Archive for April, 2019

Pressure Washing Benefits

Friday, April 19th, 2019

 

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

Have you noticed a green tinted staining on the outside of your home or business? If so, you may not know that this could be mold or mildew. This is a very common occurrence if you have vinyl siding. Dirt can accumulate on the siding and this can lead to the mildewing because mildew feeds on dust and dirt. If your home or building is close to trees it may also cause mildewing as well. Another reason for the mildew or mold is excessive moisture or lack of sunlight. Because of this you may notice that the staining may only occur on certain areas of the structure and not the entire surface. Removing the mildew can be very simple to do. One of the most common ways to remove the staining is to have the area pressure washed. There are companies that specialize in pressure washing and can do an excellent job of removing the stains. You can also choose to pressure wash the area yourself. Pressure washers can be purchased from many common retailers and are fairly inexpensive. Deciding to do this can save you money but there are some hazards of doing it yourself. Having the pressure set to high can cause water to seep into the walls of your existing structure causing mold to grow within the structure. So if this is something that you decide to do yourself, make sure to research and read all documentation before beginning the job. Below are other things to be aware of when pressure washing your structure:

  • Risk of electrical shock
  • High pressure water can cause serious injuries to skin
  • Strong spray can throw small objects
  • Water seeping into the attic
  • Siding loosened or damaged
  • Damage to windows and screens
  • Accidental Removal of paint
  • Accidental Removal of mortal between bricks
  • Damages to surfaces

Whether you plan to clean the structure yourself, or hire a company, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Feel the Hype!

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

 

 

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

There are a lot of things happening now that have people excited. From first ever pictures of a black hole, upcoming movies and television, your recent money savings or accomplishments, $100m Fortnight championship, to your upcoming holiday plans, there is so much to help you feel the hype. Let us take a moment and appreciate all the work that made these things happen.

Hype: A simple picture, one that would not be recognizable before, has made headlines because it is the first of its kind – an actual picture of a black hole. Not only is it amazing to see and confirms Einstein’s theory of general relativity, but astounding when we consider the efforts put forth to make it happen. Thousands of hours of work, hundreds of thousands of computer codes, millions of light years between us, yet it can and has been observed and photographed. ​

Hype: What’s new to watch? Feel the hype because the final season of Game of Thrones is here and so is the final Avengers: End Game along with other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On top of that, there are many other highly anticipated movies and series, like the live action Dumbo movie, a return of The Twilight Zone, and Stranger Things. These exciting shows have been in the works for quite a while the time has finally arrived that we can reap the rewards of the hard work of so many.

Hype: If you get hyped when you save money, then here’s news for you. Using a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can save you even more. In fact, those who use SafeSourcing typically see 10x ROI. Not only can you save money, but you can get the quality and service you really want from people you may not have known existed. You can feel the hype and see the savings, and SafeSourcing can do the work for you. We will work with your procurement department, buyers, and finance people to help get the results that we can all feel excited about.

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.

 

 

 

Part II of II. Are reverse auctions a good tool to use in the retail distribution cost plus arena?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Yesterdays post reviewed why and how this author felt that reverse auctions were potentially good for both the distributor and the retailer alike. So just what is cost plus?

According to Wikipedia  Cost-plus pricing is a pricing method used by companies. It is used primarily because it is easy to calculate and requires little information. There are several varieties, but the common thread in all of them is that one first calculates the cost of the product, and then includes an additional amount to represent profit. It is a way for companies to calculate how much profit they will make. Cost-plus pricing is often used on government contracts, and has been criticized as promoting wasteful expenditures.

Once unit level cost has been established for the distribution of products it’s easy to turn that into a percentage and add it to the price of a product coming up with a distributed unit price or category price. The most important part of this pricing exercise for the distributor is to get the distribution costs correct. This can include price of storage, freight, length of travel, driver cost and any number of other costs. This is an area where a distributor can lose a lot of money if they are not very careful.

So, are revere auctions a tool that can help distribution companies?  The answer is a clear yes both above and below the gross margin line. If you like to know more please contact me at ronsouthard@safesourcing.com.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Part I of II. Are reverse auctions a good tool to use in the retail distribution cost plus arena?

