Archive for February, 2019

Pre-suasion

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives

Although we’d like to think that the decisions we make are deliberated by well thought-out reasoning and “common sense”, the truth is we aren’t even aware of most of what goes on in the brain during the decision making process. Much of what we think is a decision is actually a lot of conditioning by our society, culture, parents, schooling, job training, etc. Unfortunately, no one understands this better than marketing strategists, whose aim is to have the decision made for you before you even aware what you are deliberating about.

“Pre-suasion” is a term coined by Robert Cialdini, who wrote a book in 2016 by the same name, and is a well-known author and researcher in marketing and persuasion strategy. The focus of the term is the timing of your attempt to persuade, because the battle for decisions in your favor are often won and lost long before any actual pitch is made. Here are a few ways in which pre-suasion can be used, either in your favor or against it:

Ask questions that get your audience to think about a positive attribute of your proposal. For example, during an interview, ask “what wasy it about my resume that made you want to see me?”. This brings focus onto the attributes that attracted your audience in the first place, and sets you in a more positive frame of reference.

We give relevance to what grabs our attention most recentlyMost and recently being the key words here, this concept eludes to the fact that if something impacts us greatly, and a short time ago, it is likely to heavily influence our decision. A recent car crash for instance, will often change how much driving someone will freely choose to do, even though the safety statistics haven’t actually changed.

Change what someone thinks about, not what they think. For Example, direct someone’s memory to an association with something terrible to have them avoid a decision of similar association. Are you hoping your spouse will pick the white car? Talk about things they love that evoke the thought of white: White snow, the wedding dress, bright white smiles, white piano keys, etc.

Discuss a number that will make the number you will actually pitch seem favorable. Also known as “Anchoring”, this concept takes advantage of the way in which human beings tend to rely heavily on the first piece of information received (the anchor), and compare it to future acquired information. This is why you see sale signs all the time stating the price “was” $XX.XX, because you would feel better about buying something if you believe you’re getting it at a discount.

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.

Vendor and Professional Relationships

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

 

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

Are you in a healthy relationship? When working with co-workers, vendors, counterparts, and other business professionals, we tend to put on the professional mask. Sometimes that mask requires us to stand firm on decisions and sometimes become aggressive; but when does that aggression goes too far, it becomes a toxic aggressive emotion. Often in the office setting, stress levels are rather high and are sometimes easily irritated by timelines, lack of involvement with other people, not meeting margins, and the list goes on. We tend to see this situation quite often when a client has worked with a vendor for years and has a rather strong relationship. We must question that just because you have worked with them for years and may be buddies, are they really giving you the “best deal”? We must remember no matter how healthy or great that relationship may be those vendors still need to put food on their plates and somewhere up that ladder, someone is pressing down on them to get better margins. So how do you handle this when you want a better price? Do you call your friend and ask for the best price and hope they are doing exactly that? Or, are you reaching out to other vendors behind their back and hoping you can come across a better deal. Well what do you do if you happen to find a better price? Do you tell your buddy incumbent that you got a better offer and you would like them to match, or do you end the relationship and just move on to the next best thing? During all of this searching and dealing are you upsetting your incumbent? Are they really your friend if they are upset that you are looking for a better price? These are things you must understand. In order for you to be successful, you must worry about your job not the feelings of someone else. This does not mean you must become a callous, aggressive individual, but you must understand you must do what is needed to be successful.

Our tools and professionals at SafeSourcing have years of experience dealing with this exact scenario. By using our online tools we show vendors if they have the lowest price or not and take the guess work out of the equations. So contact us and let SafeSourcing help you with your relationship.

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.

 

Procurement of Potato Salad Part Three: Mayonnaise

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

 

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

Want to start a family feud quickly? Tell your Aunt or Grandmother you made your potato salad with mayonnaise, Miracle Whip®, or sour cream! Traditionalists will say that their potato salad is only made with mayonnaise, while others will say their choice of potato salad creaminess is open to whatever pleases the palate.

Manufactures of potato salad want the best of both worlds and many are choosing proprietary blends of mayonnaise to meet the traditionalists’ tastes, but also provide new tastes options to the foodie groups. Small companies can make their own creaminess and control the amounts of sugar, salt, vinegar, dairy, and oils that go into their special recipes, but how to manufacture control in what goes into their product to keep it the same time after time? How do they know the manufactures of the mayonnaise are meeting their client’s needs? Are the manufactures of potato salad getting the best pricing for their purchase of mayonnaise?

Custom or proprietary blends of mayonnaise or really anything can be taken out for bid. The key is knowing exactly what is in your proprietary item and what the ratios are. If you have a contract agreement in place that you own the proprietary blend made for you by a manufacturer, you need to have this in your possession for several reasons—what happens if the manufacturer has a natural disaster or fire? What happens if they are shut down due to a salmonella or e-coli issue? And what if you want to test the market place for pricing and capabilities?

Is now the time to review your mayonnaise purchases? Look your contract over and see when it expires (ed) or do you have an out clause? Be prepared to take your time to do this right. You want to ensure you have the proper suppliers who can handle your volume needs and manufacture custom items. You will want to know exactly what the market rates are for oils and eggs as these will directly affect your pricing expectations and longevity of the contract. You will also want to allow time for the manufactures to make your mayonnaise or product or allow equivalent blends for sampling. Some suppliers will do this at no charge; others will expect a minimum order purchase to be able to provide your custom product as they need to schedule the time to put your product in a small quantity into their production line.

While the family feuds will probably always occur over what makes the best potato salad, do not allow a manufacturer make you feel as if you have no options to replace your mayonnaise provider. This is your product and you have the right to get the best product at the best price.

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.

This author hopes that you found this series fun and educational. While I enjoy the traditional mayonnaise potato salad with a touch of yellow mustard, my favorite has become the new red skin potato salad with a bacon, chive, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese. There are many manufactures of this combination but I truly enjoy making my own and playing with this recipe by adding more bacon/different smoked bacons, chive or dill, and various cheeses.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Water Cooler vs Disposable Water Bottles

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing. Troy asks “Are you looking for a new water cooler?”

I’m tired of wasting money on disposable water bottles so I decided to look for other alternatives.  After doing some light research, I decided to look into companies that supply water coolers.  I was looking at the usual dispensers that use the reusable 3 and 5 gallon water bottles.  While doing that research, I came across some water coolers that I have not seen before.  These units produce fresh water on tap with no plumbing or refilling.  All you do is plug the units in and water is produced from the surrounding air.  The water is produced by drawing air into the system. The air then goes through a series of filters that removes the moisture from the air creating clean drinking water.  The filtration process also filters the air which creates clean air that is then released back into the environment.  So not only clean water is produced, but the unit acts as a dehumidifier as well.  Since the water is produced from the humidity in the air, it creates fresh, bacteria-free pure drinking water.  Listed below are other features and benefits that you could receive by using this type of water cooler.

  • Unlimited supply of water
  • Produces up to 10 gallons of water per day
  • Creates oxygen enriched water for quicker hydration
  • Dehumidifies the air reducing mold
  • Increases A\C efficiency
  • No more water delivery
  • No more lifting heavy water bottles

If you are looking to purchase a new water cooler and would like help researching available options, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one 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.

 

 

Safe Health Security

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.

It is a well-known fact that the Healthcare industry has been slower to adopt Internet of Things technologies than other industries. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is poised to transform how we keep people safe and healthy, especially as the demand for solutions to lower healthcare costs increase in the coming years. This leads to concerns of whether regulations can keep up with the growing technology.  As the number of connected devices increases, IT systems will need to determine how to handle the data load securely.

The benefits of IoMT are vast and growing fast.  Due to the availability of wearable devices and the decreasing cost of sensor technology, most consumer mobile devices are equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, they can communicate with IT systems.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirms that the largest payer in the U.S. sees remote patient monitoring (RPM) as part of the future of care delivery. Beginning this year, CMS will begin incentivizing the use of connected technology to capture patient-generated health data. In 2017, a Pennsylvania based team, Final Frontier Medical Devices, won the first place prize for developing an artificial intelligence-based engine named DxtER, which learns to diagnose medical conditions by integrating learnings from clinical emergency medicine with data analysis from actual patients. DxtER includes a group of non-invasive sensors that are designed to collect data about vital signs, body chemistry, and biological functions which is then synthesized in the device’s diagnostic engine in order to make an accurate assessment.

