Archive for July, 2018

Google search tools

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

Google’s search algorithms are notoriously complex and secretive. After all, if a savvy online company cracked the code to becoming the first result you see no matter what your search, they could stand to profit immensely. The ambiguity and complexity also makes it difficult to conduct research effectively and avoiding false-positives within your search results. What many users don’t know is that there are many shortcuts embedded into the search bar that allow you to get more specific with your results. We have passed through the many shortcuts available, and ranked the ones we think would be the most helpful to any procurement professional:

Search term format, followed by description:

    1. Word1 Word2: The default search parameter used by most users will search BOTH terms as separate terms. Therefore your search results won’t necessarily use the same word order, which may not return the correct results when using compound words or specific phrases.
    2. “Fourscore and seven years ago”: Using quotation marks will search the exact phrase entered in its exact order. This is best used for searching exact quotes, or product descriptions that must have an exact match.
    3. Star -Trek: Is your search result giving you too many false positives? If searching a word like Star is giving you too many results within a popular science fiction category that doesn’t belong in your scope, placing a “-” symbol before a second term will prevent the results from returning results containing that second term.
    4. Logistics site:www.safesourcing.com: Enter a search term, and then use “site:” to limit the search results to a specific domain. This can be helpful when looking for a specific product within a manufacturer’s website, but aren’t certain where to find it.
    5. Filetype:pdf: This shortcut allows you to search for files of a certain extension type. For instance, if looking for a sample specification, sometimes limiting your search to a pdf or word filetype will return the most relevant results.
    6. Fluid Milk Type VI 2008…2013: Placing three periods between two numerical terms will limit your results to between those numbers. For instance, if you are conducting historic market research for a commodity within a certain timeframe, this search will only return results containing numbers within the year range given. This can be useful if shopping for within a known price range as well.
    7. Related:www.cmegroup.com: When looking for similar suppliers or services, a “related:” search can be helpful for returning other sites of similar scope.

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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What is a Third Party Procurement Company?

Friday, July 20th, 2018

 

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

What is a Third Party Procurement Company? The quick answer? We are our client’s right-hand man in procurement.

When speaking to suppliers, on a daily basis, we are asked who are you, why are you working on behalf of so and so, and what does third party mean?

The name third party procurement company has a couple of other names that mean the same thing, but are just as confusing, PSP or Procurement Service Provider.

According to Procurement Service Provider:

A Procurement Service Provider, or PSP, is a third party organization or consultant which is used to supplement internal procurement departments. PSP’s have their own staffing which assist in a variety of tasks for their clients. These tasks include: strategic planning, implementing best practices, supplier rationalization, and supplier collaboration, strategic sourcing and negotiation.

“Enterprises utilizing PSP’s have been able to improve spending coverage, reduce costs for goods and services, employ industry best practices, leverage the latest procurement technologies, and streamline source-to-pay processes – all without taking on the risks and assets required to achieve such results.” Aberdeen Group Research Abstract: You Will Outsource Procurement: Here’s Why and How – October 16, 2002.

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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Nuclear Negotiation

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

 

Today’s repost is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

How much blood, sweat, tears and treasure have you spent building your career, business, home, and family? If it’s true that all of it can be taken away from you and every other person on earth in the blink of an eye by a handful of people who control the world’s nuclear arsenal, what topic could be more important to understand the inner workings of?

Every time the presidential office changes leadership, there’s a lot of talk about their command of the nuclear arsenal. This typically accompanies rhetoric about World War II, and the end of the human species. “Enough nukes to destroy the surface of the earth 5 times over” is the line I’ve seen repeated many times. But is it true? Would a nuclear war necessarily escalate globally? Would it “just” set us back to the stone age, or literally eradicate the earth of all life? Who is in charge of these weapons, and what incentives have kept us from destroying ourselves for the 70+ years we’ve had them? I’m setting out to answer the most important questions about nukes by listing facts I deem important by two measures: How severe the effect on human beings could be, and 2. The number of lives it could affect. Then I will conclude with discussing the human factors at play, and how they affect our daily lives.

