Archive for November, 2020

If pricing looks too low, it is for a reason.

Monday, November 23rd, 2020


Today’s post is is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

We’ve all heard this story of a supplier submitting pricing for select items in a commoditized category so far below other quotes that the strategy the team had used to find suppliers was thrown out the window. The supplier was awarded the contract but it soon became apparent that this particular supplier wasn’t at all the right supplier for the job.

As the contract came to fulfillment and the first orders were being received, major inconsistencies were being uncovered. The team discovered that everything was being subcontracted out, even the contract itself. The supplier changed key ingredients of several of the items it had quoted. The supplier had quoted items out of specification tolerance, even altered required pack sizes. It was an unacceptable situation.

The costs of the project skyrocketed which was exactly what was trying to be avoided. My advice is to have policies and procedures in place for price examination. If pricing seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Ask questions.

Let SafeSourcing better manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. 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.



What is the Government Procurement Agreement or GPA?

Friday, November 20th, 2020



Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

The GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement. At present, the Agreement has 20 parties comprising 48 WTO members. 36 WTO members/observers participate in the GPA Committee as observers. Out of these, 12 members are in the process of acceding to the Agreement.

The fundamental aim of the GPA is to mutually open government procurement markets among its parties. As a result of several rounds of negotiations, the GPA parties have opened procurement activities worth an estimated US$ 1.7 trillion annually to international competition (i.e. to suppliers from GPA parties offering goods, services, or construction services).

The GPA is composed mainly of two parts: the text of the Agreement and parties’ market access schedules of commitments.

There has been some discussion that the current administration would like to pull out of this agreement even though the Is was a founding member.  In an article by Doug Palmer  for Politico and reported on MSN News titled Senators urge Trump not to withdraw from Government Procurement Agreement as there is a belief that it will allow both China and Russia to fill the void created by the US no longer participating.

Please visit SafeSourcing in order to keep up with content the evolution of changes and other educational content that impact procurement professionals and knowledge workers.





Thursday, November 19th, 2020


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

With Wi-Fi 6 becoming more widely available, you may be thinking of purchasing new Wi-Fi hardware.  When purchasing the new hardware you may find that there is another option besides the traditional router that you are probably using now.  This fairly new Wi-Fi technology uses a mesh network.  A mesh network contains a main router that you connect directly to your modem and then one or more satellite modules or nodes that you place throughout the structure for full Wi-Fi coverage.  After connecting the main router to the modem and setting it up, you place the other mesh devices strategically throughout your structure so that all areas of the structure are covered.  The mesh systems come with one or more of the satellite devices but you may need to purchase additional ones depending on the size of the structure that needs to be covered.  Some of the benefits of using the multiple mesh devices is that it can allow for faster speeds, better reliability and greater Wi-Fi coverage because all of your Wi-Fi devices are not connecting through the same router.  Below are some other benefits of purchasing a mesh Wi-Fi system.

  • Better Coverage
  • Easy Configuration
  • Customized Size
  • No Single Point Failure
  • Less Connection Failure
  • Smartphone Management

Because of our current environment with the pandemic and work from home, many of you are looking to purchase new Wi-Fi equipment, devices, and services. Do your company a favor and get them at the best price possible. If you or your company 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, can help you,  please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.







It’s Time to Give Thanks!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020


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

The month of November began with an election that had the highest rate (over 67% of eligible population) of voter turnout in a century, in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 200,000 individuals.  On the following week we recognized our veteran men and women who deserve our gratitude for their willingness to serve this country and help protect our rights and our freedoms.

As we look towards the Thanksgiving holiday, we cautiously proceed with altered plans to observe our day of thanks. We may have limited attendance gatherings or curtailed travel, in order to protect our safety and that of our loved ones. Some will have to spend the day alone, or in the presence of strangers. Our veterans have first-hand knowledge of this experience on a regular basis.

In spite of the current situation, we should all still be very grateful to be here. We should be grateful to live in a nation that is resilient and that has continued to thrive in the face of adversity. The sacrifices that have been made by those before us, allows us to be able to get through this very trying time and while still celebrating the small everyday victories.

