Archive for January, 2020

There are many challenges when sourcing freight lanes.

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

 

Todays oldie but good post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

You have to keep your eyes open in this category as there are many moving parts you might never anticipate, like are there actually enough drivers to fill the trucks.

Most people would guess that it is the cost of fuel, new regulations or the age of a providers fleet that keep adding costs for third party freight companies.

An area most buyers of these services might not think about is the cost of and need for qualified drivers. Most 3rd party freight companies are looking for drivers and there are not enough to go around.

Our economy rides on the wheels of the freight companies that ship our goods across the country, in fact all across North America.

So what happens when there is a shortage of drivers? It’s pretty simple, prices go up. Why? Because freight companies have to compete for qualified drivers and when there are not enough to go around, the price for these services go up. It’s a pretty simple supply and demand equation.

In an interesting and  related article in the June 25th edition of USA TODAY titled Trucker jobs go unfilled, leading to delayed deliveries by  Paul Davidson of USA TODAY indicates that the annual driver turnover rate at large carriers rose to a four-year high of 90%.

When you source your freight lanes make sure that you understand all of the dynamics that impact cost.

If you’d like help sourcing your freight lanes, contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Don’t Close the Door on Negotiations

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

 

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

At SafeSourcing, we believe that any spend of any kind can be negotiated using our eProcurement RFx tools. That may seem pretty bold, but it’s true. We’ve negotiated everything from basic copy paper to private jet services, and all sorts of spend categories in between.

Along the way, we have encountered a certain objection from our customers that causes me to be concerned. From time to time, the customer will believe that they have selected a good or service that is unique and has no competition. They have selected the best of the best and there would be no point in trying to source an alternative or attempt to get a better price.

I appreciate that the product you have selected may be better than some of the alternatives. Or, just as importantly, you may perceive that the product you have selected may be the best. The same can be true of services. You might feel that your current vendor goes above and beyond the scope of their work to perform for you. That may be true, but there’s no reason why another vendor could not do the same.

What I recommend in these cases is to invite well-qualified competitors to participate in an RFx Event against the vendor that you prefer. Let them position their competitive product or service against the product or service that you like and let all of the vendors compete to offer the best price and overall value in a live format. Perhaps once the RFx Event has completed, you will still select the vendor of your choice. It is very likely that if you do, the pricing negotiated will be significantly lower than what you had previously been quoted.

In one recent case, a customer was absolutely set on purchasing a fleet of trucks from a particular manufacturer that was all to include a customized set of accessories and equipment. In the customer’s mind, there really was no other option. That said, they still agreed to keep an open mind and not close the door on a potential negotiation. This was very wise of them. As a result of allowing SafeSourcing to negotiate their truck pricing, the customer attained a 15% price reduction on top of the best pricing they had received from the manufacturer they preferred. Better still, they had options and an opportunity to get more savings from other vendors and they had all of the details they needed to decide if any of those options would work for them.

In that case, there were many ways for the customer to declare victory with a seven-digit savings figure. They never would have been able to attain that savings if they hadn’t kept an open mind and created the opportunity for the savings to occur. 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.

The business for athletes!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

 

 

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

Athletes, not just the big ones, like baseball and football, but in all kinds of sports can make great additions to your company. Being a current Rugby player for a local club, I may be a little biased but I believe that athletes are a great addition to any team. With many reasons to consider, here are four traits that athletes possess that you should look for in potential employees:

They know how to work in teams

Just about anyone that has competed in a team sport has had to learn how to play with teammates. Whether they’re pros or amateurs, without that essential skill, they will not have got very far. Because of this familiarity with teamwork and collaboration, athletes are also often natural born leaders in the workplace, rallying co-workers when the going gets tough and offering help and support.

They have taught themselves to be resilient 

From experience, I can attest to the resilience needed to succeed in sports. You can have the greatest game plan in history, but things will almost never turn out the way you expect. You will make mistakes, give up goals, and lose points. You can’t, however, dwell on these missteps. If you want to win (and not let your teammates down), you need to overcome adversity quickly. More importantly, if you want to become a better player, you need to learn how to embrace these off-plan detours. Everyone makes mistakes, but the difference between success and failure often comes down to how you deal with those mistakes.

