Archive for September, 2017

Winter Parking Lot Maintenance

Friday, September 29th, 2017

 

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

It’s hard to believe but winter is just around the corner and with it comes the harsh conditions that can deteriorate your parking lot and driveways.  All of the harsh conditions such as rain, snow, ice and the chemical used to melt these conditions can take a toll on a poorly maintained area.  Make sure to keep the area clean.  This means removing any materials such as leaves, planting materials, rocks and gravel.  These types of materials can hold in moisture and may help cause early corrosion.  If there are any areas that contain chemicals such as oil, gas, or other liquids, make sure and use the proper cleaner to remove the stains.  Leaving these types of petroleum stains can damage the area even if they are seal coated.  Once the seal coating is damaged, water may be able to seep in through small cracks which will weaken the area and allow larger cracks to form.  If you do find that you already have small cracks while cleaning, then repair the cracks before further damage occurs.  Not repairing cracks will eventually lead to the development of pot holes which will be lead to more costly problems.  Once cleaned and repaired make sure that it is seal coated.  This should be done about every two to three years to help protect the asphalt from surface water, sun and harsh chemicals.  Below are some tips for keeping your parking lot well maintained.

➢ Routinely Inspect

➢ Keep it Clean

➢ Keep it Sealed

➢ Remove all Chemical Stains

➢ Look for Bad Drainage Areas

➢ Fill Cracks and Pot Holes

If you need help finding a licensed maintenance company to maintain your parking lot, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company meets 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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Procurement after a Natural Disaster

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

 

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

Both hurricane Harvey and hurricane Irma have wreaked havoc in Texas and Florida over the past several weeks, resulting in dozens of lives lost, and costs in damage to buildings alone are being estimated as between $100 and $400 billion dollars. But of course the cost isn’t limited to direct building damage as there will be costs in disruption to production activities, costs, and increased demand for goods. So what are some of the things procurement professionals should keep an eye out for post-natural disaster?

Crop losses: Orange crop losses are estimated at 10%, grapefruit at 20%, and could increase due to the greening disease Florida has been battling with that is exacerbated by moisture. Other crops of fruit, nuts, and melons are expected to be similarly affected.

Lumber: Even before the two hurricanes hit land, demand for plywood for boarding up windows increased. Now that the rebuilding efforts are underway, lumber is in greater demand than ever. Prices in Texas and Florida are expected to rise by 20%, partially due to a secondary cause of a recent 10% tax on Canadian soft wood imports.

Insurance: Currently the insurance industry is estimating they will be on the hook for about $300 billion in property and business loss claims, with losses in the $35-$70 billion dollar range. The re-insurance industry that further protects the financial health of the insurance agencies, is considering re-negotiating their rates to account for such monumental loses.

Energy: Total production of gasoline and natural gas is not expected to have been reduced by more than 1%. However, the disruption caused by the storms has had an interesting impact on demand as well, while hundreds of thousands of people are not driving back and forth or able to utilize the amount of energy they did on a normal basis. The outlook in the mid-term is a volatile and unpredictable market.

The bottom line is that for procurement professionals, a wide variety of industries have been thrown into turmoil, making it difficult to begin new initiatives or guarantee pricing for the short term. Furthermore, logistical concerns for moving product in and out of the affected areas will incur protracted lead times. This both presents challenges to sourcing new contracts, while also making it critical to lock down future agreements. Where commodities affected by natural disasters are concerned, everyone will be feeling the pinch. However, these challenges above make it more important than ever to lock-in favorable agreements more important than ever.

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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We got what you need!

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

 

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

What is your procurement process? How do you find the products that are required to keep your company operating? Weather it is the raw materials to create your products or the packaging you use to ship it out, there are multiple places to choose these products from. But how do you choose the best? Is it based off of price or maybe the quality? What do you consider value? From sugar to corrugated cardboard there will always be options. Maybe you go with the simple approach, call vendors you hear of from word of mouth. Or perhaps a friend or co-worker works with someone from a particular company and can get you that “in”. You can also take the tech approach and become best friends with Google or a similar search engine.

Great now you have found a few companies, so what to do from here? You call or email for a quote. You talk to someone on the sales side of things and get the information you need by divulging every aspect of your business to try and get a lower price. It doesn’t end there because now you have to do that maybe five more times because you’re not doing yourself any favors by stopping at the first price you get. So now you maybe have five or six quotes. What is the next step? Not sure? Maybe you haven’t gotten this far before or maybe you have and are a seasoned vet.

Well the next step is to discuss terms and nail down specifications. Now what? Where do we go from here? Do you choose the lowest price or maybe look up some reviews? The next logical step is to get samples and compare them to what you have, want or need. Excellent! Now maybe you found the right one but wait, it’s the most expensive! Do you go back to the drawing board or just fork over the dough? All of this process can take weeks and a lot of time out of a company’s already hectic schedule

That is where we come in! Here at SafeSourcing we take the headache out of the procurement process. From start to finish we help with it all. We will find the vendors for you; tailor the specifications to your exact needs. On average, across all companies in many different markets, we drive down pricing around 21% on average. We will do the leg work for you and open up your schedule to do what matters, your business.

