Archive for February, 2020

Chocolate Industry

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

 

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

 It seems with nearly every holiday, there is usually a common chocolate treat associated with it. Whether it is chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day, chocolate bunnies for Easter, or hot chocolate for Christmas, chocolate has become not just common, but a standard for many of our holidays. Not only that, but chocolate is something many of us eat often without the holiday celebration, from chocolate chip cookies and granola bars to a candy bar at your local gas station.

 So where does all this chocolate come from? While most of us can find chocolate in nearly every store you might visit, we first we need to find out who makes all this chocolate. Globally, the top chocolate companies are Mars Inc., Ferrero Group, Mondelez International, Meiji Co. Ltd., Hershey Co., and Nestle. These companies have remained the top in the industry for numerous years and account for approximately 60 billion dollars in sales. That’s a lot of chocolate!

 While chocolate is a sweet treat many of us enjoy, there has recently been some bitter discussion on where chocolate comes from. This has led to some investigative reports looking into the chocolate industry and the source of their cocoa. An estimated 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast which are both West African countries and are known to not only have vast government corruption, but also known to use child labor as well as slavery in their cocoa farms. This claim is difficult to verify, however, because journalists and reporters are often barred from visiting these farms or highly supervised while there, being only allowed to show the area in a positive way.

 There has recently been a change in the chocolate industry, though. There are many chocolate companies that ethically source their cocoa. No matter where you live, there are likely a number of chocolatiers near you that use cocoa from farms that provide humane conditions for their workers and that is something extra sweet to think about.

 For more information on how you can ethically source chocolate, 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.candyindustry.com/2020/global-top-100-candy-companies
  3. https://foodispower.org/human-labor-slavery/slavery-chocolate/
  4. Ethically sourced chocolate: http://www.slavefreechocolate.org/ethical-chocolate-companies

 

Are you Looking for a New Furnace?

Friday, February 21st, 2020

 

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

Winter still has a ways to go and if you are having trouble with your furnace it might be time to purchase a new one. There are several options available when purchasing a new furnace. In this BLOG I will be discussing the differences between single stage, two stage and variable capacity furnaces. A single stage furnace is a furnace that runs at full capacity the entire time that the system is running. The system has a gas valve that opens to 100 percent for the entire run time. For example, if the system is an 80,000 BTU system, it will run at 80,000 BTU rate for the entire duration. A two stage furnace is a furnace that can run at full capacity or less while the system is running. The system has a gas valve that can open to 100 percent or change to about 70 percent during run time. For example with this type of system, if the system is a 100,000 BTU system, it can either run at a 70,000 BTU rate or a 100,000 BTU rate depending on the temperature. A variable capacity furnace is a furnace that can run at full capacity or less while the system is running. The system has a gas valve that can regulate the capacity between 40 percent and 100 percent. For example with this type of system, if the system is a 100,000 BTU system, it can run anywhere between a 40,000 BTU rate and a 100,000 BTU rate depending on the temperature. The more stages your system supports can create better air filtration and make for a better balanced temperature throughout the structure. The better filtration occurs because the furnace runs longer when not performing at full capacity which makes the air flow through the filter more times and removes more of the dust and allergens. If you are considering a new furnace below is a list of other advantages of using a multi stage furnace.

  • Increased Efficiency
  • Quieter Operation
  • Less System Cycling
  • More Even Temperatures
  • Improved Air Quality

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:

https://www.pickhvac.com/faq/difference-between-one-stage-and-two-stage-furnaces/

 

 

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

 

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

“You learn something new everyday” is a phrase often used after a person learns a lesson by accident. You simply are learning by circumstance rather than acquiring a new skill set or learning new information or facts.

Harvey MacKay has always been an advocate of lifelong learning or intentional learning. Getting the right information and putting this into practice whether it be to improve his golf swing or learning a new language. Technology today makes things easier than ever before. There are online classes, TEDtalks, YouTube, and instructional videos to name a few. If you are hooked up to WiFi, knowledge is unlimited and is available to fit your schedule.

“Alvin Toffler, author of ‘Future Shock,’ who said, the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. In today’s world you need to know how to navigate social relationships, keep up with new technology, be informed about politics, be aware of your finances, make intelligent career decisions, choose a healthy diet along with a million other skills in order to thrive in this world.

Learning something the wrong way can have permanent consequences. Some questions you may ask before taking on new learning are:

  •     Why am I learning this information and how will I use it?
  •     What level of understanding do I need?
  •     How can this information be broken down?
  •     What are the most important things to learn based on my personal goals?

Many times knowing a little on a topic can be a conversation starter or could even lead to a sale. You might not commit to learning something everyday , but once a week or month could be a good start. MacKay’s Moral is use it or lose it!

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:

Harvey MacKay, AZCentral, 1/13/2020

 

Are you too Comfortable?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

 

 

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

There is no shortage of news stories that are designed to induce fear in the reader. Surely, it’s up to the reader to decide whether the articles are correct or just more clickbait. While a lot of what we see today falls into the clickbait category, there are still real risks that need to be monitored and managed.

