Archive for June, 2020

Here are Five Basic Tips for Writing a Strategic Online Survey!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Creating an effective, quality written Online Survey that produces the detailed information you require from respondents can be a challenge. In this post, we’ll review 5 quick tips for writing a Strategic Online Survey.

  1. Create a naming convention for the survey and write a brief summarizing introduction. A Survey name and a brief introduction are great ways to give your respondents some detailed background and a frame of reference.
  2. Write a summarizing, brief survey. Begin with an outline of details as to what is important to know for the project. Formulate a question only when the answer will provide data you can use and need.
  3. Think ahead as to how the analysis of the information will look, as in what your end game will look like. This should impact how you format your questions. Statistical reporting may not be able to be performed if your questions to not adhere to the results framework you have pre planned.
  4. Attempt to use closed-ended questions. Limit the number of open-ended questions as these provide and opportunity to the respondent to get off track. Respondents usually have a better understanding of closed-ended questions because they are more straightforward and offer responses they can choose from. An excessive number of open-ended questions can frustrate the respondent and affect the quality of the answers they may provide.
  5. Craft a well-written pertinent subject line for the invitation email you plan on sending with the survey in order to capture your respondents’ attention.

Although these five simple steps are enough to get you started in the right direction reaching out to professionals like SafeSourcing about their SafeSurvey™ tool for additional guidance will guarantee the results you are looking for. A well-written online survey has much higher completion rates and is an effective method for gathering disparate data from differing sources in a format that us usable.

If you’d like to learn more about the SafeSourcing  SafeSurvey™ please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

During a pandemic we can not afford to lose sight of our Environmental Goals.

Monday, June 29th, 2020

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archive!

Environmentally focused or Green sourcing should continue to be a primary focus during todays distractions caused by COVID-19. Let’s take a look at some actions companies can continue with in order  to purchase environmentally focused, low cost quality products.

Request Green Products – When executing RFIs, RFPs and RFQs make sure you are clear with the participants on what it is that you want.  Be sure to ask suppliers to offer you the most environmentally friendly product, with the highest quality and at the lowest price.   Remember, if you don’t ask you will not get it.

Create a Business Rule that includes Green – Express to potential vendors what you expect from your suppliers.  Industry groups have rules of conduct that stipulate behaviors in terms of emissions and handling waste.  Make reference to those and or create your own, but be clear that it is more than a suggestion; that it is the way you want to continue todo business regardless of other distractions, and that you expect them to follow suit.

Train your suppliers – Most large companies have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals employed to help steer the roads of procurement and the supply chain.  Most medium to small companies, however, don’t have a devoted employee that is dedicated to learning about sustainably.  By creating training programs you can indicate what you are looking for from your supply sources.  When you do this, you’re raising the bar because you are training your suppliers in your best practices. These programs can be supported and participated in even by remote associates and vendors.

Award Companies that are doing things correctly – Keeping tabs on your suppliers and encouraging them to achieve  new certifications that support your CSR initiatives will show them you’re committed to being environmentally conscious or Green .   Having these certifications required as part of how you review bids and award business will show them that it is beneficial for them to be similarly focused.

There will always be examples of companies whose reputation has been tarnished by some supplier. Proactive management of your suppliers in support of your goals is a way to mitigate your risk. This can also promote your company’s promise to reducing the environmental effect or carbon footprint of your business by honoring those suppliers that honor you and your customers.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Price is a potential benefit but not the only benefit of enegotiations.

Friday, June 26th, 2020

 

Today’s post is from our blog archives at SafeSourcing Inc.

With billions at stake in retail purchasing, it is imperative for buyers, category managers and others with purchasing responsibility should remember that there can be more benefit to contracts than just price alone. Any retail procurement is actually a purchase with purpose to ensure customer safety, satisfaction and a myriad of other issues.