Contact us please.

 

 

 

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Holidays and your Business

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

 

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

Many of you may have noticed stores beginning to stock up on decorations and goods for the next big holiday. While it may seem a bit early for your Christmas shopping or buying Halloween candy, you may be surprised that most businesses plan for these holidays months in advance.

Generally, companies begin sourcing holiday goods about six months before the actual holiday. This means that they already have a plan of what and how much will be purchased. Accurate planning and forecasting is of great importance when trying to predict an upcoming holiday, so researching what and how much was sold historically must be done first.

This general rule of 6 month plus prep work not only applies to holiday goods purchasing, but for other seasonal items and services. If a business will need its lot cleared of snow during the winter, it may need to begin sourcing in the spring or summer. Likewise, if mowing and landscaping are needed, the plan should begin during fall or winter.

Next time you are browsing your local shopping spots and see holiday goods out a couple months before the holiday, remember how long the planning must’ve been and how much prep work went into getting all those goods ordered, sourced, shipped, and displayed.

For more information on SafeSourcing can help with your holiday or seasonal sourcing needs, 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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Opportunity for Change

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

 

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

As we approach the end of the third quarter of the calendar year, many of us are reflecting and assessing how we faired this year.  Did we accomplish what we had resolved to do?  Statistically, the top ten (10) New Year’s resolutions made, involve making better choices, whether it is for a healthier lifestyle, spending more time with family, or making better financial decisions.1

The end of the fiscal year is the time when businesses take an accounting of how well the company is performing, financially, and making an effort to finish the year strong.  Planning and forecasting financial goals for the next year also focuses on a plan for making better choices.

This calls for better financial management, cost control and less organizational waste.  Many organizations are beginning to re-evaluate their purchasing processes, and identify new ways to control spend.  We have e-procurement tools that will meet their needs.

Identify Opportunities

Opportunities are usually triggered by a business requirement for a product or service.

  • Equipment
  • Components
  • Raw materials
  • Completely finished products
  • Hazardous waste handlers
  • Transportation carriers
  • Maintenance service providers

Supplier Evaluation

In-depth evaluation is required for major purchases of products and services. It begins with a list of potential suppliers. Existing suppliers with good track records should not be ruled out.

SafeSourcing helps buyers save considerably on costs by providing tools that enhance the ability to do business in a better, smarter, more streamlined and cost effective way. To learn more about SafeSourcing’s innovative products and services that have been developed exclusively by retail professionals for retail professionals, please visit the SafeSourcing website.

A goal without a plan is just a wish. (quote: Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

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.

 

1 http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

 

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Ecosystems Abound​

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

 

In technology, the term ecosystem Is used to describe a set of platforms, software, solutions, etc. that all work well together to derive more benefit for the users. Often the additional benefit is found through very well designed integration points or through efficiencies. In procurement, these ecosystems exist and create these same types of benefits for the users.

The typical Procure-to-Pay model can be used as an example of how an organization can put their procurement tools and practices at the center of their ecosystem. Some eProcurement providers, SafeSourcing included, offer integrated Procure-to-Pay solutions with a focus on procurement. As more and more organizations look to cost reductions as a key part of their strategic goals, this becomes increasingly more valuable.

Of course, many organizations have implemented or considered eProcurement in their sourcing, but from an ecosystem standpoint, many have not yet progressed to capture the additional value available. For example, an organization that utilizes eProcurement, but does not have their contract management tools within that same ecosystem often has a diminished return relative to the success of the contract management tool. When that tool falls outside of the eProcurement ecosystem, users may not receive timely notifications of key contract dates and financial losses related to renewals might be experienced.

Similarly, organizations whose eProcurement ecosystem also includes cataloging and purchase order capabilities will find that they have a higher attainment rate of the initial savings created by procurement as well as tighter adherence to approved purchases throughout the life of the agreement.

These are just two examples of how to benefit from having procurement at the center of your ecosystem. These are certainly not the only two examples. To learn how you can get more from your eProcurement tools, contact a SafeSourcing representative.

Dave Wenig is the Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

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Total Quality Management Part II of II

Monday, September 18th, 2017

 

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

 

Here are the Eight (8) features of total quality management:

  1. Customer-focused

The customer ultimately determines the level of quality. No matter what an company does to raise quality improvement—training employees, integrating quality into the design process, upgrading computers or software, or buying new measuring tools—the customer determines whether the efforts were worthwhile.

  1. Total employee involvement

All employees participate in working toward common goals. Total employee buy-in can only be obtained after fear has been driven from the workplace, when empowerment has occurred, and management has provided the proper environment. The employee must feel confident when making critical decisions and know the organization will back that decision. The employee will feel more empowered to always strive to get better knowing their importance to the success of the company.

3. Process-centered

A central part of TQM is a focus on process thinking. This is obtained through constantly putting the customer first. TQM focuses on the improvement of products and services that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of key customers. This process involves understanding the companies’ vision, customer feedback, process improvements and quality of product or service.  The steps required to carry out the process are defined, and performance measures are continuously monitored in order to identify unexpected discrepancies.

