Archive for November, 2019

Thanksgiving and Black Friday is really a story of a supply chain found and developed!

Friday, November 29th, 2019

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend from SafeSourcing

One hundred and two pilgrims and crew arrived in Massachusetts after a 3,000 mile trip from England on the Mayflower. It is safe to say that as a result of that distance there was no existing supply chain to leverage, so one had to be developed and quickly. This began with basic hunting and gathering and later included trading with the areas indigenous peoples known as the Wampanoag’s for corn, seed and foraging and planting techniques.

The Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621. Since the pilgrims had only arrived on November 21st of 1620 they had really not been there long enough to develop a fully reliable and renewable supply source. They had however established collaborative relationships with the local Wampanoag people who became regular trading partners and who helped them celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest.

The most detailed description of the “First Thanksgiving” comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:”Our harvest  being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.

The fowl referred to above certainly could have included a wide range of fowl that was plentiful in the area such as wild turkey, pheasant, goose, duck, and partridge and unfortunately by today’s standards even eagles.

The pilgrims probably didn’t have pies or much of anything sweet at the harvest feast because they did not yet have ovens. They had brought some sugar with them on the Mayflower but by the time of the first Thanksgiving, the supply had probably run out.

Their meals also included many different types of meats. Vegetable dishes, one of the staples of today’s Thanksgiving, didn’t really play a large part in the feast. Other items that may have been on the menu certainly included sea food such as clams and lobster, Indian corn, wild fruits and nuts, meats such as venison and seal and certain dry herbs and spices.

The Thanksgiving meal that has today become a national holiday is a symbol of supply chain cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend 2019 from SafeSourcing. Who were the Pilgrims?

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

According to the Mayflower Society, as history has evolved, any of the 102 Mayflower passengers who arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower and survived the initial hardships is now considered a Pilgrim with no distinction being made on the basis of their original purposes for making the voyage.

The Mayflower Pilgrims and their fellow travelers were authors of the first true governing document created in a New World colony. The Mayflower Compact is considered to have set the stage for the Constitution of the United States.

These were the same pilgrims that were responsible for the holiday we celebrate today called Thanksgiving.

We wish you and yours a peaceful and happy extended holiday weekend.

When is the right time for retailer buyers to run reverse auctions for Thanksgiving Turkeys?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Just because you need to buy a product or service does not mean that you will receive the optimal price for that product. For certain products there are better times to run e-procurement events and if you miss that opportunity by even a couple of weeks the lost savings could be astronomical.

Some consumers give this considerable thought when they buy products like cars, computers, televisions, furniture and even certain food products. Retail buyers should be doing the same. If you are the poultry buyer planning for Thanksgiving, you do not want to be buying your frozen turkeys in July and quite frankly if you buy them in March you are probably going to miss out on some savings. The same could be said for just about any type of fresh produce. You can certainly get everything in today’s world at any time of year, but there are better times to do it than others.

A couple of tangential examples that require careful thought would be landscaping services and snow removal services for store parking lots and distribution centers. The services for the most part may be provided by the same suppliers. The optimal time to source landscaping may be the month of March while the optimal time for sourcing snow removal services may be September. These months also mark the beginning and end of the respective service seasons for each service. Even though you may get the service from the same provider, keeping the services separate leaves the leverage with the retailer when you source the other service for the upcoming season. This is also the time when the suppliers are looking for business that will sustain them through the upcoming season as another winds down.

Make sure you ask your e-procurement solutions provider to assist you with the apropriate timing to source your goods and services.

If you’d like us to help source your turkeys next year, call us now as February is on a couple of months away. Please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Where does your Thanksgiving turkey come from?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. Archives

For as long as I can remember my family has bought their Thanksgiving turkey from Bowman & Landes Turkey Farm, located in New Carlisle, Ohio. As a family, we have bought from them because they are a local family run farm and business, they are healthy birds, and they are USDA inspected. Those are the things I knew growing up, however further research of their farm has taught me a lot more and makes me and my family all the more proud of this family run business. They have been running antibiotic free, free range, and not fed any animal by-products long before it was considered to be the “in thing” to do.  Please see the information below from their website.

Can you say any of these things about your turkey?

