Archive for November, 2018

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

 

 

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

CVS Health’s $69 billion bid to acquire insurer, Aetna, has been approved by The Justice Department (JOD) . This could redefine how Americans get insurance. The JOD requires CVS to divest Aetna’s Medicare Part D prescription drug plan business for people as part of this deal. CVS has proposed selling that part of the business to WellCare Health Plans, which would satisfy the JOD’s request. “The divestitures required here allow for the creation of an integrated pharmacy and health benefits company that has the potential to generate benefits by improving the quality and lowering the costs of the health care services that American consumers can obtain,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement.1

This merger would allow the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS to expand its drugstore-pharmacy (with more than 9,800 locations) into a healthcare coverage and medical care delivery destination. This would also allow more customers into CVS facilities for routine health ailments and away from costly emergency hospital visits. Aetna is the third largest U.S. health-insurance company and fourth-largest individual prescription drug plan insurer.

CVS Health indicated the Aetna acquisition is expected to close within the fourth quarter of 2018. Once the merger is completed, Aetna will run as a standalone business within CVS.

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

References….…………………………………………………………………

Mike Snider, USA Today,10/11/2018

 

 

 

 

It’s just a pallet; or is it? Part II of II

Monday, November 12th, 2018

 

Today’s post from our  SafeSourcing, Inc Archives

Use of Pallets: While pallets and palletization were once considered to be powerful components of material handling strategy, today, industry takes the practice largely for granted.  When the palletization concept was first introduced, however, it had a dramatic impact on the improvement of material handling efficiency. Rail cars, for example, that had taken two days to unload could subsequently be unloaded in just one or two hours.  Palletized products can be moved more quickly than by the manual handling of individual palletized cartons.

Benefits of this quicker handling include:

•   Faster turnaround of delivery vehicle and increasing operational efficiency of transport equipment
•   Dramatically reduced labor requirement versus manual handling
•   Reduced risk of temperature abuse for perishable products on unrefrigerated docks
•   With less manual handling there is less risk of product damage and reduced risk of worker injury. Palletized products can be moved more efficiently and stored more efficiently in warehouses and customers often prefer the receipt of palletized goods.
•   Pallets provide drainage and circulation for commodities requiring this, including fresh produce.

Grades of pallets: The GMA (Grocery Manufacturer Association) has determined the standard in which pallets are graded and thus is broken into four (4) different categories. Each category is a guideline to use when buying or selling pallets. The problem is that each category is open for interpretation and it’s important to verify exactly what you’re getting. Each category will have a price range and the price range will vary from region to region. The price will also vary based on the amount of available reconditioned pallets. Below are the four (4) different grading categories and their corresponding condition.

•   Premium – A very clean pallet that has probably been used only a few times. There is little if any repairs to the pallet. The pallet will have no plates and no companion stringers.
•   Grade #1 or A Grade – Typically this pallet has been repaired to close to its original condition. Broken stringers may have been replaced or repaired with metal plates. All damaged deck boards are replaced. This is a fairly clean pallet that is structurally sound.
•   Grade #2 or B Grade – Typically this pallet has had stringer damage that has been repaired by attaching an additional stringer alongside the damaged one. This is commonly referred to as a companion stringer, block stringer and double stringer. The “B” grade pallets usually have two (2) or less repaired stringers. The deck configuration on the “B” grade pallet is not always consistent because these pallets have been repaired many times.
•   Grade #3 or C Grade – Typically this pallet has been repaired numerous times. Most of the stringers on a “C” grade pallet will have companion stringers. The deck boards will be inconsistent in size, spacing and thickness. These pallets are usually in very poor condition and are accepted by few companies.

Owned vs Pool pallets: Many companies choose to buy their own fleet of pallets, but this is not always the best or most efficient thing to do.  What you need to consider…

Owning:

•   Cost: Depending on the amount of goods a company needs to transport, it can be very expensive to buy and upgrade a pallet fleet.
•   Management and tracking: Managing and tracking a rental fleet can be very hard work, if mismanaged, it can create huge problems if goods cannot be transported when needed.
•   Maintenance and cleaning: Once purchased, pallets will need to be continually repaired and cleaned in between usage, requiring the manpower, space and equipment to do this.
•   Storage: When not in use, pallets can take up a lot of space, which is inefficient and costly.
•   Fleet fluctuations: If a company suddenly has an increased order, or an order that requires a special type of pallet, then buying them just for these rare occasions is wasteful, as the rest of the time the overflow will just be gathering dust in storage

Pooling:

•   Flexible: You can rent as many or as few pallets as you need for each specific shipment, meaning you’re never over or under stretch with your pallet fleet.
•   Management and tracking: The pooling company can use their own specialist up-to-date management and tracking systems meaning you doesn’t have to worry about it.
•   Cleaning and maintenance: After each hire, the pallets will be inspected, repaired and cleaned by the pallet pooling company, before they are sent out again.  This means that you don’t need to worry at all about the expense of doing this yourself, and you know all the pallets will be up to standard before each use.
•   Storage: Once you’ve finished with the pallets you just need to hand them back to the pooling company with no need to set aside valuable space to store them.

