Archive for June, 2019

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.

References……………………………………

https://www.zycus.com/blog/procurement-technology/7-procurement-trends-2019.html

 

 

 

 

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.

References…………………………………………………………………….

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCR_Corporation
  2. https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/cash-registers-marry-artistry-and-commerce/2Wbn8qYmWcgeL0x5thGGrO/
  3. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/National_Cash_Register_Company
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_Patterson_(NCR_owner)
  5. https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/john-h-patterson-and-the-sales-strategy-of-the-national-cash-register-company-1884-to-1922

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.

References:

  1. www.investopedia.com/terms/n/nda.asp 2. https://www.rocketlawyer.com/article/nda-101:-what-is-a-non-disclosure-agreement.rl

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 Dictionary.com 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.

References:

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/reasony

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/excuse?s=t

 

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!

Thanks.

Coca-Cola Rolls Out Energy Drinks

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

 

 

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

Coca-Cola Chief Executive, James Quincey, has announced the launch of Coca-Cola Plus Coffee in 25 markets by the end of the year. This product appeals to people that want more of an energy boost than just a regular Coke. It also provides a new taste. Coca-Cola acquired the British coffee-shop chain, Costa, in the first quarter of 2019 for $5.1 billion. Plans to launch the first ready-to-drink Costa product is set for this spring. Costa serves roughly 3,800 cafes currently. There are 2,500 in the U.K. and an ever growing presence in China. Coca-Cola owns an 18.5% stake in Monster, the leading energy drink in the U.S. Monster said the launch of this product is in direct violation of an agreement struck in 2015. The companies are currently in arbitration.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Energy drinks will be launched in Europe. The company has diversified beyond soda into water, coffee, juice and other drinks. A reformulated Coca-Cola Zero Sugar grew by double digits this last quarter. The February launch of Orange Vanilla Coke was the first new flavor in a decade, increasing retail sales by 6%. Monster and Red Bull energy drinks are big in the U.S. and Europe. This market is expanding rapidly and the opportunity to to create drinks that blur the lines between energy drinks and cola is a great marketing opportunity.

PepsiCo Inc. is also trying new brands with three new flavors in the U.S. that contain real juice — berry, lime, and mango. New package designs have also been developed.

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……………………………………………………………

Jennifer Maloney, WSJ, 4/24/2019

 

Fail Quickly!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Those of us who are too afraid to fail, inherently play things safe. Those of us who play it safe, don’t set “unachievable” goals.  Those of us who don’t set “unachievable” goals, don’t rethink our mental models of what is possible for achieving success.

Of course, no one will say failure doesn’t hurt. However, it doesn’t have to be crippling, if we approach it correctly. In weightlifting we have to allow the uncomfortable microscopic tears in our muscle fibers to occur before those cells can rebuild bigger and stronger. In our personal lives, it we have to be challenged and tested, and shown where our blind spots are before our character can be improved. In business, sometimes we need to surpass our own expectations of what is possible, and test that with both success and failure, before we will know what we or our organization is truly capable of.

Nathan, my second youngest brother, is more of a risk taker than I am, and I suspect there’s a lot I could learn from him. He’s traveled extensively, goes sky diving, purposely seeks out random strangers in public to sit and have lunch with, and generally is always trying new things that I’d rather not.  But he has a method about it; If the only reason he doesn’t want to take a risk is apathy, he takes it anyway. However, if the risk is so great that failure would be unrecoverable, he doesn’t go through with it. He has a lower and upper threshold for the risks he takes, so that he’s never too inactive, but also never betting more that he can afford to lose.

The point of failing quickly is not to take on gargantuan risks. In other words, we don’t go out and bet the farm just to prove a point. There are foolish ways of taking on excessive risk of course.

The point of failing quickly is to expand our self-imposed limitations of what is possible within the proving grounds of activity that we can quickly recover from should the experiment be a failure.