Athletes are coachable 

When you’re building your business, you need a team that can take feedback, learn from it, and immediately put it in action. Athletes are receptive for this coaching because they are happy that leadership cares enough to help them grow. Athletes want to be coached and understand that to be the best, they need to learn from the best.

They’re usually hard workers 

When an athlete doesn’t succeed, they don’t just throw in the towel. They look for weaknesses and problems in their game and then work even harder. What happens when they do succeed? They often work even harder, if only to stay on top.

At SafeSourcing we have helped many companies with their Human Resource and Staffing needs. By working with some of the largest staffing companies in the country, we can help you find the right employees for the right price. From helping build position outlines, scope of work, and many other requirements needed for new employees, we have the know how to help you build the perfect team!

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.

 

To Buy or Not to Buy

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

 

 

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

Over the past year, there have been a number of home meal kit delivery services popping up in television and magazine ads. I never ventured to try any of them because, in my estimation, it would be costly and unnecessary. Recently, my interest was piqued once I noticed Home Chef meals on display in my local Kroger supermarket.

I’ve been grocery shopping and preparing meals, almost daily, for over 30 years, but here it was right within my grasp, so I picked up a couple of the dinner-for-two meal kits to try out. Since our kids are grown and off on their own this $16.99 option seemed to be worth sampling. All of the pre-measured ingredients were included in the kit along with an easy to follow recipe card. We both enjoyed the meals, so it did not disappoint.

My online search for additional meal options and details led to the discovery of over a dozen different meal delivery services which vary in level of preparation difficulty and specialization including classic, vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free options. The most popular is Blue Apron which boasts recipes inspired by unique seasonal or hard to find ingredients. There is also Sun Basket, EveryPlate, Hello Fresh, Freshly, Dinnerly, Snap Kitchen, and Purple Carrot which specializes in plant-based dishes. Joining the party is Martha Stewart partnering with Berlin-based Marley Spoon, and of course Amazon owns a piece of the action with Amazon Fresh, since acquiring Whole Foods. Amazon meal kits are currently only available to members of Amazon Prime.

Preparation times range from 30 minutes to about 50 minutes, prep-to-plate. The prices generally range from $30 – $79 per week for three meals for two people. That is a huge savings for those who normally opt to eat out which can easily cost this much per meal for two.   For those who typically prepare meals at home, the savings is still apparent because it is less wasteful than purchasing ingredients in full count packaging which sometimes goes to waste if not used. Not to underestimate the time savings of not having to drive to the store and peruse the aisles searching for all of the ingredients which sometimes requires going to multiple locations. Time is money, especially if you have a busy schedule!

My final assessment is this is worth exploring as an alternative. The online reviews are mixed, but there are enough options to suit any preference, palate, or pocket. Most of the services are now offering new customer discounts for your initial order and no shipping charges. Changing or canceling orders seems to be a relatively easy process so there is no long-term commitment. Do your research before you buy, and as John Matarese says, “don’t waste 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you looking for a new television for the Super Bowl?

Friday, January 17th, 2020

 

 

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

Well it’s almost time for the Super Bowl and that means that a lot of people are starting to shop around for a new television to watch the big game. Back in the day, everyone was looking to get an HD television with 1080p resolution, but now we have 4k and 8k televisions. The higher resolutions provide more pixels on the screen creating a higher quality image. A 1080p television has 1,920 by 1080 pixels, a 4k television has 3,840 by 2,160 pixels and an 8k television has 7,680 by 4,320 pixels. So a 4k television will have 4 times the amount of pixels as a 1080p and an 8k television will have 16 times more pixels than a 1080p. Now that 8k televisions are available you may be asking yourself, do I need an 8k television, I just upgraded all my televisions to 4k not that long ago. The answer to that question is probably not. The 8k televisions are more expensive and there currently is almost no 8k media content available. So if you have a 1080p television the wise move for right now is to go with a 4k television.

It took video companies a few years to get 4k video standardized for streaming and physical media. So you can assume that 8k will not be available for a few years from now. If you are a cord cutter, then you may know that the over the air channels that you are receiving via an antenna are currently broadcasted in primarily high definition which is either 720p or 1080i. The over the air channels do not even support the 4k format currently and it may be a while for this to occur because most of the equipment is not capable of distributing the signals.

If you are looking to purchase a new television for the big game I would suggest looking into a 4k. If you are looking to purchase new television 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.