There are 9 countries that collectively maintain around 15,000 nukes(“Nuclear Arsenals | ICAN” 2017):

  • United States               6,800 warheads
  • Russia                           7,000 warheads
  • United Kingdom           215 warheads
  • France                             300 warheads
  • China                               260 warheads
  • India                                110–120 warheads
  • Pakistan                          120–130 warheads
  • Israel                                80 warheads
  • North Korea                 <10 warheads
  • Total                            14,900 warheads

There are also 23 nations that either don’t have nukes, that have treaties with nations who do, or that “host” nuclear weapons from other nations. This also means that if they were attacked with nuclear weapons, their partner nation would be under extreme pressure to respond to the aggressor in kind. Each of the nations that have dismantled parts of their nuclear arsenal (designated as “Inactive Reserve”) have these components in storage, and they could be reactivated/reconstructed. Data on these components is classified and difficult to find, but estimates are that there exist close to 20,000 additional warheads globally that could be readied for deployment in a matter of months.

  •  The authority to launch a nuclear strike rests largely with the 9 individuals that head their state: In the United states, the authority to launch a nuclear strike sits with the president, and no one has the authority to prevent it. Most of the 9 nuclear countries have a similar structure set up, and it has to be this way for the weapons to be effective: If country A knows it would take days for country B to decide whether or not to retaliate against an attack, then country A could nuke country B out of existence with impunity. For nuclear deterrence to work, nuclear countries have to believe they themselves will be attacked with nuclear weapons if they are to have reason not to attack each other. Time delays of more than mere minutes in a country’s ability to retaliate would eliminate the incentive of another nation not to attack. Because of the necessity of short timeframes, the world is always literally only minutes away from global nuclear war, should an event spark a nuclear attack from any of the 9 nations.

 

  •  Any one of the 9 aforementioned people has the power to kick-off a global nuclear war: The united states has treaties in effect preventing Japan from producing nukes, because we’ve promised to protect them militarily. In total, there are 67 countries the US is obligated to defend militarily if they are under threat (“Status of World Nuclear Forces” 2017a) that we know of, and the other nuclear powers have similar obligations. Therefore, if China nuked Japan, we’d be obligated to nuke China, which might provoke other nations, and we would have a global nuclear war on our hands within minutes.

 

Similar threats are of great concern where it involves terrorism. A terrorist with a “dirty nuke” could bomb a city, make it look like an attack from one of the 9 nuclear powers, who would retaliate with their own nukes, and global nuclear war would be inevitable.

  •  Nuclear weapons may be the only reason we haven’t had several more world wars: The period from 1945 to now has been dubbed “the long peace”, not because it’s been peaceful, but because it hasn’t seen world-war. Conventional war is complex, and “negatable” enough that it can be engaged in a way that one side may only incur minimal losses, while the other side incurs complete loss or surrender. When nuclear war was invented, it became clear quickly, that both sides of a two-sided war would both incur complete loss. Because of this fact, the nuclear powers have limited themselves to localized engagements and “proxy wars”. This is why there was a “cold” war with Russia, and why we’ve seen wars fought where large countries will arm smaller countries to fight for the larger countries interest, but the large countries will never directly engage each other. They all perform a complicated dance where they all know they are at war with each other, but take great pains to avoid admitting it or battling directly. And the reason for this is that they also know if they were to war overtly/directly with each other, it would lead to global nuclear war where no side would achieve what it wants. This concept in effect, means that it will only hold up for as long as the leaders of each of the 9 countries are all rational, capable of understanding the cost of direct war, and the incentives that force each other to either avoid or nuke each other.

 

  •  A global nuclear war might not completely eradicate all life on earth, nor the human species: One study concluded that a war where just 100 15-kiloton nuclear weapons were exploded on land would lead to decades of famine, radiation poisoning, increased UV radiation from ozone loss, and 1000 years of flux in average global temperatures before the earth returned to “normal”(Mills et al. 2014). 15-kilotons is the size of the nuclear weapon used on Hiroshima during World War II, and was of considerably smaller yields than “modern” nuclear weapons. The most powerful US nuclear bomb (the Mk-17) has a yield of 25 megatons, or about 1,666 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

 

The number is always changing, but the total nuclear megatonnage in play globally seems to be around 2200-megatons (Inc 2017), but that count varies from source to source.

