Archive for December, 2017

The SafeSourcing Way

Friday, December 29th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

In a rapidly evolving world, are we losing the art of welcoming someone into a new situation? Is our culture too casual in the way we conduct business or form meaningful relationships? Have we taken for granted the meaningful notes and thoughtful extras that gives life meaning?

As of today, I’ve officially been employed at SafeSourcing for two weeks. As I reflect on the things that I learned over the last two weeks, it is only befitting to reflect on the warm welcome I felt on my first day; week. I walked into the office suite to notice a sign that read, “Welcome to SafeSourcing Inc. Jericia Stevens” sitting on the front desk.

SafeSourcing knows the value of a Welcome. We want to ensure that our customers feel welcomed while we manage their procurement needs.

Our procurement team works diligently to provide our customers with quality training and customer service. Our flexible service offerings and suite of e- procurement tools deliver the savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of our services.

We work closely together and make sure that we all have a role in providing our customers with the best value for their product and services.

I am glad to be a part of a company that knows the value of a welcome. Partner with us and experience The SafeSourcing Way. Let SafeSourcing manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

 

Is it time to Plan Your Procurement. You’re already late!

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

 

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

With the year coming to a close, many companies are focusing on the upcoming year and what changes they may have in store. Whether the change is increasing head count in the office, opening more locations, or even trying out a new product in your store, changes need to be planned out.

Typically, a business needs to plan for its year financially, budgeting money for labor and overhead and trying to plan for goods and services expenses, plus any changes they foresee in the upcoming year. Opening new locations, buying new products, and hiring more employees require financial planning.

With all the other planning at year end, what many companies overlook, though, is planning for procurement. If a company will need temporary labor in the next year, they should reach out to their procurement partner sooner rather than later to identify needs. A procurement partner can help get the right services for you at a competitive price. If, like many other businesses, a company needs to hire landscapers to maintain company property in the spring and snow removal companies in the winter, now is the time to begin the procurement process.

With proper planning and with help from your procurement team, your company can not only have the financial year planned, but also have vendors and suppliers in place ready to begin whatever work might need done. On top of that, many of those suppliers and vendors could be even less than you initially thought, all through the help of your procurement partner and tools like the ones offered by SafeSourcing. This could, in turn, lead to even more financial means to grow your company even more in the upcoming years.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help with your procurement 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.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments!

 

Twas the day after Christmas!

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

 

Twas the day after Christmas

When all through the land

People were still smiling and happy

Because their holiday had gone just as planned

With malls to be visited and unwanted gifts to return

And exercise to be done and all those extra calories to burn

Most offices are still quiet as their staff s celebrate

While others rush to close out their years business before it’s too late

There’s a new year  coming full of lots of new stuff

We all hope with this congress life doesn’t get to tough

For businesses public and private and individuals too

Who would all rather focus on what’s exciting and new

Like jobs and raises and a positive end of year review

So on Trump and Ryan with congress hopefully in tow

Let’s get back to Washington

And end this year with some glow.

Happy Holidays from Safesourcing

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas 2017 and a continued hope for Peace on Earth.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

If you can indentify these folks below?? We hope they grant you and yours?all of your wishes.
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Satellite Versus Cable TV

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

 

 

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

Well it’s been about 6 months since we cut the cord and got rid of our satellite television service.  I’ll have to admit that it was hard at first.  Well, I thought it was hard at the time, but looking back it was just getting used to different types of menus for finding the content that we like to watch.

One of the first things we did was buy a TiVo and an over-the-air (OTA) antenna so that we could record and watch all the local channels for free.  Because we are in the middle of two large cites we are able to receive content from both cities which gave us a few more channels, most of them duplicates.  What we have found from watching the programming on the TiVo with the OTA signals is that the video is much clearer than the satellite picture we were used to.  This is because cable and satellite companies compress the signal and some of the data is lost during the transmission.  The difference in quality to me was amazing, and after months of use I still see the difference when viewing.

When it comes to cable channels and premium channels, the transition was not as easy.  There are a lot of apps available for streaming the channels, but not all of them offer DVR functionality.  Since we do not like watching live TV, this functionality was a necessity.  We had to do a lot of research to find an app that would supply the DVR functionality and the channels that we watch on a regular basis.  Luckily most apps offer a free trial and no long time contracts, so you can install them and test them before you make a decision.  Just like satellite and cable these apps offer different packages that allow you to customize which channels you receive.  So the price will vary based on your options.  One of the negatives, at least for me, that we have found is that most of the apps only stream certain channels at 60 frames per second (fps), the rest are streamed at 30 fps.  This is not an issue for most content except sports.  Some of the apps will stream just the sports channels in 60 fps.  So if you are watching a game on one of the channels, besides the sports channels, the signal will be 30 fps and the video appears to be very choppy.  This annoys the heck out of me but my wife says she cannot tell the difference.  There are some apps that stream all channels in 60 fps, but they either did not have the channels we needed or the DVR functionality did not exist.