 

 

 

Busting Myths About Milk

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

 

 

Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Assistant at SafeSourcing.

At one time, buying milk was simple. Your local dairy used to deliver it right to your doorstep.

Today, however, we have nonfat, low-fat or whole milk. There are also soy milk, almond milk, hemp, or oat milk. Do you want cow milk or goat milk? With or without lactose? Raw or pasteurized? Plain or flavored? There is controversy as to which drinks can even be called milk.

 Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., a Stanford Nutritionist Scientist, is working hard to clear up some of these myths.   Most of us grew up believing milk was good for us. It built strong bones! It was considered a source of calcium, a factor for good bone health. However, there are countries such as Japan and India where the country is predominately lactose intolerant and milk consumption is low and so is the rate of hip fractures. Many of these cultures also do more weight-bearing activities than Americans. Gardner advises that people are better off on relying on physical activity to build strong bones than consuming milk to strengthen bones. Gardner further advised milk can improve bone density, but whether it prevents bone fractures remains debatable.

Milk can be a healthier alternative to soda. The popular vanilla and chocolate plant-based milks are often laden with sugar. It is important to check the nutrition labeling. Gardner stated, “The nutrition label also allows you to compare the amount of fats, protein, carbs and vitamins in each type of milk. For example, the plant-based milks generally don’t have saturated fat like cow’s milk so they don’t raise LDL-cholesterol as much as dairy milk, but they do have about the same amount as calcium,’ he said. And soy milk has the same amount of protein as dairy milk, but almond milk has much less protein.”1

Another milk misconception is that 2 percent milk means 2 percent of calories are from fat, but it’s 2 percent of the weight (which is mainly water) and 35 percent of the calories. Whole milk has nearly 50 percent of calories from fat, and 1 percent milk has about 20 percent. The old belief was whole milk made you fat and skim milk helped you lose weight was refuted by Harvard in a study that followed over 100,000 nurses over 30 years including their dietary changes. The study revealed switching from whole milk and skim milk did not make any weight change.

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.

Citations:

1 Jennifer Huber, Stanford Medicine Scooe, 8/14/2918

 

Tis the Season

Friday, January 10th, 2020

 

 

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

It is still that time of year again…‘tis the season for retail wars! The holiday time heightens the battle of brick-and-mortar stores vs online retail. Toys R Us is even making a comeback after closing its doors a couple of years ago. They have recently opened two permanent store locations, one in Houston and another in New Jersey, with plans to open 10 more store in 2020, complete with sensors in the ceilings that will monitor traffic patterns and shopper cadence.

I still enjoy taking a leisure trip to the mall during the holiday season, just to enjoy the decorations and do some window shopping. I may even purchase a few items if I find a good bargain or two. My primary shopping is done online and I’ve also taken advantage of purchasing online for in-store pick-up.

Some customers prefer brick-and-mortar shopping for the ability to physically interact with an item before buying, and for the immediate gratification of being able to take the purchases with you instead of waiting for them to be shipped. There are others who prefer online shopping because of the ability to compare pricing and find the best possible deals, as well as the added convenience of not having to drive, park, or stand in lines at the checkout counter.

The best of both worlds is the option to purchase online pick-up at the local store. This allows for price comparison and you are assured that the item is in stock before you drive to the retail location.

There are still deals to be had and sales to take advantage of. There is room for everyone and there are so many options available for shoppers to take advantage of whichever experience they prefer. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and happy shopping!

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.

 

 

Milk Industry

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

 

 

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

The US milk industry has been struggling and two large milk companies have recently filed for bankruptcy. Borden Dairy Company recently filed bankruptcy and Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in November 2019. Both companies have suffered losses and lower milk consumption from as far back as 2015 is believed to be the cause.

Many believe the decline in milk consumption comes from a better understanding of nutrition and the amount of other drinks available today that provide nutrients. Milk was once believed to be the healthiest drink and people were encouraged to drink several glasses every day. Now, people can get the same calcium and vitamin D from juices and many other drinks, like juice, protein shakes, and milk alternatives. In addition, many people turned away from milk due to the added growth hormones given to cows to increase their milk production. While the hormones are not used much anymore, it still led to many people becoming vegetarian or vegan, furthering the decline in milk consumption.