Consider the obstacles to purchasing with purpose. The world market is too large and overwhelming for a procurement knowledge worker to know if products are safe, secure or socially responsible. Often when a purchaser seeks to buy accordingly, they find that the price of certainty is too high. They opt for a less expensive, less trustworthy option. This may mean accidentally endangering customers, alienating some customers who expect a certain level of quality, or even inviting legal or public relations problems. Retailers simply lack the time in order to determine purchasing with purpose for thousands and thousands of products and services.

That’s why SafeSourcing offers a secure, intelligent e-procurement suite of tools under the SafeSourceIt™ banner that are delivered as a “White Glove Service” that do  much of the work for retailers procurement professionals. Additionally, the SafeSourceIt™ Global Retail Supplier Database uses unique certification standards plus well-known standards such as Fair Trade, Green Seal, ECO-LOGO, GFSI, SQF, and, for meat products, Certified Humane Raised/Hand-Fed to vet is vendors before they are invited to participate in any eRFX sourcing event such as an RFI, RFP or RFQ  which are also  called a reverse auctions.

With the standards already in place, procurement is a matter of matching demand with supply. SafeSourcing sets up eRFX events such as auctions in as little as minutes and even finds purchasing partners to increase bulk buying power.

With over 500,000 suppliers being vetted during the bidding process, cost is still one of the final factors when filling the retailer’s procurement needs. Yet each purchase is a purchase with purpose. Goods are safe, secure and support companies social responsibility programs.

Reducing the cost of safe, secure, socially responsible goods cannot be accomplished by one purchaser alone. If retailers want to match quality products to the best prices, they should look to SafeSourcing for efficient and fast e-procurement which can also be performed as Procurement as a Service.

For more information on this topic, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

Managing Tail Spend

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

 

 

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

Along the same lines as my recent post about Procurement as a Service (PaaS), I thought I would focus on tail spend. Here again, the concept of managing tail spend isn’t new, but it has also been receiving more attention recently. I would argue tail spend is finally getting the attention it deserves.

I’ve often thought that tail spend is undervalued. I suspect the term tail spend gives the impression that the spend in the tail is insignificant. The reality is that the tail can be awfully long and represents a much larger percentage of overall spend than one might think.

To me, the ability to manage tail spend is essential. SafeSourcing’s approach to tail spend management starts with our SafeSpendAnalysis™ service to identify the categories and subcategories in which the spend can be found. Until you have gone through this process, it is easy to underestimate just how much purchasing is taking place on an annual basis that should be considered the tail. One-off purchases, rogue purchasing, and categories with many vendors providing the same thing are just a few of the common culprits. It’s all too easy for this type of spend to fly under the radar when an organization lacks a proper procurement policy and the ability to proactively manage against that policy.

Again, to SafeSourcing, the concept of managing this type of spend is nothing new. With our SaaS model and our tools and capabilities, we have been targeting tail spend for management and cost reduction since we started. Where others have marketing around this tail spend management, SafeSourcing has experience.

It’s really great to see the recent interest in tail spend and in controlling costs in general. Expense management is so critically important right now. The best strategy a company can have is one that considered their entire spend to be within the scope of their expense management initiatives and that includes the tail.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Warranty Work! Or any other Service?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

 

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

 I decided to repost this BLOG from about 5 years ago because having a home warranty has again saved us several thousand dollars. This time we were having trouble with our air conditioning system. The warranty company sent out a technician and without the home warranty we would have had to pay over $2,000. But since we do have the warranty we only had to pay the $100 deductible.

Do you own a home or are looking to buy one? If so you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty. A home warranty covers numerous items around the house with a small service fee. When you have an issue you call the company and they will send out one of their approved service providers to diagnose the problem. If the item can be fixed, the service provider will fix the item and if it cannot then it will be submitted to the warranty company for replacement. If this was a major component such as a heating and air conditioning unit, having the warranty could save you thousands of dollars. Below are a few items that may be covered by a warranty.