All in all, we are happy that we made the switch.  We are still able to watch and record all of the content that we did with the satellite service and our monthly bill is more than half the cost.  If you need help researching an alternative to your service, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which service meets your needs.

 

All we Want for Christmas…

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

 

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

As thoughts turn to Christmas and what Santa might bring us, my Christmas letter asks for something a little bigger.

On behalf of SafeSourcing I have worked with vendors and clients during the year, and here are some things I’d like to see Procurement deliver to all of us this festive season.

“Dear Procurement, all we want for Christmas is…

Let’s get clients talking to us again. You can’t sit back and think clients are chomping at the bit to call us. So let’s have a chat. Things change quickly and you might be surprised about what we can do for you now. With a new year upon us, it is a perfect time to talk about your upcoming procurement challenges and areas where you see savings. And, while we’re on the subject…

Let’s bring back a new level of interest for vendors. Start the New Year by contacting those vendors (email survey) who have participated in more than two or three events. Access their level of interest in participating in future events and/or find out ways we can improve our process.

Say what you mean. Request for Quote documents are often hard to interpret, and the specifications can lack important detail. With better instructions and better details, any vendor with a bit of common sense will be able to bid more confidently. That’s good for everyone.

Provide a timetable that has a response period that’s fair and reasonable. We run a pretty tight ship these days; our staff is stretched and it can be difficult to keep up with complex requirements and decreasing deadlines. Pressing us for time because you’re late to respond, only means you get rushed and submit sub-par results. On the other hand…

Don’t issue a timetable only to issue a last-minute extension just before the deadline. This unfairly disadvantages (and discourages) the vendors that are prepared, and have made it a priority to respond to our request.

Please Client, answer our questions. We don’t ask many, but often, we don’t get meaningful answers (or any answers). Giving us better data will mean better proposals for you to evaluate. And finally…

If you give us a service or supply to run, mean it! We have a hard working dedicated team that loves working on your projects. We pride ourselves in getting back to you the necessary data for you to approve to run an event. But please, let’s not waste either of our time.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and a successful and prosperous 2018.

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.

Physicians, Accountants, Attorneys, Oh My!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

 

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

Most of us have had some experience with one, if not all, and you may very well dread having to see one another again. But why are so many people anxious about seeing a doctor, lawyer, or accountant? Going to a doctor often means we are sick or are in need of some sort of treatment, which is hardly pleasant. Needing to see an attorney often implies civil or criminal matters and finding out what repercussions may arise. Seeing an accountant could mean that either tax season has arrived or that your finances are too complicated to do yourself.

Another common link between these three professions is money. Each profession can charge you significant amounts each time to visit or talk. Sometimes, you may even get a bill for something you weren’t expecting. Often people try very hard to avoid hiring one of these professionals simply due to the unknown amount of money you may find yourself liable for. So, why are these professions still so successful? The answer is because they are worth it.

Everyone in these professions has to go through a lot of training and education. Even after the education and training, they must be tested. Even after that, certifications must be routinely updated. All of this costs time and money, and often these professional absorb massive amounts of debt as they initially work through their education. For a high price tag, however, they are expected to know and advise on some of the most important aspects of a person’s life, so they need to be up to date and more than knowledgeable in their field. They have to be experts.

While other professions also require vast amounts of education or experience, some also require the same type of dedication and continual research and education that is often seen with doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

At SafeSourcing, we expect and train our account managers and project managers to also be experts in their field, which means being prepared to give you advice on your procurement needs, categories, spend, and whatever else may arise during our process. Fortunately, SafeSourcing is here to save you money instead of breaking the bank.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can be your procurement expert, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

 

 

Considering Feedback During Negotiations

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

Regular readers of the SafeSourcing Blog know that we have covered the topic of vendor feedback and its role in the overall negotiation before. The blog “The Negotiation Began Long Before the Quote. Or, Make a Plan and Stick with It” is one great example and is worth a quick read through.

That said, it is still worth covering again and is as relevant as ever. In the past week alone, I’ve encountered at least three instances of how supplier feedback has had an impact on the negotiation process and has, possibly, affected the results of the e-Procurement events one way or another. I wanted to share these examples in an effort to provide some guidance about what type of feedback you might receive.

