Archive for October, 2019

Ugly Produce

Friday, October 18th, 2019

 

 

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

I was recently quite surprised to find out that there is an “Ugly Produce” movement which was originally started as a way to combat the massive problem of food waste. It has now become a big business and start-ups have sprung up selling less than perfect fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away due to imperfections in their appearance. One California farmer states, “Ten million tons of unharvested food is lost each year. If we used all of the food that is produced in this country, we could end world hunger. It’s not a supply issue, it’s a distribution issue.” There are debates about whether this is disingenuous given the complexity of the nation’s food system. Critics are saying this is not the answer, but farmers say it is the way of the future.

This produce is being packaged and sold to customers at a fraction of the cost. One company, Imperfect Produce, is a service that delivers seasonal, cosmetically imperfect produce for affordable prices. They and similar companies such as, Misfits Market and Hungry Harvest market themselves as solutions against food waste. The company defines “imperfect” in several ways: cosmetic damage, surplus or excess inventory, undervalued or lack of demand, or doesn’t meet a strict specification from the buyer, usually in the way it’s harvested or packaged.

USDA guidelines separate produce into grades based on size and color, so “imperfectly” good vegetables that don’t make it to store shelves, due only to irregularities in appearance, end up going to waste. Some of this produce does get distributed to food banks and soup kitchens, but the costs to ship is sometimes more expensive than the actual product. A significant portion of the country’s produce is grown in California, so the majority of Imperfect’s fruits and vegetables come from there. They work with over 200 growers nationwide and source most of its produce (78%) from family farms or cooperatives.

About one-fifth of produce is trashed simply because it’s unattractive. And while food waste experts have said tossing perfectly edible produce is a global issue, Americans are particularly bad offenders. Some 60 million tons, or $160 billion worth, of fruits and vegetables gets thrown away in the United States every year, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American family of four throws out an annual $1,600 worth of produce.

Almost half of all produce harvested in the United States is never eaten. Fruits and vegetables go unpicked in fields or get thrown away at the store, simply because they don’t look good. I’m not sure when we started the habit of throwing out edible food that isn’t the most attractive, but there are definitely too many people going hungry in this world to just overlook the possibility of supplying where there is a demand.

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.

References:

  1. https://www.imperfectfoods.com/
  2. https://www.misfitsmarket.com/
  3. https://www.hungryharvest.net/
  4. https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/vegetables

 

 

Are you using the right streaming device?

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

 

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

Amazon recently released its new 2nd generation Fire TV Cube. The Fire TV Cube is a powerful streaming device that is combined with the Amazon Echo. With the built in speaker and eight microphones, you can now control your television with your voice from any direction within the room. For example, you can view a list of movies by simply saying, “Alexa, show me 4K movies.” The device can also control other functionalities such as controlling the television’s power and volume.   The 2nd generation Cube also comes with the Alexa Voice Remote so that you can control your TV and device without talking as well. Using the Fire TV Cube allows you to enjoy streaming from Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ and many other streaming services. You can also access some of your favorite websites such as Facebook and Reddit using the browser apps available for download. You can also stream millions of songs and use the voice activation to request your favorite songs, artists and playlists and control playback through services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Spotify. Since the Fire TV Cube has Alexa built in, you can also control smart home devices, check the weather and all of the other features that Alexa has to offer. Below are some other features that are available with the new version of the Fire TV Cube.

  1. Hexa-Core Processor
  2. 2160p, 1080p and 720p up to 60 fps Video Output
  3. Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI Pass Through up to 5.1 Audio Support
  4.  16 GB Storage
  5. 2 GB Memory
  6. Bluetooth
  7. Wi-Fi Connectivity
  8. Ethernet Support
  9. Listen with compatible Bluetooth Headphones

If you are looking to purchase new streaming device 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplier Management

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

 

 

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

The number one most important aspect in the procurement world is supplier research and vetting. If you want to run a successful RFQ, you have to vet the suppliers and make sure the suppliers you have involved can do exactly what you need them to. A good relationship with the right suppliers offers you products and services that improve your brand and deliver better user experiences. According to Softco, selecting first-rate suppliers and weeding out low-performing vendors is key to reaching your supplier relationship and compliance management goals. Here are some important questions that you and your team should consider before engaging potential suppliers during the supplier selection process.

