Archive for January, 2019

It’s About Time

Thursday, January 17th, 2019


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

As we continue to ramp up another year of providing eProcurement services to our customers, it’s a good time to consider what categories you’ll be sourcing this year. In an effective eProcurement program, every spend category should be considered at the appropriate time. But how do you know when it’s time to source a category?

One of the first considerations is contract timing. Unfortunately, many organizations today don’t have good controls in place to monitor contract terms. In some cases, the contracts are even missing because they were not saved in a central repository.

That’s where a contract management tool comes in. SafeSourcing’s contract management tool called SafeContract™is a great way to manage contracts and avoid the issues caused by losing track of your contracts and/or losing track of important contract milestones such as renewal dates and contracted prices.

SafeContract™ is an online contract repository that stores, tracks, and monitors your contracts. SafeContract puts you in control of your contract and notifies the appropriate users when it’s time to consider a category for eProcurement based on contract termination. For example, if the contract requires 30-day written notice before termination, a user might set a 60 or 90 day reminder so that they remember to take action. With SafeContract™, as your contract management tool, you’ll know when it’s time to consider sourcing a category. Not only will you know when to source your categories, you’ll also avoid missing deadlines for automatic renewals and other unfavorable outcomes.

Contact SafeSourcing if you’re interested in learning more about our contract management tool or any of our full suite of Procure to Pay tools such as SafeSurvey™, SafePO™SafeCatalog™, or any others.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.


Behind the Scenes

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019


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

Every year there are highly anticipated movies and televisions shows that many of us just can’t wait to see. Two shows that have been highly anticipated, the final Avengers movie and the final season of Game of Thrones, are both set to be released April, 2019.

Because these shows are so highly anticipated with large fan bases, security surrounding filming, scripts, plot-lines, effects, etc. has been tighter than ever before. Despite all the added security, much is known or speculated about what these fan favorites will bring. One thing we know about these is that filming has long been over. Game of Thrones filming ended in July, 2018, nine months before its release, while Avengers: Endgame finished in January, 2018, a full 15 months before its release. So, why such the long gap in between?

The reason for the long gaps after filming is to allow ample time for all the work that needs to be done behind the scenes. This is a key part in any production and is often the most overlooked by those not involved in the process. For filming, this could include video editing, sound editing, special effects, and many other final touches. While actors and directors often get the spotlight for their work on a film piece, there are many more people working just as hard to create the final successful film or show that we all see and enjoy.

The ways the work is set up in film brings the idea that there are many other industries where a significant amount of work is done behind the scenes – procurement being one of those industries. A procurement partner is someone who works with your organization to help you obtain the goods and services you need, but there is a lot of work that goes into the position that may not be known to most. While a company can enjoy the end result benefits of getting exactly what they need at a competitive price, the procurement partner has done a lot of behind the scenes work along the way, from spend analysis, market research, supplier research, data analysis, product details and specifications, to term details. Just like the behind the scenes team for television and movies, a procurement partner can help make your sourcing efforts as successful and enjoyable as possible.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help 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.



A Stinky Time for the American Cheese Industry

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019


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

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Americans consumed about 37 pounds of cheese per capita in 2017. Although that appears to be a large number, there is a 1.4 billion-pound cheese surplus. This is the largest cheese surplus in US history.

There has been an increase of 13% of milk production in the last 10 years. What dairy farmers didn’t realize was Americans are drinking far less milk. USDA statistics show Americans drank 149 pounds of milk in 2017, down from 247 in 1975. Milk suppliers turn the surplus milk into cheese as it’s less perishable and stays fresh longer. Studies show Americans are now in favor of more refined cheeses rather than processed cheese, although the market for mozzarella cheese is still the largest produced and consumed cheese in the US.

Imported cheese tends to cost more, so when consumers purchase these cheeses they tend to buy less. The growing surplus of American-made cheese and milk has resulted in a decrease in prices. Whole milk on average costs $15.12 per 100 pounds which is less than what dairy farmers need to break even. The Wall Street Journal reported hundreds of Wisconsin dairy farms closed in 2018.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help 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.


Samantha Raphelson, NPR Here & Now, 1/9/2019


What are supplemental documents?

Thursday, January 10th, 2019


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Supplemental documents are information, such as charts, illustrations, brochures, and technical data, supplied by a bidder on request as part of a Request for Proposal. It will describe the items offered in greater detail. It may also show the characteristics or construction of a product and explain its operation to enable the purchaser to determine the acceptability of the item.

Many RFI’s, RFP’s, and RFQ’s will require supplemental documents, or supporting documents within their specific projects. Traditionally, this information acts as a backup and provides greater depth to agreed-upon or quoted items.

Let SafeSourcing better manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.


Government Procurement: Bids and Contracts

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019


Today’s post is by Ashley Riviello, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

If anyone has ever seen the movie War Dogs, it is a prime example of exactly how government procurement works, well at least how it worked back in the 90’s. In the movie, the government used procurement to buy weapons and ammunition on a large scale.

For anyone who doesn’t know what government procurement is, it is the procurement of goods, services and construction on behalf of a public authority, such as a government agency. With 10-20% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), government procurement accounts for a substantial part of the global economy. Per Wikipedia, to prevent fraud, waste, corruption, or local protectionism, the laws of most countries regulate government procurement to some extent. Laws usually require the procuring authority to issue public tenders if the value of the procurement exceeds a certain threshold. Government procurement is also the subject of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), a pluryilateral international treaty under the auspices of the WTO (World Trade Organization).

It has been amazing working at SafeSourcing and learning about all the different markets there are to take out to bid. However, it would be incredible to learn exactly what the government takes out to bid. The opportunity in Government Procurement is substantial. Government Procurement brings in about 7 trillion dollars annually.

The government buys many of the products and services it needs from suppliers who meet certain qualifications. The US federal, state and local governments apply standardized procedures by which to purchase goods and services.

For example, according to the federal government does not purchase items or services in the way an individual household might. Instead, government contracting officials use procedures that conform to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The FAR is a standardized set of regulations used by all federal agencies in making purchases. It provides procedures for every step in the procurement process, from the time someone in the government discovers a need for a product or service to the time the purchase is complete. When the government wants to purchase a certain product or service, it can use a variety of contracting methods. Key contract methodologies used to purchase products and services include:

  • Simplified acquisition procedures
  • Sealed bidding
  • Contracting by negotiation
  • Consolidated purchasing vehicles

There are problems, however, with procurement within the government, such as the possibility of corruption. Like in movie War Dogs, you had 2 Americans that ended up corrupting the procurement process and stealing millions of dollars from the government and overseas officials by using the procurement process to hold fake bids and then collect the money on weapons and ammo and then buying them from the black market. The movie is based on a true story that happened in 2007. David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli ended up proving how corrupt Government Procurement could become. Worth the read? Maybe an upcoming blog.

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.




What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Monday, January 7th, 2019


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

Did you know that tea is the second most widely consumed beverage worldwide? Global tea production exceeds $73-billion in sales and produces about 5.2 million metric tons of product a year.  About half of the world’s tea production comes from China, while India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia make up a large portion of the remaining tea market.  The tea market is broken into four segments: ready-to-drink tea (RTD), the traditional market; the specialty segment and the foodservice segment. So what does this have to do with us? Although coffee is often thought of as America’s preferred beverage, tea has quickly proven itself to be very popular in homes nationwide. A survey among U.S. consumers showed that 23 percent of participants drink tea every day, while only ten percent of consumers never drank tea at all. That is roughly 74,911,000 Americans whom drink tea every day! The majority of the tea consumed in America comes from the foodservice industry and ready to drink segments of the tea market. Most of this tea is purchased in gas stations, c-stores, and restaurants around the country. With that much consumption on a daily basis, the US tea market is a $7-billion industry.

We here at SafeSourcing have helped many of our clients run tea e-Procurement events, both separately and with other warm beverages together. With an average savings of 23%, we have helped clients save money on an ever growing market. A lot of foodservice companies sell tea and other beverages so it is easier to reach a higher spend when you combine the buying power of all your hot beverage needs. There are some instances where specialty companies need to be contacted for more particular blends of tea. That is where our vast database of suppliers and knowledge of the industry comes in. By working with SafeSourcing you can grow your pool of suppliers and save even more money on all of your tea needs!

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



Distributor vs. Manufacturer

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019


Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing. Archives

Distributors have been selling products and equipment since the early days of the industrial revolution, but are they still the best choice for companies in pursuit of products?  The answer is sometimes and here’s why.

Typically, full service, distributors make their name by providing excellent, personal service to their customers.  In most cases, they work a small territory and are “local” to the companies they serve.  They usually offer 24/7 service and have emergency spare parts and consumables on hand.  Full service distributors are in the business of developing relationships with their customers.

The same is true when purchasing commodities.  In most cases there is more than one manufacturer who offers a product capable of satisfying your application for a fair price.  In the end, you probably purchase your equipment from someone you have developed a relationship with or from someone you can see yourself developing a relationship with.  In most cases, a distributor fits the bill due to their locale and ability, and willingness, to service you.

Most manufacturers are engineering and manufacturing focused.  Typically they do not specialize in sales and service.  This is not a bad thing, however.  Manufacturers are expected to spend their efforts on developing great products.  They are the pioneers of innovation, and all of us depend on them.  This is not to say that they have no place selling or servicing their products.  It is important for them to be involved in understanding the marketplace and issues with their products.  But from the end-user point of view, manufacturers’ efforts are not always apparent.  Although very critical, their efforts are typically behind the scenes in R&D.  It can be difficult for an end-user to develop a sales/service relationship with an organization that operates with an engineering and manufacturing focus. But not so fast…..

Unless you work with SafeSourcing, although a lot of what I said above is true, it is still possible to work and purchase from both manufacturers and distributors. The keys are who are you speaking with and what you are purposing. At SafeSourcing, we engage both, why? Because some manufacturers see the benefits to selling directly to our clients, while some distributors cannot meet all needs and visa versus. The SafeSourcing staff asks the key questions and talk to the right people to determine who is best fit for our clients. This vetting process saves our clients time and money and getting what they want at a considerably lower cost.  And you can still develop a strong and long-term relationship with either.

To sum it up, manufacturers and distributors do play specific roles in the purchasing process, but not reaching out to both could affect your bottom line.

Robert Rice is an Account Manager at SafeSourcing. Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

Happy New Year 2019. This year’s strategic sourcing plan should already be in place

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019


What specific short term tactics will you deploy that support your plan and drive immediate and measureable results.

One example of the above might be to augment the manual processes that many  sourcing professionals use today in order to find new sources of supply interested in bidding for their business rather than continuing to live with the same small, known group of suppliers they have used for years. Historically this has been a very time consuming practice that results in few if any new sources of supply. This represents a great opportunity to deploy a tactic that can have an immediate impact for an organization without the need for the implementation of a complete new sourcing strategy.

There is a specific process to follow that will encourage new sources of supply to want to bid for a companies business beyond just being invited. Simply having your buyer assigned the task of picking up the phone and calling new sources of supply will not result in new suppliers agreeing to bid for your business. There are specific objections to overcome and questions to answer that require a specific skill set.  This is a perfect opportunity for Software as a Service providers that offer supplier research. Skilled providers in this area can provide companies with as many as a half dozen or more willing new sources of supply in as little as thirty minutes  that may in fact reside within a companies existing marketing  area.

Sourcing tactics can be isolated procurement related actions or events that take advantage of opportunities offered by the gaps within strategic plans such as lack of new sources of supply mentioned above.  So our tactic here would be to find additional sources of supply that we can invite to compete for a companies business in a variety of categories. The fact is that additional sources of supply competing for a companies business results in compressed pricing and often better quality products.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.


Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

picture of world

If you’d like to learn more about alternative sources of supply around the world or locally, contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager to learn more about SafeSourceIt™ our 427,000 global supplier database and let us translate it into increased profits for you.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.