure is a French term translating to “greater force”. Force majeure is a clause included in contracts to remove legal responsibility for natural and uncontrollable calamities that disrupt the expected course of business and restrict those involved from fulfilling terms of a contract. These events may include armed conflict, labor strikes, and extreme weather.

Due to differing legislation and interpretations of force majeure, it is common in contracts to include specific definitions of force majeure. Some contracts will limit force majeure to “acts of god” such as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes while excluding human influenced failures such as terrorist activities and mass failure of communication or electrical systems. The key would be having your contract written to detail the difference between an act of God and the other forms of force majeure.

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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[i]  “Force Majeure.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 14 July 2016

Teamwork makes the dream work

Monday, July 18th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing.

I like teamwork. I also enjoy collaboration or any other terms roughly representing the concept of a group working together toward some objective. Teamwork is quite helpful in achieving an organization’s goals. It allows for individuals to showcase their strengths and groups to produce more/better/faster than they could by working alone. Plus, there’s no shortage of inspirational quotes from which you can draw… inspiration!

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

So, beyond quotes, how does an organization make teamwork work

Like many organizations, you probably find that your teams rely heavily on email while collaborating on projects. Document versions are sent and received almost constantly throughout the day. This often creates too many moving parts and too many opportunities for human error. Is each team member reviewing the correct version? Did I forget to copy a team member on that email? Were we both editing the document at the same time? Where is that file?

“T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More” – Unknown

We’ve all been through some version of the struggle created by collaborating with a team and passing around documents. Fortunately, organizations are now able to easily put in place solutions that reduce these types of common teamwork difficulties. Document Management solutions are available that ensure that documents are centrally stored, protected, and have editing and version control that prevent and protect against human error.

When a member of my team saves a new version of a project document, I have immediate access to the most current version. When I am making edits, my teammates cannot also until I have finished. I can search through tens of thousands of documents to quickly find exactly what I’m looking for.

Document Management is a viable answer for the challenges I’ve outlines and many more as well. At SafeSourcing, our solution is called SafeDocument™ and it empowers our own team, as well as our customers’ teams, and will do the same for yours. After all, it’s what makes our teamwork work.

“Teamwork makes the dream work” – John C. Maxwell

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing and is a devoted champion of saving money. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you at any point in the Source to Pay lifecycle. For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing representative.

We look forward to your comments.

 

More on E.coli and Food Safety

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

 

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

I am as guilty as most people when it comes to eating raw cookie dough – especially chocolate chip dough! On May 31st, the FDA issued a warning not to eat raw cookie dough because of an outbreak of E. coli that has been linked to contaminated flour.  There have been 38 people in 20 states that have been infected and 10 of these people infected have been hospitalized.  The most vulnerable are children under 5, and older adults with a weakened immune system.

An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA linked the outbreak to a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri in November 2015. GM issued a voluntary recall of 10 million pounds of flour produced between November 14 and December 4, labeled under the brand names:  Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Gold Medal Wondra.  Flour that is part of this recall should be thrown out.

Unlike raw foods such as eggs or meat, flour is not commonly thought of as a concern for E. coli. “E. coli is a gut bug that can spread from a cow doings its business in the field, or it could live in the soil for a  period of time; and if you think about it, flour comes from the ground, so it could be a risk,”1 reported Adam Karcz, an infection preventionist at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis. Flour is normally cooked before being consumed, destroying pathogens.  This is commonly referred to as a ’kill step’

SafeSourcing publishes a monthly newsletter that contains trending information on a variety of subjects. The July SafeSourcing Newsletter highlighted information on the FDA.  If you haven’t already subscribed to this free Newsletter, you may want to consider doing so.  Please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative or ask about our Risk Free trial program. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

1Laura Rutherford-Morrison, Bustle, 6/2016

When Good Companies Make Good Vendors

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

In a previous issue Fortune Magazine published the top multinational companies to work for to compliment the top 100 US companies list they release every January.  Some of the highlights included donating money on behalf of their employees, offering extra money and vacation at long term anniversary, providing on-site childcare, and free breakfast buffet and game rooms.  You may be wondering what this has to do with your company.  The answer is everything.  When your suppliers are doing things right and creating a great place for their employees to work, it means they can service you better, provide better prices and products and have employees who are happier to work with your company.

