Archive for October, 2017

Milk Does a Body Good

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

 

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

Chances are your parents and grandparents grew up with one type of milk- -cow’s milk. Today there are many types of milk to choose from.  The question is what type of milk are you looking for?  Are you trying to cut fat?   Are you lactose intolerant?  Are you concerned with the sugar content?  Milk can be a tricky question.  The following are different types of milk offerings:

  1. Cashew Milk. Cashew milk is very similar to almond milk. It is approximately 40 calories per cup and 3.5 grams of fat. It is often fortified with vitamins D, B12, and A. The drawback is that is low in protein.
  2. Coconut Milk. Coconut milk has become a healthy fat and protein in recent years. It has a unique flavor and is typically low in calories. It is higher in fat than other types of milk, and can be higher in sugar, unless it is unsweetened. It often comes without protein.
  3. Goat’s Milk. Goat’s milk was one of the first alternatives to cow’s milk. It is high in protein, but is also high in saturated fat. It is similar to whole milk. It is packed with a lot of nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. It also comes fortified with vitamin D.
  4. Hemp Milk. Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds. It is a rare milk and high in omega-fatty acids. It provides more iron than cow’s milk. It is low in protein. It is best to look for unsweetened hemp milk fortified with vitamins A and D.
  5. Almond Milk. Almond milk has become very popular. It is a lactose-free alternative that has more vitamin E than cow’s milk. It is found in a variety of flavors and is low in calories (30 calories per cup if unsweetened). It is low in protein compared to cow’s or goat’s milk.
  6. Cow’s Milk. Cow’s milk is very high in protein and provides calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. It is high in protein, keeping you feeling full for extended periods of time. The drawbacks depend on the type of milk selected- skim milk contains no fat, while whole milk is full of saturated fat (eight grams of fat per cup).
  7. Soy Milk. Soy milk is the original alternative to cow’s milk. It is popular with people that are lactose intolerant. It is low in fat, high in protein, and often fortified with vitamins A, B, and B12. Look for varieties that haven’t been heavily sweetened.
  8. Flax Milk. Like flax seeds, flax milk is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It is typically low in fat and calories. It can also be high in protein. Avoid the flavored varieties as they are heavily sweetened which also ups the sugar content.

SafeSourcing regularly sources milk for a variety of companies. 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.

Emily Lockhart, Active Beat, 3/15/2017

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Who is MakeOurFoodSafe.org? What do they do?

Friday, October 27th, 2017

 

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

Our regular readers are certainly aware that we have challenged the government for years to take the necessary steps to make measureable progress on food safety. In fact here is a link to our Sourcing Safe Foods blog category where you will find 100’s of posts covering everything from BPA to Foodborne illness posts.

However, let’s get back to our original subject. I was reading of USA TODAY and came across a great advertisement on page 5A that was paid for by the Pew Charitable Trusts in support of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. And by the way; the current administration has not yet managed to get enacted. The advertisement recommends that readers go to MakeOurFoodSafe.org to urge the current administration to take action to enact this legislation. SafeSourcing completely supports this message.

The Make Our Food Safe coalition includes public health and consumer advocacy organizations, as well as groups representing the families of victims of foodborne illness. The coalition pressed for enactment of historic food safety legislation that provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with improved authorities to oversee the safety of the nation’s food supply, and will advocate for full implementation and funding of the law.

If you’d like to learn more as to how SafeSourcing supports food safety in our sourcing initiatives, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Can a Smartwatch Improve Productivity?

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

 

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

When smartwatches were first introduced, many people were interested because of the ability to track fitness using various apps.  Now with the more sophisticated smartwatches and apps being introduced, they can be used to help improve one’s productivity as well.  Having a smartwatch gives you the ability to keep updated without having to reach for your phone.  For example, you can set the watch to vibrate and whenever you receive a phone call, text, email or calendar reminder, the watch will vibrate and the notification will appear on the screen with the available options for that notification.  Some of the devices allow you to adjust the vibration, as well as set up custom vibrations for certain types of notifications.  Setting the device to vibrate also allows for discreet notifications that can be used when in meetings or other settings without disturbing others.

Having a smartwatch can help you do things more quickly when it comes to keeping updated when you are on the go. It allows you to answer texts and phone calls without digging around for your phone.  Making a call may seem odd at first, but when paired with Bluetooth headphones, it is no different than using the actual phone.  Responding to a text can be done easily by selecting a preprogrammed response by using voice to text. Some devices allow you to write your response with a function called scribble.

