Archive for March, 2017

The Oxford Comma and Proofreading

Friday, March 31st, 2017

 

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

For many of us, our schooling has emphasized the importance of proofreading our written works. This is supposed to eliminate any grammatical and punctuation errors, remove redundant ideas, and help keep a message fluid and comprehensible. Outside of the classroom and into the business world, proofreading should be even more important, but is often rushed or not done at all. This oversight and missing errors in a written work can affect your business, and your pocket.

As some background, the Oxford comma is the last comma used to separate a list of items. While it is often acceptably omitted, omitting it can change the meaning of a sentence. The oxford comma is used in the sentence, “You see two dancers, President Kennedy, and Bob Hope.” Clearly, the meaning of this sentence is that you see two people plus two dancers, for a total of four people. The same sentence, without the Oxford comma, “You see two dancers, President Kennedy and Bob Hope,” implies that you see two dancers, one being President Kennedy, and one being Bob Hope.

The real-life effects of omitting the Oxford comma can have detrimental effects on business. For example, a recent article described how the lack of the Oxford comma left one company to pay millions of dollars in a lawsuit. As the New York Times reported, the lack of the Oxford comma in one of Oakhurst Dairy’s contracts forced the company to pay $10 million for overtime it wasn’t expecting to pay.

While this is just one example, this situation demonstrates why proofreading is more important than ever, especially in business. Simple typing errors, misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and unclear language can leave customers and clients wondering about the quality of a business. On the other hand, clear, well-written, and informative language can bring in customers and clients.

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

 

 

 

Salesmanship

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Salesmanship, you see it every day, almost everywhere you go. To better understand how important this skill is, we must first look at the definition of Salesmanship according to the business dictionary. “Practice of investigating and satisfying customer needs through a process that is efficient, fair, sincere, mutually beneficial, and aimed at long-term productive relationship.” What this means, in simple terms, is that it is the employee’s job to discover what exactly the needs and wants are of the customer. After we discover what the customer needs and wants, it is then time to discover a process to fulfill those needs and wants of the customer. We must perform this process as fast and efficiently as possible. However, we must also find a way that our company does not lose out on the deal; this is where the “mutually beneficial” aspect comes into to play. A mutually beneficial agreement is an agreed upon term that benefits both parties of the deal. This is crucial to insure both parties are happy and leave the potential to start a long-term and happy relationship with the customer. All this starts with the employees of a workplace. It is key for all employees to go into the workplace with a salesman attitude. You never know who you will be meeting with or talking to at any point of the day, no matter the area you work in. Salesmanship should be practiced by all employees of a company. After all, you won’t have a successful company without customers. Just remember one bad conversation could end a great relationship, as one conversation could introduce a new customer.

Here at SafeSourcing we like to practice salesmanship in all areas of our work. It does not matter if we are talking to a current customer, a potential customer, or even a vendor. We believe we should conduct ourselves in a professional manner at all time, but also have fun while doing so. If you were to give SafeSourcing a call I can guarantee you will find yourself in a conversation with someone here with a great personality. So I challenge you to give it a try and call today and see how we can potential give a 10X or more ROI.

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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“What Is Salesmanship? Definition and Meaning.” BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

 

How well do you know your Vendors?

Friday, March 24th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Robert Rice is an Account Manager at SafeSourcing

By nurturing good vendor relations may lead to positive pricing, generous terms, improved availability, and even the occasional buyback. With these kinds of opportunities at stake, it can be very important to nurture relationships with key manufacturers and distributors.

