Archive for July, 2017

“You Buy It, We Procure it”

Monday, July 31st, 2017

 

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

The above quote has recently become this author’s mantra. When working with current or new customers, I often ask what’s next in your pipeline or purchases. Too often I get a response similar to we don’t have anything coming up or we aren’t buying anything big today/this month/this year. A purchase doesn’t have to be considered big in the moment of ordering, but over time the expense adds up. For instance, copy paper is bought for almost every single office or location. While it might be a ream or case at time, added up might be in the thousands of dollars annually. Perhaps you own a fleet of vehicles and purchase tires multiple times a year. Without a pricing agreement in place to ensure the best possible pricing all year round, you are losing money.  Within each of these purchases, it might seem small or a onetime purchase, however, an annual spend or general ledger (GL) will show at the end of the year as a significant spend to the company.

SafeSourcing can work with your company to identify purchases and potential saving opportunities through our SafeSpend™ analysis. This presents your company with an overview of where not just the large purchases are, but where the small purchases are that add up to large purchases. This will give you the view into saving potential that SafeSourcing can offer with various sevices. Remember… “ If you buy it, we procure it”!

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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Are you saving time with application shortcuts?

Friday, July 28th, 2017

 

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

If you spend a lot of time creating or editing Microsoft Word documents, you could save some time and be more efficient by learning some of the built in shortcuts.  The shortcuts can be accessed by key strokes or utilizing the mouse.  The keyboard shortcuts are used by clicking a key or a combination of keys and mouse shortcuts can be accessed by certain types of clicks using the left mouse button.  The most common used shortcuts by users today are the “Ctrl+C” and “Ctrl+V”.  These two shortcuts allow you to copy and paste selected text within a document or other open documents.  Although these are the most common there are many more powerful shortcuts available.  For example, if you have multiple Word documents to open you can press “Ctrl+F6” to cycle through all of your open Word documents.  To cycle through the open documents, press and hold the “Ctrl” key and press and release the “F6” key.When the desired document is reached, release the “Ctrl” key to select the document.  Memorizing the available keyboard shortcuts will make you more efficient because you don’t have to remove your hand from the keyboard to use the mouse.  Below are some other shortcuts that I often use.

KeyBoard

➢ Ctrl+A – Selects all contents of the document

➢ Ctrl+B – Bolds highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+F – Opens the find box

➢ Ctrl+I – Italicize highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+P – Opens Print window

➢ Ctrl+S – Saves current document

➢ Ctrl+U – Underlines highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+X – Cuts the highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+Z – Undo last action

➢ Ctrl+End – Moves cursor to the end of the document

➢ Ctrl+Home – Moves cursor to the beginning of the document

➢ Shift+F7 – Runs a Thesaurus check on the selected word

➢ Shift+Alt+D – Insert Current Date

➢ Shift+Alt+T – Insert Current Time

Mouse

➢ Click, hold and drag – Selects all of the text from the start to the point you let go

➢ Double Click – Double clicking on a word will highlight the entire word

➢ Triple Click – Triple clicking on a word will highlight the entire paragraph

➢ Ctrl+Mouse Wheel – Zooms in and out of the document

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!

 

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3 Myths About Firewood (Part 1)

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

 

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

With the winter weather creeping upon us, I feel it is best to crack a few myths about firewood. There have been plenty of myths when it comes to the world of firewood. We have heard everything from how to prevent bugs, to how to stack the wood. The three myths I will be covering are as followed:

  1.  Keep firewood stacked close to your home.
  2. Bring a lot of wood in now so you don’t have to go back outside.
  3. Spray pesticides on the wood to kill pests.