  1. What are your clients supply requirements? The first thing you need to do is establish exactly what products or services your client is looking to source. The more specifications, the better the supplier research can be.
  2. Whom, within your company, will complete your supplier research? Use people within    your company that have the best knowledge on particular categories. Sometime those people can help narrow down the list better than someone with in the company that has never worked within that category.
  3. Do you need a local or regional supplier? You want to establish from the beginning if you are looking for local vendors or national vendors, or both. Sometimes you may even need to find overseas vendors, however, you want to make sure the shipping and/or freight is low enough to benefit your client’s needs.
  4. When is the lowest bidder not the correct supplier to choose? Sometimes the lowest bidder isn’t always the best fit. You need to request samples, if need be, and make sure the lowest bidder’s product or service meets the requirements. Sometimes sticking with your current supplier, but pay a little more than the lowest bidder, is worth keeping that relationship.
  5. When is a vendor visit necessary? When time allows, sometimes it is necessary to make a quick visit to suppliers and establish a customer relationship. During that visit, you and your team will want to take note of the supplier’s plant capacity, current volume of work, manufacturing processes, and work environment.

Even if you are not looking source a certain category, these are things you should always be asking vendors as you are looking to switch vendors or are searching for a better price. SafeSourcing specializes in this process.

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.

 

Buying Ahead

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

 

 

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

Timing matters when it comes to buying the things you need or want. For instance, the hottest week in the summer may have some of the highest prices for air conditioning repair or the week after Halloween is often a low cost time to buy candy. There are some items that take a bit more research than the seasonal ones mentioned above, though. Following stock prices, market trends, and global to local news often provides the best insight into what prices may do. For example, if a region of the country that yields high amounts of corn has been devastated with drought or floods, their yield will likely not be as high as initially expected. Even further than that, if the yield is lower or the quality is lessened, every product that uses that corn will be affected. This can include things like feed, which can in turn affect livestock. One product’s price greatly affects all those other products reliant upon it.

Determining the right time to buy something doesn’t always have to be so complicated. For instance, you can buy your kid’s Christmas presents throughout the year as you happen to see a good deal (which I highly recommend) and you can not only have your shopping done ahead of the season and avoid the crowds and the rush of people, but also can spend less than you might had you waited. For more complex products and the ideal time to purchase, try using a procurement professional, like SafeSourcing. They likely have already sourced the product or service you are looking for and already know the ins and outs of it, helping you not only save time, but spend less money and less effort.

While there normally is no guarantee that you are receiving the best pricing, this is actually something SafeSourcing can do. We can guarantee that through us you can save more money on the things you already purchase or you don’t pay us (Risk Free!). No matter what items or services you are looking for, we can save your more. We can even help you determine which categories and items would bring in the most savings and when the right time to source them is.

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.

 

 

 

What is a Third Party Procurement Company?

Friday, October 11th, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc Archives

What is a Third Party Procurement Company? The quick answer? We are our client’s right-hand man in procurement.

When speaking to suppliers, on a daily basis, we are asked who are you, why are you working on behalf of so and so, and what does third party mean?

The name third party procurement company has a couple of other names that mean the same thing, but are just as confusing, PSP or Procurement Service Provider.

According to Procurement Service Provider:

A Procurement Service Provider, or PSP, is a third party organization or consultant which is used to supplement internal procurement departments. PSP’s have their own staffing which assist in a variety of tasks for their clients. These tasks include: strategic planning, implementing best practices, supplier rationalization, and supplier collaboration, strategic sourcing and negotiation.

“Enterprises utilizing PSP’s have been able to improve spending coverage, reduce costs for goods and services, employ industry best practices, leverage the latest procurement technologies, and streamline source-to-pay processes – all without taking on the risks and assets required to achieve such results.” Aberdeen Group Research Abstract: You Will Outsource Procurement: Here’s Why and How – October 16, 2002.

