Archive for May, 2019

The Ability of the Market to Bring Buyers and Sellers Together in an Open Environment

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

 

Today’s blog is by Alex Borbely, Vice President of Sales at SafeSourcing, Inc.

Recent advances in electronics and internet technologies have had major impacts on supply chain management and on sourcing strategies and practices. One such development that has attracted the attention of many companies and gained popularity is the reverse auction, also referred to as on-line reverse bidding. Over the past few years, many companies in a variety of industries have started using reverse auctions. The list includes GE, Boeing, Sun Microsystems, HP, P&G, Dow Chemical, Staples, US Foods and many more.

In speaking recently with a CFO of a leading company in their vertical who believes in using reverse auction technology and has used this procurement method in past organizations that he was also the CFO, he stated “If you really believe in what you do with procurement and reverse bidding, which is more measurable directly to the P&L than any solution I have ever deployed, then reverse bidding is surely the best procurement strategy that a company can deploy. Not only in-direct spends but also capitol and direct spends. It can save jobs as well.” This CFO can effectively argued that nothing they (procurement departments) are working on can have a larger impact on their company and employees. Not new stores, not new branding or new products. Nothing.

The most obvious benefit from reverse auctions is in purchasing cost savings to the buyer. As any dollar saved in purchasing cost adds a dollar to the bottom line. Reduction of procurement costs has always been a high priority for top management. Reverse auctions/on-line bidding can have significant impact on reducing purchasing costs.

SafeSourcing eProcurement, particularly reverse auctions, are a relatively new way to increase your bottom-line using e-Procurement tools to enhance the spend process. Utilizing new technologies as mentioned will add profit dollars without selling one new customer buying your products or services. The savings are traditionally 10X your investment in e-Procurement tools. You’re just accepting a different way to solicit bids/pricing even with your incumbent vendors that you currently work with.

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

 

 

Baseball Season and eProcurement Part 3

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

 

 

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

This is the third entry in the Baseball Season and eProcurement series. In the previous posts in this series, we highlighted some examples of how SafeSourcing customers have achieved and enjoyed hitting a Single. At SafeSourcing a Single is achieved when a customer attains between 5% and 9.99% savings in their online Request for Quote (RFQ) Events.

Today’s blog post will similarly review some examples of when our customers have hit a Double. SafeSourcing defines a Double as between 10% and 14.99% savings. Hitting a Double is a very good outcome for any category. In future installments of this series, we’ll focus on Triples, Home Runs, and Grand Slams.

The first example we will review is for bottled water. One of SafeSourcing’s retail customers was due to source the bottled water that they sell in their stores. They had the impression that given the limited number of suppliers that they were aware of that could support their network of stores, that negotiating this category was not possible. While this category does only have a finite number of suppliers based on any given geography, there are plenty to be able to host a competitive RFQ Event. In this case, five suppliers quoted including their incumbent. Their incumbent is a large and well-known national brand. As a result of the competitive bidding process being paired with the vendors that SafeSourcing identified and brought into the live RFQ, the customer was able to achieve an impressive 13.84% savings. Best of all, this low quote savings came from their incumbent supplier which meant they would easily attain the savings beginning with their next shipments.

Our next example is from another retail customer that operates many pharmacy locations and sells a wide variety of items in their stores. One of the categories that we focused on with this customer was their propane tank exchange service. This has become a common category for RFQ as there are several suppliers that operate nationally and many more that operate regionally. The incumbent supplier is one of the largest national suppliers in this category. Again, SafeSourcing identified and brought in three additional suppliers that were qualified and capable of servicing this customer’s locations. The result was a 14.48% savings. It was nearly a Triple. Here again, the customer was able to lower the price substantially while retaining their current source of supply.

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 Triples will be shared.

If you’re interested in learning more about how RFQ Events can help your company advance the bases and achieve savings, please contact SafeSourcing.