Please contact SafeSourcing if you’d like to discuss how this strategy can help your sourcing projects.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Workplace Discipline vs Self-Discipline

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Nobody hates workplace discipline more than those that are forced into having to dole it out. For management, performing disciplinary tasks are time consuming, awkward, personally taxing, and carry a huge opportunity cost. However, the need for disciplinary action can be reduced by getting ahead of the problem through investment as a preventative measure, and with exponentially better return compared to the alternative.

Most infractions can be reduced to shortcomings in SELF-discipline: Wasting company time, miss-management of schedule, not learning best practices, tardiness, lack of effort, lack of respect, etc. In these common examples, improving self-discipline proactively, prevents the need for discipline reactively. Self-discipline is not just a character trait to be valued in our personal lives; it’s a worthwhile investment for any company to make in its workforce. Although there are many different approaches to improving self-discipline, my research has found several recommended practices common to most approaches, shared below:

  •  Do an assessment of your self-control: How “in control” of your life do you feel? When you have a goal, do you always accomplish it? Or do you feel rolled around by whatever random thought, unhealthy food, uncontrollable desire, distraction or consequence of poor planning might get in your way? Are your circumstances in control of you? If the answer is yes, you’ve found the reason to look seriously at the rest of the steps below, and identified their targets.
  • Increase delayed/deferred gratification: Avoid activities of instant gratification for a while, with one target at a time. Rather than going out to eat: Cook a meal. Instead of buy: Build. Instead of streaming the movie: Read the book. Go throughout the day looking for opportunities to practice delayed gratification, find things you have to “earn” before you get the reward. Start with small things. The point here is to improve your ability to wait for the payoff. Once you can apply that to small goals with short waiting periods, you’ll can keep building up until you are able to accomplish anything no matter how long the investment period, or how hard the work..
  • Increase “grit”:  Angela Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. This trait is not the same as delayed gratification, but the two do depend on each other. Grit is a little bit darker, in that it deals with maintaining the belief in our abilities and a positive outcome, in the face of failure or hardship. How do we increase grit if our “grit score” is low (you can take a survey that will score you here https://sasupenn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_06f6QSOS2pZW9qR)? Small wins are your key to success. Don’t give in to the temptation (or bad advice) to accomplish overwhelmingly large goals before you’re ready. Start small, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and get some small wins under your belt before graduating to larger ones.
  • Find alternatives for accountability: Accountability can be summed up as ‘find something you value, and put it at risk as a consequence of failure’. Although it should be used carefully so as not to lead to discouragement or take unwise risks, many people have found this useful in keeping their feet to the fire when they would otherwise slack off. Online programs like www.stickk.com allow you to put money or other objects on the line, and partner with coaches to hold you accountable.
  • Positive self-talk: Have you ever had someone give you encouragement that made you feel what they were saying, even if you didn’t believe it? That’s because the brain’s mirror neurons reflect what we hear emotionally, even if our cognitive functions believe something differently, and hearing ourselves works the same way. Try a quick experiment if you don’t believe it: The next time you find yourself assigned something you don’t want to do, keep telling yourself how tired you are/how difficult it is/how pointless it is. Then the next day compare the difference in how you feel to telling yourself that it’s NOT that difficult/you’re NOT that tired/this IS very important, etc. Using self-talk to get through a task or challenge you find particularly difficult can give you the small edge you need to get over the finish line.
  • Mindfulness Meditation: I love learning. A lot. Sometimes so much so that I lose track of really important things, because I have so many thoughts running at one time that I’m not able to choose and prioritize. Mindfulness meditation involves concentrating on your breathing, then your pulse, then your muscle movements, and so on, until you are keenly aware of the here and now. If you find yourself distracted by your own thoughts, mindfulness meditation can help to pull your head out of the theoretical things you’re learning about, and into the present moment, where you can prioritize and accomplish the tasks in front of you. There are many places online where you can find more detailed instructions.

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.