7  Tips for Good Supplier Relationships

  1.  Pay on Time :  This is an obvious one, pay on time as you promised. So many companies work on thin margins, so their cash flow is as important as their business. This is even more critical for smaller companies. By paying on time as promised every time gains them trust and respect by the customer. Some companies track vendor payment history through vendor management software and have the ability to create a scorecard, which can lead to additional credit or discounts.
  2. Set Clear and Reachable Goals:  Some vendors will want to have estimates of how many products a buyer expects to sell in a given period so that those sellers may in turn provide feedback to producers or, in the case of distributors, better understand how many line items they should order themselves.
  3. Know that they have other Customers:  Small and medium sized companies have a lot of competitors, and sellers that may be serving both your business and nearest competition.To improve the vendor relationship, be patient. Understand that from time-to-time your vendor will be occupied.
  4. Educate yourself on what they need:  Since vendors do have many customers and a number of relationships to maintain, it can be helpful to educate yourself on what they desire from you.
  5. Don’t Blame Them:  There are going to be issues with suppliers and vendors. Blaming the representative on the end of the telephone or complaining via email will not help solve the problem.
  6. Nurture a Friendship:  There are 2 good reasons to try and make friends with a vendor. The first, we would rather do business with people we like. This can eliminate formalities and cut to the chase (savings). Also, people are more likely to do more for a friend than someone they just met. Developed relationships can provide access to products with low availability or even earn better prices.
  7. Get them to Buy into the Process:  Once you have a reputation of paying on time, providing orders in the proper format, and being nice with the vendor’s representatives, you can start to train the vendor on exactly what your client needs.

See how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

Nuclear Incentive

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

 

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

This is a continuation of the blog “Nuclear Negotiation”. I’m setting out to answer the most important questions about nukes by listing facts I deem important by two measures: How severe the effect on human beings could be, and 2. The number of lives it could affect. Then I will conclude with discussing the human factors at play, and how they affect our daily lives.

  •  Global Nuclear war would not end all life on earth: The US and Russia each have detonated thousands of nuclear weapons tests, and these did great harm to the environment, but it did not trigger an extinction level event (though most were in the ocean, to prevent debris fallout that an actual war would not). A war detonating anything above 100-megatons of total yield seems to be the estimate for what it would take to end “modern” humanity, in terms of causing global collapse of infrastructure (Turco et al. 1983) due to its environmental and radiological effects. Most experts seem to agree that some remnant of human life would continue to exist, even if it took thousands of years to recover, though of course there is no guarantee it ever would return to our current level of modernity.
  • The system will only work/stay out of nuclear war for as long as all players behave predictably. Mutually Assured Destruction (or MAD as it’s referred to) is the concept that for as long as it is assured that an attacking company would be destroyed for destroying its intended country, it won’t make the attack in the first place out of its own interest of self-preservation. The problem though of course, is that MAD assumes a. all participants are rational, and b. that no unpredictable cause, such as an accident/malfunction or terrorist nuclear incident, would occur and throw the delicate system out of order.
  • The British philosopher Bertrand Russell called this balance a walk on a tightrope, however: “You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years.” There are bills being considered with the aim of limiting the US President’s ability to launch a nuclear strike (Lockie 2017) in an attempt to create a safety net below this “tightrope”. However, this in and of itself could cause nuclear war, by removing the “Assured” part of Mutually Assured Destruction for any would-be attacking nation.
  • Reducing Risk  If you’ve wondered why there has been so much pressure over the years to reduce all nations’ nuclear arsenals, this is it. The assumption is that there needs to be a balance where our weapons of mass destruction are present enough to de-incentivize war, but that there are few enough of these weapons around that we don’t destroy our species over a misunderstanding inept leader. Afterall, the leaders we are trusting not to push that nuclear button are subject to all of the same weaknesses you and I are, and to expect that to go on indefinitely without disaster is to not understand human nature.

Why has MAD worked for the past 70-some years? Because of game theory: Player A makes a move, that forces player B to make a move to get to an optimum point, and both players keep making moves until there is no new move that will improve either player’s condition (equilibrium). In procurement, this means a buyer will switch suppliers that provide better products, pricing, logistics, etc. And conversely, a supplier will adjust pricing in order to retain (or gain new) business, up until the point where any more moves will not gain more benefit/would incur a negative outcome. Sound familiar? It’s the force that drives basically all human activity: Businesses change suppliers, people change relationships, nations create weapons of mass destruction, and the changes continue until all actors have reached a point where change would be less good than the current arrangement, and so equilibrium is reached.

