Archive for September, 2019

Milk Does a Body Good

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

 

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

Chances are your parents and grandparents grew up with one type of milk- -cow’s milk. Today there are many types of milk to choose from.  The question is what type of milk are you looking for?  Are you trying to cut fat?   Are you lactose intolerant?  Are you concerned with the sugar content?  Milk can be a tricky question.  The following are different types of milk offerings:

  1. Cashew Milk. Cashew milk is very similar to almond milk. It is approximately 40 calories per cup and 3.5 grams of fat. It is often fortified with vitamins D, B12, and A. The drawback is that is low in protein.
  2. Coconut Milk. Coconut milk has become a healthy fat and protein in recent years. It has a unique flavor and is typically low in calories. It is higher in fat than other types of milk, and can be higher in sugar, unless it is unsweetened. It often comes without protein.
  3. Goat’s Milk. Goat’s milk was one of the first alternatives to cow’s milk. It is high in protein, but is also high in saturated fat. It is similar to whole milk. It is packed with a lot of nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. It also comes fortified with vitamin D.
  4. Hemp Milk. Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds. It is a rare milk and high in omega-fatty acids. It provides more iron than cow’s milk. It is low in protein. It is best to look for unsweetened hemp milk fortified with vitamins A and D.
  5. Almond Milk. Almond milk has become very popular. It is a lactose-free alternative that has more vitamin E than cow’s milk. It is found in a variety of flavors and is low in calories (30 calories per cup if unsweetened). It is low in protein compared to cow’s or goat’s milk.
  6. Cow’s Milk. Cow’s milk is very high in protein and provides calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. It is high in protein, keeping you feeling full for extended periods of time. The drawbacks depend on the type of milk selected- skim milk contains no fat, while whole milk is full of saturated fat (eight grams of fat per cup).
  7. Soy Milk. Soy milk is the original alternative to cow’s milk. It is popular with people that are lactose intolerant. It is low in fat, high in protein, and often fortified with vitamins A, B, and B12. Look for varieties that haven’t been heavily sweetened.
  8. Flax Milk. Like flax seeds, flax milk is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It is typically low in fat and calories. It can also be high in protein. Avoid the flavored varieties as they are heavily sweetened which also ups the sugar content.

SafeSourcing regularly sources milk for a variety of companies. For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing needs, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

Emily Lockhart, Active Beat, 3/15/2017

Joining the Cord Cutters Club

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

 

 

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

It has been almost two years since I joined the ranks of the “cord cutters”. I was a bit skeptical when my husband suggested we cancel our cable subscription. My initial concerns were how will I be able to DVR and what about the premium channels? There is a website that devoted to cord cutting options and product ratings.

We were already subscribers of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime as side entertainment options, for a number of years, while still remaining cable dependent. We were also already using three of the four top-selling streaming devices which are Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Apple TV. I realized we were already there, but just hadn’t cut the cord. Antennas were the only purchase that was necessary to make the transition.

At first, it took some time getting used to where to locate different shows, but it was mostly a pain free transition. The growth in streaming content and providers has made it possible to view most television shows and movies, seamlessly. If there is a series on a premium channel that you’re interested in watching, you can purchase a la carte through Amazon Prime instead of the traditional bundling of channels that most cable companies require. There are several great DVR options for antennas from Tablo, Channel Master, and TiVo.

In addition to the previously mentioned streaming providers, there are multiple options including Sling TV which has every variation of ESPN you can name, YouTube TV, and broadcasters such as CBS All Access, HBO Now. Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will be available in late 2019. HBO Max and NBC Universal’s Peacock are set to launch in 2020.

Streaming subscription plans have reasonable and varying price ranges and some offer ad-free viewing at a higher price option. Prices range from $4.99 to $15.99 per month which is a huge savings compared to cable prices starting at $35.00 to $50.00 per month for basic package, increasing to around $100.00 once your introductory offer expires.

