Archive for May, 2018

Scope of Work

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

When a business issues a request for proposal or request for quote, it will include specific information relating to that project. This information must provide adequate details for respondents to determine if the RFP or RFQ is applicable to their business structure and if so, how to respond. A comprehensive scope of work delivers that pertinent information.

The scope of work details the services the selected vendor will provide on the specific project and the work that will be performed, frequently under contractual obligation. The scope of work lists performance requirements, normally references specifications, and will include a list of deliverables. The scope of work describes how the required work will be completed, with specific tasks listed with their deadlines. The task descriptions may also include methods desired for completing given tasks.

When entering into a purchasing agreement, many times the first document may not be the purchase agreement itself, it will likely be a purchase specification or scope of work that will use an existing agreement. It is possible to have a rock solid purchase agreement but still have difficulties if your purchase specification, statement of work or scope of work is not suitably written.  In the event of a dispute between the parties, these documents endure the same examination as the purchase agreement’s terms.

An accurate scope of work acts as a roadmap for your project, keeping it focused and on track. From a purchasing perspective, it is critical as it details what is being purchased, quantities, item specifications, amongst other critical purchase requirements.

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. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Contract review is tedious work?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

 

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

Many large companies have law departments and at least as many don’t. Most small companies don’t either. Which company is in better position to review and evaluate existing contracts?

The answer is neither or maybe both. The first important question for each type of company is who is actually evaluating the contracts, and just because they have a law degree does not mean that contract evaluation is a specific skill set this individual may possess. This author strongly recommends choosing who will provide this function within your company or as a service and then make absolutely sure that they have the skill set required to do the job and stay up to date.

There are any number of contract management certificate programs available from prestigious and well know institutions. To name a few, there is Villanova University, The University of California Irvine and St. Louis University. In addition there are organizations that also offer this type of training. Probably the most well know is, the National Contract Management Association or NCMA that has been around for over 50 years.

Many of these organizations offer on line courses that can be completed within a reasonable period of time. Many of the University and College courses are actually accredited as well as affiliated with NCMA.

Once you have resources that are certified, provide them with the tools they need to do their job. All companies have 100’s if not 1000’s of contracts and most do not have a contract management solution. These solutions today are available via the cloud in Software as a Service model for very little investment. You can buy what you need when you need it. Most of good providers will also assist with evaluating your existing contracts in order to create your Meta data and populate your  contract database.

SafeSourcing offers a cloud based Software as a Service contract management solution called SafeContract™ which is supported by these types of services.

Please contact a SafeSourcing  customer services representative in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Your Procurement Health Dashboard

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archive

Today, we will look at some of the principles of this dashboard and how you could be using them to help track the health of how your company spends its money.

Establish the baseline – One of the premises with which most dashboards work successfully is that of establishing where you are right now.  Even better than that is being able to go back 1-2 years to see where you have come from.  When you can go back over historical data, you can begin to establish the trends of how you have done and what areas need the most attention.  If a category has consistently increased year after year, then you may need to source a different vendor or item.  Other areas of the company can use this data, too, to determine if a total shift in products or raw materials should be used to get away from those made with material that continues to increase.  The baseline will establish your health before you do anything else.

Pull from other sources – Often times, procurement departments do not have access to the best data they need to make decisions.  This may be because it is held in systems they do not have access to or because the company itself has never had a process to track the details.  By looking to outside sources, you may uncover data that is useful in making decisions, such as going to the suppliers you do business with and asking for historical performance for purchases or pricing.  It could also mean that you research internally for data that isn’t dollars and cents.  You may purchase material handling equipment, but the warehouse uses it.  How the equipment holds up and runs and how the supplier supports you for fixes and replacement parts are just as important in determining your procurement health as is the cost of the equipment in a contract.  The more data you have, the better choices you can make for the company.