But have you ever seen someone make a decision/change that took them out of equilibrium, to the point that they incurred a loss? Someone destroys a positive personal relationship? Sells product at a loss? Makes an irrational decision? It’s an irrational but very human thing to do. We do have the ability to learn and the capacity to be rational, and avoid making this mistakes in our professional lives. But maybe the most important thing we can do, is ensure our leaders the world over are unflappably rational, by knowing how to be rational ourselves. It’s literally the only thing allowing us to deal with our opponents effectively, in politics and in business.

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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Mills, Michael J., Owen B. Toon, Julia Lee‐Taylor, and Alan Robock. 2014. “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” Earth’s Future 2 (4). Wiley Periodicals, Inc.: 161–76.

“[No Title].” 2017a. Accessed March 12. http://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/files/IS3904_pp007-048.pdf.

———. 2017b. Accessed March 12. https://ia802303.us.archive.org/26/items/ManhattanDistrictHistory/MDH-B8V02P01-LosAlamos-Technical.pdf.

“Nuclear Arsenals | ICAN.” 2017. Accessed March 12. http://www.icanw.org/the-facts/nuclear-arsenals/.

Turco, R. P., O. B. Toon, T. P. Ackerman, J. B. Pollack, and Carl Sagan. 1983. “Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multple Nuclear Explosions.” Science 222 (4630). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 1283–92.

 

Nuclear Negotiation

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

 

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

How much blood, sweat, tears and treasure have you spent building your career, business, home, and family? If it’s true that all of it can be taken away from you and every other person on earth in the blink of an eye by a handful of people who control the world’s nuclear arsenal, what topic could be more important to understand the inner workings of?

Every time the presidential office changes leadership, there’s a lot of talk about their command of the nuclear arsenal. This typically accompanies rhetoric about World War II, and the end of the human species. “Enough nukes to destroy the surface of the earth 5 times over” is the line I’ve seen repeated many times. But is it true? Would a nuclear war necessarily escalate globally? Would it “just” set us back to the stone age, or literally eradicate the earth of all life? Who is in charge of these weapons, and what incentives have kept us from destroying ourselves for the 70+ years we’ve had them? I’m setting out to answer the most important questions about nukes by listing facts I deem important by two measures: How severe the effect on human beings could be, and 2. The number of lives it could affect. Then I will conclude with discussing the human factors at play, and how they affect our daily lives.

There are 9 countries that collectively maintain around 15,000 nukes(“Nuclear Arsenals | ICAN” 2017):

  • United States               6,800 warheads
  • Russia                           7,000 warheads
  • United Kingdom           215 warheads
  • France                             300 warheads
  • China                               260 warheads
  • India                                110–120 warheads
  • Pakistan                          120–130 warheads
  • Israel                                80 warheads
  • North Korea                 <10 warheads
  • Total                            14,900 warheads

There are also 23 nations that either don’t have nukes, that have treaties with nations who do, or that “host” nuclear weapons from other nations. This also means that if they were attacked with nuclear weapons, their partner nation would be under extreme pressure to respond to the aggressor in kind. Each of the nations that have dismantled parts of their nuclear arsenal (designated as “Inactive Reserve”) have these components in storage, and they could be reactivated/reconstructed. Data on these components is classified and difficult to find, but estimates are that there exist close to 20,000 additional warheads globally that could be readied for deployment in a matter of months.

  •  The authority to launch a nuclear strike rests largely with the 9 individuals that head their state: In the United states, the authority to launch a nuclear strike sits with the president, and no one has the authority to prevent it. Most of the 9 nuclear countries have a similar structure set up, and it has to be this way for the weapons to be effective: If country A knows it would take days for country B to decide whether or not to retaliate against an attack, then country A could nuke country B out of existence with impunity. For nuclear deterrence to work, nuclear countries have to believe they themselves will be attacked with nuclear weapons if they are to have reason not to attack each other. Time delays of more than mere minutes in a country’s ability to retaliate would eliminate the incentive of another nation not to attack. Because of the necessity of short timeframes, the world is always literally only minutes away from global nuclear war, should an event spark a nuclear attack from any of the 9 nations.

