Archive for July, 2019

Sourcing Music

Friday, July 26th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

There isn’t an organization on earth that doesn’t use music for its business in some capacity. Offices without any background music are awkward, phone lines without hold music makes customers think no one is actually holding for them, and video marketing is incomplete without song. Even though you may feel that the latest hit would be a perfect fit for your multimedia needs, without following the right procedures you could be on the hook for damages much larger than the actual licensing fees. But where do you start?

The rights to any musical composition’s distribution are typically managed by the publishing company under what are known as “mechanical licenses”. Sometimes the rights can be released directly by the copyright holder, but typically only under special circumstances such as when the request comes from a source with strong cross-promotional influence, or a friend of the artist themselves. The major Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. All commercial artists will be affiliated with one or the other organization. However, obtaining a license to use the music of one organization does not give you legal access to the libraries of all three PROs. There are, however, several third party companies who have licensing agreements with the PROs, and will grant access to specific works within their libraries for a fee. If you need to be able to customize how you use the creative work, such as by editing a song to fit within a TV commercial or radio jingle, obtaining licensing through a third party is usually the easiest way to go. However, if all you need is elevator music, obtaining licenses specific to your organization is probably unnecessary.

Typically, the best route for a company to take is to purchase systems with pre-existing music libraries already integrated. For example, many VOIP providers either have their own content created exclusively for their organization, or have purchased rights to creative works themselves. This places the burden of working through the licensing issues on the service provider you are using. However, if you want to make sure your service provider is compliant, you should ask for documentation proving compliance with current copyright laws identifying the corresponding PRO.

Please leave a comment or for more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

 

Creating our own limitations.

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

 

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Opportunities to learn are everywhere but can be used either to improve or damage your capabilities. For example, any married couple knows it’s not easy to have two flawed individuals share life together. However, even in less than ideal situations, there are opportunities to learn that you will never get anywhere else other than a situation where someone’s soul is borne to you in ways neither individual can hide from. There will be opportunities to learn how others think and operate, and to discover your own biases and shortcomings. However, there will also be opportunities to hide your insecurities, deny your flaws, blame shift, and stubbornly hold fast to your own LIMITATIONS. This is typically what people do when meeting viewpoints different from their own: We get defensive, myopic, and squander an opportunity to better ourselves.

Whether we like it or not, character traits like humility, and work ethic, will profoundly influence how well we perform our professional activities. No one promoted this fact more heavily than the author of. The 7 habits of highly effective people.

Stephen Covey proposed that maturity is a continuum from least to most mature by the steps of Dependence (reliance on others), to Independence (reliance on self), to Interdependence (Independently chosen reliance on others, to accomplish cooperatively what we cannot independently). This is counterintuitive because we typically think of Independence as being the most mature, in the form of the lone wolf leader, or the maverick who does things his/her way. But the truth is it’s far more difficult and beneficial to assume someone else might know something you don’t. By definition, this means you have to let other people make decisions out of their unique perspective and expertise that you WOULD NOT, or else you’ll always be LIMITED by your own understanding, and no organization will ever be all it can be without utilizing the collective expertise of the group.

Are your limits strictly determined by how hard you work? How fearless you are? How smart you are? What if you’re limiting yourself by making assumptions about how much value other individuals or organizations can contribute to your business? Do we have the strength of character to admit there are individuals or organizations that can perform certain tasks better than we can? Leaning on other’s expertise isn’t an insult to your capabilities; it’s a means of interdependent improvement.

There are variables in our lives we genuinely can’t control, and we shouldn’t want to, especially when it comes to learning through how we work and relate with other people. If we truly want to extend beyond our current limits, we have to allow external factors to force us to explore outside of our current paradigms, and deliberately chose to EXPAND, not LIMIT, our understanding through it.

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.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Customer Satisfaction vs CRM!

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

 

 

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

According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. But only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. Increasing the percentage of consistently happy customers by 5% goes a long way in retaining customers. Many organizations utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to maintain customer communications.

There is a rise in the use of CRM solutions for a number of reasons. Initially, the CRM industry was primarily geared towards sales and public relations and offered a way to store customer information and track communication with customers. Currently, CRM solutions cover several areas of business, including customer relationship management, marketing, analytics, communication, and even project management. Some CRM systems even have built in chatbot and calling capabilities, so organizations can communicate with clients directly in the system.