Correlating Data Points – With data from several sources, you can put the final piece in play.  Just like the new Apple Health Dashboard can correlate calories consumed from MyFitnessPal and burnt from MapMyRun, to the blood pressure measurements taken from an iHealth wireless device, you should be looking for solutions that can help correlate the key data points you are receiving from external and internal sources.  When you correlate which resource runs projects quickly but with good savings you can begin to examine what they are doing differently than other team members, for instance.  The correlations of savings and the time it takes to realize the savings is just one correlation we can provide.

At SafeSourcing, we can help your company establish a procurement dashboard to monitor your company’s spend health with our SafeDashboard™.  For more information on this tool 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.

Disaster Recovery

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

 

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

Another hurricane season is approaching, and after a record hurricane season in 2017, meteorologists predict there will be between 14 and 18 named storms on the eastern seaboard this season.  There are areas that are still in recovery from the last season.  According to The Weather Company, cooler water temperatures in the Atlantic and warmer temperatures in the Pacific could hamper activity, and result in an average hurricane season with about 13 named tropical storms and 6 developing into hurricanes, with 2 being major.

We can’t fight the forces of nature, but we can be prepared as we enter the hurricane season.  Safety is the initial concern during a weather disaster, but the residual damages can be far reaching. Whether the damages are resulting from hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, or blizzards, it could greatly affect business operations.   An event that disrupts your business could actually put you out of business if you don’t have a plan in place. Your organization may not be directly affected by such an event, but your key suppliers and vendors could be.

A disaster recovery plan is essential to keeping your organization running in the case of a natural disaster. It is a good idea to utilize the National Weather Service’s national preparedness calendar as a guide for year-round reminders to identify potential disasters and review your organization’s disaster recovery plan.

Some questions that an organization should keep in mind are:

  • How will your data be affected?
  • Do you have remote systems in place?
  • Do you have backup vendors?
  • Is there a secure alternate operations site?

Disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster.  It’s not enough to have the procedures in place; you need to know what’s in the plans to be able to execute them when the time comes.  Have a plan and be ready for action, but most of all be safe!

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.

 

References ————————————————————————————–

  1. http://fortune.com/2018/05/14/2018-hurricane-season-forecast-possible-tropical-storm-in-gulf/
  2. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-04-19-2018-hurricane-season-forecast-the-weather-company-ibm-april
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_recovery

 

Procurement and AI

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

 

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

Artificial Intelligence is a vastly growing field and with huge strides in its advancement, it has become more of a household tool. With technologies like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, the desire for more AI has increased. AI advancements in business, especially procurement, could make processes easier and more streamlined with your goals.

Many businesses currently use their own in house teams on their procurement efforts. This can pull people away from other pressing tasks essential to business operations. Implementing a procurement team can alleviate those currently taking on that role and provide an expertise not otherwise seen within the company. This can also shorten the amount of time it takes to analyze data, evaluate risk, and implement new processes.

If artificial intelligence is added into your procurement efforts with your procurement partner, these processes could make even further advancements. Indices, risks, and spend management could be analyzed in a matter of moments with the right AI application and platform. This could help your business obtain the supplies, services, and data it needs to run as efficiently as possible without taking time away from other projects, ultimately helping your bottom line.

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

 

What can e-Procurement do for you?

Monday, May 21st, 2018

 

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

What can you take to market with e-Procurement?  The answer is quite simple, anything you want! I was talking with a friend recently that owns a roofing company. We were just discussing work and the question came up, “do you have any way of sourcing fleet trucks?” I responded with yes we can. We have recently run a Truck Lease event saving our client over 11% based on previous year leases. This grabbed his interest and he began asking a lot more questions. What about supplies, shingles, equipment? The answer of course is yes to all. If you purchase it, we can source it. What started as simple small talk blossomed into a full blown discussion on what we could do to help his business? With our extensive vendor and supplier database we can find the right people for what he needs. We went over a few categories including supplies and equipment.  Based on what he spends now, and the size of his company, we could potentially save him over 23% just on his supplies alone, compared to previous events we have run.