Let us start by covering the first topic, “Keep firewood stacked close to your home.” This would make sense right? Why not put the wood as close to your house so you don’t have to walk as far to get it, especially on those cold winter nights. Wrong! Actually by keeping wood so close to your home you are raising the chance of attracting pests and other insects, such as wood destroying termites and carpenter ants. Attracting these bugs will not only be harmful to your firewood, but could also send them on a direct path to your home. Once these bugs get into your home, it will be a nightmare to get them out. It could cost you up to $2,500.00 to have an exterminator come out and get rid of those destructive little pests. Once the pests are gone, it can cost you up to $5,000.00 just to repair your home, assuming they did not cause permanent damage. Obviously this is something everyone is trying to avoid. So to crack this myth, it is best to store your firewood at least 20 to 30 feet away from you home and/or garage. You may have to walk to gather what you need, but at least you will not get termites in your home! Stay tuned to the next blog where I will be cracking one of the other two myths.

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.

Resources——————————————-

“Firewood and Pests: 3 Myths | Plunkett’s Pest Control.” Plunkett’s. N.p., 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 17 July 2017.

 

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Overcoming Declines

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

 

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

Defeating the decline is something most of us have had to deal with. It typically starts early in life. The girl you have been waiting all year to ask to the dance, says no. The time you asked your dad to co-sign on your first car, nope! Or the college you had your heart set on, “sorry to inform you but you were not selected”, blah blah blah. It’s a part of life and you will have to deal with declines constantly. But the key is HOW you will deal with the declines.

At SafeSourcing we offer an e-procurement tool that allows our clients to get better value without the hassle of hiring additional staff or devoting countless hours doing what we do in a fraction of the time. See, we deal with declines every day. In fact, we are sort of experts at it.

Declines are basically the starting point. Declines start a dialogue or a fact finding venture, where as an Account Manager, I can become better informed on the product or service I am selling. Through the engagement of the vendor, I am able to find out the real reason for “the decline” through direct questions or just being a good listener. In many cases, after speaking with the vendor regarding the decline, we both find out that they could still participate and bring value.

Some keys things to remember are:

  1.  When you receive a decline, IMMEDIATELY follow up with a phone call and find out why? There are definitely legitimate reasons a supplier cannot participate – logistics, they no longer provide that item; but before you hang up, ask, “Whom do you recommend?” More times than not, they will give you a company and a contact person.
  2. Ask good questions why the decline, “I can only bid on some of the items.” Great, we still want their participation. This can generate better savings for the items they are able to bid on.
  3. “We don’t do this this.” Great. What do you do? We might have another event they would be perfect for.

Basically, it is our job to make a decline into an opportunity, be it new leads, becoming better educated, or engaging the supplier and then finding a better event for them to join. 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.

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Fact vs Rhetoric

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

 

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

Rhetoric:

  •  The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Though we have a basic definition of rhetoric, we need to break it down a little further to understand how it’s used. The end goal of rhetoric is persuasion, to get others to come around to your way of thinking. Rhetorical appeals are most commonly known to manifest themselves in three modes of persuasion:

  •  Logos: The appeal to logic, a means of persuading an audience through reason (though this can use fallacious logic, and not necessarily validreasoning).
  • Pathos: The appeal to emotion and imagination, a means of convincing an audience by eliciting an emotional response.
  • Ethos: The appeal to the ethics or credibility of the party doing the persuading (though again this is a mode/tool of persuasion, but credibility can be built using well-told lies also).

Now that we have a basic understanding of rhetoric, you may already be able to think of both how useful and dangerous it can be. To a degree, it could be said that we never stop using rhetoric. Statements like “in my opinion” are used almost ubiquitously, but could be said to be using rhetoric to give the appearance of humility in order to elicit a softer response than you might receive if you started your claim with “I’m right about this, so here’s how it is…”

On the other hand, leading someone’s thinking with anything other than fact, is to lead them to a conclusion that may not fully align with reality, and that always has the potential for disaster. For example, if you need to motivate someone to action and use “guilt” as an appeal to emotion to accomplish this, your audience may recognize your attempt at manipulation, see use as untrustworthy and illogical (undermining Logos and Pathos), and be motivated in the opposite direction you intended.

Another example would be to persuade someone to think the way you do using credibility, rather than fact. You could pull out a long list of examples where you did well in a certain capacity or point to your college degrees on the wall, but at the end of the day, if you’re operating with a mindset of “how can I get someone to do this” instead of critically evaluating the facts with all parties, you aren’t working with the right criteria for success.