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.

 

 

Can recessions represent opportunity Part II of II?

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Please view Part I  of this post to understand this subject matter in its entirety.

Recession brings destruction, and with that opportunity, within the gaps created by those business changes. Many other firms have simply pulled back, and have less aggressive marketing, and are less aggressively pursuing new opportunities, new customers, and new products. Others have been effective in centralizing purchasing, locking in supplier commitment, and transforming their internal purchasing culture. All the above scenarios create opportunity savings for the suppliers.

But how do the purchasers take advantage of the changing business landscape?

A more aggressive survival of the fittest environment means the incumbent suppliers are more apt to make concessions in order to keep your business, making the market more competitive. That is, more competitive for your business. Furthermore, more suppliers are focusing on converting to leaner product management, meaning lowering inventories and overhead. The most difficult aspect of taking advantage of this is sifting through the overwhelming number of suppliers, and creating an environment that breaks down the pricing informational barriers, in order to promote competition for your business. How do you take advantage of this competitiveness in a way that’s safe, effective, and manageable?

That’s what we do. We do the research, the legwork, and bring the competitive environment to bear in a way that is risk free to the supplier, but high reward to the businesses that establish the purchasing relationship.

If you think your business could benefit from our managed sourcing solutions, contact a  SafeSourcing customer services representative and we’d be happy to discuss your strategic options.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Can recessions represent opportunity Part I of II ?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archive.

Do you know what FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, Disney, Hyatt, MTV, and CNN all have in common? They were all started during periods of economic recession.
Uncertainty in the business landscape can fuel tremendous opportunity. How many corporations are trying to scale down excess inventory and are willing to sell at drastic discount to do it? How many dislocated and highly skilled professionals are willing to accept historically low salaries to find reliable work? How many consumers have drastically changed their purchasing behaviors?

To the adaptive go the spoils?

That last scenario is the one that frightens retail businesses the most.

After all, who wants to abandon their core business and cash cows? That’s a scary proposition, when traditionally most firms would prefer low risk/low reward stability over higher risk innovative adaptability (Consumers have the same career mindset, as you’ll see below). However, as our highly dynamic economic and technological environment has repetitively proven, no one can afford not to adapt if they want to survive. Some corporations and new startups have discovered that trying to convince consumers to spend the way they used to (and can no longer afford to) is a losing game, and that the real opportunity is to discover and acquire a share of the new ways consumers are spending. For instance, Target has rebranded itself as a discount designer product store. For others though, it may be more prudent to create spin-off discount brands to serve that market, but keep that brand insulated from your premium brand to prevent any negative ass
ociations of discount retail from your primary brand. Opportunity is not exclusive to consumer spending though, it exists also in the new ways consumers are seeking revenue.

Counterintuitive to what most of us might think about recession-era job seekers, is that there has been a shift in emphasis away from the pursuit of higher pay for potential job seekers.

Due to the insecurity the population is feeling however, it should come as no surprise that security is the consistent priority, replacing pay scale as the most sought after characteristic of employment. A 2010 poll by the Associated Press showed 64% of workers under 25 years of age are unhappy with their jobs, and less than half of all Americans are happy with their jobs. What does this mean to employers? There exists opportunity in recruiting talent, and they are looking more for stability than they are looking for large salaries. Of course, savings in production are being pursued just as fervently as savings in acquisition, but everyone can benefit from these savings all along the supply chain.

Please check back tomorrow to read part II of Michaels informative post.

If you’d like more information about SafeSourcing, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Thinking Outside of the Box Part II of II

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

 

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

Since being an out of the box thinker is such a desired asset, how does an in-the-box thinker get out? There are a plethora of ideas about how one can begin this or whether or not it is even possible.

One way to begin thinking outside the box is to approach a problem like a child would. Break aspects of the problem down into ideas that a small child could understand and imagine how that child would respond to the situation. This allows you to break things down into their simplest form, and often when things are simplified, resolutions become clear.