There are also a lot of downloadable apps that can be used to be more productive as well.  There are apps that use text to speech that allow you to quickly add notes and items using your voice.  So when you are out and about and something comes to mind, instead of trying to keep a mental note, you can add it to the list for later review.  Some of the apps will also show the list of items that allow you to search, review and edit them as well.  Below is a list of the common functionality found on most smartwatches:

  • Make and Receive Phone Calls
  • Send and Receive Texts
  • Check your Calendar
  • Get Directions
  • Check Weather
  • Help You Stay Fit
  • Set Alarms and be Alerted of Alarms
  • Control Wifi Enabled Devices
  • Check the Time and Date

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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Where does your money go?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

 

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

Any business has to tackle the financing issues, whether it’s payroll, marketing, or overhead. While some expenses, like payroll or overhead, cannot be easily reduced, other expenses of a business can be reduced without losing anything in return. This is when a procurement partner can help.

Procurement partners can work with a company and finance teams to determine which areas represent the largest expenses within a company and which areas could see the most savings. The goal is to take an category that is already purchased and will continue to be purchased, and source a better value for the business.

Choosing the right procurement partner can make a big impact on the success of your sourcing projects. Having a dedicated and reliable team who are always willing to put in the extra work can be the difference between uncertainty and peace of mind. A company like SafeSourcing has the experience, dedication, and skills to help in any sourcing project your company may seek. In addition, SafeSourcing offers tools that can make the process run more smoothly  making things easier for your team.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help 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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Automation and Innovation

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

 

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

Improving the quality of processes and maintaining acceptable levels of performance quality, are critical factors in the success of any organization.  Considering that all processes need to exist to best serve the organization, it is important that all employees be challenged to find new and better ways of achieving the goals in a more efficient and efficient way.

The majority of businesses will be wiped out if they don’t abandon a fixation on status quo, because the environment of the future will demand a continuous rethink of processes, people, and technology. The future is being written before our eyes, and the use of automated processes is accelerating the rate of change in business to unprecedented levels. The key to survival and success is agility.

“Innovation is often viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are readily available to markets, governments and society”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation)

1) Automate Processes

  • • Build a culture around automation.
  • • Organizations that successfully utilize technology to support innovative approaches can save significantly on time and labor.
  • • Businesses risk becoming obsolete and bankrupt when they refuse to adapt.

2) Innovation

  • • You don’t have to be the one to create it.  Creating a better way of accomplishing a task is the beginning of innovation.
  • • Innovation has no end. What we want and what we need keeps changing.

3) Tools

  • • Search for tools that will help you accomplish your goals.
  • • Understand your long term plans and choose a tool that will grow with you.
  • • SafeSourcing has a suite of tools that are key to your sourcing needs.

“Technology will continue to become more powerful and easy to use and therefore more useful in driving effectiveness and risk management.” (https://spendmatters.com/uk/future-contingent-labour-predictions-trends/)

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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The Importance of Having a Positive Attitude

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

 

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

A positive attitude can take you to another level. In many aspects of life, the mindset of success will bring those results to you. There are many ways to define success. Is it the car you drive or maybe your title? Maybe it is a little simpler than that. What about the small things we overlook or take for granted? Everyone has their own struggles and day-to-day battles. Maybe you have more than you can handle at work or school is starting to take its toll. Perhaps you play in a competitive sport and the big day is upon you. Or maybe you just cannot relax at home because everyday pressures haunt you.

Negative thoughts breed negative feelings and that can turn to a negative attitude. Those around you can see and feel that attitude or possibly read those feelings. From there it’s transference of negativity which can sabotage even the smallest of encounters. In business and sales, it is said to always smile even when you are on the phone, it can be heard in your tone. When you greet an old friend or a stranger for the first time, always smile because that will have a long lasting effect. But what happens when all of the negativity weighs you down so much you cannot bare it anymore and you simply cannot fake the smile?

While the term easier said than done may be applicable to anything in life, in most experiences that is just negativity rearing its ugly head. So start by trying the thing that sounded so hard or felt impossible. Break the stride of the impossible. How you ask? Know that you can do it. Easier said than done right? No it is that simple. While this isn’t a cure-all, maybe this will help you on your way. Everything we do on a daily basis is a new experience, even if you have had the same job for 30 years and you have been typing the same reports or pressing the same buttons the entire time. There are always outside contributors to the outcome of daily life. So how does the positive attitude work? As simple as it sounds, apply it to these everyday tasks. The simple tasks no matter how menial, know you will succeed. After a while of knowing and seeing your success you will begin to apply it to larger tasks. Maybe you are having a bad morning, spilled your coffee on your shirt or someone cut you off in traffic. Do not let that affect your demeanor. Take your two minutes of inner dialogue and vent. Now focus on your tasks. What do you have next? Simple or tough as it may be you cannot avoid it. So visualize what it will feel like when it is complete …the feeling of success. Feels pretty good right? Keep that mindset the whole time. You worked hard for this and you are ready. This will give you confidence and people will sense that. With that mindset and confidence you have already won half the battle, now comes the easy part. Just do it!

