Archive for June, 2018

Overcome the “What If?”

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

 

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

“What if” is a question we ask ourselves a lot. Typically the “what if” factor can be what causes us to be our own worst enemy. Ever since I was around 8 years old, I have been afraid of biting into an apple fearing I will lose a tooth. That fear meant anytime I wanted to eat my favorite fruit, I had to have a knife or some way of slicing it. Well, that ended recently when a co-worker came into the office with a bunch of small delicious looking apples. He offered me one and I looked forward to cutting it up and eating at lunch. Well the day blew by before I knew it, it was time to go home. Not wanting to warm up my lunch and try to navigate rush hour while trying to eat, I decided to just go home and eat when I got there. As I pull onto the highway entrance ramp, I see a sea of stopped traffic. Afterabout 15 minutes, I had successfully entered the highway. With a ravishing hunger, looking through my lunch bag, there was nothing that I could eat that didn’t require some kind of prepping. I was about to close the bag and there it was, that delicious looking apple. So I decided to take the chance and it was great! I ate the whole thing and didn’t lose a tooth! That made me think I had spent a major part of my life afraid to bite into an apple.

This got me thinking about everything I had turned down or have been too afraid to do. How often I missed an opportunity. This also had me thinking on how often I have spoken to companies and they have told me how they are afraid to try e-procurement because it may not grasp the entire scope of what they are looking to take to market. They also feared this may upset their incumbents or they may be wasting their time and not see any savings. I have also spoken to potential vendors we invite to participate in the bidding process. I often get the infamous “we do not participate in e-bids”. Once I follow up on that response, it often boils down to they have never participated in one, do not know how it will work, and fear they may be wasting resources by participating and not being awarded the business. I love explaining to them our SafeSourcing representatives are here to help them through the entire process and we are practically bringing the business to them, all they have to do is put their best foot forward. By coming up with strong pricing and a plan, the worst thing that can happen is they may not be awarded the business, but it may help them reflect and gauge where their prices stack up.  SafeSourcing has successfully helped another clients and has brought new business to a happy sales team. This may not be “apples to apples’’ but it can be a great change! SafeSourcing offers “Risk Free” Trials and Pilot Agreements and we pride ourselves on an average savings of 24% across all categories. Can you imagine the savings you could see and what you could so with those savings? Overcome the “What If”!

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.

 

 

Single-Use Plastic to Eventually Become a Thing of The Past

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of Major Accounts and Special Projects at SafeSourcing Inc.

McDonald’s announced this week that by 2020 all of the UK will use paper straws. In the US McDonald’s will be test alternative straws to the plastic version. Sea World already uses paper straws and has eliminated plastic shopping bags and A&W in Canada will offer paper straws only by the end of this year.

So why all the “sudden” changes? As you may know, even though oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth, humans have dumped so much plastic into them that animals such as pilot whales are dying from consuming it. By 2050, according to a prediction from the MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans unless something drastically changes in the meantime. Also, this past spring, reports came out that over 83% of our bottled water contains plastic particles.1

Laws are changing globally to combat the single-use/disposable crisis to our environment. For example; styrofoam cups are banned in California and California is also looking to make new laws to include plastic straws.

Our landfills are filling up with plastics such as water bottles, coffee pods, ziplock bagies, cereal bags, and many more items that typically don’t get recycled. Think back to what you have thrown away in the past 24 hours, how much of it was a plastic that couldn’t be recycled?

What are your business practices to emlinate or reduce your use of single-use plastics? Have you looked at alternative products? Long term what are your company goals to reduce waste or your carbon footprint?

SafeSourcing offers a wide variety of business solutions to your purchasing needs and one of those solutions is research and market changes. We at SafeSourcing can do the leg work for you to find alternatives and give the current market pricing and fluctuating market trends.