All health product or service providers whose clients’ data is stored in the U.S. are a subject to a set of security regulations set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance laws. Any vendor offering services that are subject to the act must provide documentation as proof of their conformity.  It is important to check that a HIPAA certified provider is willing to make a Business Associate Agreement, which is the agreement between two parties planning to transmit, or receive personal health information (PHI). Also, a System and Organization Controls (SOC) audit report can be requested when contracting with a provider which will include the company’s certification of encryption levels, and physical security measures.

There are several ways to check if a provider follows standards and relevant regulations.  One way is to audit the potential provider using an independent party. Another way to determine whether the company is compliant is to assess the qualifications of its staff which are required to be educated on the most current standards and safeguards.

For a number of years, SafeSourcing has been sourcing healthcare related products and services to our clients. Between looking at services offered and price points, healthcare institutions also need to consider vendors’ HIPAA compliance readiness.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

References……………………

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/01/25/why-the-internet-of-medical-things-iomt-will-start-to-transform-healthcare-in-2018/#18ac23b94a3c
  2. http://www.basilleaftech.com/blog-1/2017/4/13/basil-leaf-technologies-takes-top-prize-of-the-qualcomm-tricorder-xprize-competition
  3. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/
  4. https://phoenixnap.com/blog/soc-2-audit-compliance

 

 

 

Managing Change While Managing Costs

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

 

 

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

For our customers, we are primarily focused on delivering cost savings. Generally, in eProcurement, we aim to provide an apples-to-apples comparison so that our customers can make an award decision relatively easily based on the results of an online RFx Event. We do that very well and average over 24% savings. Sometimes, however, our customer is looking to reduce their category costs while also making changes to what it is that they are purchasing.

The good news is that the goals of reducing costs and making a change are not mutually exclusive. While every situation will be different, here is how one customer of ours recently accomplished both goals. The customer, a retailer, knew that they would be phasing out certain plastic products that use regularly. They have a significant annual spend in this category currently. Their goal was to discontinue the use of plastic and switch to alternative products that are more environmentally friendly including biodegradable and reusable options. Because they had carefully planned this change, we were able to develop a plan to work together to manage the change effectively while still taking full advantage of eProcurement tools to reduce costs along the way. Below is a quick summary of how we did this.

  1. Reduce the cost of the current plastic products using a live Request for Quote (RFQ)so they are not overpaying for the remainder of their orders. This generated a substantial savings.
  2. Develop a Request for Proposal (RFP)to attain a better understanding of the specifications, capabilities, and pricing for the alternative products.
  3. Review the RFP results and establish the specifications for the alternative products that would ultimately replace the plastic products.
  4. Host an RFQ to compress the pricing for the alternative products
  5. Test samples for the alternatives, make a decision, and coordinate the roll out of the new products to coincide with the timeline of phasing out the plastic products.

The most important part of this process was the planning. SafeSourcing and the customer coordinated the process and took the steps above in accordance with that plan. In contrast, when we see customers attempt to manage change through the eProcurement process without a plan, we tend to see results that are less impressive. They will likely have savings, and they will likely make a change, but they will not strike the ideal balance between the two.

If you’re interested in learning more about our contract management tool or any of our full suite of Procure to Pay tools,  please contact SafeSourcing

 

 

Information about Cybersecurity Part I

Monday, February 18th, 2019

 

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

According to Forbes.com, there were 2,216 data breaches and more than 53,000 cybersecurity incidents reported in 65 countries in the 12 months ending in March 2018. People have been forced to increase their security and find new ways to keep our personal information safe. Just within the last 2 years we started using the chip process in our debit and credit cards. I think we all remember the data breach that happened March of 2018 where Facebook allowed to 87 million records to be breached. Millions of people had their personal information and other sensitive matter exposed for the public to see.

Hysolate is a company whose mission is to create a future-ready endpoint platform that provides the highest levels of both security and productivity. Led by experts in security and infrastructure, Hysolate is shifting the work environment into a new era. According to the CEO Tal Zamir of Hysolate,, “In 2019, the two main targets for cyber-attackers will be the cloud and user devices. Operating systems on user devices provide more functionality than ever before, making them more vulnerable and an easy target for attackers. At the same time, users will expect more flexibility and the ability to work with any OS, any application, and on any device. As organizations look to provide security, privacy, and productivity, they will have to shift to a new, ‘zero trust’ device architecture”. I honestly cannot think of a person that does not use cloud on their computer or their phone.