Monday, April 15th, 2019

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

A lot of distributors have told this author that reverse auctions don’t apply to them because they use the cost plus model and as such they just add their price or profit margin on top of the contract price with their source to drive their distributed price.

The fallacy in this thinking is that it may make buyers and category managers lazy in their approach to driving margin within the categories that they manage. This results in a higher price to the retailers they distribute to and ultimately to the consumer or their customers customer. A worst case scenario is that the consumer stops shopping at their customer’s store which reduces overall volume and further increases prices by not meeting volume incentives. It’s a slipper slope.

Off course this argument is relatively easy to overcome when we get around to discussing capital goods and expense related products and services area. These areas have an impact on the distributor’s net profit. And I’m sure that many of you will agree that just because one says they are a cost plus provider does not necessarily mean it’s true in the most pure sense of the definition.

Check back tomorrow and we’ll review what the real definition of cost plus is in part II.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

How Fast Can You Change?

Friday, April 12th, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is our archives at  SafeSourcing.

Our CEO Ron Southard has decided to repost this message because if you are not changing you are falling behind. So, how fast can you change? It better be immediately if not faster. And it may be that every associate needs to think of themselves as the agent of change both personally, professionally and for their company. So get cracking because in the time it takes you to read this post you will have lost ground with your competition.

What is intelligence? Encarta defines it as “the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them, especially when this ability is highly developed.” Another definition, famously attributed to Albert Einstein, is “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” If we consider the attributes we typically assign to intelligence, we can easily see how they all involve change:

  • Learning requires memorizing new information, which requires a change in the structure of the brain.
  • Someone whose circumstances demand a change in behavior, is not considered intelligent if they never perform the needed change.
  • A business that adapts and reinvents itself in tandem with its changing environment is considered to be very well-led and innovative.
  • In any career, it’s the dynamic and adaptable people who fill top management. Those who are given new directives and take a long time to enact those changes typically don’t gain traction.

If the ability to change is directly correlated to intelligence, then can a lack of intelligence be defined as stagnation? An inability to adapt and change? In short, yes, Dr. Edward Miller, CEO of the hospital

at Johns Hopkins University, stated in a 2005 interview, “If you look at people after coronary-artery bypass grafting two years later, 90% of them have not changed their lifestyle.” It’s been well-established in the medical community that even when the threat is death, the majority of people will not change previously established bad habits. Similar findings have been well established in business management studies. The old-school way of thinking is to assume that everyone just needs more threats, pressure, and dire consequences to get moving. But a one size fits all approach has never worked well in managing human beings. The truth has always been that negative pressure leads to faking change in order to make the boss, the doctor, the spouse, etc, happy with what they’re seeing, even though the truth is performance is still severely lacking.

While some amount of negative pressure will always exist, and will always be essential, what creates long term change is consistent benefit incentives. For example, when people don’t have any hope for the future of their health, their jobs, relationships, etc, adding pressure that says “things are just going to get worse if you don’t change” just adds to the hopelessness of the individual, which they interpret as more reason not to change. However, when someone is given a compliment at work, starts seeing results from exercise, or getting praise from a spouse, they will often see it as a glimpse into something better that is proven to be attainable.

Once we have created the right environment for change, the hard work of implementation can begin. This implementation has to start with paying attention. When a new policy shows up on our desk, we have to take it seriously, read it, memorize as much as necessary, and then change our behavior accordingly. When we see something go wrong, and we don’t change, most people would call that unintelligent. However, when something goes wrong and change happens quickly, effectively, and long-term, we are certainly displaying intelligent behavior. In a world of constant change, the spoils go to the nimble.1

Please leave a comment or 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.

Referances——————————————————–

  1. https://hbr.org/2011/07/adaptability-the-new-competitive-advantage

 

 

Create Small wins for buy-in.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our archives at SafeSourcing.

Whether the focus is believing in a leader, a boss (there’s a difference 😉 a spouse, a product, or even themselves, there is a threshold at which a number of perceived failures will begin to cause people to stop believing in certain proposed possibilities. For some people their threshold is very low; all it takes is one setback, one negative comment, one harsh statement from the boss, to get them to lack belief in the viability of a positive outcome. While we can’t pander to everyone’s insecurities, there are ways to start rebuilding confidence, and expanding the perceived realm of possibility for your team.

