Archive for November, 2016

Enjoying the Benefits of eProcurement

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

 

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

First, the good news. You’ve successfully completed an eProcurement event and you have a very significant opportunity to realize the savings generated by that effort.

The question many ask at this point is; now what do I do?

  1.  Review the results in detail: Following a successful eProcurement Request for Quote (RFQ) event, you should take the time to fully review the results of the RFQ. Of course, you’ll want to take a close look at the pricing entered during the process, but there is much more involved. You will also review any notes that the participating suppliers entered to accompany their quotes. Perhaps you’re also interested in understanding how and when suppliers entered their quotes. What was the activity level and what can you learn from the bid activity? As a result of any SafeSourceIt™ RFQ, you’ll have all of this information and more at your fingertips.
  2. Lean on your partner: Often, even after reviewing the results, the best path might still be unclear. For example, perhaps you now have several potential suppliers who could meet your needs and are offering their products at roughly the same price. How do you choose between them? One way to make this decision easier is to confer with your eProcurement partner. While they may not be in the position to make the award decision for you, they might have insight as to what other factors you might take into consideration. Is this a category for which samples are commonly tested? What recommendations does your partner have relative to that sampling process? Did any vendor go above and beyond and offer up additional benefits such as more favorable payment terms or a rebate program? Your partner has experience reviewing the results of an RFQ. Ask their advice.
  3. Keep negotiating: The RFQ is not the end of the negotiations, it’s just another step. At the conclusion of an RFQ, you may deem a supplier to be the best overall value, even if that supplier is not the lowest cost provider. Internal pressures to reduce costs might make awarding to the supplier with the higher cost difficult. In this stage of your review, it may be appropriate to negotiate for further cost alignment with this supplier to achieve a final agreement that is beneficial to both buyer and seller.
  4. Make your decision: Stay with incumbent or try something new? Change is difficult. You may have had a long relationship with your incumbent supplier which had been perceived as a good working relationship. Over time, that supplier may have taken on duties that are outside of the scope of your agreements. Ultimately, as you review the results of your RFQ, this choice will be yours to make. You’ll consider the value of the long term relationship and the value of the known entity against the potential represented by an eager new supplier. Weighing heavily on that decision will be the potential savings. If the new supplier’s cost is 5, 10, or 15% lower than the cost of your incumbent, you’ll have to consider the monetary value you would associate with being able to maintain your current source of supply.

Dave Wenig is a North American Director of Sales at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you attain and quickly realize savings. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

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A Christmas related spend cube analogy. “Little Jack Horner sat in corner eating his Christmas Pie.”

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

 

Todays post is an oldie but goodie from Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing.

And is still true three years later.

The rest of the Little Jack Horner spend cube analogy might go like this. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a peach and said what the heck is a peach doing in a plumb pie?

If you look to Wikipedia, there is no definition of a spend cube. You can find information relative to spend cubes in a discussion about spend analysis. However t the original discussion we are talking about data in this case multi-dimensional data about spend information. Consultants love to talk about it because it allows them to charge you a lot of money without necessarily delivering any results other than, well a spend cube.

Quite frankly you are going to hear terms like data model, data warehouse, data scrubbing, data cleansing, data access, data sources and incomplete data. All of which allow consultants to charge you more money in order to develop yours from what is likely incomplete data kept in many places like GL’s, ERP systems and the like.

Once you get your model or cube, I promise you additional discovery is going to be required in order to determine what categories or products should go to market. One category manager’s category is another category mangers product. So now what?

Don’t get confused by consultants touting their spend cube analysis software because if you do, you will be in for a dime in for a dollar and continue to get peaches when you are looking for plumbs.

If you’re totally confused, SafeSourcing can help, and we deliver results quickly. Contact a SafeSourcing representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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EPA and Business

Monday, November 28th, 2016

 

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

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in December, 1970 in response to growing population concerns over heavy pollution. In the 50 years it has been around, the EPA, through research, monitoring, and enforcement activities, has accomplished numerous things, such as regulating clean drinking water, prohibiting hazardous toxic dumping, removing dangerous carcinogens from food and pesticides, removal of harmful lead from paint and gasoline, implementing recycling programs, and helping to reduce toxic air emissions. On top of that, the EPA helps with environmental cleanups, including natural disasters, oil spills, and brownfields. All of these things help to provide a safer and cleaner environment for people and animals.

With all the good the EPA does for our health, safety, and environment, they also make impacts on our daily lives and businesses. For example, over the last ten years there has been a rise in the number of Energy-Star appliances that use less water and other resources to perform household tasks, like heating, cooling, and washing. This in turn, can save residents hundred or even thousands off of their annual energy bill and help conserve resources.

The EPA has had tremendous impact on agriculture as well. By eliminating harmful pesticides, the food grown by farmers has become safer to eat. By eliminating industrial dumping, streams and rivers have been cleaner and safer to drink, allowing livestock to drink untainted water, thus living longer, healthier, and providing people with better, healthier, toxin-free milk and meat.

Possibly the biggest impact the EPA has made, however, is in the industrial sector, often with less than happy industry owners. For example, a factory has to spend significant amounts of money to prevent heart and lung disease-causing smog to be reduced, to safely contain and dispose of water-based industrial waste instead of dumping into fresh streams, lakes, and rivers, and using safe chemicals in products instead of cheaper, known carcinogens.

To help support environmental regulations, the EPA offers green awards to businesses that make positive change and steps toward healthier, greener business culture. Through education and green policies, the EPA has made huge positive impacts on the country over the past 50 years, helping not only the environment, but also the health and safety of wildlife, livestock, and every single person in this country.

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

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Thanksgiving is really a story of a supply chain found and developed!

Friday, November 25th, 2016

 

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

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend from SafeSourcing

One hundred and two pilgrims and crew arrived in Massachusetts after a 3,000 mile trip from England on the Mayflower. It is safe to say that as a result of that distance there was no existing supply chain to leverage, so one had to be developed and quickly. This began with basic hunting and gathering and later included trading with the areas indigenous peoples known as the Wampanoag’s for corn, seed and foraging and planting techniques.

The Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621. Since the pilgrims had only arrived on November 21st of 1620 they had really not been there long enough to develop a fully reliable and renewable supply source. They had however established collaborative relationships with the local Wampanoag people who became regular trading partners and who helped them celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest.

The most detailed description of the “First Thanksgiving” comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:”Our harvest  being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.

The fowl referred to above certainly could have included a wide range of fowl that was plentiful in the area such as wild turkey, pheasant, goose, duck, and partridge and unfortunately by today’s standards even eagles.

The pilgrims probably didn’t have pies or much of anything sweet at the harvest feast because they did not yet have ovens. They had brought some sugar with them on the Mayflower but by the time of the first Thanksgiving, the supply had probably run out.

Their meals also included many different types of meats. Vegetable dishes, one of the staples of today’s Thanksgiving, didn’t really play a large part in the feast. Other items that may have been on the menu certainly included sea food such as clams and lobster, Indian corn, wild fruits and nuts, meats such as venison and seal and certain dry herbs and spices.

The Thanksgiving meal that has today become a national holiday is a symbol of supply chain cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Happy Thanksgiving Weekend 2016 from SafeSourcing. Who were the Pilgrims?

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

 

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

According to the Mayflower Society, as history has evolved, any of the 102 Mayflower passengers who arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower and survived the initial hardships is now considered a Pilgrim with no distinction being made on the basis of their original purposes for making the voyage.

The Mayflower Pilgrims and their fellow travelers were authors of the first true governing document created in a New World colony. The Mayflower Compact is considered to have set the stage for the Constitution of the United States.

These were the same pilgrims that were responsible for the holiday we celebrate today called Thanksgiving.

We wish you and yours a peaceful and happy extended holiday weekend.

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Update…Do Not Procrastinate!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Heather A. Powell, Director of Customer Services & Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

Dear Buyer,

This is your 30-day notice that your annual contract is coming up, let’s discuss how we can extend your current contract…

Sincerely,

The Seller

STOP! Do not call the seller! Research, research, research your options! I wrote this blog almost five years ago, and the truth is nothing has changed when it comes to doing your homework and researching what you are purchasing and what is within your contract.

Worse than getting the above notice is the evergreen clause. An evergreen clause is a statement within a contract, that says something to the effect of “this agreement shall automatically renew for another one (1) year term, unless either party provides notice to the other of its intent to terminate this agreement not less than thirty (30) days before the end of the then current term.”

Do not procrastinate to the point you are struggling whether to stick with your current supplier (evergreen a poor contract/poor service) or search for a new supplier. Give yourself time to research your alternatives. If you know a contract is going to expire within 60 or 90 days, start your research NOW! There is no harm in learning as much to know as possible about your product and your company’s annual needs for that product.

Maybe your current supplier does have the best price in town, maybe not…. If you could save 5, 10, 15, even 20% or more on your current product why would you stick with your current supplier, and why not explore your options with a new supplier who can give you better savings, maybe better service, with a better product? Are you lost and not sure which way to look? Are you unsure of where to start or who to talk too? You don’t have enough time to start the process or do the research you know needs to be done? Let SafeSourcing be your guide and source to getting you the answers you need, even if you did procrastinate and have 30 days left. We can do all of this for you and your company from research of the product, to research of the suppliers, to follow through of hosting an RFQ to get your company the best possible savings and value of your product.

Don’t become the King or Queen of Procrastination! For more information about how we can assist with sourcing your needs for your company, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative

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Contract Types

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Manager of Customer Services at SafeSourcing

If you don’t like the pricing model of the contract you’re working within but didn’t know you had other options, here is a high-level overview of a few of the standard contract types being used today:

Cost Plus: An agreement wherein the seller agrees to charge based on cost of goods sold, plus whatever profit margin is required to make the project viable. One example is where a highly commoditized good is subject to price regulation or index pricing, and therefore will have their pricing fluctuate based on the market constraints. The only pricing the vendor has control over in this scenario, is their profit margin, which will be the only pricing variable the vendor can agree to discount during negotiations.

Guaranteed Maximum Price: Similar to a Cost Plus contract, a GMP agreement is where the contractor is reimbursed for their actual cost, but also is paid an agreed upon fee. This fee is not to be exceeded unless the scope of the project changes, for which a formal “change order” can be enacted.

Incentive Contracts: This agreement begins as a cost reimbursement model, but varies based on whether or not previously determined goals were met. The incentives can be positive or negative, such that a vendor can be rewarded for underrunning the estimated cost of the project, or penalized for being over-budget. Both scenarios still require timely delivery of finished project. One potential drawback though, is that it can be difficult to monitor quality of work/product meets standards, as this model can also incentivize vendors to cut corners.

Time and Material: This contract type is fairly self-explanatory, in that the basis for pricing is on the number of man-hours used, and any necessary materials to complete the work contracted. Profit is either baked into the hourly rate, or invoiced as an add-on. This contract type is most typically used in situations where it is difficult to forecast the number of hours needed to complete, and must be billed as needed.

Unit Price: In this contract type, the activity or good is grouped into a pre-defined unit. The vendor is then paid a fixed amount for each unit completed. Profit and overhead is typically included in the unit rate, and rate is determined in part by estimated total units contracted.

Lump Sum: A Lump Sum contract is typically enacted when a full scope of work is well defined, enabling the vendor to quote the exact amount required to complete the project. This contract type can be financially risky to a vendor who could later discover hidden costs to perform the project, and can be risky to the timeline of the principle, as the contract would not penalize or reward timeliness as would an Incentive Contract.

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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If pricing looks too low, it is for a reason.

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

 

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

I’ve heard this story of a supplier submitting pricing for select items in a commoditized category so far below other quotes that the strategy the team had used to find suppliers was thrown out the window. The supplier was awarded the contract but it soon became apparent that this particular supplier wasn’t at all the right supplier for the job.

As the contract came to fulfillment and the first orders were being received, major inconsistencies were being uncovered. The team discovered that everything was being subcontracted out, even the contract itself. The supplier changed key ingredients of several of the items it had quoted. The supplier had quoted items out of specification tolerance, even altered required pack sizes. It was an unacceptable situation.

The costs of the project skyrocketed which was exactly what was trying to be avoided. My advice is to have policies and procedures in place for price examination. If pricing seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Ask questions.

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.

 

 

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e-Procument is like Couponing

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Jericia Stevens, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Relating my life to e-procurement

e-Procurement is a lot like couponing, in the sense you have to approach it with a different mindset. For example, with couponing you have to leave behind the old way of shopping and open your mind to something new.

The old way of shopping:

  • long grocery lists planned out without considering price
  • weekly menu planning
  • bulk shopping trips to the local wholesale store

The new way of shopping :

  • Meal planning according to sales
  • Shopping at various stores for discounts and savings
  • Buying more while spending less because you stock up on product while it’s on sale

This same concept applies as it relates to procurement versus e-Procurement.

The traditional procurement way involves:

  • procurement was paper- and conversation-based
  • done face-to-face, or via telephone
  • longer turn around approval time

The e-procurement way involves:

  • an online procurement process to cut out steps and save money
  • Simplified software and faster turnaround times
  • Real-time interaction with pre-approved suppliers
  • Orders can be approved online and completed within minutes

We, at SafeSourcing want to you to see the savings and ROI the way couponers get excited about the saving in their pocket. 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.

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References

  1. http://thekrazycouponlady.com/beginners/
  2. https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/operations/purchasing/pages/traditional-vs-e-procurement.aspx

 

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Veterans Day; Never Forget!

Friday, November 11th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO of SafeSourcing and a US Air Force Vietnam Era Veteran.

What an appropriate sentiment for today November 11, 2016 Veterans Day. That quote which has been paraphrased a lot is actually “Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting”. This author believes it may be attributed to William Buckley. At least the first time I heard it.

Today is a day that we don’t expect those that have given so much to have to remember. It is up to those of us that have received their gifts to remember them and pay those gifts forward. Our veterans have provided a gift of service in order to defend the principles that guided our founding fathers almost 250 years ago. Many gave their lives. We will remember them and their families on this day and it is appropriate that we should.

Let the mottos of our branches of the US Military help you remember what guided all of those that gave in the name of Freedom.

1.  US Air ForceIntegrity First,, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do
2.  US Coast Guard “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready)”
3.  US Marines“Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful)”
4.  US Navy“Honor, Courage, Commitment”
5.  US Army“This We’ll Defend”

SafeSourcing looks forward to and appreciates your comments

 

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