Are you interested in more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program for RFPs and RFQs, 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. https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/mcdonalds-plastic-straws-phasing-out-uk-britain.html

The Importance of Maintaining Your Dryer Vent

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

 

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

A friend of ours recently used a local company to clean their dryer vent.  From being a fireman in the past, I know that clogged vents can lead to overheating and fires, but I did not know there are companies that specialize in this service.  I guess the reason I did not know this is because all of the places that I had lived in the past had the dryer located on an outside wall. Because of the location, the vent was usually less than a foot long because it went straight through the wall to the outside. To clean the vents, I would just move out the dryer twice a year and manually inspect the vent and use a vacuum to clean up any residue.  This isn’t the case in our new house. The laundry room is located in a central part of the upstairs so the vent is located in the wall and goes under the floor boards to an outside wall. Because of the length, there is a greater possibility of having a clog.  These clogs are not just fire hazards, as stated above, but can also cost you a lot of money by lowering the efficiency of the drying.  Clogged or partially clogged vents restrict the airflow which causes the dryer to take longer and be less efficient.  It also makes the machine work harder which causes wear and tear leading to costly maintenance repairs.  As you know, dryers do contain lint traps but these traps do not trap all of the lint that is produced when drying which leads to the possible build up within the vent.  So it is recommended that you clean the vents at least once a year.  Below are some common signs that you may need to clean your vent.

  • Longer drying times
  • Damp or moldy smelling clothes
  • Lint visible in the opening outside
  • Outside vent flap not opening during use
  • Outside of dryer and clothes are very hot
  • Noticeable burning smell

If you need help with your dryer vent maintenance, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

Make Stress Your Friend

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

 

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

Stress is a part of life for all of us.  As long as we face encroaching deadlines, competing responsibilities, overloaded schedules, last-minute crises, financial troubles, and social conflicts, we’re going to encounter it often. So, when my cardiologist tells me ‘you have to keep yourself stress free’, my response is who does that?  Doctors have typically been telling their patients this for decades, which causes people to spas out when confronted with a stressful situation. The new science of stress reveals that how you think about stress matters.

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a health psychologist, has a life-changing solution: “make stress your friend”.  In her 2013 TED Talk, Dr. McGonigal presented a scientific study which studied the stress patterns and responses of 30K people for 8 years.  The finding was that stress was deadly for those who believed that stress was bad for their health. Stress is not the culprit, but your thoughts surrounding stress can kill you. You should view your body’s stress response as helping you to get through a tough situation.

Anyone struggling with stress at work might take a few pointers from Major League Baseball’s mental-skills coaches. Currently, 26 of the 30 MLB teams employ sports psychologists or mental-skills coaches to help players’ mental game which can make the difference between success and failure. Ken Ravizza, a mental-skills coach for the Chicago Cubs, teaches players to stay aware of their mental state by imagining an inner traffic signal: It’s green when your body is calm and the mind focused. It turns yellow when your heart rate and blood pressure start rising and you begin having trouble focusing. It flashes red when you start believing your self-doubts. Your muscles tighten and you lose control. Dr. Ravizza directs players to choose a focal point to look at during tense moments, such as a foul pole or spot on their glove, and imbue it with special meaning.

Jonathan Fader, a former mental-skills coach for the New York Mets, coached a self-employed trader who worried so much about hitting his monthly profit targets that his performance began to slide. He advised him to let go of the outcome and focus on attaining the mental state he hoped to experience after he succeeded—calm, masterful and capable of quick, rational decisions.  By improving his performance on measures he could control, the trader began netting better monthly results. We can’t always control stressful situations, but we can control our thoughts and how we deal with them.

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———————————————————————-

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trouble-at-the-office-baseball-can-help-1528724159

Accept Change​!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

 

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

Chances are, at some point, that you have had to face some unwanted changes in your life. Some changes are personal and some are professional, but they aren’t always fun. You may have been advised by friends or loved ones to embrace change. I’m not trying to tell you that at all. I am telling you that you should learn to accept change.

In eProcurement, change is usually the name of the game. That holds true for the vendors that participate in our online Request for Quote (RFQ) events and it is also true for our clients who are the hosts of these RFQ events. I thought I would share my perspective on change as it relates to vendor and client in eProcurement.