One such way is to create small wins. A series of small accomplishments for an individual can be a huge bolster to Buy-in. A boss that follows through with his promises is more likely to be trusted when he asks the impossible of his employees. When a leader consistently demonstrates that greater things can be accomplished than what others thought was possible, co-workers will start increasing their self-expectations.

This is one of the greatest differences between incentivizing productivity through negative consequences and positive expectations. You can get people to scramble through fear, but you can’t get them to believe that what you’re proposing is achievable. And study after study has shown that a workforce that believes in a common purpose is always more effective than one that would rather see the project fail because they resent the fear tactics.

Learning what the threshold of buy in is, and consistently exceeding those expectations one step, one “win” at a time, is essential to managing a buy-in paradigm shift. Creating buy- in is what keeps clients patronizing your business; your employee’s following your vision, and your self-confidence high enough to accomplish your goals.

If you’d like to discuss getting your e-procurement program off to a quick start with focused small wins, please contact a SafeSourcing Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

How to tell when you need to simplify your processes

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

 

Today’s post is our archives at SafeSourcing

Finding the right balance of complexity in your processes is a tough thing to juggle for businesses large and small. I’ve worked in companies where you literally had to read through and comply with hundred page manuals for every email sent, phone call made, or lunch break taken. On the other end of the spectrum, were companies who had so little structure that no one had any idea what standard procedures were, roles were not identified, and whether or not you were performing well was determined more by the owner’s mood than any objective metric.

The problem is similar to the dilemma of Emergent vs. Deliberate strategy[1]. Each side of the argument carries its own merits; highly process oriented organizations are usually highly efficient, and low risk. The tradeoff however, is that adaptability and innovation suffers. The more flexible and open ended your process, and the more you give your team the authority to deviate from those processes, the more they are able to deal with crisis, unexpected changes, or to innovate in order to meet the needs of the business. So how do we determine if our organization is leaning too far in one direction?

A basic rule of thumb is:

If the cost of your process > the value of the process, you may need to re-balance.

This of course, requires that you have a correct understanding of the cost of all your processes.

Many businesses have a hard time wrapping their heads around the true process capacity of their workforce. Typically this results from not having an up to date or objective measurement of all processes rate of finite resource consumption. Do you have an accurate listing of every activity performed by each member of your team? Have you found averages for all costs of each of these activities, in time, money, and materials? Most likely each of your team positions specializes in a certain activity, and will be aware of activities associated with executing that position that no one else is. Performing this evaluation will identify your process capacity “budget” if you will. And of course, all things that consume finite resources must have a budget of that resource.

Once you have a clear and objective picture of your activity costs, you can evaluate the costs and value inherent in your processes. Do you have redundant processes that only add marginally increased value? Do you have processes so narrow in scope that a large number of activities get bypassed? Do you have activities whose execution is so sensitive that a miss-step would shut down your business? You may need to add processes or capabilities that eliminate these risks (For more on that topic, see my blog “Mistake-proofing your business”).

In summary:

  1. Objectively measure your organization’s process capacity
  2. Evaluate the cost to benefit balance of your processes
  3. Appropriately budget your process capacity to maximize overall value/decrease risk

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.

[1] “Balancing Deliberate vs. Emergent Strategy: SafeSourcing …” 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://blog.safesourcing.com/2015/06/01/balancing-deliberate-vs-emergent-strategy/>

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

 

 

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

People don’t just dislike having their given names misspelled, they often have feelings of rejection when the person who does the misspelling is a relative, friend, teacher or a business associate. Although my first name is common, the spelling is not. In fact, I have only met one person that spelled their name like mine. If you know people well enough to address them by name, please have the courtesy to learn how to spell their name.

The White House press office misspelled the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s name three times. One error referenced a “bilateral meeting” between Trump and “Teresa May”. Teresa May is a former soft porn star and model. That was a huge gaffe.

It is important to check for grammar and spelling errors for three reasons:

  1. It limits the chances that your message will be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
  2. It reflects your credibility, intelligence and reliability.
  3. It indicates that you care about how you do business.