The market trend of cord cutters has seen viewers cutting back or dropping their television subscriptions in favor of using a mixture of sources, such as terrestrial television and internet streaming services, as an alternative. Whatever your preference, there is a low cost option available. Try them out for free and save your money.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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.cordcutters.com/
  2. https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/tivo-vs-tablo-vs-channel-master-vs-plex-the-ultimate-ota-dvr-guide/
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/09/20/everything-you-need-know-about-upcoming-streaming-services-one-handy-rundown/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_television

Are you ready for your next power outage?

Friday, September 20th, 2019

 

 

 

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

I was looking at a website that I frequently browse for deals the other day when I came across something that I have never seen before. It was a set of rechargeable emergency LED light bulbs. These LED bulbs work like regular light bulbs. The difference is that they contain a battery backup system that will provide light in the event of a power outage. You just plug the bulbs into a standard fixture and the bulbs will charge when the light is turned on. When the power goes out the bulb will run off of the internal battery as long as the fixture is in the on position. Some of the bulbs come with an accessory that you can screw the light bulb into and switch it on an off without having to use a lamp. This will allow you to move the light bulb from room to room in case of a power outage. Just like standard LED bulbs, they come in different lumens (brightness) to suit the needs of your environment. I purchased a set of four and I will be placing them in areas throughout the house in which lighting at night would be necessary for safely navigating. This includes the basement since this is the darkest part of the house and one of the places you need to go during tornado warnings. See below for other advantages of using rechargeable LED bulbs.

  • 4-5 Hour Emergency Lighting
  • Energy Efficient
  • Long Life
  • Environmentally Friendly/No Toxic Elements
  • No Warm Up Time/Instant On
  • Cold Temperature Operation
  • Durability
  • Safety – No Heat Released
  • Dimming Capabilities

If you are looking to purchase new lighting and would like help researching available options, 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.

 

 

Morale and Productivity

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

 

 

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

It is often said that happy employees are productive employees and productive employees are happy employees. So, how do the two affect each other and why? We will look at what kinds of things promote better morale and what can boost productivity.

Morale – First, morale is enthusiasm, ability, and confidence of a group. This means if your organization’s team is able, confident, and hopeful then their morale is high. If morale is high, your team is likely pretty happy with what they are doing. However, is morale is low, you may find your employees lacking motivation and drive. So, how can you boost morale? Below are a just a few ways to help morale when it seems low:

  • Talk to your employees – this may seem simple, but it gives everyone a chance to say whatever is on their mind and also opens up a line of communication that might otherwise be unused.
  • Give positive feedback – this one is essential to keeping happy employees. Giving positive feedback shows someone what they have done well and what they should do more. Small wins in the workplace are still wins and can encourage more positive behavior in the long run.
  • Be a teacher – when something doesn’t go the way expected or desired, being a teacher and giving positive advice on how to handle it and what methods could help. This is a morale boosting way of addressing a problem without placing blame or outright accusing one of erring.

While we may all want our employees to be happy simply because we value each person’s happiness, there are more reasons to help boost morale. The two are, in fact, correlated. While low morale can cause job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and affect turnover, high morale can do the opposite. A happy employee is more likely to stay longer with a company, is more dedicated, and is more productive. On top of all of this, they can help boost the morale of other employees, helping to boost morale of an organization as a whole, increasing retention and productivity.

Another great way of boosting morale in a company is when the company itself is doing well and one particularly great way to help a company is by implementing a procurement partner. Every company has things they need to buy and source and a procurement partner can help your employee’s morale by providing assistance, expertise, resources, and results that can help everyone involved

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.

 

CBD Oil, the next big thing?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

 

 

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

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. In 2018, clinical research on cannabidiol included preliminary studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain. CBD does not have the same psychoactivity as THC and may change the effects of THC on the body if both are present.

CBD derived from hemp (with 0.3% THC or lower) was delisted as a federally scheduled substance by the 2018 Farm Bill. FDA regulations still apply: hemp CBD is legal to sell as a cosmetics ingredient, but despite a common misconception, because it is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, cannot be sold under federal law as an ingredient in food, dietary supplements, or animal food.