Turkeys have been raised on the Bowman & Landes turkey farm since 1948. We are proud to be in our fourth generation, with three generations actively involved.

The original mission to produce the highest quality free range turkeys’ using the most natural home grown grains has not changed and continues to drive our organization. Our commitment to quality and excellence includes the grain we grow, the turkeys we produce, and the customers we serve.

Nutrition is very important in producing the highest quality turkey possible. Our turkeys are grown antibiotic free and are not fed any animal by-products. We farm 2200 acres and consider ourselves to be good stewards of the land. Where possible, we use turkey compost to fertilize our fields. No till and minimum tillage practices are used in order to save our precious Miami County soil. We harvest and dry our own grain and store it on our farm. Our natural grains, consisting of wheat, corn, and soybeans are ground and mixed on the farm and fed fresh to the turkeys. Bowman & Landes was the proud recipient of the 2007  Ohio Environmental Stewardship award for poultry, and also the Miami County Soil and Water Cooperator of the year for 2006.

Baby turkeys, called poults, are started in climate controlled barns. As the turkeys mature, they are moved to an outdoor range where they are provided with feeders, waterers, and shelters. Heavy duty fencing is used for their protection from predators. Turkeys thrive on the open range, where they have plenty of room to roam in the fresh air and sunshine.

A male turkey, or tom, is raised to market age in 18-20 weeks. A female, or hen, is raised in 14-17 weeks of age. Our turkeys, whether tom or hen, all have the same tenderness, flavor, and texture.

Each turkey is U.S.D.A inspected by a government inspector to help ensure a wholesome product. Our unique feeding program causes Bowman & Landes turkeys to have a natural tenderness, which results in shorter cooking times and excellent flavor. Our turkeys are naturally self-basting and moist without additives.

Bowman & Landes offers fresh whole turkeys and turkey products during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter seasons. Whole frozen turkeys, breasts, boneless roasts, and breast fillets are available throughout the year. Fresh cooked turkey breast, smoked turkey breast, turkey ham, and many more products are available year round in our retail store located on our farm, as well as in many quality restaurants and meat markets throughout Ohio. http://www.bowmanlandes.com/ 

Now I am sure my grandparents’ and parents’ could have gone to the local supermarket and bought their turkey for a cheap, cents per pound, but not knowing where those turkeys have come from or how they have been raised just didn’t make them feel comfortable feeding to our family. Sure they paid a little more back then, just as I do today, but I feel pride of buying local, supporting local business and now truly knowing that for years our turkey was raised in the best possible methods makes me feel so my safer and happier serving the best.

By researching your food source is truly the only way you know you are feeding yourself and your family the very best.

We at SafeSourcing wish you and your family the very best and happiest Thanksgivings.

Please feel free to contact us on how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement needs, or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Good Customer Service is a Must!

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

 

 

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

I recently read an article about a gentleman that found a ten-year old claim check for a shoe repair. He went to the store and presented the ticket. He explained he just came across it and had no expectation that the shoes were still there. The store clerk went in the back and said he found the shoes. The gentleman asked how much did he owe him. He was told they weren’t ready, but he could have them in a week.

When asked about service, most people will write about a poor experience. On rare occasions, people will write about amazing service. Harvey McKay gives an example in the envelope manufacturing businesses which he’s been part of for 50-plus years. “We win or lose customers by pennies per thousand. When most of our customers are purchasing between tens of millions to, in several instances, over 500 million envelopes annually, the pennies do add up to thousands of dollars of cost difference.”1 When the cost of product and pricing is so close, it does come down to quality of service. Keeping personnel motivated to consistently provide high-quality service is key for any company. Some basic considerations are:

  1. Hire the right people. It is important to recognize the skills and attitude you want.Ask yourself would you want that person working for your competitor. If the answer is no, you know your answer.
  2. Keep score. Measure performance and let employees know what they are being measured on and how it is relevant to them.
  3. Recognize employees. Make sure to reward desired outcome.
  4. Practice what you preach. If you desire a motivated customer-service rep, you need to be motivated first.

Mackay’s Moral: There is no such thing as too good where customer service is involved.

SafeSourcing strives to give excellent customer service. 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…………………………..

Harvey Mackey, The Arizona Republic, 11/4/2019

 

 

 

 

Want real cost controls? Start getting strategic about procurement.

