Archive for September, 2017

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.

 

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/

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

RETAILERS! Clean out those back rooms and move your overstock items using a forward auction.

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

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

Why is it that we never hear of retailers running forward auctions? There are dozens of sources waiting to buy your overstock which all retailers know will reduce shrink and improve bottom line profitability.

If you go to any internet search engine and type in the term overstock, the data returned is in the millions of pages. Many of these links are locations  for Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) companies that will gladly agree to participate in e-negotiation events in the form of a forward auction to purchase your overstock or liquidated products for resale through their on line offerings.

Online forward auctions are an ideal way to get the best price for capital equipment, materials, overstock and services you may want to sell, such as when you need to liquidate excess inventory.

There are two basic types of forward auctions. The first is a liquidation auction where sellers are reducing inventory from overstock or liquidation and buyers are seeking to obtain the lowest price for items they have an interest in for resale and other purposes. The second type is more of a marketing auction where sellers are trying to sell unique items and buyers wish to obtain unique items. This is typical of an eBay type of offering.

Much of retail shrink happens in the back room or receiving area of retail stores. It just so happens that this is also the location of much of the overstock in the retail community. Much of this product sits there month after month resulting in significant margin hits to quarterly and annual earnings and as such to a company’s stock price.

Ask your e-negotiation solution provider how they can help reduce your overstock and shrink with forward auction tools, and who they would invite as buyers. You company stakeholders will applaud your efforts.

For immediate help, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.
.

Pre-suasion

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

 

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

Although we’d like to think that the decisions we make are deliberated by well thought-out reasoning and “common sense”, the truth is we aren’t even aware of most of what goes on in the brain during the decision making process. Much of what we think is a decision is actually a lot of conditioning by our society, culture, parents, schooling, job training, etc. Unfortunately, no one understands this better than marketing strategists, whose aim is to have the decision made for you before you even aware what you are deliberating about.

“Pre-suasion” is a term coined by Robert Cialdini, who wrote a book in 2016 by the same name, and is a well-known author and researcher in marketing and persuasion strategy. The focus of the term is the timing of your attempt to persuade, because the battle for decisions in your favor are often won and lost long before any actual pitch is made. Here are a few ways in which pre-suasion can be used, either in your favor or against it:

Ask questions that get your audience to think about a positive attribute of your proposal. For example, during an interview, ask “what wasy it about my resume that made you want to see me?”. This brings focus onto the attributes that attracted your audience in the first place, and sets you in a more positive frame of reference.

We give relevance to what grabs our attention most recentlyMost and recently being the key words here, this concept eludes to the fact that if something impacts us greatly, and a short time ago, it is likely to heavily influence our decision. A recent car crash for instance, will often change how much driving someone will freely choose to do, even though the safety statistics haven’t actually changed.

Change what someone thinks about, not what they think. For Example, direct someone’s memory to an association with something terrible to have them avoid a decision of similar association. Are you hoping your spouse will pick the white car? Talk about things they love that evoke the thought of white: White snow, the wedding dress, bright white smiles, white piano keys, etc.

Discuss a number that will make the number you will actually pitch seem favorable. Also known as “Anchoring”, this concept takes advantage of the way in which human beings tend to rely heavily on the first piece of information received (the anchor), and compare it to future acquired information. This is why you see sale signs all the time stating the price “was” $XX.XX, because you would feel better about buying something if you believe you’re getting it at a discount.

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.

Sourcing Temporary Labor, Day Labor and Contingent Work…

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Sourcing temporary labor is never easy. To begin with you require a clear definition of what type of labor you are planning to source as well as a good understanding of national and local labor laws. Quite often companies fall into the trap of using a temporary labor agencies job descriptions that are not clearly defined and way to broad. In fact many times these descriptions are not more than catchall categories. As an example, can someone please tell me what job descriptions fall into the industrial work category? For each of you that try, we will most likely end up with a collection of descriptions that are several multiples larger than the number of people responding. In fact, this is what agencies are looking for because “One mans meat is another mans poison”. Without a clear definition you are at the mercy of sourcing agencies. An example might be how an agency differentiates between a secretary, administrative assistant and an executive assistant and how they up charge for each.

If you were to visit Wikipedia one of the world’s greatest sources of data and search for the term Temporary Labor, you would receive the following The page “Temporary labor” does not exist.  They would however give you a link on that page to the subject Temporary Work where the following paragraph gets you started with what you are looking for.

Temporary work or temporary employment refers to a situation where the employee is expected to leave the employer within a certain period of time. Temporary employees are sometimes called “contractual”, “seasonal”, “interim”, “casual staff”, or “freelance”; or the word may be shortened to “temps.”

The key when trying to source temporary labor is that if you are looking to source temporary work and do not want to get taken advantage of, your specifications and terms and conditions need to be spot on as to what you are looking for. The more detail you provide the better because grey area is where you will end up paying for more than you are asking for.

If you need help with this category,  please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.