Vendors 

Change comes with the territory for vendors in an eProcurement RFQ. Whether you are an incumbent vendor or not, the results of the RFQ event are likely to bring change. This can be a very positive change. Vendors invited to participate in an RFQ event have an opportunity to secure new business through their participation. The host of the RFQ event might be one that the vendor has been calling on for years, or the host may be a net new sales opportunity. Either way, the potential for a positive change is there. Incumbent vendors might be more reluctant to the change. Certainly, there is risk in any such process that the incumbent vendor may not be awarded after the RFQ. That’s not always the case. Either way, it’s best to accept the change and make the most of the opportunity.

Clients 

The client who is hosting the RFQ event must also accept change. As a result of the RFQ event, their award decision may mean that they will be awarding to a new vendor. This might not be a vendor that they have worked with in the past. For this reason, there are always steps in the process which will allow this change to be managed by the client. One of the most common ways to manage this change to ensure that it is successful is to request and review samples. There are many other ways as well. This is meant to be a positive change. While savings is important and one of the largest benefits of the change that comes with this process, it is not the only benefit. Change can also come in the form of product or process improvements or in service levels. Accepting change and being open minded is very important.

I don’t view change as positive or negative. There are definitely times when change falls pretty directly into one of those categories, but the concept of change doesn’t imply either. In eProcurement, change should be accepted and managed. Perhaps through acceptance, you might even find you’ll be able to embrace it.

For more information as to how SafeSourcing has been able to assist its clients adapt to the ever changing world of procurement best practices, please contact a SafeSourcing customers services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Procurement Expectations

Monday, June 18th, 2018

 

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

If you have never utilized e-procurement or used a procurement partner, you may not know what to expect when first beginning. Typically, a procurement partner works with your team to assist with the procurement process. This can mean a number of things, and could include e-procurement tools, like those offered by SafeSourcing. These tools and the expertise of a procurement partner can greatly help with the success of your own efforts and can help your organization realize more savings, more opportunities, and a more streamlined and quicker process.

When working with these tools and your procurement partner, it is important to outline what you hope to achieve from the process. Making your expectations known can help direct those procurement efforts to produce the results most sought. For example, if an organization is seeking to use a new product in store, a procurement professional can help research that product, list potential suppliers, and provide a market estimate of costs to implement that product. If an organization is expanding into a new region, your procurement partner can source everything you might need, from construction companies and building supplies to products to fill the new stores. Even if a company is looking for a private label product from a certified green vendor, that is what your procurement partner would focus on finding.

Ultimately, utilizing e-procurement, and especially a procurement partner, can help you attain the results you hope for. However, if expectations aren’t known or aren’t relayed, the outcome may not align with what was wanted. A procurement partner’s job is to help your organization get the results it desires and works with you and for you to ensure the outcome is a success, because when your organization succeeds, so does your procurement team.

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.

 

 

Retail collective buyer organizations and consortiums are evolving in order to compete with mega retailers.

Friday, June 15th, 2018

 

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge e-negotiation and eProcurement tools. Their retailer members are also benefiting from their use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs in many different ways

These types of organization can go by many different names such as wholesaler, collective buyer, consortium, cooperative, share groups and more. They all have one thing in common. They consolidate purchasing volumes for a wide array of groups that may have very similar business structures, but for the savvy consortium can also be wildly different.

In the retail vertical, companies may actually belong to several different buying groups because their primary group does not offer expertise in a certain area.

Consortiums are also evolving and beginning to focus mixed markets where it makes sense. In general consortiums tend to be vertically focused such as a drug industry consortium with the members generally representing the drug industry only. However some consortiums are beginning to market them selves outside of their vertical to retailers or other companies who want to take advantage of learned expertise that the consortium possesses in the categories that are common across more than their own vertical and offer increased volumes. An example might be drug stores sourcing very similar products that health care organizations like hospitals source. Although this may seem like a stretch fro most, it is now very common within retail for non vertical specific players to work together.

Today?s advanced e-negotiation or e-procurement tools make it much easier to accomplish collective buying and aggregating outside of a consortiums initial area of expertise. Large and small retailers alike now have the capability of viewing a much broader universe of suppliers and other companies while also coordinating and participating in collaborative events from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Suppliers now have an opportunity to earn business they could never compete for in the past.

