Archive for August, 2017

It’s a Digital World

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

The rules of the retail marketplace are changing dramatically. With the development of new technologies for bidirectional communication, consumers can get more information about retailers and their products more easily than ever before. Armed with knowledge gleaned from a multitude of sources, they are spending their money on the goods and services they value most and stipulating how they will interact with retailers. These rules certainly apply to printing processes.  There are many options when it comes to mass print materials.

Offset printing technology use plates, usually made from aluminum, which are used to transfer an image onto a rubber blanket, and then rolling that image onto a sheet of paper. It’s called offset because the ink is not transferred directly onto the paper.

Digital printing is popular across many markets because it can print multiple custom materials with each individual piece containing different information. This capability is known as variable data printing or VDP which opens up possibilities for customizing print media and printing multiple versions of the same product.

Digitally printed materials are vibrant high-quality products that can be used for practically any project. Some of the advantages of digital printing are:

  1.  Quick Turnaround – Digital printing doesn’t require plates, so there is no need to have a different plate for each color on the label, which means a shorter setup time.
  2. Quality – Digital presses print at a resolution of almost double that of traditional print methods which gives vibrant high-quality graphics with crisp, clear images and life-like colors.
  3. Price – No plates and less press setup time means the costs for digital printing are relatively low for short run printing as compared to offset printing.
  4. Lower Minimum Quantities – This cost benefit is maximized for relatively small quantities of custom print materials or “short run.” You can order only the amount you need right now, rather than ordering in bulk, simply to get the best price.
  5. Design Flexibility – Variable Data Printing allows graphic or text elements to be easily and efficiently swapped out throughout a print job.

In order to be competitive, you should regularly examine whether or not your design works for attracting your target audience.  The production of personalized printed materials with unique information, can allow you to better target specific types of customers.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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“Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

 

 

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

Many years ago, this author wrote a blog regarding being able to source and procure virtually anything, like 5-gallon bottled water for the office. Today, this still holds true, as this author’s previous blog was based on the mantra “If you buy it, we procure it”.

But what does that mean, you ask?

There is nothing we cannot help you purchase. If you buy it today from anywhere, we can run a Request for Proposal or a Request for Quote. These requests will help you determine if your purchase price falls within the market rates today, if you are paying too much in fees and freight, and through our proprietary services based web tools save you 10X ROI. Seriously, there is nothing odd about what we can procure for you. Here are a few examples of unique RFQs and the savings opportunities we achieved for our customers:

  • Cotton Candy 16%
  • Bundled Firewood 13%
  • Ice Bags 29%
  • Mud Flaps 34%
  • Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats 54%
  • Pest Control Services 41%
  • Diesel Exhaust Fuel (DEF) 27%
  • And yes, Baked Goods 37%

Essentially, this author is stating you can have your cake and eat it too, while saving your company money. 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 that add up to large purchases are and give you the view into saving potential through our company and various services.

“Life is too short to say no to cake”!

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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Post Event

Monday, August 28th, 2017

 

The event is over, savings were good, and reports are almost done. What’s next?

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

For me, I will spend the next couple of days reflecting back on what I could have done differently. Was all of the data correct and how will I use that knowledge to perfect the next event.

Reflect

I like to do an assessment on how the event went. I ask the project manager and our Director of Sales, Dave, their thoughts. Both have been at this awhile and have helped me better understand how the event went and address any issues. They ask me what I would have done different or did we have the right suppliers and enough coverage? I also like to hear the client and supplier feedback from SafeSurvey that is sent post event. This highlights specific things they liked or disliked.

Correct

The next step is to note where improvements need to be made and start implementing these changes immediately. i.e. Better vetting suppliers, better contacts, have I continued to update the documents, complete coverage from more than (2) suppliers, did I create a spreadsheet breaking down the numbers, are my specs correct, are the dates correct, is my checklist up-to-date, have I had my documents seconded eyed, third eyed?

Perfect

Finally, having a perfect event isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you follow the process, do your research, get complete data, ask the right questions, and get others input, your event should be a grand slam.

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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3 Myths About Firewood (Part 2)

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

 

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

​In my last blog Three myths about Firewood Part I , I explained that there are 3 myths about firewood. The first myth I cracked was that you should keep your firewood close to your home. That was incorrect because your home could become a home for termites and other bugs. With this blog I will cover the other two myths about your firewood.

The remaining two myths are: 1. Bring a lot of wood inside now so you don’t have to go back outside and 2. Spray pesticides on the wood to kill pests.

​Bring a lot of wood in so you don’t have to go back outside to get more. This myth should be easy to crack based on our first myth. Obviously, you want to bring in as much wood as you can to avoid that nasty winter weather. Sounds great, however, once that wood gets indoors, any pests that may have been frozen or hiding could wake up and begin to find a new home in YOUR home. If you bring in too much firewood you could expose your home to an abundance of spiders, termites, roaches, and other nasty pests. Safe to say, we should just keep our wood outside until we need it.