Netflix’s New Audio Platform

Friday, May 17th, 2019

 

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

As a tech enthusiast I get excited when I hear technology news. I recently purchased a surround sound system for my family room that supports Dolby Atmos. For those of you who do not know what Dolby Atmos is, it’s basically an expansion of Dolby Digital 5.1 and 7.1 to include speakers that reside above which adds height to the sound. This technology allows for the sound to be played directly to certain speakers throughout the room. So, for example, when there is a scene of a plane flying overhead and to the left, the sound will start from behind you, then move overhead and then move to the left and fade away. When a scene contains rain, it will sound like the rain is coming from directly above. The reason I am bringing this up is because Netflix just announced earlier this month that they developed and launched high-quality audio. With this new technology they are able to improve the sound quality to “studio quality” audio that sounds closer to what the creators hear within the studio. This results in higher quality audio to all of their content without needing more bandwidth or buffering. If you are looking forward to utilizing this new platform you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • A Netflix Premium plan is required for the Dolby Atmos
  • Compatible Television or device such as Amazon Fire TV Cube
  • Sound System that supports 5.1/Dolby Atmos
  • Watch movies or shows with 5.1 or Dolby Atmnos support
  • Internet connection that supports 5 Mbps for HD and 25 Mbps for 4k/HDR

If you are interested in upgrading any of your electronic devices, 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.

 

 

 

 

Tariffs

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

 

 

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

The global market is something we all rely on in a number of different ways. Whether for personal use or business use, we each rely on products that are bought and sold throughout the world. Part of the global market includes trade between different countries, which can be susceptible to tariffs. Tariffs are nothing new, so how should a business handle the looming tariff increases and what can we do to better prepare ourselves?

One thing many businesses do to avoid tariffs, specifically between two countries, is to simply move to another country. For example, if there are increased tariffs between American products going into China, many businesses may move their production from America to another country, like Mexico or Canada, and import those same products, but with those tariffs.

Another way businesses try to avoid paying extra tariffs is by simply minimizing the market they use. For example, if a company normally buys steel from overseas, they may now seek purchasing within the same country to avoid paying the extra tariffs, which can actually be less than they were spending initially.

No matter how a business handles changes in the global market, a procurement partner may be the best way for a company to obtain the products they need without sacrificing quality. A company like SafeSourcing can even help you obtain the same goods, but at an even lower price, helping your company’s spend and overall help your organization thrive in times of change.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help 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.

 

 

 

 

Should you join a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)?

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

 

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

According to Wikipedia a Group Purchasing Organization (or GPO) is an entity that is created to leverage the purchasing power of a group of businesses to obtain discounts from vendors based on the collective buying power of the GPO members.

When is a company a GPO and when are they something else? Many organizations take on procurement functionality based on the spend of their members. They can be industry wholesalers, share groups, consortiums, distributors and a variety of other types of organizations. They may take on all procurement opportunities or specific opportunities like energy. GPO’s can be vertically focused or horizontally focused. They can also be horizontally focused within an industry vertical. An example might be a wholesale grocer that is focused on a retail industry vertical like supermarkets.

The question is should you join one or many? Maybe you shouldn’t join any. The only way to answer the question is to understand your own organization in terms of its strengths and weaknesses relative to the products or services categories you hope to source. As an example; if you are just buying from a wholesalers price book, it’s a good bet you are not getting the best price. It’s also a good bet that other members of the same wholesaler are getting a better price and they may be smaller than you. However you may also have a huge energy spend and this is something that your product wholesaler can’t help you with. As such, there may be a specific GPO for energy that can offer some expertise.

This author believes that your best bet is to focus on a procurement company that is horizontally focused with specific expertise in a number of verticals such as health care, retail, distribution, financial services etc. I have often seen these companies significantly out perform GPO’s by a significant amount as the overall overlap of expertise across multiple industries suggests a level of creativity that GPO’s may not have.

Ultimately understanding what your company’s limitations are as well as the opportunities that are available to you is a first and important step. After that, it’s who can do the most for you with the least disruption across the broadest area of spend.

SafeSourcing is such a company. Please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager  if you would like further information on how to improve your bottom line in the present quarter.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)
25.Logistics

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Great Companies use standards to support their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and drive towards Triple Bottom Line (TBL) accounting.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

I originally wrote this post eight years ago. However when earnings calls take place or some  recent factor like trade with China impact our markets, it is all that anyone reports on. I listen to lots of earnings calls. It is not very often that an analyst asks about progress in these areas. What are your TBL results and how do you report them?

Contributions to the welfare of society can come in many forms such as supporting the arts, further education, give to social welfare agencies, supporting community-building initiatives, reducing pollution, and the other charitable causes. Businesses that adopt socially responsible directives help to allow government agencies to minimize their involvement with the corporation. Reporting on these advances as well as their financial progress is TBL in its most pure form.

One way that  companies can add  to their  social consciousness is to try and use Certified Reference Materials or (CRM’s) which are ‘controls’ or standards used to check the quality and traceability of products. Requiring these standards prior to purchasing products indicates a lot about companies commitment to its stakeholders which includes its consumers and those associated with them. It also mitigates risk should recalls occur as a result of harm.

