Archive for June, 2019

Sourcing Project Fingerprints

Friday, June 28th, 2019


Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

The day we are born we all get a set of identifying marks that make us unique; our fingerprints.  Not one us have the same set of fingerprints and so they have become one of the things that identify who we are to the rest of the world.

In much the same way our physical fingerprints identify us, how we approach and handle tasks in our everyday lives have characteristics similar to our fingerprints that identify us as the ones involved with those tasks; how we write; how we speak; how we lead; how we organize; how we communicate.  Each of us puts “fingerprints” on our work that identify us as being involved with a project.  Let’s look at a few areas to help you determine what fingerprints you are leaving behind.

Research – Every sourcing project begins with the research.  Research includes understanding what you are buying, how much you are buying, who you are currently buying that product from and who else sells that product that you could buy it from.  The diligence you show in digging up the documents, emails, contracts, potential new vendors leaves your fingerprint on a project a major way.

Tool use – Tools range from pencil & paper to Excel spreadsheets to fullblown eSourcing solutions that intelligently help you organize the procurement process.  Knowing what tools you have at your disposal and how to use them can mark a project with your involvement.  Also, knowing when the tools you have aren’t sufficient is equally important.

Organization – Knowing all of the details does no good unless the organization of a project is done well.  Great procurement professionals can assess a project; determine who needs to be involved; determine what each phase of the project should be and who should be brought in to assist with each step of the process.  Knowing what to expect and organizing appropriately can be the difference between a successful project and one that fails to meet expectations.

Communication – Communication is tightly connected with organization.  Without effective communication among all parties involved in the organized project, including what the expectations of each member are, many projects fail before they ever begin.

Desire – The wild card to the fingerprint you leave on a project is desire.  Desire can originate from many different sources but the goal is always the same; completing a successful project in the time it was expected to happen.  Among each of the five components mentioned here, desire will mark projects as yours and will many times be the difference-maker in a project being completed correctly and in a timely manner.  When you strongly care about a project being successful, the majority of the time it will be.

For more information on SafeSourcing or how you can leave better fingerprints on your sourcing projects, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

Freight Tendering 101

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019


Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This author has been in and around the freight business for years. Actually for 40 years. Just like the unrelated movie, I have seen it all. Planes, trains and automobiles (trucks really) to be sure but also ocean bound freight. The ships and planes get bigger, but at the end of the day the same issue exists. How do companies get their products to where they need to be efficiently and at a cost that is acceptable in order to satisfy customer demand?

This is not necessarily about your internal optimization models; it is more about the data that feeds your internal optimization models. That is of course if you even have one. The basis for collecting that information is not all of the math calculations and pivot tables; it really is the following types of data.

• Lane data in distance for your delivery model such as Plant to DC.
• Volume discount data from carriers
• Lane rate per mile
• Fuel Surcharge rate
• Human resources rates for loading and unloading (Lumpers in the US)
• 3PL storage rates
• Load balancing charges for LTL versus FL

There may be other data that is required for your individual model, but the above will cover most of what you need to come up with a well rounded format that freight companies can easily bid on.

Relative to who should be bidding; this authors recommendation conducting a three step process that includes a detailed RFI, followed by a detailed RFP and then ultimately the RFQ data compression piece or a reverse auction.

• RFI  – Incumbent and other participants selected from a quality sourcing  database
• RFP – Participants include a reduced number from the RFI process
• RFQ – Includes all RFP participants unless otherwise indicated by the host.

The terms and conditions of the reverse auction or RFQ can cover the balance of information needed by providers that relates to quality, certifications, payment terms, safety, insurance etc.

If you want to get control of your freight costs, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What’s the beef (alternative)

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019



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

A meat analogue, also called a meat alternative, meat substitute, mock meat, faux meat, imitation meat, vegetarian meat, or vegan meat, approximates certain aesthetic qualities (e.g. texture, flavor, appearance) or chemical characteristics of specific types of meat. Generally, meat analogue means a food made from vegetarian ingredients, and sometimes without animal products such as dairy. Many analogues are soy-based (e.g. tofu, tempeh) or gluten-based, but now may also be pea protein-based. The market for meat analogues includes vegetarians, vegans, non-vegetarians seeking to reduce their meat consumption, and people following religious dietary laws.