 

  •  Any one of the 9 aforementioned people has the power to kick-off a global nuclear war: The united states has treaties in effect preventing Japan from producing nukes, because we’ve promised to protect them militarily. In total, there are 67 countries the US is obligated to defend militarily if they are under threat (“Status of World Nuclear Forces” 2017a) that we know of, and the other nuclear powers have similar obligations. Therefore, if China nuked Japan, we’d be obligated to nuke China, which might provoke other nations, and we would have a global nuclear war on our hands within minutes.

 

Similar threats are of great concern where it involves terrorism. A terrorist with a “dirty nuke” could bomb a city, make it look like an attack from one of the 9 nuclear powers, who would retaliate with their own nukes, and global nuclear war would be inevitable.

  •  Nuclear weapons may be the only reason we haven’t had several more world wars: The period from 1945 to now has been dubbed “the long peace”, not because it’s been peaceful, but because it hasn’t seen world-war. Conventional war is complex, and “negatable” enough that it can be engaged in a way that one side may only incur minimal losses, while the other side incurs complete loss or surrender. When nuclear war was invented, it became clear quickly, that both sides of a two-sided war would both incur complete loss. Because of this fact, the nuclear powers have limited themselves to localized engagements and “proxy wars”. This is why there was a “cold” war with Russia, and why we’ve seen wars fought where large countries will arm smaller countries to fight for the larger countries interest, but the large countries will never directly engage each other. They all perform a complicated dance where they all know they are at war with each other, but take great pains to avoid admitting it or battling directly. And the reason for this is that they also know if they were to war overtly/directly with each other, it would lead to global nuclear war where no side would achieve what it wants. This concept in effect, means that it will only hold up for as long as the leaders of each of the 9 countries are all rational, capable of understanding the cost of direct war, and the incentives that force each other to either avoid or nuke each other.

 

  •  A global nuclear war might not completely eradicate all life on earth, nor the human species: One study concluded that a war where just 100 15-kiloton nuclear weapons were exploded on land would lead to decades of famine, radiation poisoning, increased UV radiation from ozone loss, and 1000 years of flux in average global temperatures before the earth returned to “normal”(Mills et al. 2014). 15-kilotons is the size of the nuclear weapon used on Hiroshima during World War II, and was of considerably smaller yields than “modern” nuclear weapons. The most powerful US nuclear bomb (the Mk-17) has a yield of 25 megatons, or about 1,666 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

 

The number is always changing, but the total nuclear megatonnage in play globally seems to be around 2200-megatons (Inc 2017), but that count varies from source to source.

What is to prevent a nuclear attack, or even accidental nuclear war from starting? What are the political forces at play and incentives driving the actions of the leaders of the 9 nuclear powers? We will explore this further in part 2.

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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Inc, Agence 3cinq. 2017. “Status of World Nuclear Forces | Nuclear Darkness & Nuclear Famine.” Accessed March 12. http://www.nucleardarkness.org/globalnucleararsenal/statusofworldnuclearforces/.

Lockie, Alex. 2017. “Democrats Introduce Bill to Curb Trump’s Ability to Launch a Nuclear Strike.” Business Insider. January 24. http://www.businessinsider.com/democrats-introduce-bill-to-curb-trumps-ability-to-launch-a-nuclear-strike-2017-1.

Mills, Michael J., Owen B. Toon, Julia Lee‐Taylor, and Alan Robock. 2014. “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” Earth’s Future 2 (4). Wiley Periodicals, Inc.: 161–76.

 

The Importance of Good Leadership in the Workplace

Friday, March 17th, 2017

 

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

Good leadership is a direct correlation to the success of a company, because of this good leadership cannot be overlooked or over emphasized. Leadership is the substance that makes all other elements come together. Great leaders know the importance of being in tune with the needs and issues concerning the business as well as his/or employees.