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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Make Time for eProcurement

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

 

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

Reducing spend is important. It’s actually among the most important and impactful methods to improve your company’s bottom line. In most industries, you’ll be hard pressed to generate the same effect through any other means. New stores, new accounts, improved processes, and more all have merit. The fact is, reducing spend while maintaining quality can create a one-to-one savings to bottom line improvement opportunity. Where else are you getting results like that?

So, reducing spend is a top priority. But, is it the most urgent priority? Right now? Chances are you have something going on that cannot wait. Maybe you have a fire that needs to be put out before you can tackle the job of reducing the cost of the floor tile for your upcoming new stores. Maybe that’s a literal fire that needs to be put out. It happens.

At the end of the day though, we have to make time to focus on reducing our spend. One way to handle this is to improve efficiency by working with a partner, such as SafeSourcing, to increase the number of eProcurement projects that you complete in a given time period. Let somebody work on your behalf by delegating responsibly. Then, instead of one project per month, you can easily achieve three. Your input will still be required, but your time commitment will be greatly reduced.

So put out that fire and let us focus on the details so you can realize the savings. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

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Technology in Sales

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

 

Today’s Post is by Eli Razov, SafeSourcing  Account Manager.

Technology is the keystone to sales success. In this day and age, we have the world at our fingertips. From pinpointing a certain location, to finding a company’s profile, the internet has our back. In sales, product knowledge is needed, but there are a lot of other things just as important. For example, knowing the indexes for certain commodities, knowing your target market, and knowing how to approach your target. Every salesperson should have tools and know how to use them. No I do not mean a wrench and hammer. What I mean is a way to keep track of your customers, reach out to potential and new customers, as well as let them reach you. Everyone should know how to use a spreadsheet or write or a power point. But there is more than that. Here is what I believe to be the top 5 tools in every salespersons tool bag.

Salesforce

  1. Keep Track of current and potential clients
  2. Set appointments and reminders with easy to use User Interface
  3. Perfectly Portable with mobile application

LinkedIN

  1. This is a fantastic way to view your clients
  2. Find companies using keywords or specific search protocols
  3. Networking is key

Clearbit Connect

  1. Integrates with Gmail
  2. Easily search for people and emails
  3. Upgrades current contacts with full company details and roles

Zapier

  1. Links over 500 apps for seamless integrations in  the sales process
  2. Set personalized events from receiving emails to the next action
  3. Simple fill in the blank setup

YesWare

  1. Instantly see when messages are opened
  2. Includes tools like email templates, send later, reminders and more
  3. Integrates with all top email providers including Gmail and Outlook

Of course any tool is only as good as the person who uses it. So learn to use your tools. There are always online videos and seminars, not to mention each one of the applications listed have a great training staff always on standby to help with simple questions. There are tons of tools and applications out there not to mention cellphones and the internet. Staying up to date with technology is beneficial to all salespeople. Selling is all about efficiency, from product knowledge to customer relations. Know who, what, when, where, and of course why, because if you don’t your competitor will.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcingRepresentative we have an entire team waiting to assist you today

 

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Here is some Lasik for retail e-procurement professionals in order to create better focus.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

 

Here’s and old post that continues to have merit with a link to another resource from FitSmallBusiness.com

Very often this author gets the question as to where to start in the e-procurement process. Too often I read that one needs to do a detailed discovery. The question is of what and how to get to the right place the quickest. So here is some Lasik for you that will help you see a little more clearly.

Using another idiom, and with renewed focus we hope to make it possible to see the forest for the trees by not focusing on excessive detail that is not needed yet.

There are four areas where you should begin your search for an e-procurement starting point and they are pretty simple.

1. Gross Sales
2. Cost of Goods Sold
3. Gross Margin
4. EBITDA.

This is really to say that if you take a look at your top line or Gross Sales and your bottom line or EBITDA and they are out of whack relative to your plan or industry averages you need to look at the above the gross margin line or Cost of Goods Sold or below the gross margin line which is expense related items for as an e-procurement focal point..