In today’s blog we will be looking at a few other areas that suppliers are evaluated against that should be part of how you measure your potential and existing suppliers.

Non-Profit Organization Ratings – Along with industry reviews, there are also organizations like the Better Business Bureau who give its ratings to companies based on complaints that have been logged against those companies and any other information available.  Others sites like Angie’s List and customer driven feedback sites allow you to see consolidated views of the companies, services and products.  These sites go beyond surveys and get right to the customer feedback you are looking for.

Peer Opinion – One of the most valuable questions you can ask a supplier but one that is rarely asked is “Who are your top three competitors?”  By asking all of the vendors this question during an RFI or RFP process you will quickly understand the landscape of who the leaders in the field are and how they view each other.  This can be valuable information to get from the companies who know their industry the best.

Industry Reviews – There are so many organizations these days whose sole purpose is to research and rank other companies against one set of criteria or another.  This BLOG was sparked by one of these surveys performed by a financial periodical, but there are other major companies like Gartner and Hoover who regularly publish the findings of their research for both companies and products.  These types of surveys and research results are important because they include the same types of criteria found in an RFI and are performed by independent organizations saving your organization some valuable research time.

Certifications – Almost all organizations have been certified for one reason or another depending on the industry they belong to.   Many times their customers have no idea that they carry these certifications.  Capturing these during an RFI or RFP process will help you better evaluate the vendors you do business with.  Another way of getting this information is to go to the Certifying Organizations websites to find out which companies have been certified by their processes.

Understanding your potential and existing suppliers and how they compare in areas outside of the normal metrics, can help you develop good partnerships well in advance of any final contract with them.  For information on how SafeSourcing can help you gather these types of details, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

Reverse Supply Chain Management or Reverse Logistics!

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

 

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

We’ve spent years perfecting how to get “stuff” from in the dirt where we found it, make it more useful, and put it into consumers hands. This is called “logistics”. But now we’re faced with the task of figuring out how to do the opposite, without destroying the planet we got it from.

Enter Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) or “Reverse Logistics as it’s sometimes called. The short definition of RSCM is to capture value from end of life products, and to take them backwards into the supply chain and/or reintroduce them into the biosphere/technosphere through a sustainable and profitable system. This can include activities such as reacquiring ownership of used products from the end user back to the manufacturer or reseller, transportation of used products for sorting, evaluation and designation of products for their most profitable use, remanufacturing or refurbishing, creating secondary markets for reclaimed products, recycling back to base components and responsible disposal.

One example of RSCM is the relatively new business of “Deconstruction”. In this process buildings are taken apart based upon material component value. These materials are either re-used in new construction, recycled into raw materials, or disposed of through environmentally sustainable means. Total annual building materials (C&D debris) disposed of in landfills in the US each year is not tracked by the EPA, but estimates range between 170 and 600 million tons disposed of in landfills currently, typically with only certain metals ever being collected and recycled from the debris. Organizations pioneering this field can be found at http://www.bignyc.org/, http://www.lifecyclebuilding.org/, and www.bmra.org.

Another example of businesses capturing value from RSCM is Dupont, which achieved zero-landfill status at one of their facilities that allowed them to realize $2.2 million in revenue in 2011 from the sale of waste by-products, and $400,000 in cost avoidance (http://www2.dupont.com/inclusive-innovations/en-us/gss/sustainability/employee-engagement/landfill.html). Similarly Subaru, GM, Honda, and Burt’s Bee’s have captured additional revenue or cost avoidance by repurposing waste through reverse logistical processes (http://www.greenmanufacturer.net/article/facilities/manufacturers-gone-zero-landfill).

The challenge is that reversing the supply chain for products that have been modified in an infinite number of ways over their usage life is exponentially more complex than taking virgin material to end consumer product. The premise to that problem however, should be that not engaging this process now while it’s optional, only makes what will certainly become a necessity more complex the longer it’s postponed, and presents a large opportunity cost every year potential new savings/revenue is not captured.

We at SafeSourcing have a knack for finding markets and cost avoidance opportunities that most don’t aren’t even aware exist. 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.