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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Dollars and Sense

Friday, October 20th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing.

Many (most) of the topics featured on this blog focus on eProcurement and the savings generated by the use of it. Today’s blog certainly follows that theme, but with a bit of a twist. As you might have gathered from the title, I’ll dig more into when and why it makes sense to use eProcurement to achieve your savings objectives and other goals.

Timing 

When you have been doing business with a vendor for an extended period of time, typically at about three years, it is time to assess the market conditions. One of the best ways to do so is through eProcurement. Over time, vendors will very naturally work to improve their margins. eProcurement works by keeping those margins within reason based on competitive levels.

Cost Avoidance 

The day you receive that notification of an unwanted price increase is the day you should prepare to take that category to market. Often, our clients receive two benefits in this case. One, their pricing is reduced as compared to the new increase from their incumbent. Often, this pricing is even better than the old price. Two, often, new vendors will offer more favorable terms such as fixed pricing or other terms to help avoid costly increases in the future.

Quality or Supply Chain 

Another common reason for leveraging eProcurement is quality issues or issues or interruptions in your supply chain. These type of issues typically warrant a fresh look at alternate sources of supply. eProcurement will satisfy this need and take the additional step of providing compressed pricing from well vetted alternatives to your current source of supply.

There are many times when eProcurement makes good practical sense as well as financial sense. If you find that any of these examples ring true, reach out to us here at SafeSourcing and we’ll help you understand your options.

Sometimes, savings dollars just makes sense. We look forward to your comments.

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Nested if/then Statements for Everyday Use

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

 

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

Most problems don’t have solutions as simple as yes or no, such as “if A, then ‘yes’. If B, then ‘no’”. Solutions are more often evaluated through multiple sets of dependencies, such as “if A+B is greater than C, then find the average of X-Z”. Of course these statements aren’t intuitive, so if we don’t understand how to use them formally in logic equations or computer code, we are much less likely to get them right in real life situations. So here’s a crash course in Excel “IF” statements:

The basic description of the “IF” function is “If something is True, then do something, otherwise do something else”. To see it in action, start with typing “=IF” in an Excel cell of your choice. You’ll see Excel suggest the full formula as “=IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])”. Each of those statements within the parentheses is a variable that does something specific, and they have to be separated by a comma so that Excel knows when you are entering a new variable. Here is how each variable behaves within the function:

  • “logical_test”: This means there must be an active function. Let’s go with an example of “A1>B1”.
  • “value_if_true”: Whatever value you include in this variable, will populate the cell you’re programing the formula for, if the “logical_test” variable is true. Such as if A1 = 2, and B1 = 1.
  • “value_if_false”: Whatever value is in the false variable, will be populated if “logical_test” is untrue. Such as if A1 = 1 and B1 = 2.

So if we insert some example variables into the formula like so: “IF(2>1, “Yes”, “No”)

This function would insert a “Yes” into the cell being programmed, and is one of the more simple ways to use the function. However, you can swap any of the aforementioned variables for other formulas as well. This is called “nesting”.

For example, you could write a formula like this: “=IF(K5<K6,”YES”,IF((COUNT(H7:H10>2)),”HIGH”,”LOW”))

Let’s describe what this function is doing in sentence form, with a context of evaluating vendor proposals: If Vendor 1’s cost is lower than Vendor 2’s cost, enter “YES” into the cell, if Vendor 1 is not lower than Vendor 2, then if the number of DC’s the new vendor carries is greater than 2, enter “HIGH” into the cell, otherwise enter “LOW” into the cell. This tells me either to select Vendor 1, or to evaluate several other dependencies to make a final decision.

This level of specificity is not normal in everyday speech, but is absolutely critical in procurement. If you have a vendor proposing an agreement, a full evaluation of the value proposition can’t be based on just one variable. Practicing this and other logic functions in Excel and other tools is an excellent way to hone your ability to evaluate complex procurement problems.

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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Overcoming Procurement Mistakes

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

 

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

Yes, mistakes happen and are part of any purchasing process; but with right tools from the right company, those mistakes can be diminished greatly. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes made in the world of purchasing.

Mistake 1: Not understanding the philosophy, needs and motivations of the procurement organization. Price is important, but other factors count too. For example, in this tough economy, procurement may be pushed hard to implement and obtain immediate cost discounts or cash-flow improvement. This may give you an opportunity to lock in business with better payment terms immediately, while a competitor may require lengthy qualifications.