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

 

 

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

Most will agree that reducing and controlling costs within an organization is important. Certainly, all of SafeSourcing’s customers leverage our services to generate savings and they all do that fairly well. However, just like in many things, the results will vary.

Success in cost control is a spectrum. On the one side, results are good, but may be limited. On the opposite end, the results are spectacular and widespread. As would be expected, SafeSourcing has customers across the entire spectrum. We’re always coaching and pushing our customers to move toward the spectacular savings end of the spectrum.

So, if we identify the spectrum as ranging from “good” to “spectacular,” then what is it that determined where on that scale a customer will fit? One answer is how their organization has approached sourcing with eProcurement. Customers that find good results, meaning they will source some spend and find some savings are typically utilizing eProcurement as a tactical tool. They select an individual category and focus on that alone to find savings. Any use of eProcurement is better than none and their results will be good for that category. This customer will then start to consider what they would like to source next. Again, this approach will deliver good results. We’re always going to try to push this type of customer to do even better and achieve more.

Customers that get closer to spectacular results will invariably have a very strategic approach to sourcing and their approach to eProcurement. As a strategic sourcing company, SafeSourcing is very deeply engaged with these customers to help make sure their results are meeting their objectives. How strategically an organization manages their sourcing will directly correlate to how close to spectacular their results will be. SafeSourcing has a full set of procure to pay solutions and our customers who achieve spectacular results don’t just run RFPs and RFQs. These customers leverage our SafeSpendAnalysis™ to build a roadmap, they utilize our SafeSourceIt™ suite of eRFQx tools to negotiate pricing, they continue that control with our SafeContract™, SafeCatalog™, and SafePO™ tools and more. Customers on this end of the spectrum see results that truly have an impact on the bottom line. The level of cost control available to customers that take this strategic approach, or even part of it, will always be greater than what customers will get with a tactical approach.

Again, with a spectrum ranging from good to spectacular, the point is that participating in eProcurement either with a tactical approach or a strategic approach is better than not using eProcurement. The question an organization needs to consider is; do they want to have good results, or do they want spectacular results? We can’t answer that, but we’ll always try to push them to do more and better.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part IV of IV!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

 

 

This week’s blog series has been our archives at  SafeSourcing.

During Part III of this post we discussed organizing your data and looking at amenities offerings and programs that when supported by your corporate travel policies drive value and assist in establishing the goals for your event.

Ok, amenities are one thing, but how data relative to individual locations, chain or corporate discounts and rebate programs interact is key to making sure that what looks like value really is.

Today we will be exploring the importance of these additional data elements.

1. Location Rates
2. Chain Discounts
3. Rebate Programs

The Location rate – The most ideal scenario in any accommodations eProcurement process is to negotiate the rate at individual properties based on a spend estimate (usually more than 100 nights a year).  Regardless of what the goal of the project eventually ends up being, being able to focus on the top 8-10 locations where you have significant recurring use  to reduce your rates is something that should be considered as long as you have the estimates to provide the properties; which is not always the case. There are ways to extrapolate this data if it is not yet consolidated that a solutions provider should be able to help you with.

The Chain or Corporate Discount – In many cases, company’s lack the visibility into their accommodation spend to be able to let vendors know much more than the overall amount they spend each year.   There are times in these cases, when a company is beginning to establish its travel policy and tracking mechanism that trying to get a chain discount across all properties may be a good place to start.  Selecting 2 or 3 preferred chains will help you get a good discount and will provide you with partners who can begin helping you track the activity from their side as well.

The Rebate Program – Unfortunately when you can’t provide the level of detail you want to the vendors on the portion of business they stand to gain while at the same time you may even be starting a new travel policy program internally; getting everyone to commit to the project can be difficult.  The vendors don’t want to go out on a limb because they don’t know how much business they are really going to get and the employees may not follow the process because they see no reason to do so.

Establishing an annual cash rebate program with the vendors based on volumes can address both of these issues.  Vendors have the opportunity to commit to additional savings when they get the volume of spend they are seeking and since tracking volume becomes the means by which this rebate is achieved, the employees and company have a strong reason to maintain use of the new processes.

If you do have good consolidated information, there are ways to leverage all three of these data elements in order to optimize your savings opportunities and reward your frequent travelers and traveling vendors at the same time.