With many different kinds of oils, balms, creams, and roll-on gels there are different products to be discovered and with laws changing many C-Stores, Beauty, and Grocery chains have already begun to carry various products. The different health benefits and rising popularity these products are popping up everywhere. With the global cannabidiol market size estimating roughly $1.34 billion in 2018 it is expected to expand at a CAGR of 32.6% over the next 5 years.

Working alongside with major manufacturers and distributors, SafeSourcing can help you procure these popular products.

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.

 

Citations:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol
  2. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/cannabidiol-cbd-market

Change Is Hard

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

 

 

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

At SafeSourcing, many of our customers are retailers or provide products and services to retailers. As a result, we stay abreast of the changes that are either happening now or are likely to happen in that industry. We’ve written in the past about the impact of plastic bags and other changes that affect so many including retailers. But how exactly does a retailer make a decision to switch a product and what are the consequences of doing so?

Just like everything in life, change is hard. That’s true if you’re making a personal decision as small as trying a new hairstyle or something as big as deciding to uproot your family and take a chance on a new career. It’s no different when you’re thinking about switching from plastic grocery bags to an alternative.

As a quick note, the following examples are meant to illustrate the challenges, not to endorse or criticize any specific product types.

Circling back to plastic bags, it’s been announced that New York and Connecticut both have bans on plastic bags that will affect many retailers. Sure there are paper bags as a readily available alternative, but it’s not that simple. The legislation there also allows for fees to be charged to retailers for the use of paper bags. So, the retailers have options. They could consider whether they switch to paper and hope that on top of the higher product cost that they don’t also wind up paying fees. They could switch to reusable bag options and hope that the consumers will bear some of the burden of the process change. They can find environmentally friendly compostable bag options. As mentioned, the decision is made much more complex by the end consumers’ varying interests and needs.

Another recent example of change is in foodservice supplies. Surely you’ve seen some foam and plastic containers being replaced by compostable alternatives. One great example is the bowls in which you might receive your burrito bowls. It’s great that we’re able to either divert some waste from the landfills or at least replace the traditional products with a compostable variety that will decompose in a short period of time. The challenge in this case is that there are also potentially negative consequences that we’ll have to accept when we switch from a plastic or foam-based product to a product made from seemingly more eco-conscious products like fiber. The reason is that there doesn’t seem to be a consensus about what the chemicals required to produce these products will do to our environment and our bodies. It turns out that, in order to use the fiber and allow it to hold its shape while wet, we have to use some chemicals which might have negative health and environmental effects. Understandably, this puts a challenge on our customers who are in the position of making these choices. On the one hand, most people seem to understand that certain products are bad for the planet and will stay in the landfills.

One commonality between these two examples is that no matter what we decide to do about the the eco-conscious challenges many companies face, there will be consequences. Some consequences will be good such as a reduction in waste in landfills and an increase in positive public perception. Some consequences will be bad like higher costs for supplies and yet unknown impact on the environment or consumer health. The decision falls to the retailer to make. So, how do they make the decisions?

The answer depends on the retailer. At SafeSourcing, we see our retail customers falling into two main buckets relative to their eco-conscious strategies.

  1. Proactively eco-conscious. These retailers are on the bleeding edge of the market and likely have a strategy to become more eco-conscious and are adapting this as part of their branding. These companies are changing over to products that will reduce their impact on the environment sometimes even before legislation requires them to do so and are often paying a premium in supply expenses to do so.
  2. Reactively eco-conscious. These retailers do not have a proactive strategy to use   environmentally friendly supply products. Instead, they will likely only change to an eco-conscious alternative if there are specific reasons to do so such as new legislation.

Regardless of which bucket the customer falls into, SafeSourcing has experience guiding the customer through the change. When on the bleeding edge of change, a Request for Proposal (RFP) might be in order to understand the types of products available in the market, the pros and cons or the different options, and the costs involved. That amount of information can help guide a decision where there is no legislation to rely upon and where there may be no references to call upon for review. If the customer is acting reactively, they are often able to rely more directly on SafeSourcing’s experience and leverage our specifications library to pick an alternative product specification that they would like to source. Of course, regardless of which bucket a customer is in or what type of product they need, a reverse auction or RFQ is always the best way to ensure that no matter what you buy, you’re getting it at the best possible price.