One such headline that affects us all is a question that has gotten plenty of attention in the media recently. Will we see a recession in 2020 or not? I’m not even going to speculate. It’s not my place to do so. Instead, I’ll do my part to make sure that my customers are prepared for a recession or any other potentially devastating situation.

Are you too comfortable?

One of the biggest mistakes I see our prospects and a few customers making is allowing themselves to become too comfortable with their situation. Perhaps a strong economy has been good to them for some amount of time and they have shifted their focus away from cost reductions. Whether they did this intentionally or through negligence, they’ve made a critical mistake. Focusing solely on revenue is an incomplete strategy. It’s like keeping your car perfectly clean and shiny and skipping the maintenance like oil changes. At some point, you’re going to be in trouble.

I’ll admit that this seems dramatic, but the fact is I have personally seen this play out within some of the organizations that SafeSourcing has worked with over the years. I’ve watched companies embrace strategic sourcing, regardless of how weak or strong their sales are at the time, which thrive when the market is strong and survive when it is not. On the other hand, I’ve watched former customers and prospects go through layoffs, having their stock values crash, and shut their doors. At some point, it’s too late to cut costs. The time to be a steward of your organization’s expenses is before it is too late.

Don’t let yourself get too comfortable and caught off guard. Split your focus in a way that still allows for strategic sourcing to be an initiative and make sure the organization understands that this has executive sponsorship. Or don’t. I’ll keep my eye on the news and hope I don’t see more familiar company names in these saddening headlines.

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.

 

There are 7 steps of the strategic procurement process!

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Inc Archives.

Only being with Safe Sourcing for a few days and knowing absolutely nothing about the company prior to my hire, I have learned a great deal of information in a very short amount of time. In order to fully understand what it is we do I have been doing a little research out side of work. According to sources, no pun intended, there are 7 steps of strategic procurement process.

Step 1: Conducting an internal need of analysis

To start you need to identify exactly what the needs are of your client. You need data including but not limited to, current performance, resources used, costs and potential growth.

Step 2: Collect Information

It is extremely important for you to collect as much information as possible, so you are able to help your client as best as possible. Look for specific requirements that are needed and see exactly what their goal is and how you can help them achieve that goal.

Step 3: Collect Supplier Information

Not only do you need information from your client, you also need to get information form your suppliers. You need to select suppliers carefully. You should only pick certain suppliers that are going to benefit your clients needs. It would also be helpful to learn a little bit about their company.

Step 4: Develop a Sourcing/Outsourcing Strategy

After all, 3 steps are complete you are in need of your Request for Proposal (RFP) or a Request for Quote (RFQ) to all the selected suppliers. You will also need to get your agreement and documents finalized and sent to your suppliers. Getting your business strategy in order will keep you organized.

Step 5: Implement the Sourcing Strategy

Having an Expression of Interest (EOI), a prepared RFP or a RFQ and solicit bids from identified potential suppliers as part of the bidding process is very important at this stage. The RFP should include:

  • Detailed material
  • Product or service specifications
  • Delivery and service requirements
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Pricing structure
  • Financial terms

Step 6: Negotiate with Suppliers and Select Winning Bid

Your procurement team will then evaluate the received proposals, quotes or bids, and use the criteria and a process to shortlist the bidders to provide detailed proposals and give reports to your client. After the evaluation process is complete, your procurement team will then enter contract negotiations with the first selected bidder.

Step 7: Implement a Transition Plan

Winning suppliers should be invited to participate in implementing improvements. A communication plan is a must when developing a system for measuring and evaluating performance.

These are a few things I have learned in the few days working for this great company and I feel that if you follow these few steps you and your team can develop and implement a strategic procurement plan.

Please contact a SafeSourcing customer Services team member about our risk free trial

We look forward to your comments

 

 

 

Retailers; are you managing your suppliers or are they managing you?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

 

In to many cases, for many companies the answer to the question above is who knows on both sides of the relationship. And unfortunately this will not change for many companies.

Historically the primary driver associated with the use of reverse auctions and other related e-RFX tools has been to reduce the cost of goods and services and reduce expense in large part, if a retail company saved money it was deemed to be a successful process for the retailer as well as the awarded vendor. What about the other suppliers? What makes it a positive for them?

Supply base management or the attempt at it is the newest focus area of many strategic sourcing suites. Many vendors do not offer this functionality today; in fact some have trouble describing what it is when asked. Although elements of this functionality exist within a variety of surround type service offerings, no one vendor offers complete functionality in this area today even though they may think they do. A significant reason for this is suppliers concern with the thought of being managed at all because it means giving up perceived control. Additionally, retailers, suppliers nor vendors have agreed as to what the correct Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should be or how to collect the data that would allow you to manage them. As these types of tools are developed, the most successful supply base management tools will be those that can manage the largest supplier database to the continual benefit of both retailers and suppliers that participate and compete for their business

This author believes that the most probable result of this process will be a set of automated robust supplier scorecards that monitor and report on supplier performance versus a range of KPI’S that are applied against well-known quality guidelines resulting in a continuous improvement procurement methodology.

If you’d like to know how SafeSourcing can help improve and measure improvement in your e-RFX process please contact us!

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