Hopefully this four part blog series points out that there are a number of variables (data) to consider when sourcing Hotel Accommodations, individually they all can add value and potentially reduce costs or mitigate increases, combined as a complete strategy where each element is leveraged there is significant potential  for your company.

If you’ve enjoyed this four part post on sourcing accommodations, please pass it on to others that may have interest. If you like more information about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations; please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part III of IV!

Monday, November 18th, 2019

 

This week’s blog series is from our Archives at SafeSourcing.

In todays part III we will be exploring the following data elements.

1. The Data
2. Amenities & Features

The Data – After you have established your goals for your events it’s time to review the data you have available to you in order to get your project off the ground. Don’t be disturbed if there isn’t much.  Having no visibility into how many nights you stay at a specific location can certainly make negotiating rates with that location more difficult but not impossible.  In many cases companies have rates established with properties and do not even realize it.  Simply making some phone calls to the hotels near your offices is a simple way to start. You might be surprised with what you have in place currently with these properties.  At the very least a picture of what your accommodation spends as a whole is needed so that the chains and properties know how to provide you with something that is valuable for you and worth their investment. Between these phone calls, some internal surveys and some expense statement reviews, extrapolating your spend is entirely possible.

The Amenities & Features – You may not have a policy that details the amenities a specific property or brand needs in place in order to be a “preferred” site but gathering those details is critical so that you can sort out your true cost profile once the project has been completed.  One property in Phoenix, AZ may provide lower rates than another but may charge for internet access and is not able to provide the free continental breakfast another property with higher rack rates does.  It  may be preferable to conduct an RFI as a precursor to any pricing work that is done so that  your company can understand which properties will fit the criteria you require of a preferred location.

During tomorrow’s final post in this series we’ll be discuss Location Rates, Chain Discounts, Rebate Programs and how to leverage them to your best advantage during your event.

If you can’t wait for tomorrows Part IV or this IV part post and need more information sooner about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part II of IV!

Friday, November 15th, 2019

 

This weeks post Sourcing Travel Accommodations part II  of IV  is from our Archives at  SafeSourcing.

In yesterdays  post we discussed the types of data required to effectively negotiate Hotel Stays on behalf of  your company?

Today we will be exploring the following data elements.

1. The  Corporate Travel Policy
2. The goal of your sourcing effort

The Policy – Before anything gets done with a travel related category it may be an appropriate time to revisit the company’s entire corporate travel policy in order to determine if any updates are required.  If you do not have a formal travel policy that covers the entire company, establishing one should the be the first step in this sourcing endeavor.  Details that should be included in this document become the  foundation for the Terms & Conditions that drive as well as the contracts that ensure your results and will also determine how best to set the next step of the process: The Goal.

The Goal – There are generally two kinds of hotel accommodations that companies should gather data for during the eProcurement process. They depend on the structure of your company.  The first is to gain the best rates you can for company associates that travel as part of doing business for your company. These can location specific if used frequently enough or they may be in the form of a program that gets established for all locations within a specific hotel brand. The variety of stay should be dictated by the corporate policy.  The second goal is to secure the best rates and service for a company’s locations or location for their associates as well as vendors and customers visiting your offices.  These two goals can happen independent of each other or as part of the same process.

During tomorrow’s post we’ll discuss additional data elements such as amenities, features and services.

If you can’t wait for tomorrows Part III or this IV part post and need more information sooner about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part I of IV

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

 

Todays post is from our Archives at SafeSourcing.

Negotiating hotel accommodations for your company can be a tricky business because many vendors will want to understand your goals and your projected spend with them before they will seriously consider awarding you aggressive discounts.  Couple this with the fact that many franchise properties like to negotiate their own rates independent of their national brand and you have what appears to be a complex low return category. When In fact, this not the case.

Over the next several days we will be taking a look at some of the data companies require before they will seriously consider awarding you aggressive discounts.

Over the course of this post series we will be exploring the following data elements.

1. The  Corporate Travel Policy
2. The goal of your sourcing effort
3. The Data
4. Amenities & Features
5. Location Rates
6. Chain Discounts
7. Rebate Programs

If you can’t wait for tomorrows Part II or this IV part post and need more information sooner about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments