Archive for February, 2017

Gross Domestic Product

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

 

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

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. The GDP figure is released quarterly. We use GDP to measure economic output. The growth rate in GDP is closely evaluated by the Federal Reserve to determine whether the economy is growing too slowly or too quickly. (Bankrate.com)

I recently read an article concerning the GDP and if it can still effectively measure the economy. This was being questioned because the economy has shifted from being a production driven economy to a more service driven economy. The economy used to be driven by the production of things, such as refrigerators, cars, shoes, etc.

Today the economy thrives from services and technologies. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the quarterly data by industry reports that finance and insurance; wholesale trade; and information services were the leading contributors to the increase U.S. economic growth in the third quarter of 2016. The Bureau also reported, 20 of 22 industry groups contributed to the overall 3.5 percent increase in real GDP in the third quarter.

SafeSourcing, Inc. is part of the service industry. We provide innovative eProcurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers; as well as provide superior value for all stakeholders. In addition to providing information, tools and services, SafeSourcing proactively supports consumer safety and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain management process.

To learn more, visit SafeSourcing.com.  Let SafeSourcing manage your services, goods and projects. We can handle your sourcing needs. 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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https://bea.gov/newsreleases/glance.htm Ahearn, Cale (2016, September 21).

 

 

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What is an Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) Scanner?

Friday, February 24th, 2017

 

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

An Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) scanner is a device that is used to read information from the computer within vehicles that were built after 1996. There are two types of OBD-II devices.  The first are basic code readers which can read and clear codes.  The second are scan tools which can provide more information about specific codes and provide access to recorded and live data.  The scan tool is the more expensive of the two and offers a variety of features not found in the basic reader. The devices are fairly simple to use and connect to a standard connector usually located under the dash.  Some of the devices are Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled and can connect to your smart phone using apps that are available for download.  There a many apps available that offer different features, you just need to make sure it is compatible with your OBD-II device you own.  To use the scanner, simply plug the device into the vehicles connector, connect to the device using your smartphone and then open the OBD-II application.  The most common use for the device is reading current trouble code(s).  These are codes that can be given off by the check engine light, check transmission light, ABS light, airbag light or other modules.  These codes can be accessed and cleared by using the downloaded application.  Depending on the application you may also be given additional information about the trouble codes such as possible causes and possible fixes for the recorded code.  Below are some other diagnostic features that are available with a scan tool and compatible application.

  • Engine Temperature
  • Fuel Rate
  • O2 Sensors
  • MAF Airflow Rate
  • Batter Voltage
  • Vehicle Speed
  • RPM

If you would like some help finding the right scanner, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one will 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.

 

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Do You Know The Different Types of Knowledge?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

 

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

“Understanding the different forms that knowledge can exist in, and thereby being able to distinguish between various types of knowledge, is an essential step for knowledge management (KM). For example, it should be fairly evident that the knowledge captured in a document would need to be managed (i.e. stored, retrieved, shared, changed, etc.) in a totally different way than that gathered over the years by an expert craftsman.”1.

Over the centuries many attempts have been made to classify knowledge, and different fields have focused on different dimensions. Within business and KM, two types of knowledge are usually defined, namely explicit and tacit knowledge. The former refers to codified knowledge, such as that found in documents, while the latter refers to non-codified and often personal/experience-based knowledge. KM and organizational learning theory almost always take root in the interaction and relationship between these two types of knowledge. Some researchers make a further distinction and talk of embedded knowledge. This way, one differentiates between knowledge embodied in people and that embedded in processes, organizational culture, routines, etc. (Horvath 2000).

Explicit: information or knowledge that is set out in tangible form.2

Implicit: information or knowledge that is not set out in tangible form but could be made explicit.2

Tacit: information or knowledge that one would have extreme difficulty operationally setting out in tangible form.2

Embedded: knowledge that is locked in processes, products, culture, routines, artifacts, or structures (Horvath 2000, Gamble & Blackwell 2001).1

All knowledge is a mixture of tacit and explicit elements rather than being one or the other. The “build it and they will come” expectation typifies this approach: Organizations take an exhaustive inventory of tangible knowledge (i.e., documents, digital records) and make them accessible to all employees. Senior management is then mystified as to why employees are not using this wonderful new resource. In fact, knowledge management is broader and includes leveraging the value of the organizational knowledge and know-how that accumulates over time. This approach is a much more holistic and user-centered approach that begins not with an audit of existing documents but with a needs analysis to better understand how improved knowledge sharing may benefit specific individuals, groups, and the organization as a whole. Successful knowledge-sharing examples are gathered and documented in the form of lessons learned and best practices and these then form the kernel of organizational stories.3

Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore more about Knowledge Management Framework.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. For more information on how 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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Resource: 

  1. http://www.knowledge-management-tools.net/different-types-of-knowledge.html
  2. http://www.knowledge-management-cafe.com/faq/what-explicit-implicit-and-tacit-knowledge
  3. https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/content/9780262015080_sch_0001.pdf

 

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Ready, Set, Gone

Monday, February 20th, 2017

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Manager of HR and Administration at SafeSourcing.

With a world of information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to no not only gain people’s attention, but also to sustain that interest. It is believed that a person forms an opinion of a product, company, or another person within eight seconds. On top of that, most people visiting websites only average 10-20 seconds before leaving. Viewers visiting websites and online articles will likely only read about 20% of the words on the page. This is a growing challenge for businesses and especially marketing groups, but they have found a few ways to not only get more viewers, but to keep their attention even longer.

First, keep messages short and to the point. While lots of information and expanding on a variety of topics is great for research and academic papers, most consumers retain short simple messages. If the message happens to resonate with a consumer, short and clear facts help to keep their attention.

If the message you want to relay is a long and complex one, there are ways of getting viewers invested in what you are trying to say. For example, telling a story or using real life examples can be highly effective. Presenting a common problem or situation with your message embedded into the story can leave a lasting impression.

Second, make things easy. Majority or viewers prefer watching a video to reading a block of text. Often, just putting text over a video can be just as effective. However, if a video is not an option, using graphics and images is a way to keep attention and even inject humor into topics.

With our ever-moving, fast-paced digital age, getting your message across effectively can not only get the attention you seek, but also change the processes of how business and marketing approach consumers. Different tactics can yield different results, and sometimes stopping to smell the roses is an underrated activity.

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

Sources:———————————————————

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/shortening-human-attention-span-and-what-it-means-marketers-infographic

 

 

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Full Software as a Service

Friday, February 17th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing.

If you’re a follower of eProcurement and a reader of our blog and other great blogs out there, you likely understand that there are many different ways to leverage eProcurement in an organization.

Chiefly, we recognize two distinct types; those that are software or platform oriented and those that are service oriented. Both types may refer to their offering as Software as a Service (SaaS). Setting bias aside, I can acknowledge that there are pros and cons for each and that both have their merits. Picking back up my bias, I’d like to elaborate on some of the reasons why we recommend choosing an eProcurement provider with a service oriented approach. You might think of it as Full-Service Software as a Service (FSaaS).

First, and not to sound like a broken record, is time to value. When you’re standing up a new eProcurement platform, you have to be conscious of how long it will take before the results – your savings – are realized. When you work with a service oriented provider, you can lean on your provider during the first weeks and months as your organization gets up to speed. The provider can offer intellectual property (IP), expertise, staff augmentation through customer services, and the platform itself. The combination of these offerings is what will, ultimately, provide fast time to value. If you’re doing it right, results should be realized in the current quarter.

Second is cost. While it might seem as though the software or platform only options will be the lower cost alternative to the full-service options, you have to look at the total cost of ownership (TCO). Again, while the upfront software or platform only costs may seem low, you have to be careful of the factors that will drive your actual costs up. These might be user training, support, additional features, or additional user licenses. Also, to stand up an eProcurement platform without the assistance of a full-service provider, an organization should be prepared to allocate several FTEs to use the tools, work with suppliers, and provide supplier support. The fully loaded cost of these employees should be factored into your TCO estimate and should not be underestimated.

Many of the most successful clients that I have worked with have found their success using a full-service provider. Some have tried a software or platform only approach as well and have ultimately determined that the right approach is full-service.

Dave Wenig is the Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team atSafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

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Another Pet Food Recall!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

 

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

Many years ago there was a pet food recall that affected many brands.  My own dog got extremely ill and required medical attention.  Since then we cook protein for him and supplement his diet with an organic dry food.  Many people view their pets as family members…I am one of those people!

Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food, of Wheeling, Illinois, has recalled specific lots of its Hunk of Beef pet food.  The recall is due to potentially contaminated product with a lethal sedative.

Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Au Jus detected Pentobarbital in one lot.   The FDA reported one dog has died and four others became ill after eating the product,

The recall affects 12-oz. cans of Hunk of Beef:

  • 1816E03HB
  • 1816E04HB
  • 1816E06HB
  • 1816E07HB
  • 1816E13HB

The expiration date of June 2020 is indicated on the product. The second half of the barcode reads 20109, which can be found on the back of the product label.

The products affected were sold in stores and online in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and were manufactured the week of June 6 – June 13, 2016.

Pentobarbital, in high doses, can be used for euthanasia. Side effects of non-lethal doses include drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, or nausea.

“All Evanger’s suppliers of meat products are USDA approved,” the FDA said. “This beef supplier provides us with beef chunks from cows that are slaughtered in a USDA facility. We continue to investigate how this substance entered our raw material supply.”

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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Retail spend management basics.

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

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

No you do not!

A major step to trying to understand where to spend your effort when building an e-RFX attack plan is to understand the detail of your company’s P&L and how it can provide clues as to where you might have the most impact.

I meet with buyers or other e-procurement knowledge workers on a regular basis that want to know what categories are the best to select in the short term to prove the benefit of  e-negotiation tools. This quite honestly is not a bad approach for pilot selection as it creates an almost sure thing that results in a lot of excitement and the energy to move the process forward within a company.

Quite often before meeting with a new client, I will analyze their annual report and their summary and detailed P&L if available in order to get a good idea as to where the opportunities are hiding that can have an immediate impact. However in order to have long term viability as a way to conduct the business of buying, a more detailed analysis is required. Quite frankly before you can even begin to discuss vendor or supplier selection, management or evaluation this process is critical.

Key data required to prepare you for this analysis can consist of but is certainly not limited to the following. All of this data is readily available from a variety of industry sources. Quite often the data is a year old but you can bet it is better than anything else your customer may be using today.

1. Research and accumulate your specific Industry data
2. Analyze last years P&L
3. Compare your cost of goods with your Industries averages
4. Compare your gross margins with your Industry averages
5. Compare your net earnings with your industry averages
6. Conduct the same comparisons with selected retailers with whom you compete. Pretty easy if they are public.
7. Compare your departmental sales and margin results to those of your specific industry.
8. Look for department level anomalies.
9. Look for specific product anomalies within major and sub departments.
10.Select top categories that are below plan and outside industry average for cost of goods and margin.
11.Select top products that are underperforming to industry averages and plan

One example of the above might be to look at the grocery department sub category of pet care. Now drill down to the sub category of cat and dog products and a list of all accessories. Now look at what products are underperforming to the industry and plan. Continue your analysis with other underperforming categories.

In summary, did you need a spend cube to try and figure this out? No you did not. You needed someone that understands your industry and your P&L with some analytical common sense.

If you’d like to learn how these techniques can assist you, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Retail Contract Leakage. Where does it come from and how can we stop it?

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

 

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

How does your organization  now ensure that the award of business is implemented or delivered as awarded so that you indeed receive all of your savings?

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

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

1. Buying without a contract.

2. Expensing something outside of a contract

3. Having multiple contracts in place:

4. Executing a new agreement when one is already in place

5. Paying a price different from the contract

6. Delivery variances

7. Quality specifications variances

8. Making payments at a prices different from the contract

9. Scope creep

10. Invoice discrepancies

11. Missed volume discounts

12. Insurance discrepancies

13. Shipping discrepancies

14. Expired contracts resulting in price uplift

15. Evergreening

16. Overtime Violations

17. Material discrepancies

18. Sub Contractor discrepancies

Don’t  have your team work hard to drive benefits with your procurement solutions and then lose much of what you have gained to contract leakage. Ask your e-procurement solutions provider how they can help or save yourself a lot of time or please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Here are twenty-one reasons why all retailers should use E-Procurement tools.

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO of SafeSourcing Inc.

Since this is not Late Night with David Letterman, our list is not ranked in order of importance although many might argue that not much is more important than improved earnings.

1. Guaranteed to improve net earnings
2. Guaranteed to improve safety
3. Guaranteed to improve Corporate Social Responsibility.
4. Guaranteed new sources of supply
5. Retail has less spend assigned than any other industry
6. Streamlines the  procurement process
7. Holds suppliers accountable to your standards.
8. Improves quality
9. Cost avoidance in a volatile market
10. Creates a competitive environment
11. Drives reliable market pricing
12. Maintains a reliable history for future comparison
13. Educates suppliers as to how retailers wish to procure products
14. Supplier training eliminates questions
15. Improved and consistent product specifications
16. Improved negotiation.
17. Improve carbon footprint
18. Simple award of business process
19. Frees up time for other tasks
20. Works for procurement of all product categories
21. Provides a detailed audit trail.

This author is not sure why a derivative of this list could not become the mission statement for any procurement department. if you’d like help working on your list, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We appreciate and look for ward to your comments.

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The Injustice of Procurement

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

During my “spare time” when I am away from the office, I attend night and weekend classes to achieve a higher education at a local university. Every semester, the Professors have the students introduce themselves to the class. We are asked to explain ‘simple’ insights into our lives outside of our academic careers.

1. “Who are you?”
2.  “Where are you from?”
3. “Do you work? If so, where? What do you do?”

All of the questions seem harmless. You have the typical responses from traditional students for questions 1-3, but very few pause on the third question, I am one of them. The last question, “what do you do?” always gives me pause. I pause whenever I am asked this question whether in academia or not.

This semester, I was asked these questions by my Microeconomics Professor. My response was, “Yes, I work for a company in Arizona called SafeSourcing. We are a third party e-Procurement company.”

After I spoke, I was met with many confused looks, and I realized why after I said it. No one knows what procurement or e-procurement is. Procurement is rarely taught in higher education, unless you are a Supply Chain Management Major, and in the private sector it is brought up if you work within a company sect for it, however in the government sector it is common language.

The common individual or fellow student has no idea what Procurement means.

As I was looking through my textbook for Microeconomics, I realized that “Procurement” is not listed anywhere within the book. Why?

Procurement is, in my opinion, the step child in the Economic world. I say that because sometimes, even people who are familiar with purchasing have no idea what Procurement is. They do not know that is the purchasing of goods and services. Every single time a bar code is swiped at the grocery store, the buyer is procuring it. Individuals that participate within the economy typically assume that the items that line the store shelves just get there. It doesn’t matter how, or at what cost, until they reach the check-out line.

Procurement is the awareness around supply chain management and demand curves, and reducing costs where it is possible, so that extra cost never hits the consumer.  Procurement happens where people aren’t looking, at every single point in the economy where money is spent.

Oh, and to educate those who still do not know the definition, defined by BusinessDictionary.com:

The act of obtaining or buying goods and services. The process includes preparation and processing of a demand as well as the end receipt and approval of payment. It often involves:

(1) Purchase planning
(2) Standards determination
(3) Specifications development
(4) Supplier research and selection
(5) Value analysis
(6) Financing
(7) Price negotiation
(8) Making the purchase
(9) Supply contract administration
(10) Inventory control and stores
(11) Disposals and other related functions

The process of procurement is often part of a company’s strategy because the ability to purchase certain materials will determine if operations will continue. A business will not be able to survive if its price of procurement is more than the profit it makes on selling the actual product.
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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