As a leader of an organization or business, it is also important to stay abreast of new developments in leadership theories and methods in order to maximize effectiveness.

Rebecca Hourston stated it best, “The substance of what you do—the result you deliver—is pretty fundamental in today’s economy. But working on the way that you do it is what will launch you into a different sphere of success altogether—even if you already count yourself as pretty successful.”

An effective leader trains others to become leaders. A good indicator of your ability to lead is how well the company operates in the mist of his/her absence. A company should not falter in the absence of its leader; it should operate business as usual.

An important thing to remember is leaders and leadership styles may need to change at times to accommodate the changes within the business or organization. For example, when new people are hired and join your team; when a leader is promoted or moved to another department.

Leadership also effects productivity.  A good leader knows the strength of their team and knows how to delegate task efficiently, resulting in increase in work productivity.

Also, good leadership can improve employee morale and make workers more loyal to the company.

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.

Resources——————————————————-

Hourston, R. (Ed.). (2014, June 09). 7 Steps To A Truly Effective Leadership Style. Retrieved March 15, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2013/04/24/7-steps-to-a-truly-effective-leadership-style/#62e15e411ce5

 

Do You Know How Knowledge Management Framework Can Help Your Business?

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

 

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”—Dalai Lama

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

A Knowledge Management framework is a complete system of People, Process, Technology and governance, which ensures that Knowledge management is applied systematically and effectively to improve business results.1.

➢ People; knowledge management roles have to be established in the business, communities need to be set up to share and reuse tacit knowledge, behaviors such as seeking for and sharing knowledge need to be incentivized, and to become ‘the way we work’2

➢ KM Processes; there has to be a tried-and-tested process for capturing, distilling, validating, storing, applying and reusing knowledge, and also for innovating.

➢ KM Technologies; the people and the process need to be supported by enabling technology, which allows knowledge to be found and accessed wherever it resides (in databases, on the Intranet, in people’s heads). IT plays an important role in KM, by providing the technology to allow people to communicate.2

➢ KM Governance; without a governance system that promotes and recognizes sharing and the re-use of knowledge, any attempts to introduce KM are going to be a hard struggle. Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore more about Knowledge Management Framework.2

Why is this important in your business?

A strong KM framework is vital for the success of Knowledge Management; as follows 3

➢ With no accountabilities, it is nobody’s job.

➢ With no processes, nobody knows how.

➢ With no technology, nobody has the tools.

➢ With no governance, nobody sees the point.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore more about Knowledge Cycle.  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-knowledge-management-
  3. www.knoco.com/knowledg-management-framework-design.ht

 

What’s in a Blog?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

 

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

If you have ever wanted to write about something, but struggle having enough content for a book, then maybe you should consider writing a blog. According to Google, blogs are defined as “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

In the past ten years or so, blogs have been growing in popularity, and after exploring a few, it isn’t hard to see why. Blogs tend to be written casually, as if you were talking to a friend or acquaintance, and because of this, they can be fun and easy to understand. By using your own humor and language, whatever topic you write about tends to resonate with readers.

On top of the informal style, then length of blogs appeals to many readers. Often, people don’t spend much time strictly reading one thing, but rather browse a variety of topics and read a bit on each. Blogs are the perfect medium for casual readers like this. They are short and to the point.

One of the best aspects of blogs, though, is how available it is to public. Since blogs are published online, and often on specific blog sites, a blog can reach hundreds of thousands of people in a short amount of time. Because blogs are so easily accessible and well liked, the popularity in writing and reading them is continually growing. With niches available for almost any topic, there is bound to be a place to read, learn, and share your thoughts on any subject.

For more information on SafeSourcing blogs or how to begin writing your own, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Time versus Effort

Monday, March 13th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Rob Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

This may not seem to be a big deal, but I’ve been told on many occasions and in different scenarios, “make sure you have the right tool for the right job.” Believe it or not, but on Ace Hardware’s website, there are 57 choices of hammers and that’s just from the Ace line.