As such a couple of terms whose definitions you should be aware of are as follows.

According to two separate sources, Wikipedia and FitSmallBusiness.com  Cost of Goods Sold or COGS is a financial accounting  term which includes the direct costs attributable to the production or procurement of the goods sold by a company. This amount  can include the materials cost used in creating the goods along with the direct labor costs used to produce the m. It excludes indirect expenses such as distribution costs and sales force costs. COGS appear on the income statement and can be deducted from revenue to calculate a company’s gross margin.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization or EBITDA which is an approximate measure of a company’s operating cash flow based on data from the company’s income statement. EBITDA is calculated by looking at earnings before the deduction of interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Based on the above a lot is determined by who built you annual plan and how realistic it was to begin with.

Tomorrow we will review what underperforming these measure means and how it should point you in the direction as to where to begin your e-procurement focus.

We look forward to and appreciate you comments.

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The Power of Teamwork

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

 

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

Summer is no doubt the time for vacations, relaxation, and enjoying some sun and surf on a beautiful day. Recently, I read an article about some vacationers in Panama City Beach, FL who were trying to do just that. The problem, though, was there was a strong and large riptide at the beach that particular day.

If you aren’t aware, a riptide or rip currant is “a strong, offshore current that is caused by the tide pulling water through an inlet along a barrier beach.” In other words, stepping into a riptide can be very bad and it can pull you far out into the ocean. The currants are so strong that even the strongest swimmers struggle and often are lost because of exhaustion.

Unfortunately on this particular day in Florida, there were no lifeguards on duty at the beach, but very fortunately, there were a lot of people there and they were all willing to help. It began with a few people being pulled out far away from the shore and others trying to swim out and rescue them, unsuccessfully, and being stranded themselves. At one point, there were 12 people stranded in the rip currant, desperately needing help. This is where teamwork, camaraderie, and strength in working together are truly realized. Beachgoers on the shore, lacking any kind of rescue equipment, began forming a human chain. Dozens of them, with arms and legs locked together, created a chain long and strong enough to reach and rescue all of the stranded swimmers. These brave people who worked together to save the swimmers did not know each other and had very limited time to act. Those actions worked and lives were saved. If total strangers can come together in such an amazing way, with very little time and without all the tools they would want, imagine what the teamwork your organization is capable of. While great feats like this do not happen as often as we all could hope, we should realize that it is possible for a group to come together and accomplish great things.

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

References ————————————————————

Story

Definition

 

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If you can improve profitability 73%, Why don’t more companies use reverse auctions and other e-procurement tools?

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

 

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

Todays reverse auctions are web/cloud based  Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings that are part of very sophisticated procure to pay applications that let retailers and other companies find the best suppliers for any resale or not for resale product or service they wish to source.  Using a web based reverse auction tool, retailers, other companies or groups of companies (Group Purchasing Organizations) can invite far more suppliers to take place in reverse auctions than they could possibly find or manage using traditional sourcing methodologies. During the reverse auction event they can review on one page all responses from suppliers, data about suppliers, notes from suppliers, product specifications and other necessary information at an instant. Upon auction conclusion which is typically less than 30 minutes retailers and other companies can review savings scenarios and award business from their desktop.

Now let’s get to the simple financial benefits. Let’s assume a $150M Retail Company with industry average earnings of one percent or $1.5M. Additionally cost of goods for this company is 70 percent or $105M. Let’s also assume this company were to only source ten percent of their for resale or above the gross margin line spend or roughly $11M. With below industry average savings of ten percent, total savings generated would be $1.1M which is a direct impact to net profitability. If all other segments of the P&L perform to plan and all savings are recovered during the same business calendar year net profitability would increase to $2.6M or a 73% improvement.

Wen company’s  can begin almost immediately (SaaS/Cloud offering) with no risk (Cost Neutral Pilots)  and no IT involvement,why don’t more companies use reverse auctions and other e-procurement tools? That’s a great question!

If this author were you, I just could not ignore this type of opportunity. If you’d like to learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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