We have experience in dealing with all of these factors and approached and more. As time goes on, more and more of SafeSourcing’s customer base is either making the switch to eco-conscious products or considering whether and how they will. We work with both proactively eco-conscious and reactively eco-conscious customers, so no matter which bucket you fall in, we can help.

Contact SafeSourcing, Inc. if you need assistance on your own path to becoming eco-conscious. Change is hard, but it helps if you have someone to guide you.

Source:

Hines, Morgan. “‘Cancer-linked’ chemicals in Chipotle, Sweetgreen packaging? There’s more to know, experts say” USA Today. August, 13 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

Sourcing Value and Private Label Products: Reboot

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Three years ago the Wall Street Journal published an article about how the economy is forcing consumers to consider lower priced stores and goods to save money (Article Link).  Since that time major retailers such as Kroger’s have invested heavily into private label brands that consumers trust as much if not more than the National brands they used to buy.   Just announced in June were three brand new private label store brands from Kroger to bring in quality products at a lower price point.

In today’s blog we will be looking into some new areas of private label sourcing you might not have thought about previously.

Services – One of the areas that companies do not always think of for private label sourcing are services.  Many of these services deal directly with the design and marketing of the private label products themselves helping to develop campaigns for the retailer.  There are other services, however, such as Kosher services and product development services that can also be sourced.

Product Ingredients – In some cases the retailer manufactures or is considering manufacturing their own private label products and the raw materials needed for those products need to be sourced.  Flavorings, chemicals, fragrances, pharmaceutical ingredients and organic ingredients are just some of the items that can be sourced.

Supplies and Equipment – When it comes to private label products there are also unrelated equipment and supplies that are needed in order for the inventory to get to the consumer.  Advertising vehicles, pallets, shelving, signage, coolers and freezers, and doors and curtain systems are just a few of the many types of connected purchases which are necessary in order for private label products to be sold.

Not For Resale – This area of private label spend is growing larger every day as more retailers are beginning to offer food and/or beverages in their stores.  Towels, cups, bags, trays, paper products, and stretch wrap are all additional areas of private label products which can be sourced on a regular basis.

Whatever your private label Sourcing need is, the economy is quickly demanding that companies begin to pay more attention to the mix of products they source for their customers.  For assistance in sourcing these categories for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

A Sourcing Diatribe you should read!

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

 

 

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

Here’s the diatribe to tell you why they don’t.

Example: Your finance department in reviewing current costs looks at your waste management costs and discovers that they have gone up significantly over the last two years. They call your Category Manager (if you have one) in order to ask why? The answer they get back is that in discussions with your current vendor, their costs have gone up significantly. Your finance department representative asks for examples. The answer he/she gets, is as follows, “I don’t know, but I’ll reach out and ask”.

Alternative Example: Your finance department in reviewing current costs looks at your waste management costs and discovers that they have gone up significantly over the past two years. They call your Sourcing provider SafeSourcing Inc. (if they are) in order to ask why? The answer they get back is that in discussions with your current vendor, their costs have gone up significantly. Your finance department representative asks SafeSourcing for examples. The answer he/she receives is as follows.

There are several reasons. The first is that 2 years ago the Chinese were the largest importers of recycled materials, specifically plastics and papers. At the time they were importing approximately 15M metric tons. Today they are importing approximately 7M metric tons. This has gone from a revenue producing opportunity for suppliers to a cost. Additionally, there is a shortfall of drivers in the US that has caused demand for their skills to increase accordingly. As a result, all freight hauling focused companies have experienced a shortfall of drivers and an increase in costs for the drivers that they do hire.

Additionally, diesel prices in 2017 were lower than they are today. While these prices have eroded somewhat (about 6%) between 2018 to 2019, they are still not at the low levels they were in 2017. There are additional areas to also consider like new equipment that are also higher based on demand. Now can I provide you with a strategy as to how we (SafeSourcing) can mitigate these costs going forward and maybe even rain them in some?

I know all executives have had these types of frustrating conversations internally as well as with your suppliers. I also know that SafeSourcing regularly provides these types of answers and reviews across hundreds of categories for our customers. It is the precise reason that our average savings across all categories during the last 2 years is greater than 24%.