My point is there are a lot of choices out there when deciding how you will purchase goods and services for your company. It is not as simple as one might think. For example; you need a cleaning crew for your office. Simple enough, google cleaning crews, call 3 or 4 of them and compare prices and go with the most economical, right…..not so fast. Did you take in account if they are bonded, green conscience, the type of chemicals they use, did they conduct background checks on the workers, what type of reputation do they have and can they provide references? These are some of the questions you need to have answered. Now here’s the big question, do you have the time?

Time is the real monster that rears its ugly head. How much time and effort are you willing to commit to ensure you get the quality of service and supply that will meet, if not exceed the standards set by your CEO? In my experience, one “simple” procurement can consume a day or days which caused me to fall behind on more serious issues, projects or other purchasing needs. This can lead to frustration and a huge waste of valuable time. Unfortunately, you may skip some or all of the vetting process and just hope it all works out. 

If you don’t have the time, that means either two things; hire more people, or find a company with the expertise, technology and dedicated staff to assist you with your purchasing needs. E-procurement tools can assist and enhance the way you do purchasing all the while saving money and time. SafeSourcing is just that company, an e-procurement company offering a complete procure-to-play suite of applications, a dedicated staff and access to over 450K global suppliers.

It boils down to, how much time you can afford versus getting the supply and/or service in a timely fashion and under budget. 

Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing 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.  

 

 

Taking the proper time to prepare for your sourcing projects. The story of Ray and John!

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

This blog series details the story or Ray and John.  Ray and John are both procurement professionals who work for multi-billion dollar food manufacturers.  Both Ray and John have corrugated containerboard contracts that are about to expire and with a predicted rise in the pulp market, both professionals are looking to renegotiate their contracts in order to lock in the hopefully current lower prices.  Ray and John, however, took different paths in order to get this category sourced and, as expected, their results reflected their differing preparation time.

Over the course of this week we will be looking at five areas that Ray and John approached differently and how those decisions and time investment affected their final results.  These areas are:

•  Understanding the market

•  Understanding the suppliers

•  Understanding their own company

•  Understanding their goals

•  Understanding and interpreting the results

When Ray and John began reviewing the containerboard project each began with a similar set of information.  They knew how much they were spending and the locations the containerboard was being shipped to.  They had each received some feedback from the field relative to the quality and customer service of the incumbent vendors (of which each had multiple) and they had some part number information from the past invoices.

Ray jumped right in and began to reach out to the suppliers to coordinate meetings on renegotiating the upcoming contract pricing structure.  Ray had seen in one of his trade journals that the pulp index was on the rise and knew enough to know that he wanted to lock in prices before those increases started taking effect.  Outside of that information Ray really did not take any additional time  in order to research the market in order to try and understand what experts were saying about the trend over the next few years and any changes that were happening with technology or safety that may affect his company.

John had already been keeping up with the market for the past year and had been speaking to professionals about their opinion of where the industry was headed.  He had attended two online webinars and at the last industry trade show he made sure to make appointments with two different containerboard companies he had spoken with who were also going to be at the show.  Through his efforts he had learned of a new technology that was coming that was going to drastically affect the costs of production of containerboard.  While the technology was new it was a key point he would be discussing with his incumbents relative to their understanding of it and their plans to potentially implement it within their facilities.

John also found out that there were three leading experts that felt that the increases that were coming in early 2013 would hold there for a while and be the last ones expected for a while.  This was great information because John now knew that when it came time to negotiate his new contracts that he would structure the language surrounding Index related price changes slightly differently because of that.

John’s process involved an intentional commitment to category education throughout the year and some additional time for research up front than Ray’s approach. As such John started his project fully prepared with an understanding of the status of the market before ever reaching out to a supplier.

Stay tuned the rest of the week as the story of Ray and John unfolds.  You may be like Ray but desperately want to operate like John but without the staff or the time to dedicate at that level.

At SafeSourcing we understand Ray’s frustration and that is why our customer services team works with you to achieve great results while removing much of the work from your plate.  For more information on how we can help you with your sourcing projects, 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.