4. Integrated system

Although a company may consist of many different useful specialties, often these do not follow the same expectations. What is true for the staff must also be the same for the management. The same goes for the quality of service we give both the client and our suppliers.

Every company has a unique work culture, and it is virtually impossible to achieve excellence in its products and services unless a good quality culture has been nurtured. Thus, an integrated system connects company improvement elements in an attempt to continually improve and exceed the expectations of customers, employees, and others.

5. Strategic and orderly approach

A critical part of TQM, and the management of quality, is the strategic and orderly approach to achieving a company’s vision, mission, and goals. This process, called strategic planning or strategic management, includes the creation of a strategic plan that integrates quality as a core factor. The execution and follow through is crucial for this to be a success. Come up with a game plan, test it and make adjustments to achieve precise results.

  1. Continual improvement

A major push of TQM is continual process improvement. Continual improvement drives a company to be both analytical and creative in finding ways to become more competitive and more effective at meeting expectations.

  1. Fact-based decision making

In order to know how well a company is performing, data on performance measures are necessary. TQM requires that an organization continually collect and analyze data in order to improve decision making accuracy, achieve consensus, and allow forecast based on past history.

  1. Communications

During times of company change, as well as part of day-to-day operation, effective communications plays a large part in maintaining morale and in motivating employees at all levels. Communications involve strategies, method, and timeliness. Without good communication, things get missed or wrong information is submitted.

The web site below gives further details.

https://www.isixsigma.com/methodology/total-quality-management-tqm/introduction-and-implementation-total-quality-management-tqm/

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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Total Quality Management Part I of II

Friday, September 15th, 2017

 

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

While working for J. Alexander’s Restaurant, we were required to take a TQM (Total Quality Management) class. I was very impressed with their methods and philosophy and was a believer from the start. It really changed the way I approached customer service and have held onto these beliefs since. Here are some of the features of TQM. I hope you will Learn it, Live it and Love it!

Total Quality Management (TQM), also known as total productive maintenance, describes a management approach to long-term success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all associates of a company participate in improving processes, products, services, and the values in which they work.

Total Quality Management Principles: The 8 Primary Features of TQM

Total quality management can be summarized as a management system for a customer-focused company that involves all employees in continual improvement. It uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate the quality discipline into the culture and activities of the company.

Tomorrow in Part II we’ll take a look at the 8 features of total quality management

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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Email Etiquette in the Workplace

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

 

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

Employees spend approximately one-quarter of their day reading or writing emails. The following are some basic guidelines on email etiquette.

  1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
  2. Use a professional email address.
  3. Think twice before hitting ‘reply all.’
  4. Include a signature block.
  5. Use professional salutations.
  6. Use exclamation marks sparingly.
  7. Be cautious with humor.
  8. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
  9. Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you.
  1. Proofread every message (do not rely on spell check).
  2. Add email address last.Keep your fonts classic.Nothing is confidential — so write accordingly.
  3. Emojis do not belong in your emails.
  4. Keep tabs on your tone – you could be misinterpreted.
  5. Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient(s).

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing needs, 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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Never Too Late to Revaluate

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archives.

Several years ago lawmakers introduced a bill (HR 5255) the purpose of which is to reorganize how the federal government purchases IT product and services.   In the face of the highly questionable success of the newly launched federally operated health insurance exchange website, many believe that the government is stuck in a pattern of buying technology that is not current, solutions that are not the right fit, and running projects that take years to implement once they have begun.   While this bill focuses on federal government and IT categories the reason for its need could easily be applied to other companies and categories.

Complex procurement processes  – One of the main reasons this bill was introduced was the complexity of the procurement process adopted by the federal government.  Its voluminous RFPs and RFQs are so difficult and confusing to complete that only very large companies with staffs proficient in submitting federal RFP responses are competing for the business.  This leavesmany quality, capable suppliers out of the mix.  What is usually left to choose from is not necessarily the “best of the best” it is more like the “whose left that has the resources to respond?”  Like the federal government, the question companies should being asking themselves is “How easy are we to do business with?”

Rigid guidelines – Along the same lines of complexity is the problem of being too rigid in the procurement guidelines that have been developed.  Even companies with streamlined procurement processes can run into challenges if they are not willing to slightly adjust those processes from project to project as the need fits.  An example of this would be a company that has a strict rule not to take spends less than $100k through their normal procurement processes.  They become so entrenched in the letter of the rule that they fail to go further.  They never explore that $80k spend that could begrouped with either another category serviced by the same suppliers or grouped with another company to get a larger spend as an impromptu GPO.

Build Champions – HR 5255 would have a narrower focus of a roll-out starting with only 5 government agencies participating.  This approach is similar to one that any company should follow when making changes to how they procure goods and services.  Start with departments that need procurement help the most and that are open to having the procurement department and/or 3rd party sourcing partner assist them.  Focus on some projects that can build momentum in the way saving time, money or resources with the outcome.  Once the initial departments are running and satisfied with the process it will be much easier to take that process to the rest of the departments in the organization.

SafeSourcing helps our customers every day develop new sourcing strategies and examine the processes that have grown “long in the tooth.”  For more information on how we can help your team 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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