A meat analogue looks and tastes like meat from an animal. These products use proteins from plants with fat, coloring and flavoring to replicate poultry, beef or seafood. In some cases these products are used as fillers in meat. There are many companies that manufacture and sell different meat analogue products from patties and ground to breakfast meats and sausages. With growing vegan and vegetarian diet trends more restaurants are beginning to offer meat analogue menu items. That being said more foodservice companies are beginning to explore and offer more product lines offering vegan and vegetarian options. Many of these products claim to taste exactly like their meat counterparts. These products can be found in almost every grocery store and are beginning to pop up in convenience store roller grills nationwide.

Here at SafeSourcing we have a growing database of meat analogue manufacturers and distributors. We work directly with these vendors to help our clients save on these products. With the growing popularity in meat analogue products there is a chance you could be seeing them on your shelves if you haven’t already. Contact SafeSourcing and let us help you save on your meat analogue costs today!

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.



What is 5G?

Friday, June 21st, 2019



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

If you own a smart phone, then you probably have heard of 5G. 5G is the fifth-generation of mobile communication networks technology. Currently most users are using 3G or 4G/LTE networks which were introduced over ten years ago. Like other generations of wireless technologies before it, 5G will offer faster speeds, more reliable cellular and internet connections. The data transfer speed is projected to be about twenty times faster than what is currently possible with 4G. This will mean a significant difference in sending and receiving videos and images. For example, downloading a high-definition movie that takes about ten minutes via 4G/LTE should take less than ten seconds to download. Along with the faster connectivity you will also have increased connectivity. This will allow for more devices to communicate at the same time and will decrease the amount of dropped signals that we now observe. There will also be shorter communication delays, called latency, that you currently see with the current networks. This lower latency is expected to help 5G deliver mobile networks that could allow us to implement new things such as multiplayer gaming, self-driving cars, and robots. These are things that the current networks struggle with or cannot handle at all. Of course using this new network will require you to upgrade your devices so that they can support 5G. Below are some of the capabilities that 5G will help to unlock:

  • Self-driving cars
  • More Reliable Drones
  • Enhanced Virtual Reality
  • Guaranteed Phone Connection
  • Remote Surgery
  • Home Broadband

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 devices meet 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.








Key Procurement Trends

Thursday, June 20th, 2019



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

According to Zycus, there are 7 major trends that are happening in the procurement world. They started back in 2018 but are expected to grow quickly for 2019 and 2020. Here is a list of the new trends to look for in the procurement world:

  1. Having a Digital Strategy- 32% of procurement companies will start using a digital strategy. 85% of them believe that digital transformation will change the way they deliver procurement services over the next 3-5 years.
  2. Building a Talent Pool- 51% of the procurement owners believe their teams do not have sufficient capabilities to deliver on the digital procurement strategy. Companies are starting to use proper training programs to make sure their employees will be able to execute correct strategy.
  3. Thinking Suppliers Beyond the Price- Suppliers will have visibility of all the steps in the  procurement cycle to help in getting the best pricing and reducing the risk quotient. This plan stands for a focused, smart and effective method of measuring, analyzing and improving supplier performance and reducing costs, increasing efficiency, enhancing vendor customer relationship, enhancing performance, preventing product issues and driving improvements in the supply chain.
  4. Risk Management- 65% of the procurement companies has little or no visibility in their supply chain.
  5. Indirect Spending- Indirect spending or tail spending follows the 80/20 rule, i.e., it constitutes 20% of the organization spent and involves 80% of the suppliers.
  6. Artificial Intelligence- Procurement teams will design and deliver intelligent robots to complete most procurement tasks with minimal human intervention. This will speed up the procurement process and minimize human error.
  7. Effective Change Management- In 2019, more organizations will focus on a smooth change management plan through increased focus on regular communication with the employees; engage them through the process and by providing training and support. Having proper support by management is key to running a successful procurement company.

Per Zycus, as procurement is gaining more strategic importance within an organization, the expectations from this function are also increasing. This year, procurement function will continue to deliver on traditional cost savings while focusing heavily on digital technologies and supplier synergies. Overall 2019 seems like a promising year full of challenges and opportunities for procurement to undertake. This is a great time to try the procurement world if you haven’t already. It’s growing and becoming a huge part of how people do business. We save our customers thousands of dollars every month.

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.






From Farmer to Sales Pioneer

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019



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

While recently reflecting on my time working at NCR Corporation, I wondered what happened to the historic machines that were previously housed in the Dayton, Ohio NCR Headquarters Product Center after the company headquarters was relocated to Georgia. People used to come from all over the world to tour the center. I was relieved to know that the products remain in Dayton and have been placed on display by the Dayton Historical Society at Carillon Park. The historical cash registers produced by NCR (formerly The National Cash Register Company) are not the only lasting impression of the company. Among his many accomplishments and contributions to the business world and to the community, NCR Corporation’s founder, John H. Patterson was a sales pioneer.