The first example is related to specifications where an incumbent supplier contacts the company hosting the e-Procurement event and points out that there are some details that they don’t think are properly represented. When the feedback reached our organization, the client asked whether or not these details were, in fact relevant and whether anything needed to be done. This is a great example of exactly how this type of supplier feedback should be treated.

Another example relates to pricing. It’s a very common practice to assign Max Quotes to each item in an RFQ. The Max Quote is the highest price that can be entered into the RFQ for that line item. Often, we will get feedback from vendors directly that the Max Quote is too low and that we need to increase it to allow for their quotes. Depending on how the Max Quote was determined and other factors affecting pricing, this might be valid feedback. On the other hand, I can point to two separate instances where this feedback was not accurate. In fact, in both cases, the results of the RFQs indicated that the Max Quotes were set at a reasonable amount. The evidence was the double digit savings in both RFQs.

The last example of vendor feedback that I’ll share here is a little more difficult to spot and is not something that I would consider to be common. This is feedback that is given to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). FUD might be caused by a vendor before, during, or after an e-Procurement event. FUD might be caused by a laundry list of questions or concerns. This might be done to imply that the results of the e-Procurement event are suspect, or that this vendor is the only one who is truly qualified for the opportunity. Again, this can be tricky to identify, but is most often identified by a vendor who is alone in their concerns or who asks unique questions, sometimes circumventing the outlined communication policies to do so.

What is common among each of these examples is that all feedback should be considered. Some of it will be actionable. Some feedback will be determined to be of a lesser value. Another commonality is that your e-Procurement provider has probably seen all of this and has the experience to help you decide which is which.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  We look forward to your comments.

 

 

The Importance of the “UOM”

Friday, December 15th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Do you know the importance of the “UOM”?”

Within the procurement industry, every specification boils down to one thing, the Unit of Measure. Without a consistent UOM within the specification when completing an RFP or RFQ, you will receive quotes all over the board that do not match each other or an industry standard.

The issue with having an inconsistent UOM is that you can potentially make the entire event not valid. There are hundreds of UOMs depending on the industry that you are collecting pricing for.  When deciding a UOM to collect pricing, it is typically within the original specifications that the items are based on.

The main concern is that the suppliers need to understand the UOM fully. If they do not, none of the pricing will be consistent. We, at SafeSourcing, make sure that our suppliers know exactly what the UOM is for each event and line item within the event.

For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs 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.

 

 

Shipping Lanes and the Fuel-In/Fuel-Out Debate!

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives

Managing your freight/shipping lanes is a complex process.  There are so many factors that must be taken into account.  Even then, when you have gone through all of the analysis and created projection models and spreadsheets you are still left at the mercy of weather, sales increases and declines and, of course, any possible factor that could influence the price of oil.

Because this last item represents up to 35% of a carriers charge to you, it is one that many companies take very seriously and invest great amounts of time and money in order to help them control.  Some companies take the approach of locking a fuel rate into their cost for as long as they can to help protect against increases.  Many other companies have negotiated their base rates and keep the fluctuations of fuel separate, with controls placed around the formula used to calculate it. Today we will be looking at the pros and cons of both the Fuel-In and Fuel-Out methods.

Fuel-In – Fuel-In strategies are founded on having a final complete rate inclusive of fuel costs.  This is nice for companies who want a fuel cost method that is easy to manage, because the cost of each shipment for the negotiated period should always be the same.  Typically this method will either be re-negotiated at pre-fined intervals, or tied to an oil/fuel related index with language to cap how much the rate can increase or decrease.

While this strategy can be used to help protect a company during periods of time when fuel prices are rapidly increasing, it usually leads to higher overall rates for each negotiated period.  Without the flexibility to adjust with the average cost of fuel, vendors will generally error on the side that protects themselves and deliver higher than normal rates in their proposal.

Fuel-Out – Fuel-Out methods usually include a fuel surcharge that is based on some pre-defined fuel index such as the commonly used U.S. Department of Energy National Fuel Average price.  Using the agreed upon price, most formulas will subject a “trigger” amount which is the rate of fuel above which carriers begin to include the surcharge.  Typically this rate will be between $1.20 and $1.25 per gallon.  This amount is subtracted from the average fuel price and then divided by an agreed upon Miles Per Gallon rate (usually 5 or 6 MPG) which leaves the surcharge per mile charged.

Although this means that the price of shipments can fluctuate more often and that companies aren’t protected against a dramatic increase in fuel like the Fuel-In method, they will be able to take advantage of decreases in fuel that the method above doesn’t always allow.  The other advantage with this method is that it allows companies to get much more competitive base rates from carriers who know their fuel costs will be allowed to adjust the changing costs of fuel.

For more information about how we can assist with sourcing your freight lanes, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.