While the above is a specific example, what can you tell me about your freight costs, supplies costs, commodity costs, construction costs, equipment costs, items for resale costs etc. Probably not as much as SafeSourcing can tell you. Give us a call and find out.

For more information regarding SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing, or regarding our Risk Free Trial Programplease contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative, you’ll be glad you did! We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Paper Towels vs. Hot Air Blowers

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

 

 

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

While traveling this past summer, almost without exception, all the public restrooms I used had hot air blowers instead of paper towels. I wondered which was the better option.

Some of the basic differences are:

    1. Hand dryers create less waste. A big complaint for many companies are paper towels have to be cleaned up, some people flush them creating plumbing expenses, and the cost of the paper towel averages about 1 cent per sheet (the the average person uses 2.5 sheets to dry their hands) compared to .02-1.8 cents of electricity used with a hand dryer.
    2. Hand dryers create much less waste than paper towels. Many companies complain they have to cleanup paper towels that can be all over the floors of restrooms. Someone has to be responsible to bag them, cart them to a dumpster, and then the expense to have to take to them to a landfill. It is easy to see why the hand dryer seems to be the better choice here.
    3. Some people believe a hand dryer just circulates bacteria in the air. A hand dryer should be cleaned every year (and more often if in a heavy use environments) to remove built up dust. A high-speed dryer is better in this regard as the forced air keeps them cleaner. There is a hand dryer that contIns anti-microbial compounds imbedded in the paint and plastic components that minimize bacteria growth.
    4. “A 2012 systematic review found that paper towels dry hands more quickly and more thoroughly than air dryers.”1. Where hygiene is paramount such as hospitals and clinics, paper towels should be recommended.
    5. Air dryers allow only one user at a time. A user can take a full minute to dry their hands. This can lead people to avoid drying their hands. A study revealed some people only took 22.5 seconds to dry their hands, and 41% of people left the washroom drying their hands on their clothing. Wet hands spread bacteria much more effectively than dry hands. The bottom line here is that paper towels dry hand more effectively and people use them more. With a hand dryer, people incompletely dry their hands, or not at all.
    6. If your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, than air dryers are the way to go. If you want to maximize customer service, most people prefer paper towels. “If, however, your primary goal is hygiene, which is the case in hospitals and other healthcare settings, then paper towels are the current clear winner. They dry hands faster, more completely, and minimize the spread of bacteria to the environment and cross contamination.”2

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.

References……………………………………………………………………………

1 https://www.restroomdirect.com/hand-dryers-vspaper-towels.aspx

2.https://science based medicine.org/air-dryers-vs-paper-towels/

 

 

Disaster Recovery

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Dorian reminds us that  hurricane season is still here,  meteorologists indicate there  three more potential storms are lined up right behind her.  There are areas that are still in recovery from the last  several seasons.

We can’t fight the forces of nature, but we can be prepared as we enter the hurricane season.  Safety is the initial concern during a weather disaster, but the residual damages can be far reaching. Whether the damages are resulting from hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, or blizzards, it could greatly affect business operations.   An event that disrupts your business could actually put you out of business if you don’t have a plan in place. Your organization may not be directly affected by such an event, but your key suppliers and vendors could be.

A disaster recovery plan is essential to keeping your organization running in the case of a natural disaster. It is a good idea to utilize the National Weather Service’s national preparedness calendar as a guide for year-round reminders to identify potential disasters and review your organization’s disaster recovery plan.

Some questions that an organization should keep in mind are:

  • How will your data be affected?
  • Do you have remote systems in place?
  • Do you have backup vendors?
  • Is there a secure alternate operations site?

Disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster.  It’s not enough to have the procedures in place; you need to know what’s in the plans to be able to execute them when the time comes.  Have a plan and be ready for action, but most of all be safe!

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. http://fortune.com/2018/05/14/2018-hurricane-season-forecast-possible-tropical-storm-in-gulf/
  2. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-04-19-2018-hurricane-season-forecast-the-weather-company-ibm-april
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_recovery