What is to prevent a nuclear attack, or even accidental nuclear war from starting? What are the political forces at play and incentives driving the actions of the leaders of the 9 nuclear powers? We will explore this further in part 2.

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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Inc, Agence 3cinq. 2017. “Status of World Nuclear Forces | Nuclear Darkness & Nuclear Famine.” Accessed March 12. http://www.nucleardarkness.org/globalnucleararsenal/statusofworldnuclearforces/.

Lockie, Alex. 2017. “Democrats Introduce Bill to Curb Trump’s Ability to Launch a Nuclear Strike.” Business Insider. January 24. http://www.businessinsider.com/democrats-introduce-bill-to-curb-trumps-ability-to-launch-a-nuclear-strike-2017-1.

Mills, Michael J., Owen B. Toon, Julia Lee‐Taylor, and Alan Robock. 2014. “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” Earth’s Future 2 (4). Wiley Periodicals, Inc.: 161–76.

 

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What Tools Do You Use?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

 

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

We all use tools in our day to day lives, but how many tools we really use might surprise you. Smartphones may be one of the most used tools in many of our lives, giving us access to directions, weather, news, a camera, or just the ability to connect with others. So, what makes a tool useful and practical or not? Whether it is your vehicle, Google home or Alexa, or even your gym, we use tools to accomplish more in less time and to make things easier.

No matter what business you are in, tools likely play an essential role in your success. Construction crews may need bulldozers, hammers, nail guns, safety equipment and more while office workers may need computers, charts, projectors, telephones and more. There are tools that can help both these industries as well as many others – e-Procurement tools. So, what are some e-Procurement tools?

First, having an e-Procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can function as a tool your organization can use. With ready and knowledgeable staff, they can take a spark of an idea from you and turn it into something real with savings the whole organization could benefit from.

In addition to people, another tool SafeSourcing offers is our library. SafeSourcing has a vast library that can be used to educate, research, and streamline your process. Our Wiki library is available to everyone and can help you understand many industry specific terms. Our electronic newsletter provides useful news and information that can provide a better understanding of what is happening in your industry as well as around the world. To streamline your processes, SafeSourcing also has a template library that can help you with specifications, terms and conditions, and any RFx goals you might have.

Even more than already mentioned, there are more tools available from SafeSourcing. SafeSourceIt can help you get the supplies or services you need at the best price and easily compare vendors all in one location. SafeSpendAnalysis can help you understand where your organization is spending its money and where it can potentially save the most. SafeDocument is a safe and reliable location to store all your organizations documents, and with version retention and access from anywhere it can provide what you need when you need it. SafeContract is another tool that allows you to safely store your contracts and provides alerts when a contract is nearing its expiration, allowing you to be more prepared.

All of these tools can be highly useful for any organization. All of them being easy to use and in one location make them that much more useful and practical, which is exactly what we seek from a tool.

For more information on SafeSourcing tools or helping in 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.

 

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The Art of the Pilot ​

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

 

 

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

At SafeSourcing, we typically start our engagement with a simple Pilot Program. The pilot is our trial offering for new clients who are interested in what SafeSourcing can do for them and are ready to test us out. When we engage with the client, we start with two relatively simple categories to use for our client’s first eProcurement events.

We select simple categories so that the client can focus on understanding the process and evaluating the results. We also recommend categories which we host fairly commonly. Another benefit for hosting simple and common categories is so that we can provide quick results. For example, some common pilot categories for retailers are copy paper, stretch wrap, plastic bags, and paper bags. There are more, or course, and that list would vary from industry to industry.

The SafeSourcing Pilot Program is a 30-day trial of SafeSourcing’s services. Because we are able to drive very quick results, 30 days is a sufficient amount of time to fully experience and evaluate the benefits of the process.

Another very important benefit of the SafeSourcing Pilot Program is our Cost-Neutral Guarantee. SafeSourcing guarantees the pilot will be successful and will drive savings. If our client does not get savings from the pilot, then they will not be responsible for our fees. This means that our new clients are only risking the time they spend working with us to prepare for their events.