Known as the father of American salesmanship, John Patterson revolutionized the sales strategy as the owner of the National Cash Register Company from 1884 until his death in 1922. When Patterson first set out to market his early cash register to retailers, his sales force had the difficult job of selling a relatively expensive product that had no demand. The sales person had to explain to business owners how the machine would prevent internal theft and give an accurate account of the day’s receipts, in order to ensure accountability and preserve profits. One of Patterson’s many known quotes is “If the prospect understood the proposition, he would not have to be sold; he would come to buy.”

John Patterson was determined to overcome this obstacle and set out to develop the company’s sales force by creating an intricate system of management to monitor and train his salesmen. He developed the first sales training school and was the first to utilize massive direct mail solicitations. He held conventions and themed sales contests and created a method of sales management which included the calculation of quotas, commission rates, and territorial sales regions. Patterson initiated a sales script known as the NCR Primer which divided a sale into four steps: approach, proposition, demonstration, and close.

Patterson’s sales techniques had a major impact on the development of modern selling. So many prominent businessmen were trained and fired by Patterson that some business historians regarded experience at NCR as the rough equivalent of an MBA degree. After being fired by Patterson, Thomas Watson Sr. became the President of CTR which was later renamed IBM.

I was the Training Coordinator at the Sugar Camp location in Dayton, Ohio, the grounds of the first sales training school, which is located only a few blocks away from the current SafeSourcing office in Kettering, Ohio. John Patterson literally changed the landscape of Dayton, but he also changed the landscape of business as we know it today. He coined the phrase for his service division, “We cannot afford to have a single dissatisfied customer”.

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.



Procuring Your Proprietary Product- Part 4

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019



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

So you have decided that you are going to take your BBQ Sauce out to market. You have vetted co-packers abilities to make your product and market it to your standards, BUT how do you ensure they keep your recipe secret and not market it for themselves?

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract between two or more parties that signifies a confidential relationship exists between them. The confidential relationship exists because the parties share information among themselves that should not be made available to any other parties outside of those involved, such as competitors or the general public or. An NDA may also be referred to as a confidentiality agreement.”1

Confidentiality agreements typically serve three key functions:

  1. NDAs protect sensitive information. By signing an NDA, participants promise to not divulge or release information shared with them by the other people involved. If the information is leaked, the injured person can claim breach of contract.2
  2. In the case of new product or concept development, a confidentiality agreement can help the inventor keep patent rights. In many cases, public disclosure of a new invention can void patent rights. A properly drafted NDA can help the original creator hold onto the rights to a product or idea.2
  3. Confidentiality agreements and NDAs expressly outline what information is private and what’s fair game. In many cases, the agreement serves as a document that classifies exclusive and confidential information.2

Protect yourself and your proprietary product! When in doubt hire a lawyer to review your NDA and don’t just sign any co-packer’s “standard” NDA without reviewing with a lawyer. This ensures no matter what that your product remains under your control.

In part five of this series, the author will provide the steps for taking a proprietary product out to the procurement market. Meanwhile, SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your proprietary product 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

We look forward to your comments.


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Excuses vs. Reasons

Monday, June 17th, 2019



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

What is the difference between an excuse and a reason? Certainly, anyone could find the definition for each and understand better. For reference, here is what lists as the definition for excuse and reason.

  • Excuse: an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of       a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.
  • Reason: a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.

At SafeSourcing we have encountered many excuses and reasons from a variety of sources. We hear both from our vendor partners every single day in regard to the invitations we extend to them to submit proposals during our eRFx Events on behalf of our customers. This is not a negative statement, but simply an observation. What is interesting about excuses and reasons is that can both have the same effect.

The excuses and reasons vary fairly widely. Let’s look at a few examples in an effort to understand them.

One reason we might find that a vendor we have invited to quote on our customer’s business is that they do not have the capacity at the present to provide the products or services at the scale that the customer requires. This is a reason because it is based on facts. This reason is perfectly understandable. Another reason a vendor might list for declining our invitation is their inability to provide pricing at competitive rates. Perhaps their own supply chain does not allow for the appropriate level of discount that our customer requires. Again, this is a reason why a vendor cannot participate in an eRFx Event.