With these two recent filings from Borden and Dean, we can expect the cost of milk to rise as supplies go down. While other dairy products are still doing well, like yogurt and cheese, we may even see those prices rise, too. The dairy industry as a whole, though, will likely struggle unless milk consumption rises.

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.

References:

  1. http://safesourcing.com/ContactUs/tabid/60/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/06/business/borden-dairy-bankruptcy/index.html
  3. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/05/16/528460207/why-are-americans-drinking-less-cows-milk-its-appeal-has-curdled

 

 

What’s in a name?

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

 

 

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

Cheese is a dairy product derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. During production, the milk is usually acidified, and by adding the enzyme rennet, causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Some cheeses have mold on the rind, the outer layer, or throughout. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.

A lot of cheeses are named after their points of origin—Cheddar, Roquefort, and Colby are named after places in England, France, and Wisconsin, respectively. Other cheese names are a bit more complicated. Below are some of the more commonly known cheeses and their “origin stories”.

COTTAGE CHEESE

It’s the most familiar and commonly consumed form of cheese curds (at least in the United States). What are curds? Coagulated chunks of milk proteins that came together due to the addition or presence of an acid, such as rennet (which naturally occurs in sheep stomachs) or vinegar. Curd based cheeses date back to ancient times, but cottage cheese as we know it, in name and form, originates in 1830s England, when dairy farmers made curd cheese in their homes, or cottages, with dairy waste left over from making other products elsewhere on the farm, such as butter.

MONTEREY JACK

This mild, semi-hard white cheese is only partially named after its birthplace. In the mid-19th century, Franciscan friars stationed in central coastal California (near the settlement of Monterey) created the bland cousin of Cheddar. That’s when Scottish immigrant and entrepreneur, David Jack, entered the picture. He came to California in the 1840s to work as a military contractor (among other things) and got so rich that he bought up most of the land in Monterey County, including the dairies that were by that time producing the friars’ Monterey cheese. He decided to nationally market the cheese with his own name attached, first as Jack’s Cheese, and then the classier sounding Monterey Jack.

MOZZARELLA

Mozzarella is as Italian as the thing to which it most often contributes: pizza. In the Neapolitan dialect (as in from Naples, where pizza has a rich history) of Italian, mozza means “to cut.” That reflects how mozzarella is made. Cheesemakers mozza, or rather cut, curds and shape them into balls, which is how traditional mozzarella is sold.

CHEEZ WHIZ

This shelf-stable (before opening) cheese-like brick is a famous example of processed cheese. When it was first mass-marketed, Kraft named the melty, queso necessity “Velveeta” to imply that it was smooth and silky…just like velvet (but with a far more pronounced cheesy taste).

With so many different styles and origins of cheeses there is bound to be one that fits your tastes. With SafeSourcing’s online RFx Tool, we can help you source the cheese(s) you want!

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

Citation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheese

How can I reduce my chances of being hacked?”

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

 

 

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

Recently there was a news story about a hacker taking over someone’s home security camera and harassing them through the two-way talk functionality.   This is quite ironic considering we put cameras in place to help us feel a sense of security within our home or business. Although the odds of this happening to you are very slim, this type of hacking is something that can be done within minutes for an experienced hacker. There are numerous ways that a hacker can gain access to your camera. One of the most common ways hackers access the cameras is by connecting to the camera and trying the default username and password. When camera systems are shipped, they are commonly setup with a default username and password that should be changed during setup. A novice user setting up the camera system may not know the implications of not creating a new secure password for the default user, thereby leaving the system open to vulnerable attacks. Unfortunately it is very difficult to know if your system has been hacked, but one potential red flag could be sluggishness or degraded performance when using the system. If you are setting up a new camera system and want to protect the system from hacks, you can make it more difficult for a hacker by doing the following things:

  • Create strong password for all users – This can be done by making long passwords that        contain a mix of characters both upper and lowercase.
  • Secure your wireless network – This can be done by changing the default SSID, turning off guest networking and using encryption on the router.
  • Update the software – Software updates sometimes contain fixes and enhancements to help against vulnerabilities.
  • Close any unnecessary ports – The less ports available, the less vulnerable you are to attacks.
  • Test Your Security – You will want to test all of the setting changes and make sure that they have been saved correctly.

If you are looking to purchase new network devices 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 and look forward to your comments.