He asked so what is the difference from him just calling all the vendors to get the quotes himself and using an e-Procurement tool such as ours? That can be answered a couple of ways. To begin with, as previously mentioned, we have an extensive vendor list of over five hundred thousand companies for many different categories to which we are constantly adding more. Secondly, by inviting these different companies to participate in a “Live Event” it brings out the competitive nature in companies to want to be the best and offer the best pricing. So by hosting these events, it shows vendors their price, and if they have the lowest quote, gives them the ability to lower their price. Additionally, we do all of the leg work contacting vendors, building specification documents, gathering pricing and giving full event reports. We handle it all, making the procurement easier and less expensive.  On top of that, he has time to work on his business while making it grow without the extra headache of expenses. Needless to say, we will be looking to help him in the near future with all of his procurement needs.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Representative we have an entire team waiting to assist you today.

 

Finding the Right Mechanic

Friday, May 18th, 2018

 

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

Do you have a good reliable mechanic that you can count on for fixing and maintaining your vehicles?  In business do you have the right M&R partners for your fleet? If not, you need to look into finding one as soon as possible and the search can be much the same for business and personal use.  You may be overpaying or using one that is not as reputable as you as think.  It’s a good idea to find a reliable technician before you start having problems with your vehicles.  To start your search you may want to talk to friends, relatives and colleagues and see who they may recommend.  There are also sources available online such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and by performing searches for places that are approved by AAA.

When you find one that you think you may be interested in, check to see if they have any certifications.  Ask if the mechanics are ASE certified.  ASE certified means that the mechanic went through testing with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been properly trained for the position.  Businesses that are certified may be a better option because they have been vetted by another organization.

Once you have found a shop, start out by having some routine maintenance done on your vehicles such as fluid changes.  When the work is complete, see if you are able to talk to the mechanic about the work and any other issues they may have seen.  Talking to the mechanic may help you get a feel for how knowledgeable and trustworthy they may be.  This will also give you a chance to look around and see how well organized and how they keep their shop.

As you know, finding a reliable mechanic takes some work so if you need help finding one, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We conduct M&R events several times per year and  can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which shop 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.

 

Getting Started​ ​

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

 

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

Years ago, I wrote another blog posting called “Getting Started.” At the time, this topic was among the most common in all of the conversations I had. All this time later, that is still true. While the titles have not been as direct as that first blog, I have written several others that share this theme. Today, I am revisiting this again. In “Getting Started,” we considered some basics which I’ll seek to update here today.

One of the basic points that we considered back in 2012 was the importance of leveraging your eProcurement Services provider as a partner to help establish a plan. This is even truer today than it was then. Like in many fields, constant improvement and innovation has greatly changed the world of Strategic Sourcing. One way that your partner is able to help you develop a plan better today than in the past is through advances in analytics. Offerings like SafeSourcing’s own SafeSpendAnalysis™ which allow for increased visibility into a company’s spend have been vastly improved over the last few years. The insights that tools like this generate fill in enormous gaps in the knowledge that an organization has and also give that organization the tools to create a plan that is based on actionable intelligence. Now, more than ever, you should rely on an experienced partner as you get started.

In the blog from 2012, I also wrote about relying on the experience of your partner as you get started. Along with the tools and the understanding needed to determine your plan, your partner can also help you execute against that plan. A partner like SafeSourcing will have many years of experience to call upon which includes specification templates, suppliers, strategic advice, and more.

In 2012, I wrote that “The next question you will ask is “why didn’t I start sooner?” If you haven’t started yet, I encourage you to do so. In the last several months, I’ve had that exact conversation as our clients have realized the capabilities of eProcurement and have lamented about lost savings opportunity because they sourced products and services before they engaged with us and know they have likely overpaid.

Please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate for more Information

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Should retailers manage their in place contracts with SaaS based Contract Management Offerings?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

It is not secret that the majority of global retailers both large and small do not have contract management solutions in place. Nor, do they have document management systems in place. In order to mitigate their risk, where should focus be placed when beginning implementation?