  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Water Heater
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Appliances
  • Garage Doors / Garage Openers

There are many companies out there that offer warranties, so be sure to read the contracts carefully and make sure you understand what items are covered and which are excluded. If you would like some help finding the best warranty for your home, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which option 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.

 

Choosing the Right Words

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

 

 

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

There are many words in English that can be used interchangeably, but sometimes you must be careful doing so.

There are many words in English that can be used interchangeably, but sometimes you must be careful doing so. Whether it is paraphrasing or using literal translations from one language to another, the results can vary from humorous, to confusing, or even deadly. For example, in 1977 a Pan Am airplane and a KLM airplane crashed into one another, killing 583 people, all because of a miscommunication due to using a literal translation of English. While this is certainly not common, it is something that we must each be careful of.

There are some instances of literal translations that are just funny rather than deadly. For example, the word hedgehog in English is translated to “needle mouse” in Japanese. The English word for gloves is translated to “hand shoes” in German. Another example is the potato is translated to “apple of the ground” in French.

Sometimes, misuse of words can affect your business as well. If you choose the right words, some may even say “buzz words”, then your business website could potentially get more traffic and likely more resulting business. The following is an example sentence that contains numerous words that help bring visitors to your site: To alleviate or avoid budget traps, some of these words can guide consumers deals, coupons, or code to buy the cheapest and best bargain deals with the best discount to easily eliminate, end, and cure and protect your purchase quick, for men, for women, for students, for guys, for girls, for children, for sale.

In addition to the uses of words already mentioned, when using contracts or other terms or conditions in your business, it is exceedingly important to choose words carefully and expand on any language that could have multiple interpretations. This may add to the amount of paperwork that a business needs, but should accurately relay the ideas or information that is intended. Carefully reading and reviewing documents can help ensure your business language is on point.

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. Airplane Crash: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/tenerife-airport-disaster/
  2. Literal Translations: https://thelanguagenerds.com/hilarious-literal-translations-from-different-languages/

Buzz Words: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/increase-website-traffic/

Grocery Bills on the Rise

Friday, June 19th, 2020

 

 

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

The Coronavirus has led to the fastest rise in food prices in more than four decades. Supermarkets are restoring promotions and value food packs are being designed by food makers. Because of the increased costs for labor and transportation, it is likely higher prices will remain the norm for a while. Companies are buying equipment to keep customers safe and configuring the store layout to keep customers socially distanced. All of these measures result in more trickle down costs to the consumer. Prices rose 2.6% in April from a month earlier, according to the Labor Department, the biggest monthly increase since 1974.

“Mondelez International Inc. said it is considering smaller packages of some products like it’s Oreos and other snacks that cost less overall. Campbell Soup Co. said it might add more family-size packs that will cost less per ounce.”1

It is expected that food, as a percentage of disposable income, will rise this year for the first time in decades. Many people are still out of work, or their hours have been cut, lowering their monthly income. The jump of meat and poultry has propelled the increase in food cost. The pandemic has disrupted food plants because of shutdowns. Meat prices rose 15% the end of May from a year prior. Some consumers have switched to generic brands and discount stores in order to save money. Some people are opting to cut back on meat, or are going meatless.

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…..……………………………………..

Joe Flint, WSJ, 6/10/2020

 

 

 

 

 

You Are Essential!

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

 

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

We are currently in a rapidly evolving time, battling with an unseen enemy, with no real answers on how or when this will end. At the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses had to make immediate decisions on how to keep safe while still maintaining their business. The same was true for schools, service organizations, and restaurants. Although all of these have a valuable role in our communities, some were deemed “essential” and others were forced into an abrupt shut-down. This has caused much debate over what is considered essential.

Of course there are vital operations which are clearly necessary for sustaining life and safety, such as hospitals, first responders, and food supply. Others may not be as clear-cut, but are just as important in maintaining our society. Truckers are essential to keeping the supply chain going and waste management and sanitation operations cannot be halted.