Excuses can tend to be a little hazy and difficult to support by facts as reasons can. One example of an excuse we might hear in response to our invitation to participate in an eRFx Event is the lack of time. A vendor representative might offer their travel schedule as their excuse for declining noting that they do not have time at present. While it’s possible that time restraints exist, in most cases, this can be worked out so that the vendor can still participate. Another example of an excuse may be found in the vendor’s personal preferences. The vendor might prefer to work directly with the customer to develop a proposal. This excuse is fairly transparent in that they would prefer not to participate competitively in an eRFx Event, but rather deal directly and exclusively with the customer. It’s easy to imagine why this would be beneficial to the vendor, but it’s more difficult to see how this benefits the customer.

These are only a handful of examples of excuses and reasons, but they illustrate that there is a difference between the two and that they are not equal in status. Vendors aren’t the only parties that have reasons and excuses, of course. Sometimes our customers have reasons why they choose not to use eRFx Events for their sourcing even though to do so with SafeSourcing has historically caused savings in excess of 24%. Some reasons are perfectly understandable such as when the customer is in an existing contract that currently prevents their use of our services. Some excuses are just that like when a customer prefers to do business with a certain vendor because that vendor has “been a good partner” to them over the years. This statement may be true, but tends to be more of an explanation than a basis.

At SafeSourcing, we always encourage our vendor partners and our customers to consider carefully the decisions they make. We understand reasons, but we respectfully challenge excuses to the benefit of all parties involved.

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



What’s Trending?

Friday, June 14th, 2019



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

You may have noticed while researching topics or just browsing through videos online that there are topics that say “trending”. So, what does that really mean? Like any trend, it is something that is growing in popularity, most likely at a higher rate than normal. Sometimes topics or videos “trend” due to recent media coverage and a large number of people are seeking more information. Sometimes, though, the trending topics seem obscure. Is it possible that “trending” could be based on more than popularity alone?

The short answer is yes. You can, with a certain amount of money, pay to have your video, tweet, or topic show “trending” in certain platforms. The idea behind this is that if your chosen topic trends enough, you will get a larger amount of exposure, thus increasing personal ad revenue, site traffic, and simply gaining a larger audience of potential customers.

While this may seem entirely good, there can adverse effects. Let’s say your topic is trending and many people are exposed to it. What would happen if, say, you have a typo or bad grammar, or even worse – wrong information? Then any positive exposure you had hoped for is likely turned to negative and negative exposure can actually lessen your customer base. With the overwhelming power of social media, someone is able to expose wrongdoings like corruption in civil services or blatant discrimination, yet they can also resurrect a beloved television show or spread positivity of doing good deeds for others. So, being careful about what you present is important. We at SafeSourcing can help with your trending needs or help you achieve the trending goal of cutting costs without sacrificing quality of service.

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.




Concepts of Creative Problem Solving!

Thursday, June 13th, 2019


Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

Have you ever faced a business problem that you just couldn’t find an answer to? Or have you thought something isn’t working as well as it should but you were unable to think of a better alternative? Here are two concepts to help you get past your creative barriers:

1.  Assume you can’t do things the way you currently do.Take a goal or core competency of your business, and figure out how you would accomplish this goal if the only way you COULDN’T do it, is the way it’s being done now. You may find your ideas taking you places that were obvious but never brought up before, simply because of your bias toward the familiar. If you can’t think of new activities you CAN do, assume what you’re doing NOW is off the table, which then opens up everything else for you to consider as a possible solution.

2.  Expand the Realm of Possibility Through New Associations.Look into how other systems solve similar problems.  I often find it helpful to think of data communication in terms of signal path from my audio engineering days. There have been buildings whose ventilation problems were solved mimicking termite mounds, adhesives inspired by anemone, virtual workspaces inspired by physical workspaces, etc. Many experts agree that the cross pollination of traditionally unrelated ideas is the greatest single reason why Silicon Valley has been such a successful hub of innovation. Simply surrounding yourself with new informational inputs will get your brain to access new physical areas that allow more transparent interconnection between concepts.

At SafeSourcing we deal with an enormously wide range of procurement projects. Sometimes concepts we originated in waste removal help us streamline projects for shipping, or we’ll learn something about Hotel Stays that give us insight into Janitorial Services. There really is no limit to the variety of ways our experience can help you find solutions for your procurement needs.

How do you push past your own problem solving “writers block”? Share your tips in the comments section below!