As an example, a reference standard for a unit of measurement is an artifact that embodies the quantity of interest in a way that ties its value to the reference base. At the highest level, a primary reference standard is assigned a value by direct comparison with the reference base.

A primary standard is usually under jurisdiction of a national standards body such as the ISO or The International Organization for Standardization which is an international standard -setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Relative to an example of a primary standard, you might refer to the Future ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility published as Draft International Standard which ties very nicely to this post.

If you’d like to learn more about our SafeSoureIt™  Global Supplier Database with over 427,000  suppliers and the certifications they support, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Redefining heroics

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Dale Carnegie advised us in 1934 that we should be Hearty in our approbation, and lavish in our praise. And we are, of the people who save the baby from the burning building, divert tragedy, or run ultra-marathons. These individuals do deserve our admiration to an extent, but we need to be careful not to overemphasize the more visible accomplishments to the extent that we de-incentivize the small wins.

If management is pushing productivity through an organization, leadership is pulling from in front. But leadership doesn’t have to be 1 man or woman pulling an entire organization up the mountain. It takes a chain of linked individuals, each pulling everyone forward in great and small things to create success across an organization. However, the culture of the optimal organization is not to point to the top rungs and say be THAT guy, because we don’t need 2 CEO’s, we need people who take ownership and create value in every position of the company. But how many times have we had people go above and beyond in the small things that had a profound impact on our personal or professional life and never given them the praise they deserved? Or worse, how has it effected you when someone only gives marginal or poor effort, because the tasks they’re working on aren’t praised in their organization no matter how well they are done?

When we make leadership into something bigger than ourselves, we give ourselves an excuse to not take responsibility for the profound ways our actions affect other people. We all have had experiences where someone’s small act has had a profound impact in our lives, for good or bad. Don’t forget to praise their investment in you or your organization, or learn from their mistakes.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team in being a savings hero for your ortanization, 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.

Avoiding “change blindness”

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Let’s test how well you can focus on detailed activities. Copy and paste into your address bar, or click the following link: https://youtu.be/Ahg6qcgoay4[1]

How did you do? There are several versions of this type of video, but of course the point of them all is to illustrate our ability to miss the obvious when we are more focused on specific tasks. Perhaps you can relate to more common errors of oversight:

Have you ever been made aware after the fact, that you completely missed a detail about a project you were working on, which should have been totally obvious? Have you ever read over a document five times, only to discover a major error on the sixth read through? Stared at the same computer screen for months before noticing an assortment of buttons that could have made life easier?

Our minds have a bandwidth limitation, often described as being approximately 1.6 conversations at a time (including the one going on in your head)[2]. Focusing on one complex task, requires us to tune out certain others in order to fully process that task. One of the first researchers to call attention to this phenomenon was Dr. Marc Green, who once said “Inattentional blindness is not a mental aberration; it is the norm. Conscious perception is the abnormality”.[3] So there are benefits to our ability to tune everything else out and focus on one task, and there are benefits to being aware of a wide scope of inputs as well. Working Memory[4], the type of intelligence associated with your short-term bandwidth, is uncertain as to if it is static or malleable. So how can we make the most of both sides of our concentration capabilities?

Situationally prioritize your focus – There’s a reason why they say the best way to remember names is to not focus on what you are saying when being introduced to someone new. Knowing what you know now about what you do or don’t notice and remember based on how you’re thinking, you can apply the right strategy for each situation. When you are working on detailed, technical, or financial activities, you probably need to tune everything else out and laser focus. When you are evaluating a new project, finalizing work, or observing a new environment, you probably need to tune yourself out, and take in your surroundings.

Practice “open observing” – Look at all content twice: The first time looking for whatever you were specifically trying to focus on to accomplish the task, the second time not looking for anything in particular, letting the full scope of your capabilities be your frame of reference instead of the specific thing you are being asked for.

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.

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[1] This link leads to content and views not controlled, approved or condoned by SafeSourcing Inc. User views at their own risk.

[2] “Avoiding common RFP mistakes: SafeSourcing Blog.” 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://blog.safesourcing.com/2015/07/30/avoiding-common-rfp-mistakes/>

[3] “Visual Expert Human Factors: Inattentional Blindness …” 2002. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/inattentionalblindness.html>

[4] “Working memory definition – MedicineNet – Health and …” 2005. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7143>