Another way to begin thinking outside the box is to question everything. It’s been said before that to be a scientist, you must question everything. The same holds true when trying to find a new solution to an old problem. Questioning everything allows you to start from scratch and begin the process of resolution all over. Question why the problem exists, what all of the possible actions could be, and why some actions were favored over others.

A third way to begin thinking outside the box is to stop thinking things out and just try. Trial and error has proven countless times to be beneficial when solving a problem. Sometimes, we may eliminate a possible solution before ever trying it because we assume it won’t work. Just trying anyway can sometimes produce results, even if they aren’t what we expect. For example, there have been at least a few medicines that were intended for one use, only to have side effects that are more beneficial than expected, like a migraine medicine’s ability to be marketed as a high0end beauty item.

Although there are a number of different theoretical ways to train yourself to think outside the box, some say that out of the box thinking cannot be learned, that one either has it or doesn’t. Ironically, that type of thinking could be described as in-the-box. Despite those that believe this, approaching a problem in a new way can at least provide a better understanding of the task at hand. Once a problem is more fully understood, then the more likely a positive outcome will result.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you think outside of the box, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today

Thinking Outside of the Box Part I of II

Monday, October 7th, 2019

 

Do you think outside the box?

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

The statement “Think outside the box” has become a highly used business term, cliché even, but do you know what it means, where it came from, and how you can obtain this skill?

The origin of the common phrase has been debated, but popular beliefs narrow its origin down to two possibilities. The first origin is that all of us are metaphorically in a box; we are closed off from new possibilities and use only what we know (what is inside the box) to solve our everyday problems. Thus, thinking outside the box is to find solutions that wouldn’t normally be thought of. A second theory of the phrase’s origin stems from a puzzle. In this puzzle there are nine dots in three rows of three, making a square. The object of the puzzle is to connect all the dots using only four straight lines without lifting your pen or tracing over a line. To answer this puzzle you must think outside the box, and the answer requires the lines be drawn outside of the square box shape.

So, what constitutes thinking outside the box in a real world situation? General definitions use the phrase for someone who thinks creatively, in a new way, or brings fresh ideas into play. A person who can do this can bring new perspective to problems, new and existing. The idea is that when most others fail to solve a problem, an out of the box thinker can provide ideas outside the realm of what was previously thought, shedding light on a solution that may have otherwise been left in the dark.

If you have a problem in your business and seek out-of-the-box thinking, SafeSourcing may be able to shed new light on your problem. As procurement partners, we strive to find the best solution to fit your needs.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you think outside of the box, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

Understanding International Freight Terms

Friday, October 4th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Freight Terms: The world’s least sexy topic, second only to App Store terms and conditions. However, if you and your buyer/seller have a completely different understanding of how and when your goods are getting from point A to point B, where ownership is taken over, or what fees are included and which aren’t for example, the results can be disastrous. Sometimes even dangerous, depending on how vital the products you are moving are to their recipients, in the case of medical supplies for example.

The major international freight terms have been standardized by the international chamber of congress, into a set of rules designated as INCOTERMS®. These terms went into effect in 2011, most of which have 3 letter designations, and are regularly updated. More of these terms and additional details can be found at www.export.gov.

Here are a few of the more commonly used international freight terms which understanding can make your life a lot easier. The last two terms are not considered INCOTERMS®, however are common practices important to understand:

DDP: Delivery Duty Paid

(Port or destination must be named) This term signifies that the price invoiced includes all freight, insurance, duties, and taxes up to the agreed upon destination point. After which point the buyer takes on all ownership and risk.

DES: Delivered Ex Ship

(Port and ship must be named) In this instance, the seller bears all costs associated to getting the product to the port identified, but their obligations are fulfilled at the point of arrival, and the buyer takes on ownership and responsibility before it leaves ship.

Importer Of Record

Identifies the entity responsible for ensuring legal compliance, completing duty entry and associated documents, and paying the taxes and import duties for those goods.

B/L: Bill of Lading:

This document, issued by the carrier, acts as the contract for carriage, as well as the buyers proof of ownership and receipt for accepting delivery. This document often includes the freight costs, item list, date of departure and arrival, departure and arrival locations, and the names of the buyer and seller.

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.