With no risk and guaranteed savings, the SafeSourcing Pilot Program is a great way to try eProcurement within your organization. SafeSourcing’s clients are attaining incredible savings averaging over 24% in 2017. Start with your SafeSourcing Pilot Program soon and get started on your own. 

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

 

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How to insure the sustainability of e- RFX events for your customers.

Friday, July 13th, 2018

 

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

If you follow these simple guidelines it will also encourage senior management to consider placing more of the companies spend under the umbrella of e-procurement tools and specifically reverse auction tools.

Once you are armed with a robust detail focused supplier database and related e-procurement tools:

1. Conduct a detailed category discovery
a. Learn all there is to learn about the customers way of doing business.
b. Walk, observe and annotate all activity at distribution centers and warehouses.
c. Walk an array of stores and review all formats of the enterprise.
d. Compile a list of all corporate categories
2. Rank categories by
a. Total spend
b. Importance
c. Sourcing frequency
d. Quality objectives
e. Look for aggregation opportunities
i. Lighters, lighter fluid, flints, fire sticks.
3. Conduct supplier discovery
a. Rank suppliers
i.   Size
ii.  Experience
iii. References
iv. Environmental certifications
v.  Safety Certifications
4. With all of the above in hand; develop a three year game plan
a. Identify suppliers for each event over the three years
b. Develop savings targets by category
c. Develop a three year time line  for all categories
5. Role Play internally  the first year for a test category
a. Ask the following questions
i.   How will you award the business
ii.  Review alternate scenarios
iii. Review savings by scenario
iv. Determine which suppliers will be invited back
v. Determine what new suppliers from your database search will be invited during the next year or cycle.

I’m sure you can fill in a few more items prior to your launch, but the key is to have a plan and to write it down. Now you do.

If you’d like Safesourcing to conduct a cot neutral 2 day discovery session for your procurement team, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We  look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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The Importance of Supplier Communities!

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

 

Today’s post is our  SafeSourcing Archives 

Suppliers offer a great value to sourcing events. Typically you can use the suppliers’ knowledge on their industry. Without having a knowledgeable supplier base, your sourcing events will not be successful.

By leveraging a Request for Proposal, a company can ask the vendors the best plan for their needs, thereby receiving a broad range of solutions to the problem. Much like technology, the supplier communities are constantly evolving, and typically if you run an RFQ in 2012, there will be major industry changes by 2015.

When you leverage the supplier community, you can find the best way to run an RFQ to match the industry. When you match the quoting process to the industry standard, you will receive apples to apples quotes.

SafeSourcing can help leverage the supplier community within any industry. 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.

 

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Empathy in Your Business

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

 

 

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

This is the seventh blog within the author’s series of Emotional Intelligence in Business explaining empathy and how it will affect and help your business. Despite a bevy of research and best-selling books on the topic, many managers still downplay emotional intelligence as a “touchy-feely” soft skill1. The importance of characteristics like empathy and self-awareness is understood, sure, but intelligence and technical capability are seen as the real drivers of professional success1. Evidence suggests quite the opposite: that high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of a success1. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops1.

“Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark,” (Goleman, 2015, pp 3).2

4). Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

a.) Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers. (In an educational context, empathy is often thought to include, or lead to, sympathy, which implies concern, or care or a wish to soften negative emotions or experiences in others.)3 

Three Kinds of Empathy: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate:

The first is “cognitive empathy,” simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Sometimes called perspective-taking, this kind of empathy can help in, say, a negotiation or in motivating people. A study at the University of Birmingham found, for example, that managers who are good at perspective-taking were able to move workers to give their best efforts.4

The second is “emotional empathy,” – when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This emotional contagion, social neuroscience tells us, depends in large part on the mirror neuron system. Emotional empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world, a plus in any of a wide range of callings, from sales to nursing.4

The third is “compassionate empathy,” also known as “empathic concern”, with this kind of empathy we not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed4. It is not out of place at work: you see it when a leader lets people know that he will support them, that she can be trusted, that they are free to take risks rather than maintain a too-safe defensive posture5.

Please stay tuned for the next and final blog in Emotional Intelligence on how social skills can help you and your business.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you 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.