Mistake 2: Not developing a written specification for vendors to bid on. The specification needs to state your goals, a detailed description of what you’re purchasing, the terms you require, a maximum quote, and when you need responses back.

Mistake 3: Assuming the procurement department knows your value plan. If the department is considering two widgets, and one is $400 and the other is $800, then the $400 tool wins, right? If the widgets are measured on cycles before replacement, the $800 tool is the clear winner. If the procurement staff doesn’t understand this, the $400 tool wins.

Mistake 4: Buying based on price alone can have a reverse effect on your net gain. The cheapest product or service isn’t always the best choice. You may end up having to replace a piece of cheaper equipment or have more maintenance costs if you would have spent a little bit more money and received better quality. Or the initial cost is very low, but after the purchase you find out additional fees that start to add up. Evaluating all costs is the best way to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Mistake 5: Thinking reverse-auction award decisions are based only on price. In most reverse auctions, price is not the only factor clients consider. If the client doesn’t publish that the “lowest bidder wins,” then, in most cases, factors other than price are used in the award decision. Vendors that only sell on price are bound to lose.

Mistake 6: Not acting quickly to pass on commodity-driven cost increases. If a vendor is selling a product that has a cost structure that is significantly impacted by the cost of commodities, then you need to act quickly on pursuing price in the rising market. Procurement professionals will be more receptive to your passing on the commodity increase while the markets are still high – especially if they can pass it onto their customers. Once the markets fall, price increases will be resisted.

Mistake 7: Not capturing price by using your ability to help manage your client’s risk through material hedging, managing inventory, etc. For example, say the vendor sells stretch wrap. The client is concerned about future price increases due to unstable stretch wrap prices. You can get a premium price if you can help alleviate the risk by providing a fixed price that relies on your ability to hedge your stretch wrap purchases.

Mistake 8: Taking a misguided view of strategic partnerships. Your partnership is not an entitlement to getting the best price. The greatest benefit to the vendor is a stronger position to keep the business by locking in clients over time. You have worked hard to be named as a strategic partner, but now is not the time to rest. That partnership provides you an opening to create strong relationships with the executive staff and their purchasing department. Creating those relationships will pay big benefits when your competition tries to unseat you.

Mistake 9: Not getting involved in the client’s new projects. By helping them understand a procurement approach that saves them time and money, you can create a win-win relationship.

Mistake 10: Don’t skimp on research. You should know the basics, price range, your requirements, and the names of vendors that can provide the product or service and how long the purchasing process usually takes. You can’t afford to waste time contacting vendors that cater to small businesses if you are a big company.

You need to ask yourself, “Do I have the time and or manpower to do this?” Everyone one of these mistakes can be avoided if you develop a partnership with SafeSourcing. We have the e-Procurement tools and knowledgeable staff at your disposal ready to save you time and money.

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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Grease Traps

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

 

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

I worked at a cooking school for seven years, several as the Assistant Director. The school was located in an outdoor mall with a busy restaurant located right beside it.   One night while a cooking class was in progress, the grease trap backed up and the floor was soon covered in water and muck.  What was interesting, the students continued to prep and cook acting like nothing was going on.  We ended up closing the kitchen and giving out rainy day vouchers.

What is a grease trap (also known as a grease interceptor, grease recovery device and grease converter)? It is a plumbing device designed to intercept most greases and solids before entering a waterwaste disposal system.  Wastewater contains small amounts of oils which enter into treatment facilities and septic tanks that form a floating scum layer.  A scum layer is slowly broken down and digested by microorganisms in the anaerobic digestion process.  Large amounts of oil from food preparation in restaurants can overwhelm a treatment facility or septic tank, causing the release of untreated sewage into the environment.  High-viscosity fats and cooking grease, such as lard, turn into solids when cooled.  When these solids combine with other disposed solids, the drain pipes block.

Grease traps have been in use since Victorian days. Nathaniel Whiting obtained the first grease trap patent in the late 1800’s.  “These reduce the amount of fats, oils and greases (FOGS) that enter sewers.  They are boxes within the drain that flow between the sinks in a kitchen into the sewer system.  They only have kitchen wastewater flowing through them, and do not serve any other drainage system, such as toilets.”1   They can be made in many different materials, such as plastic, stainless steel, concrete and cast iron.  They can be located above or below ground, inside a kitchen, or outside a building.

SafeSourcing regularly sources Grease Traps for a variety of businesses. 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.

Sources

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1 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wki/Grease.trap#Uses

 

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