Even small businesses can afford to invest in customer relationship management software, due to the increase of affordable SaaS solutions, which delivers functionality without the complication of a major software implementation project. Tiered pricing structures and lots of competition means small businesses have a variety of CRMs options that optimize the customer relationship management process.

From the dozens of CRM systems available, depending on what you would like to track and how your team works, you will find everything from expensive apps you run on your own servers to customizable web apps with dozens of plans and features, to the simple contacts apps. The main point is CRM should work for you, not the other way around. An over complicated and over customized CRM is just as bad as having no CRM at all. The most common features are:

  • Contact Management
  • Account Management
  • Order Management
  • Opportunity Management
  • Sales Process Automation
  • Campaign Management
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Call Center Automation
  • Service Automation
  • Task Management
  • Partner Management

In this automated environment, there are many ways an organization can communicate with their customer. While CRM solutions help to manage information and data, ultimately, nothing can replace “real” customer relationships. Knowing your customer is the best way to meet their needs and improve the customer experience.

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.

We look forward to your comments.

References………………………………………………………………..

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecrandell/2013/01/21/customer-experience-is-it-the-chicken-or-egg/#66bcd5793557
  2. https://selecthub.com/customer-relationship-management/crm-features-functionality-list/

 

 

 

Procuring Your Proprietary Product- Part 5

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

 

 

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

Reminder of what proprietary foods are: those which are not standardized under regulations and may contain primary ingredients and some generic additives. For examples, energy drinks and custard powder which contain starch, dextrose, flavor and color. These foods can be made from milk or milk products, from carbohydrates, with or without a basis of milk, from meat, fish, or eggs, from vegetables, fruits, or nuts, and sometimes from fatty substances.1

So why would you expose your proprietary food item to potentially be copied or even the recipe stolen?

You will have the opportunity to grow your business, your bottom line, and depending on how hands on you are with your product will be added time. Some people have the opportunity to take out parts of their proprietary recipe to bid. What are the most expensive items you purchase to make your product? Are there items that have pricing tied to a market index? Do you just go to a wholesale club or foodservice provider for your ingredients?

Looking at your spend and looking at your savings opportunity may open the opportunities for you to engage suppliers in a bid. In many summer salads, mayonnaise is a key ingredient. Do you have a flavor profile preference? Do you prefer a specific brand? Did you know that you can take your specific requirement to bid? Many of the major manufactures of mayonnaise have participated in online request for quotes through SafeSourcing and our clients have received an average of 20% savings from their preferred brand or flavor profile of mayonnaise.

Determine your item(s) you want to take to market and the volume or quantities you will need, be prepared to have the discussion of a 1-year agreement with no price increases versus a 2- year agreement with an index escalator/de-escalator percentage added. You will also need to provide current pricing, purchase history, invoices, or past contracts to your e-procurement company. Where do you store your item(s)? How often is it shipped to your location? Is freight included or added to your pricing? All of these details will make sure your needs, wants, and expectations are met throughout the process.

In the final part, part six of this series, the author will provide the details of why it is important to test and sample the proprietary product before signing that final contract. 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.quora.com/What-is-proprietary-food

Sourcing Green

Friday, July 19th, 2019

 

 

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

Many of us have noticed the global effects of climate change more and more. Pictures of polar ice caps disappearing, the Great Barrier Reef dying, honey bees being few and far between, and record high temperatures breaking everyday are just some of the things we are facing. So, what can each of us do to help slow the damage?

Individually, we can try to consume and waste less. Home recycling has grown in availability and helps to lower the amount of waste sent to landfills and helps reduce the amount of plastic waste polluting ocean life. In addition, we are now able to use more energy efficient machines and lights in our homes. This helps reduce the amount of fossil fuel energy needed and even lowers our utility bills. So, what about our organizations?

Businesses often take the lead in their help combatting climate change. So, what are some things they can do? For one, many retailers are switching from single use plastic bags to reusable bags. These bags will help reduce the amount of bags needing to be made, reducing energy needs, and reduce the number that wind up affecting the ocean life directly. In addition, many companies are also switching from single use plastic bottles and utensils to biodegradable products. Some can be made from hemp, avocado seeds, and even corn and can degrade into the earth in comparably short amounts of time compared to the plastics currently being used. Not all companies have implemented these measures, so what can you do?

The first step to using greener products is to source them. A procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can help your organization every step of the way, from identifying what options are available to implementing a change with continued support throughout. We can help your own team source the products and services that can help reduce our carbon footprint and can save money while doing so.

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.