_____________________________________________________

References:

  1. http://www.dce.harvard.edu/professional/blog/emotional-intelligence-no-soft-skill
  2. http://cultureofempathy.com/references/Experts/Daniel-Goleman.htm
  3. https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/goleman.htm
  4. http://www.danielgoleman.info/three-kinds-of-empathy-cognitive-emotional-compassionate/
  5. http://www.danielgoleman.info/empathy-101/

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Cold calling is a necessary part of all businesses, not just sales.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

I come from a history of cold calling. When my mom was in junior high (circa 1955), my grandmother started her own catering business. A hard working Hungarian immigrant, she would sit at their kitchen table every Sunday afternoon after church and call the family of every single young woman listed in the engagement announcements to ask if they had decided on a caterer. My dad is a mechanical engineer, turned salesman, who spent the bulk of his career in the tool and dye industry selling everything from diamond grinding wheels to linear ball bearings.

I guess you could say that I was born into it. Although I resisted for the first several years of my career, once I finally gave in to the sales call, I never looked back. One of my favorite parts of the sales cycle is the cold call. It’s the first introduction of the product or service that you have to offer to a person or business that may have a need for it. I see cold calls as a challenge, each one a fresh opportunity. Apparently not everyone feels the same way. Here are a few suggestions that might help your cold calls be a little less frightening and a little more fun… like mine!

  • Be Confident. Go into each call with confidence and optimism. You are a business professional providing a viable product or service to someone whose company might very well have a need for it.
  • Listen. You’re prepared. You have a good understanding of your value proposition and basic understanding of the businesses that you’re calling on. Now have a conversation, paying close attention to what’s being communicated verbally and otherwise.
  • Be Yourself. Believe it or not, discomfort is easily perceived over the phone. You do not have to be unnaturally pushy or super aggressive to make sales calls. Using your own assets and unique personality to create a genuine rapport can be much more effective.
  • Speak at a Normal Speed. Or even slightly slower than normal, and enunciate. You want to do everything you can to help your potential customers hear what you’re saying. There is nothing worse than struggling to understand someone who is speaking too quickly or mumbling.
  • Be Succinct. Get to the point quickly, keeping in mind of course that if your potential customer feels like engaging in a little small talk to feel more comfortable, you’ll be happy to oblige.
  • Know Who To Ask For. When making sales calls, do your best to understand who the decision maker is for your particular product or service. For some clients, it might be VP of Marketing, for others it could be the head of Human Resources. Learn who makes the final decision before picking up the phone, so you’re not wasting their time or your own.

Would you like to learn how SafeSourcing could help your company run more efficiently? Interested in a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact SafeSourcing. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

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Freight Tendering 101

Monday, July 9th, 2018

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This author has been in and around the freight business for years. Actually for 40 years. Just like the unrelated movie, I have seen it all. Planes, trains and automobiles (trucks really) to be sure but also ocean bound freight. The ships and planes get bigger, but at the end of the day the same issue exists. How do companies get their products to where they need to be efficiently and at a cost that is acceptable in order to satisfy customer demand?

This is not necessarily about your internal optimization models; it is more about the data that feeds your internal optimization models. That is of course if you even have one. The basis for collecting that information is not all of the math calculations and pivot tables; it really is the following types of data.

• Lane data in distance for your delivery model such as Plant to DC.
• Volume discount data from carriers
• Lane rate per mile
• Fuel Surcharge rate
• Human resources rates for loading and unloading (Lumpers in the US)
• 3PL storage rates
• Load balancing charges for LTL versus FL

There may be other data that is required for your individual model, but the above will cover most of what you need to come up with a well rounded format that freight companies can easily bid on.

Relative to who should be bidding; this authors recommendation conducting a three step process that includes a detailed RFI, followed by a detailed RFP and then ultimately the RFQ data compression piece or a reverse auction.

• RFI  – Incumbent and other participants selected from a quality sourcing  database
• RFP – Participants include a reduced number from the RFI process
• RFQ – Includes all RFP participants unless otherwise indicated by the host.

The terms and conditions of the reverse auction or RFQ can cover the balance of information needed by providers that relates to quality, certifications, payment terms, safety, insurance etc.

If you want to get control of your freight costs, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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