Spelling mistakes can cost millions of dollars in lost sales. A single spelling mistake can can cut online sales in half, according to William Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. There seems to be more tolerance with informal parts of the internet, such as Facebook, towards grammar and spelling. Although Spellcheck is a valuable tool, it does not catch homophones (words that sound alike, but are spelled differently, and have completely different meanings). It can automatically change the spelling of new or unusual words, such as names to a word that is more easily recognized, without your permission,

There are four tips to observe when sending important business correspondence:

  1. Slow Down. Never send anything without proofreading it first.
  2. Don’t Multitask. Your brain refocuses each time you switch to a new activity.
  3. Get a Second Pair of Eyes. Have a colleague review your work.
  4. Double Check Facts, Names, and Industry Terminology. Spelling someone’s name correctly is extremely important because a name is part of one’s identity. Messing up relevant information can be interpreted as disrespect, and makes you look unprofessional. It also represents the lack of attention to detail, which can negatively affect the relationship between two parties.

“We are human and therefore bound to make mistakes. But your business reputation is too important to lose out over poor spelling. Try to be as accurate as possible when corresponding with clients, customers and colleagues. Your reputation (and ultimately your bottom line) may depend on it.”1

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. Jessica Robinson, Michigan Mobility Institute, Entrepreneur.com/article/288812, 4/5/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball Season and eProcurement Part 2

Friday, April 5th, 2019

 

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

This post is part 2 of Baseball Season and eProcurement series. In the last months post, Baseball Season and eProcurement Part 1 we discussed how at SafeSourcing we measure eProcurement success using baseball terminology as our customers watch their online Request for Quote (RFQ) Events.

Today’s post will focus on the importance of getting on base with a Single. At SafeSourcing, we define a Single as an RFQ Event that has savings of at least 5%, but less than 10%. In future installments of this series, we’ll focus on Doubles, Triples, Home Runs, and Grand Slams. It’s too easy to say that the goal of an RFQ Event should be a Home Run or a Grand Slam. After all, with an average savings percentage that is nearly a Grand Slam at 24.8%, it’s fair to expect big results.

As you probably know, base hits are very important in baseball and that holds true in eProcurement. For some categories including certain commodity items, a Single is actually a very significant win. For other categories, a single represents a last mile effort to drive out even more savings on a category that the customer has already done a reasonable job of negotiating without eProcurement.

In one recent example of a high spend category that had been negotiated by the customer pretty well before an RFQ Event, we attained a Single. This category was plastic bags and was a closely monitored category for this retailer. This was still a high-value win for the customer as it was a simple RFQ Event to prepare for and achieved immediate savings dollars representing hundreds of thousands in savings over the term of the award.

Another recent example of a Single achieved by a SafeSourcing customer was in an RFQ Event that included items like various pickles and peppers. In this example, the customer had been presented with a price increase. Despite the price increase, they were able to attain a 6.93% savings on the category. Considering that they were able to avoid the increase and then some. That is a solid base hit.

There are many results like these and there are interesting stories including great savings dollars behind each. In the next entry in this series, some examples of Doubles will be shared.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

 

 

Don’t let decision maker fatigue ruin your sourcing project!

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our extensive blog archives at  SafeSourcing:

As a procurement professional operating under other managers or engaging vendor executives, Having the decision making power change hands in the middle of a procurement project can be disruptive, but you can still keep things on track if you can keep a few key points in mind:

  1. Keep a running history of how the project got to its current stage, so that you can get the new manager up to speed quickly. If you can show your reasoning through the process to make sense, they will be more likely to get on board.
  2. Gauge his/her buy-in and be ready to head off objections before they’re even brought up. Show authoritatively that you know the project intimately to instill confidence in its handling, but give the manager the sense that they are in charge, and that they will get the big win out of the project.
  3. Avoid discussing legacy decisions. If the new manager’s predecessor made poor decisions the new manager could use that as an excuse to scrap a legitimate project, or worse, they could be looking for a scapegoat to blame past failures on.
  4. Find out the new manager’s goals (and potential hidden agendas). Let the new manager drop clues about his knowledge of the projects history. You may find out about some of what lead to the previous managers departure that can help you avoid future pitfalls.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement projects 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