​The next myth of spraying pesticides on the wood to kill pests is actually a very common mistake. The idea and desire is to kill all pests on the wood so they cannot infiltrate your home. However, spraying pesticides on your firewood will create worse problems. Most pests that can chew through wood are pretty resilient. By spraying the wood you will only cause carpenter pests such as carpenter ants and termites to simply borrow deep into the wood to protect themselves. Once you burn the spray and infested wood, you are releasing all those chemicals into your home.So, there is obviously more to firewood than meets the eye. Avoid any pitfalls and keep your home pest-free this winter by recalling these cracked myths. Also, if you are a company looking to purchase bulk firewood then give SafeSourcing a call. We can help you with all your firewood sourcing needs.

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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How do you source that?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

 

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

“How do I source this category?” We field this question often. It’s very common to find that a client selects a category, but it not entirely sure how to go about sourcing that category. Sometimes, the category is complex. Other times it’s a relatively simple category that just hasn’t been sourced in some time.

What makes sourcing challenging is the unknown. If you haven’t sourced a particular category in several years, you might not have a very well documented specification. You might also not know who the players are in that space or what market factors are influencing the price of the category. When sourcing a highly complex category, you may not know all of the different components that will need to be outlined clearly to prospective suppliers.

SafeSourcing has the experience to guide our clients through the unknown to develop successful eProcurement projects. SafeSourcing clients have access to a vast library of specification templates to help develop your specifications. We have a comprehensive supplier database with over 427,000 suppliers to identify the right vendors to include in your eProcurement RFx Event. Perhaps most significant is SafeSourcing’s category experience. We understand that you might only source each category annually or every few years, but we source that category all the time for our clients.

Because SafeSourcing understands the market, the vendors, and the specifications, we are uniquely positioned to help answer the question: “how do I source this category?”

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

We look forward to your comments.

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Information Reliability

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

 

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

There is a trend in today’s society of calling the news that one doesn’t like “fake”. This, however, is a dangerous trend, as it sends the wrong idea that just because information is not liked, it can just be dismissed. The even more reckless effect of this trend is that people may accept that any true and factual news heard that goes against personal beliefs may simply become “fake”. With some cases, this may not have a detrimental effect on society as a whole, but there are some instances where it very well could. Take, for instance, the anti-vaccination trend of recent years. People believe that vaccines are bad and no amount of facts or proof will sway people to vaccinate, sadly to the detriment of those too small or sick to be vaccinated themselves.

This trend of dismissing unpleasant news, however, is grounded in truth. There are in fact, false news stories out meant to mislead and hype audiences toward particular conclusions for a variety of reasons. So, how can one go about verifying that what is read is truth and not false, misleading, or rooted in bias? While in some instances, the folks at the show MythBusters have helped viewers determine fact from urban legend, and those at Snopes help to determine validity of true and false articles, not all stories can necessarily be proved true or false. This is where looking into precedence helps.

Throughout school, many of us were taught, and reinforced through much practice, to find good and credible sources and cite them. Today, this exercise is one that can help those who seek reliable information. When reading or viewing an article or story, pay attention the named source of the information. Also, pay attention to whether or not facts are displayed, and not where those facts came from. If names and organizations are unknown, a quick google search can tell you more. There are some highly respected news sites that, despite what some may say, have consistently and thoroughly reported true stories grounded in facts. While not all audiences like the stories, The following agencies are reliable and trustworthy and often issue retractions if anything is a story is incorrect: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC, The Associated Press, NPR, and CNN, as well as many others.

At SafeSourcing, we believe in having true and reliable information for everything we undertake, and will use our knowledge and experience to find the best information for all of your sourcing projects. For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help your organization, 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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HEY! Leadership Teams!

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Let’s also assume that you want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time, like the next budget period; and want a sustainable process moving forward. Are you comfortable with your teams answer?

A number of issues you might consider are whether you have the requisite headcount, specifications, strategy, research skills as well as knowledge of new sources of supply to accomplish these lofty goals yourself.

Once you have settled on the fact that your existing team cannot achieve the above goal, the next question should be; what type of event services can an e-procurement solutions provider offer to help us if we can’t this ourselves?

By now, let’s assume you have come to the conclusion that there is no way possible for your team to do this alone. You now need to find a reputable eProcurement solutions provider. A quality e-procurement solutions provider should be able to ramp up to your task immediately. They should possess skills that are the foundation of their past success. These are very specific skills that enable them to run large volumes of e-procurement events in a full service mode with little guidance from you that have historically driven impressive savings on products and services over a long period of time. They should be able to provide reference to where they have done this in the past and how they were able to augment other company’s staff with little interference of their day to day work. Remember, knowledge transfer; passion, skill and required headcount to carry out these practices on a day by day basis are what drive results.