 

 

 

 

Baseball Season and eProcurement Part 4

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

 

 

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

For those keeping score at home, this is the fourth installment 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 singles and doubles in their online Request for Quote (RFQ) Events. A triple is an Event that creates savings between 15% and 19.99%.

In the past, we had reviewed a couple of different examples for each. In today’s post, we’ll focus in on one interesting example of a triple. In future installments of this series, we’ll focus on Home Runs and Grand Slams.

Today’s example is one that many might not think of when they consider eProcurement or reverse auctions. Often, when considering categories for eProcurement, many of our customers first look to indirect spend items with many focused on supplies. While those are great items and reducing the cost of copy paper and other suppliers is fantastic, there are many more opportunities that are often left out of consideration.

One great example of this type of overlooked item is prepared chicken salad. Because this is an item that will vary in style, taste, and quality from supplier to supplier, many of our customers would not consider sourcing their prepared chicken salad using SafeSourcing’s RFx tools to reduce costs. That said, one of our more experienced customers did just that with really incredible results. This customer, a retailer, had a very large annual spend in their chicken salad that they utilize in their foodservice offering. Their savings was an incredible triple that generated a triple with their current supplier and some alternatives. What that meant was that not only could they have gone elsewhere if the samples from the competitor were of the right perceived quality, they could also get that savings from their current supplier and not change a single thing other than the price they pay. That is exactly what any customer would want to happen in this scenario. This proves that even if the item can’t be defined as precisely as a ream of copy paper can, the process and the tools used by SafeSourcing will reduce your costs. This customer knows that’s true and has over $650K in savings to remind them.

By the way, after this particular Event, the incumbent supplier also called SafeSourcing to reduce their costs and they were successful in that as well. So far, that customer has hit a double and a home run.

There are many results like these and there are interesting stories including great savings dollars behind each. In the next entry in this series, things will get pretty exciting as we look at some examples of Home Runs.

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

 

 

HEY! Leadership Teams!

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Let’s also assume that you want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time, like the next budget period; and want a sustainable process moving forward. Are you comfortable with your teams answer?

A number of issues you might consider are whether you have the requisite headcount, specifications, strategy, research skills as well as knowledge of new sources of supply to accomplish these lofty goals yourself.

Once you have settled on the fact that your existing team cannot achieve the above goal, the next question should be; what type of event services can an e-procurement solutions provider offer to help us if we can’t this ourselves?

By now, let’s assume you have come to the conclusion that there is no way possible for your team to do this alone. You now need to find a reputable eProcurement solutions provider. A quality e-procurement solutions provider should be able to ramp up to your task immediately. They should possess skills that are the foundation of their past success. These are very specific skills that enable them to run large volumes of e-procurement events in a full service mode with little guidance from you that have historically driven impressive savings on products and services over a long period of time. They should be able to provide reference to where they have done this in the past and how they were able to augment other company’s staff with little interference of their day to day work. Remember, knowledge transfer; passion, skill and required headcount to carry out these practices on a day by day basis are what drive results.

This process is provided by people behind the scenes with a very specific skill sets. If you really want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time, like your next budget period. And, you already know that you cannot do this by yourself, reach out to a Safesourcing customer services account manager to see how quickly we can be of assistance.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Retail spend management basics.

Monday, July 15th, 2019

 

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

No you do not!

A major step to trying to understand where to spend your effort when building an e-RFX attack plan is to understand the detail of your company’s P&L and how it can provide clues as to where you might have the most impact.

I meet with buyers or other e-procurement knowledge workers on a regular basis that want to know what categories are the best to select in the short term to prove the benefit of  e-negotiation tools. This quite honestly is not a bad approach for pilot selection as it creates an almost sure thing that results in a lot of excitement and the energy to move the process forward within a company.

Quite often before meeting with a new client, I will analyze their annual report and their summary and detailed P&L if available in order to get a good idea as to where the opportunities are hiding that can have an immediate impact. However in order to have long term viability as a way to conduct the business of buying, a more detailed analysis is required. Quite frankly before you can even begin to discuss vendor or supplier selection, management or evaluation this process is critical.

Key data required to prepare you for this analysis can consist of but is certainly not limited to the following. All of this data is readily available from a variety of industry sources. Quite often the data is a year old but you can bet it is better than anything else your customer may be using today.