Fortunately, we have been able to take advantage of some products and services that were already in existence, but that have now become essential in allowing us to function and maneuver. Drive-thru restaurants, instore pick-up, and food delivery services have allowed us access to food. Current technology such as, VOIP telephony, personal computers and hand-held devices, combined with the internet, has kept us connected. Business and individuals alike are relying on services like Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Connect, Skype, and FaceTime in order to stay virtually connected. The types of payment methods have increased significantly in just the past decade, creating a cashless society which allows us the ability to make purchases, move funds, and complete financial transactions without ever having to come in direct contact with a single person.

The impact of COVID-19 has caused a limited supply of essential goods and services due to increased demand, leaving companies to scramble for suppliers to meet their needs. Some manufacturers have pivoted to producing some of the much needed supplies necessary to meet the demand and to keep their business relevant. SafeSourcing, Inc. has been successful in procuring products and services to meet these essential needs.

If this pandemic had hit us 30 years ago, it would have been extremely crippling to our society and we would not have been able to continue many of the functions that we are appreciating right now. We need to be in a perpetual state of evolution, and we must be flexible so that we do not break. What we have learned is that we are all connected and therefore ALL are essential.

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.

 

 

Procurement As A Service (PaaS)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

 

 

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

In the past, we’ve talked repeatedly about how SafeSourcing delivers our services in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. As a refresher, here is a post from 2014 that details our SaaS software suite. We also often talk about how we treat our SaaS offering as full-service and have done so for a long, long time. Here’s another quick read from 2017 talking about our full-service approach. The way we combine our tools with our expertise and the way we actually deliver the services to achieve our customers’ goals have pretty well always been what you might describe as procurement as a service (PaaS).

I mention this because it seems to me that I am hearing more and more about PaaS recently as if that is a new or emerging trend and it surprises me greatly. SafeSourcing has always operated as an extension of our customers’ own procurement capabilities in order to allow them to outsource much or all of their needs to us. We’re comfortable delivering against this model and we rarely operate outside of it.

The entire procurement process can be managed by SafeSourcing beginning with spend analysis. In all reality, the process never really ends because procurement is truly cyclical. There are other buzzwords as well and just like with PaaS, there will be a marketing campaign that will rise to the occasion. As a term like PaaS gains momentum, more and more companies will roll out their offering. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it can make it harder to identify which companies are actually experienced in delivering a PaaS offering.

Anyone interested in offloading more of their procurement function should be careful to find a partner that can truly take on the load in a SaaS model. Many lack the expertise needed in their services teams to truly deliver on the wide variety of categories that need to be addressed. SafeSourcing has this expertise and delivers strongly in the as a service model. To be effective you really need a partner that has the people, the intellectual property, and the software to drive savings in an efficient outsourced model.

Procurement as a service isn’t a new concept and we like to think we’ve been doing this all along. Personally, I would be leery about choosing any provider that talks about PaaS like it’s a new concept. 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.

 

 

 

 

Bags and Boxes and Bailers Oh My!

Friday, June 12th, 2020

 

How best to manage a plastic bag and cardboard box baling program with only one baler at a store.

Today’s post is from our archives at  SafeSourcing.

The first approach is the program that numerous large retail chains have adopted, which is known as creating “sandwich bales”. These bales are compiled of both cardboard and plastic.  Workers place 10 to 20 inches of cardboard into the baler first, then shrink wrap and plastic bags are loaded in, and another section of cardboard is placed on top.  The baler then presses the bale into a “sandwich” with 9 to 18 inches of recyclables plastic in the middle.  However, in the recycling world, when fiber and plastic are together as one, this is considered contamination.  Therefore, the bales must be picked up, taken to a local recycling center and broken apart and separated.  Then, the plastic is baled together and the cardboard is baled together.  At this point, these items can be effectively sold.

The second approach is where the store has enough space to stage the plastic bags until there is enough to complete a full bale. This requires the backroom of the retailer to be large enough to store 400-600 lbs. plastic.

For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs 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.