As you see there are many things to consider before buying or pooling pallets in your business. Should you own pallets or use a service to manage them? What type of pallet do you really need? We at SafeSourcing are ready to help you through all the questions and help you lower your procurement costs.  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

It’s just a pallet; or is it? Part I of II

Friday, November 9th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

If you’re in a business today that provides goods, supplies, equipment  and alike somewhere along the line these products most likely traveled on a pallet, either in the loading, shipping, delivery or receiving process.  Pallets are the most common method for this as well as being used for storage purposes.  In this article I wanted to share some key factors to consider when purchasing, using or accepting pallets, no matter the originating source.   In this blog my intention is to educate you a little more than you probably wanted to know about pallets.

First the definition,  pallet:  sometimes inaccurately called a skid (a skid has no bottom deckboards), a pallet is a flat transport structure that supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift, pallet jack, front loader, work saver or other jacking device. A pallet is the structural foundation of a unit load which allows handling and storage efficiencies. Goods or shipping containers are often placed on a pallet secured with strapping, stretch wrap or shrink wrap and shipped. While most pallets are wooden, pallets also are made of plastic, metal, and paper.

Types of pallets: although pallets come in all manner of sizes and configurations, all pallets fall into two very broad categories: “stringer” pallets and “block” pallets. Various software packages exist to assist the pallet maker in designing an appropriate pallet for a specific load, and to evaluate wood options to reduce costs.

•  Stringer pallets use a frame of three or more parallel pieces of timber (called stringers). The top deckboards are then affixed to the stringers to create the pallet structure.  A stringer pallet is also known as a “two-way” pallet, since a pallet-jack can be used from only two sides to move it. Two-way pallets are designed to be lifted by the deckboards. In a warehouse the deckboard side faces the corridor.
•   Block pallets are typically stronger than stringer pallets. Block pallets utilize both parallel and perpendicular stringers to better facilitate efficient handling. A block pallet is also known as a “four-way” pallet, since a pallet-jack may be used from any side to move it. Four-way pallets or pallets for heavy loads are best lifted by their more rigid stringers. A warehouse has the stringer side facing the corridor.

Efficiencies: organizations using standard pallets for loading and unloading can have much lower costs for handling and storage, with faster material movement than businesses that do not. The exceptions are establishments that move small items such as jewelry or large items such as cars.  But even they can be improved. For instance, the distributors of costume jewelry normally use pallets in their warehouses and car manufacturers use pallets to move components and spare parts.

Pallet pooling:  due to cost and a need to focus on core business, pallet pooling becomes more and more common. A pallet management company can help supply, clean, repair, and reuse pallets. Pallets should be seen as reusable packaging items. Every pallet that is built could potentially be used and used again until such a time when it will need to be replaced.

Stay tuned for Part II of: It’s just a pallet; or is it?

There are many things to considered before purchasing pallets, such as; should I buy new or used pallets, what grade of pallet is right for my business, do I want a service to manage the pallet inventory for me?  We at SafeSourcing are ready to help you through all the questions and help you lower your procurement costs.  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.

What are you doing about your Contract Management Needs?.

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

 

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

If you want to insure against contract leakage that can be as much as 5% per year and also protect the savings from your hard fought eNegotiations, it may be time to take a look at your contract management needs.

Most contract management systems have relatively short ROI periods. In fact a company might even be lucky enough as they go through their data collection process to find a single contract that when analyzed might pay for the entire system.

There are all sorts of benefits associated with using contract management software. Probably the most important and least recognized of which is finally having all spend data in one location enabling more effective negotiations. If you have ever run an e-procurement event and tried to assemble a simple specification or incumbent supplier data you already understand the time involved. Administrative costs alone can be reduced by 25-30%.  That’s a huge number in today’s world of insufficient staff.

If you want to get started, here are some basics that a system should be able to provide.

1. Create contracts
2. Maintain contracts
3. Control contracts
4. Track user access to contracts
5. Track and monitor the status of contract Meta data
a. Award date
b. Contract begin date
c. Contract end date
d. Begin delivery date
e. Escalator language
f. Notification clauses
g. Termination Clauses
6. Automatically alert buyers and management of required actions
7. Custom Reporting
8. Supplier Scorecards

If you want to get started tomorrow, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager and ask about SafeContract™.