We as a society have become so accustom to completely relying on our devices for every aspect of our lives. Ordering food, using GPS, posting on Facebook, googling and many more other activities we do on a daily basis. With that, whether we like it or not, all of our information is everywhere. We put in our credit cards to buy stuff online, and we post every little thing we do on social media. So we rely on companies like Hysolate and other security companies that specialize in keeping our information safe.

Transunion stated that cyber security doesn’t involve just businesses and the government. Your computer, tablet and cellphone probably contain information that hackers and other criminals would love to have, like other people’s email addresses, names and birthdates. Suppose, for example, a hacker had access to your contact information. He could then send an email or text message to everyone you know, using your name, encouraging them to click on a link containing malware, like “Hey Jane, I thought you’d love this! Click here.” I know in the last month I have received multiple emails and text messages of this kind. So educate yourself, make yourself aware of these issues and keep your self-protected.

“When you are aware of the risks, it may be much easier to protect yourself from hackers, viruses and malware.” Transunion.com.  In my next blog I want to go over the 3 principles of cyber-security and what we can do to help protect ourselves. Stay tuned…

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.

References………………………………………

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ 2019
  2. https://www.transunion.com/blog/identity-protection/why-is-cyber-security-important 2019

 

The Final Countdown

Friday, February 15th, 2019

 

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

While many organizations have already completed multiple procurement processes and have begun saving already this year, it’s not too late to start saving too. If you haven’t already, now is the time to begin your procurement processes. Beginning now can help you see those savings in Q1 instead of waiting and not realizing those same savings until Q2 or later.

As a hypothetical example, let’s say two retail stores have been competing for years, both with equal amounts of success. Now, one store began its procurement processes at the beginning of the year sourcing goods that they already purchase, like their bathroom supplies of paper towels, soap, toilet paper, etc. They realized 20% savings on an annual $200,000 spend, meaning they are already savings $40,000. They can now use those savings in any other areas where it might be needed and begin working on their next event to save more. Those savings add up, too. The store that sourced their products through the procurement process was able to begin using their new price right away and the store that has not yet begun is essentially losing out on over $3000 worth of savings each month they delay their efforts.

While it is better to start your procurement processes early, it’s not too late to start seeing savings this quarter, but you must begin soon. A procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can help you understand the process involved, what is needed, what can be expected, and help your organization every step of the way. They can help you get savings on things you already purchase and help your organization get the best cost savings available.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Go Breaking My ♥️

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

 

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

For those of us that struggle with the right words to say when writing Valentine’s Day sentiments, there is one less option this year. Yes, that’s right! Sweetheart candies are not on the candy shelves this year. The company that made them, New England Confectionary Company went out of business.

Candystore.com estimates that these conversational heart candies generated $1.8 billion in sales. Necco, after 100 years in business, folded in 2018. Along with Sweethearts, the company also produced Mary Janes, Necco Wafers and Clark Bars. Last March when the news about Necco folding, panic struck with shoppers buying up inventory. This resulted in prices jumping more than 50 percent. Spangler Candy Co. bought the Sweetheart brand last September, but it was not enough time to produce the volume of these conversational hearts for this Valentines’ season. The CEO of Spangler Candy Co., Kirk Vashaw, has reported a relaunch of these confections for the 2020 Valentine’s Day season. These candies are still available for a pretty penny on Amazon starting at $9 and eBay for $12 for an eight-pack.

The following are some fun US Valentine’s Day trivia:

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (more cards are sent at Christmas). Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Symbols:

The most common Valentine’s Day symbols are the heart, particularly in reds and pinks, and pictures or models of Cupid. Cupid is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow. In mythology, he uses his arrow to strike the hearts of people. People who have fallen in love are sometimes said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow. Other symbols of Valentine’s Day are couples in loving embraces and the gifts of flowers, chocolate, red roses and lingerie that couples often give each other.

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.

References…..………………………………..

Michal Walker, USA Today, 1/24/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Fulfillment

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

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

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

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

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

Please leave a comment or for more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.