1. Research and accumulate your specific Industry data
2. Analyze last years P&L
3. Compare your cost of goods with your Industries averages
4. Compare your gross margins with your Industry averages
5. Compare your net earnings with your industry averages
6. Conduct the same comparisons with selected retailers with whom you compete. Pretty easy if they are public.
7. Compare your departmental sales and margin results to those of your specific industry.
8. Look for department level anomalies.
9. Look for specific product anomalies within major and sub departments.
10.Select top categories that are below plan and outside industry average for cost of goods and margin.
11.Select top products that are underperforming to industry averages and plan

One example of the above might be to look at the grocery department sub category of pet care. Now drill down to the sub category of cat and dog products and a list of all accessories. Now look at what products are underperforming to the industry and plan. Continue your analysis with other underperforming categories.

In summary, did you need a spend cube to try and figure this out? No you did not. You needed someone that understands your industry and your P&L with some analytical common sense.

If you’d like to learn how these techniques can assist you, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Reverse Supply Chain Management or Reverse Logistics!

Friday, July 12th, 2019

 

Today’s re-post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

We’ve spent years perfecting how to get “stuff” from in the dirt where we found it, make it more useful, and put it into consumers hands. This is called “logistics”. But now we’re faced with the task of figuring out how to do the opposite, without destroying the planet we got it from.

Enter Reverse Supply Chain Management (RSCM) or “Reverse Logistics as it’s sometimes called. The short definition of RSCM is to capture value from end of life products, and to take them backwards into the supply chain and/or reintroduce them into the biosphere/technosphere through a sustainable and profitable system. This can include activities such as reacquiring ownership of used products from the end user back to the manufacturer or reseller, transportation of used products for sorting, evaluation and designation of products for their most profitable use, remanufacturing or refurbishing, creating secondary markets for reclaimed products, recycling back to base components and responsible disposal.

One example of RSCM is the relatively new business of “Deconstruction”. In this process buildings are taken apart based upon material component value. These materials are either re-used in new construction, recycled into raw materials, or disposed of through environmentally sustainable means. Total annual building materials (C&D debris) disposed of in landfills in the US each year is not tracked by the EPA, but estimates range between 170 and 600 million tons disposed of in landfills currently, typically with only certain metals ever being collected and recycled from the debris. Organizations pioneering this field can be found at http://www.bignyc.org/, http://www.lifecyclebuilding.org/, and www.bmra.org.

Another example of businesses capturing value from RSCM is Dupont, which achieved zero-landfill status at one of their facilities that allowed them to realize $2.2 million in revenue in 2011 from the sale of waste by-products, and $400,000 in cost avoidance (http://www2.dupont.com/inclusive-innovations/en-us/gss/sustainability/employee-engagement/landfill.html). Similarly Subaru, GM, Honda, and Burt’s Bee’s have captured additional revenue or cost avoidance by repurposing waste through reverse logistical processes (http://www.greenmanufacturer.net/article/facilities/manufacturers-gone-zero-landfill).

The challenge is that reversing the supply chain for products that have been modified in an infinite number of ways over their usage life is exponentially more complex than taking virgin material to end consumer product. The premise to that problem however, should be that not engaging this process now while it’s optional, only makes what will certainly become a necessity more complex the longer it’s postponed, and presents a large opportunity cost every year potential new savings/revenue is not captured.

We at SafeSourcing have a knack for finding markets and cost avoidance opportunities that most don’t aren’t even aware exist. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs 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.

Effective Supplier Data Management Improves Procurement Process

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

 

This may be old, eight (8) years in fact. Its still no less true today then it was then.

The following excerpt is from the above titled article.

There is more to an effective e-procurement program than cost reduction.

While buyers frequently record cost reductions in the range of 30% to 40% when utilizing an e-procurement or reverse auction process, the issues of quality and performance cannot be overlooked.

The foundation for successful e-procurement is the supplier database
that has been developed and is maintained by the e-procurement service provider. Significant time and capital investment goes into the development of an effective supplier database. It provides the buyer with a recognizable advantage in terms of classification of supplier capabilities, historical performance and the quality of the products provided.

The scope, accuracy and functionality of the supplier database are critical components for buyers when using e-procurement. These elements allow buyers to identify the best sources of supply quickly and cost-effectively, oftentimes uncovering alternative sources that were previously not even considered. This is one of the major advantages of including the services of an online reverse auction service provider like SafeSourcing in the procurement process.

Supplier data management is an excellent example of pairing technology advancements with intellectual property to produce an effective, economical support tool that benefits both suppliers and buyers – better pricing,better quality and better sources of supply.

Click here in order to view the entire article.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.