We look forward to and appreciate you comments

What Would You Do? ​

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

 

 

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

We all have choices to make when it comes to managing our responsibilities. In procurement, we face choices with every purchase. When we enter into a new agreement, we have choices. When we renew an agreement, we have choices.

In this post, I’ll focus in on just one major choice that procurement professionals face when it comes time to renew an agreement with a vendor. Clearly, a renewal offers the purchaser an opportunity to review the current agreement and decide whether or not they intent to continue working with the vendor. This is also an opportunity for the vendor to make changes to the agreement, very commonly in the form of price increases.

However, the question of whether to renew with the incumbent vendor or not is a bit premature. The better question is around how we want to evaluate the agreement to make that decision. SafeSourcing clients know that they have access to a powerful set of eProcurement tools that will help them attain the best pricing possible with the best terms. If your vendor knows that you have these eProcurement tools, it’s natural that they might attempt to persuade you not to use them.

Do you want to negotiate the agreement fully, including using your eProcurement tools, or do you want to accept the offer that the vendor made for renewal? This question becomes a bit more complicated if the vendor offers a discount if you were to renew without eProcurement. What would you do?

Let’s assume that your vendor offered you a renewal and agreed to reduce your pricing by 10% and hold that pricing for a year and left all the other terms the same. That’s a pretty good offer, right? Maybe. If they offered that in a non-competitive environment, then I’d bet that they have additional margin beyond the 10%. The reason I believe this is because we see this scenario play out time and again with our clients. The client tells the vendor that they are going to host an RFQ and the vendor says there is no need and offers better pricing to avoid the process. Our average savings are well over 24%. Before making a decision to accept the vendor’s offer, it makes sense to talk through what savings levels SafeSourcing expects in a particular category.

It would be very easy to renew and stay with your incumbent vendor. However, knowing that you might be overpaying by 10% or more should give you pause. We always recommend that we discuss the category details and consider whether an RFQ is the right choice to help you make this decision. We usually recommend running the RFQ after that discussion. Either way, our services are always risk free, so there is very little to lose. So, what would you do? Would you use the available eProcurement tools and negotiate the agreement fully?

We’re here to help you make the choice that’s best for you and your company. Let’s talk before you agree to a renewal.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

The Importance of Finding the Right Supplier

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

 

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

When procuring something that your business needs, it’s not a good idea to just look for lowest price.  Sometimes price alone is not enough.  You want to make sure that you are receiving a quality product from a supplier that can meet all of your needs.   One way to ensure this is to thoroughly vet your suppliers before the RFQ process begins.  One way to do this is to create a survey of detailed questions for each supplier to answer.  This can be done using a tool such as SafeSurvey™.  SafeSurvey™ allows you to create sections of questions that you would like clarification on before the RFQ process begins.  After the supplier research has been completed, questions are then complied and put together within the SafeSurvey™ tool.  An email is sent out to all potential suppliers with a link to the survey.  After the surveys have been completed, the data can be exported for further analysis.  Below are some questions that may be contained within the survey.

  • Business Name
  • Company Description
  • Date Established
  • Annual Revenues
  • Headquarter Location
  • Years in Business
  • References
  • Competitors
  • Delivery Methods
  • Volume Rebates
  • Standard Roll Out Program for New Customers
  • How are Orders Places
  • How are Back Orders Handled

If you are interested in seeing how SafeSurvey™ can help you in your vetting, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which suppliers meet 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.

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be Predictable

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

 

 

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

Showing your hand before the game has started can spell disaster for any procurement. Predictability can weaken your ability to negotiate. More often than not, contract negotiations are scheduled according to contract end dates, holidays, and individual plans, instead of when market conditions are right or when the opportunity arises.

RFQs and contract negotiation templates are recycled with only minor revisions before they are distributed to vendors and suppliers. Suppliers are approached during certain times of the year only because “it’s always been like that” or because “that’s the way the industry works like that”. Neither of these statements is true. It is actually because we all just feel very comfortable with the routine. This comes at a price, remember we all work with the best of the best in the sales world. They are trained and paid to know procurement patterns to maximize sales. A procurement specialist predictability, combined with these skills, can have a negative effect on your business and can effect the credibility of a procurement team.

To prevent this, procurement teams should use all of the tools at their disposal, spotting opportunities, taking advantage of the market changes, and timing negotiations. Consider bringing RFQs or any negotiations up by a year. Consider using tools like our eRFX process. And always be open to new vendors and suppliers.

Being unpredictable can be a powerful tool even if change can make you uncomfortable. It may not make us friends but it will help us succeed and ensure profitability.

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.