Retailers should ask their collective buyers how they plan to make the use of these types of tools and what they have to offer in terms of introductions to other companies for increased volume.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What is a Third Party Logistics Provider or 3PL and how do retailers use them?

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

 

If you are having difficulty with your current? distribution model, compress your spend using eProcurement tools and then source a reputable 3PL.

According to Wikipedia a third-party logistics provider (abbreviated 3PL) is a firm that provides outsourced or “third party” logistics services to companies for part, or sometimes all of their supply chain management functions. Third party logistics providers typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled and customized to customer?s needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for their products and materials.

As such, there are a number of types of 3PL?s within retail that may in fact service a single retailer as well as smaller buying groups of small retailers. All might fall under this umbrella including wholesalers such as SUPERVALU, collective buyers such as TOPCO or even a retailer collaborative that may in fact just coordinate aggregated purchases and in fact pick other 3PL?s to provide warehousing, picking and packing and distribution. Each of these providers may in fact provide some or all of the same services. The later or collaborative of multiple retailers might even be looked at as a non asset based 3PL.

In all categories of third party logistics providers however it is still the end user or retailer regardless of size that determines what products they buy and accept delivery of in their stores. As such, it should be no more difficult for smaller retailers to run e-negotiation events?? There will need to be discussions as to costs that are purely associated with the warehousing, slotting, picking and distribution of products by a 3PL once an e-negotiation event has been planned, but these items should be easy to break out for bid or add to the final pricing prior to award of business as a flat fee. This is a practice that all 3PL?s should be familiar with already. Retailers should anticipate that their existing 3PL depending on services offered would rather not have you conduct these types of events as it negatively impacts their volumes with manufacturers and other providers and as such their company?s margins.

Understanding your options and the flexibility that 3PL?s can provide may actually make it easier for all retailers to use e-negotiation tools to impact their bottom line.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The Difference between Customer Service and GREAT Customer Service

Monday, June 11th, 2018

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing archives

When you think about any type of customer service, you usually just remember your bad experiences and really great experiences. Anything that is considered expected just seems to slip through the cracks without being thought twice about.

So, how do you stand out to be that company that everyone remembers and talks about? I’m going to discuss two steps that, if you follow, you will have a very satisfied customer/client that keeps coming back to you and also refers you to others as well.

Going Above and Beyond:  Giving a customer more than what’s expected or out of the norm is always something that will be remembered. Another way to go above and beyond is overachieving. For example, if a customer requests a document by a specific date, shoot for a date that is prior to that deadline, this will show you’re engaged and committed to exceed their expectations.

Good Communication:  Make yourself readily available at all times, even if it is after hours. This shows that you are committed to get the job done and make the customer happy. Keep the customers or clients up to date and always in the loop with any information needed or requested.  By being proactive with your communication, the customer will not have to continually chase you down for information or updates.

Customer Frame of Mind:  The number one key to creating a happy customer is by placing yourself in their shoes.  Continually think, “If this was my decision to make, what information would I need?  What details would I need to know about a new vendor?  What are the missing pieces I would need to award this business?”, and then get those things.

Creating an Overall Memorable Experience:  If the above steps are followed, you will have a very happy customer. They will understand that you went outside the expected services to make sure they had a very painless and positive experience. They will remember the experience and want to share their experiences with others.

For all of your procurement needs, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative for a great customer service experience. A service that is more than just what’s expected and that you will want to share with all of your family, friends, and/or colleagues.

We look forward to your comments.

Time Management and Procurement

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Does your procurement team seem like they never have time?

I would argue that working in procurement is one of the busiest careers. Between management of internal projects, working with suppliers on an individual basis, and working with customers, it is easy to forget tasks that are not considered a high priority.

Tools that SafeSourcing uses to manage time effectively:

1. Outlook Calendar- Typically my entire day is planned on my calendar, with reminders set.
2. Task List- Organized by priority first thing in the morning.
3. Checking things off- When you complete a task, make sure you mark it complete.

If your procurement team still seems extremely busy, you may want to consider partnering with a 3rd Party Procurement firm, such as SafeSourcing. Effective time management leads to successful events, and those results lead to savings. Time Management is huge when it comes to managing successful events.

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.