SafeContract™ which is a Software as a Service cloud based offering is the best way to store and leverage the pertinent language or data within existing contracts. What this means is that there is also a need to create a process with which to identify the Metadata within your contracts.

According to Wikipedia Metadata is loosely defined as data about data. Though this definition is easy to remember, it is not very precise. The strength of this definition is in recognizing that metadata is data. As such, metadata can be stored and managed in a database.

When we think about contract management, we need to be thinking about mitigating risk and not necessarily all of the language embedded in a contract. On many occasions this information is listed on addendums or attachments. For sake of simplicity, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list the following twenty items reflect the metadata you might want to hi-lite and set alert targets against in storage of current contracts.

1. Supplier or Seller Information
2. Purchaser or Buyer Information
3. Detail of Goods to be purchased
4. Detail of Services to be purchased
5. Delivery Timeline Details of the Goods and or Services
6. Agreed upon pricing
7. When and where should payments are to be made?
8. Payment Terms
9. Down Payment Terms
10. Delivery Dates
11. Delivery Location or locations
12. Risk of Loss or Damage and transfer language
13. Is Assignment of this Agreement Allowed?
14. Detailed Warranty
15. Trademark infringement language
16. Origination Dates
17. Termination Dates
18. Termination Notice
19. Additional Clauses
20. Signature Details
21. Auto Renewal Language

The above list should be at a minimum the type of data that is considered for your Metadata table for inclusion during the document review process that your SafeSourcing will put in place for you as a supporting service during the early stages of implementation, training and review of your SafeContract™ SaaS cloud based offering.

To learn more please contact a SafeSourcing customerr services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Print Fulfillment

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

 

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

If you aren’t familiar with print fulfillment standard practices, it can be surprising to see how complicated the program can get. In retail, for example, printing can be segmented by uses such as signage, labeling, circulars, mailers, flyers, banners, and promotions. Each of these segments is usually kitted by the print fulfillment provider, who also stores and distributes the final product. However, the whole process is further complicated by the fact that each store in a retail chain will have different needs that may require specific promotions, store address prints, quantities relative to store size, quantities relative to market, or differing departments between stores such as deli, floral, or pharmacy. Therefore, the whole process is typically outlined in complex spreadsheets that breakdown stores, campaigns, print files, costs, logistics, and lead times. Managing this process is a delicate dance between all parties involved, and can seem impossible to negotiate better pricing. However, we routinely see double digit savings in this category from companies who take their programs to market.

The first thing many companies will find when exploring the market for other print fulfillment providers is inconsistency. For example, you may find that you have previously priced a banner from a print company, and find that the fulfillment company you buy that banner through, marks up the cost of the same banner by 40% before freight. Another inconsistency you may find is that you are being charged two different price points for the exact same kind of print/material/color, just because they are in different kits, and you’re already being charged a kitting fee. If you have an agreement that allows you unlimited changes to the print file on any product that doesn’t require a re-tooling, the aforementioned price difference doesn’t make any sense. Now that you’ve found these inconsistencies in price for products with a common denominator, you can structure your RFQ appropriately.

If your program data is captured well within a table, you can use any number of programs to identify and consolidate your print types. For example, do you have the same 8.5 x 11/60lbs/4-color product being used in 8 different kits with multiple price points? Itemize that as ONE product, with the print file and kitting to be communicated post-bid in a master print schedule. Go through the same exercise with all of your activity, and you will find that the complexity of your program can have its volume summarized in a much reduced number of activities.

SafeSourcing has walked their clients through this exercise countless times, and then compressed the pricing through our e-suite of procurement tools. We do the heavy lifting, engage the vendors, and negotiate the pricing on your behalf. Utilizing our expertise, you’ll never have to be subject to costly pricing inconsistencies for your Print Fulfillment needs ever again.

Please leave a comment or for more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement 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.