Archive for February, 2019

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.

How do you know if your Waste Management Programs are effective?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

On an old post that still has merit,  we presented a series of blogs about the Four R’s of Waste Management; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rebuy, which went through the basics of each and how your company can take steps to becoming greener.  Today we will be focusing on how to measure the results of your programs for both accounting and PR purposes.

Tons of waste diverted from the landfill – By reusing and recycling products within your organization you are contributing to the reduction of tons of waste which is sent to landfills.  Your recycling partners many times can help track this metric with you.

Amount of disposal costs saved – Every company pays for the disposal of waste.  The less waste produced by your company the less frequently your waste disposal company has to pick up that waste which means lower costs for your company and an accounting bottom-line expense reduction.

Amount of purchase costs saved – Companies that focus on reusing and rebuying product can save millions of dollars when they do not have to purchase new products from vendors.  This is an important metric many companies use to measure the effectiveness of their programs.

Value of materials donated – In some cases the value generated by your waste management programs will be in the manner of credits that directly affect the company’s taxable income.  This is another key measurement factor especially in the recycling focused programs.

Revenues earned – Many programs lead to products that can be sold off to 3rd parties as used inventory.  Revenues earned is a metric with high visibility and importance to many companies’ executive level.

Jobs created or retained – In an economy where the country’s unemployment rate has been a much-watched indicator, many companies have integrated the number of jobs added or saved due to waste management programs into their corporate reporting.  Many times this metric is tied closely with revenues earned.

Families/individuals/organizations assisted – By donating or recycling products, businesses have the capability to help thousands of schools, families and other organizations with products they would have normally thrown away.  This applies frequently to technical products that the company may have outgrown but that still have useful lives.

These are just a few of KPI’s or metrics that you might use in order to report how effective your Four R programs are doing, both internally and externally.  For more information on the Four R’s  or companies that can help you with processes or programs relating to the Four R’s, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

Sourcing Loss Prevention Categories

Friday, February 8th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

What are some of the ways to actively use sourcing tools to help reduce your company’s loss?”

What ever state the world economy is in, is no longer  newsflash material for anyone.  As governments and businesses actively pursue the steps to improve results, issues within business, especially in retail, that were once concerns are now becoming major problems as they battle theft and loss both internally and externally.

In the course of dealing with “loss” head-on, many companies are looking to improvement their infrastructure, processes and coverage by researching companies that specialize in providing goods and services to help reduce loss.  Today we will be covering a few areas that sourcing departments or 3rd party sourcing partners can help you so that you know what is out there and to help make the best decision for your company to procure.

Enterprise Software – There are many companies that provide enterprise software for gathering and monitoring the data that flows through your business every day.  Hundreds of successful RFPs are run every year to gather the information necessary to compare these companies and offer you valuable insight into the solution that is best for you.  Make sure you have all of the facts to be able to compare the companies evenly.

Video Equipment – With literally hundreds of video manufacturers on the market offering DVRs, cameras and the software that goes with them, not to mention new technology that leverages IP devices and video analytics to intelligently monitor the video, it is a perfect time to review the current video condition of your company.  Begin to gather the details and competitive pricing from these vendors to upgrade or improve your company’s current video infrastructure.

Consulting Services – While enterprise loss analysis software and video capabilities are important for many companies, not all companies have the staff to monitor and deal with what is being provided out of these systems.  Due to this issue, many consulting companies have appeared with terrific loss prevention experience to help you use your tools to reduce your loss, whether that is reviewing exception based reports, video or handling the interviews of potential theft activity in your company.

Alarms & Safes – Alarms and safes are terrific categories to be looking at due to the fact that with so many companies selling them, there is a terrific common ground from which a company can evaluate the pricing from multiple companies easily.  Because the field can be so competitive on pricing it is also a good time for customers to get additional “value-add” from vendors that are offering more services in order to get the alarm or safe business.

Security Companies – Security and doo/fire alarm monitoring companies have been in existence for years and many offer similar services.  Now is a good time to look at your existing supplier and see what else they are doing that is new that you might be able to leverage.  While doing this process it is probably a good idea to take a look at some new companies and see if they are offering anything that may help your company reduce either your loss or your costs.

Whatever your Loss Prevention need is, the global environment is quickly demanding that companies begin to pay more attention to the amount of money and product they are losing and look for ways to reduce that loss and the above categories and suggested steps in examining what is right for your company are just a few of hundreds.  For assistance in sourcing these categories for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

Understanding the Relationship Between Procurement and Marketing

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

The relationship between a retailer’s Marketing and Procurement Departments has been one struggling to maintain cohesiveness in many companies for quite some time.

While the Marketing team is continually trying to find creative and cutting-edge ways to increase sales within a retail organization, Procurement is constantly looking for ways in which to not only reduce costs, but find the best fit of suppliers with their company.

In many cases, marketing will expend a good deal of effort to find vendors to work with them on projects that when turned over to the procurement team can’t even be considered because their price is too high.  In the end this costs the company money, creates continued division between departments, and causes unnecessary lost time and sales.

Studies and reports have shown, and we at SafeSourcing agree, that the involvement of the Procurement department, even at the most basic level, into marketing projects can reap huge benefits as both departments work toward finding partners in their suppliers to achieve both their marketing and procurement objectives.

Retailers whose Marketing departments can leverage the database of the Procurement department’s suppliers will find a positive effect on their spend while achieving the ROI they are looking for on their campaigns and will create a better team environment within the company to achieve like-minded goals.

For more information about how the SafeSourcing database of known suppliers can help your company’s marketing and procurement departments work together to achieve these goals, please contact a Customer Service representative today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.