This process is provided by people behind the scenes with a very specific skill sets. If you really want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time, like your next budget period. And, you already know that you cannot do this by yourself, reach out to a Safesourcing customer services account manager to see how quickly we can be of assistance.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Avoiding common RFP mistakes

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

 

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

I sometimes hear stories from suppliers that are downright outrageous; I’ve literally been told “the dog ate my RFP”, and “I didn’t read any of the documentation” on multi-million dollar projects by executive level professionals. I’ve worked with a supplier on multiple year projects who has been late on each one, and always because his “mother just passed away”. If you’ve worked with me before you know I can sometimes be a little bit pushy to make sure you understand the structure of the RFP at hand, but I assure you it’s only to make sure the process goes smoothly for you. But what causes people to overlook the details of a project? I would suggest that the root of the problem is something every human being is susceptible to: Assuming we already know everything we need to know.

When going into a new RFP or other procurement project, the first assumption should be that we don’t know the needs of the customer until we’ve taken the time to learn them. I’ve seen suppliers come into a project trying to force their agenda, or assume the details of an RFP rather than observing, learning, and understanding first and asking questions second. It will always be difficult to come to a mutually beneficial business partnership if you don’t even understand the initial request that is being made. A successful RFP provides some basic information and asks questions, allowing the supplier to respond explaining their position, including product/service details, quotes, constraints, etc. Not actively listening and learning causes us to talk past each other, and can cause a misalignment of value propositions.

Listening well is a skill so commonly lacking that it is one of the first things taught in relationship counseling, and shouldn’t be overlooked in our professional lives. Active listening is taught formally in the classroom or counseling session by having one person take turns speaking to another, with the listener repeating in his/her words what was heard. This is effective because it prevents us from falling into the destructive habit of thinking about what we want to say while we should be listening to what is being said. Research suggests we only have the mental bandwidth to process a maximum of 1.6 conversations at a time, and if you’re fully listening to your own thoughts about what you want to say, you’re only hearing 60% of what you should be observing1.

[1] “Too Much Noise – Steelcase.” 2015. 15 Jul. 2015 <http://www.steelcase.com/insights/articles/much-noise/>

We make every effort at our company to make sure you are aware of the details of any procurement project, and also encourage feedback during the process to ensure each project is a positive opportunity, allowing you to put your best foot forward.

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’s the genesis of your supplier database and how was it built?

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

 

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

All databases have their start as an information gathering exercise that ultimately is enhanced by those characteristics the owner or developer determines to be useful to the community of interest the database is to be offered to. The information then becomes part of a data model where information sets can be accessed or searched based on a variety of queries or questions. Most developers follow a process called Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration or UDDI  as this process.

Universal Description, Discovery and Integration or (UDDI) is a standard established for building online databases of companies and the goods and services they provide, similar to Yellow Pages for the Internet. UDDI is intended to help businesses locate suppliers and products. Sourcing companies supplier databases go well beyond this definition.

Data models can be extremely complex and that is where they become more than a simple on line yellow pages. In fact high quality supplier databases should be able to provide much of the data you might find in the opening pages of a detailed RFI. A simple query like show me all companies within a 500 mile radius of your home office zip code that provide a set of products that meet the following safety certifications.  A next step might be summarizing all company information for these companies by a list of attributes such as company description, sale, years in business, officers etc.

How easy would that make your life?

If you’d like to find more qualified and vetted suppliers to support your sourcing efforts of any product or service, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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A simple supplier scoring system may provide key performance indicators for the future.

Monday, August 7th, 2017

 

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

Having a large international supplier database to drive sustainable results in e-procurement events such as ant e-RFX function is critical to that events success. Maybe even more critical is making sure that the suppliers once selected for participation in an event are of the highest quality, professional, responsive and have your best interests at heart. There are several areas in the early strategy stages of a  an e-RFX process which if properly monitored can be leading key performance indicators as to future performance. These KPI’s are; the initial supplier response and supplier training schedule adherence. If suppliers are not interested enough during these early stages, this may be an indicator of future performance in other more critical areas such as on time delivery, back order management, documentation and audit compliance.

A reasonable process for measuring these KPI’s would be to measure the number of days between the project start date or initial supplier contact and the event start date, where the supplier has been sent an invitation but has not responded either positively, negatively or given a reason  for their response. Maintaining an active status of response dates could be scored based on the number of days it takes invited suppliers to respond. The longer it takes a invitee to respond the lower KPI score that supplier would receive.  Another possible KPI measurement or filter once the invitation has been accepted would be the number of days between the date accepted and the event start date, where the supplier has accepted an invitation but has not completed their automated training.

These are not intended to be punitive measures. In most cases suppliers will perform beyond your expectations. Sustainability and quality require measurements regardless of how simple.

If you’d like to learn more about The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

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