Manufacturing companies have stepped up and produced life-saving equipment and materials that were necessary to keep us going. Medical professionals have been working around the clock to save lives. Stores have been open and stocked with the essentials we need. Transportation and logistics companies have been delivering packages to our doorsteps. Educators have worked out plans to teach students in an alternate environment. We are grateful for the scientists who have developed vaccines in record time. Everyone has to make a sacrifice and do their part to get through this, and our military works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep us safe at home and abroad.

We will emerge from this pandemic stronger than we were before. The glass is half full so take a drink, and the next time you exercise the freedom of speech, to vote, to move freely about the country, to protect your family, and gather in your house of worship, you should thank a veteran.

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 RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

Watching the RFQ – Part 3

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020


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

If you’ve been reading this blog series in which we have been looking at the online Request for Quote (RFQ) as it progresses over time, you may be excited to read that this post is the conclusion of that series. In case you’re just joining us now, we normally focus on measuring RFQ value delivered as savings, but instead, we’re examining when the value is created and considering the vendor behaviors that go into that moment. If you need a primer on what an RFQ is, click here.

In part one and two of this series, we reviewed the first fifteen or so minutes of the RFQ. While the beginning and middle of the RFQ can be both interesting and valuable, the end of the RFQ will ultimately determine the success of the RFQ. This is the final opportunity for each of the vendors to participate and compete fully in the live RFQ.












In the example above, we’re able to see the final quote activity of each of the vendors. This particular RFQ was scheduled for 20 minutes plus extensions and this did not run as long as the average RFQ. You can see that some of the vendors represented by blue and green were caused to compete significantly to try to offer the most competitive quotes. Ultimately, they failed to do so, but the process was successful from the buyer’s perspective. This RFQ created a 47.57% savings opportunity. The green, blue, and orange vendors all happen to be some of the better vendors in this space and each would have been a great vendor partner.

As usual, this process delivered much more value than traditional procurement practices that don’t include an RFQ would have been able to deliver. Frankly, that statement was true in the first several minutes and it only got better as time went by.

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.







Looking Ahead or Around

Monday, November 16th, 2020


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

During times of flux or uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring, sometimes the best route to take is to look ahead and sometimes it is best to just look around. Jobs, schools, businesses all face the same uncertainty and much is out of our hands as to what may happen next. Often, people try to predict what will happen next so they may better prepare for what next means. That can mean stocking up on toilet paper, or buying or selling stocks, or spending more time with family and friends. Regardless how you look to the future or what you predict the big challenges will be, it is still important to stop looking forward every so often and look around.

There will always be holidays of some sort approaching. There will be get-togethers and meals. There will be work done and work that needs to be done. So for now, take a look around. People still comment on the weather. People still think about what to do for dinner. People still want to lose that extra ten pounds. Regardless of everything else going on, people are still the same people. While someone may spend a bit less than in the past, there will still be birthday presents being bought. Christmas lights will still go up. Meals will still be prepared. And while we may not visit others so often, we can still connect through technologies that let us talk and see each other from afar.

This same idea holds true in business as well. While we may not be able to fly across the country regularly, expanding sales or business, we can still connect with most people and conduct business. In fact, looking around at what we can do right now with what we have is more than most people realize. This includes finding new products, interviewing new clients, and checking in with our partners. A company like SafeSourcing can help your business with this. We can help you source technologies that your staff might need, like laptops, cell phones, or software as a service. SafeSourcing can also help connect your business to other business with the supplies you might want or already buy.

For more information on ways we can with your procurement goals or projects, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.


Going Nuts!  

Friday, November 13th, 2020


Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant for SafeSourcing Inc.

Nuts are a compact, convenient, and nutritious snack. They come in various sizes and shapes and are an easy way to boost nutrition and energy levels without any preparation.

Consuming nuts has shown to improve heart health and reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease. “Consumption of tree nuts and even peanuts (technically a legume, but nutritionally similar) has been significantly associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers and reduced risk of all-cause mortality. These nutritional powerhouses are so potent, eating just a handful of nuts per day has been associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of death.”1.  Eight of the healthiest varieties of nuts are as follows:

  1.  Not only do walnuts resemble the brain, they are linked to better brain health.  By adding walnuts to your diet, it improves heart health, aids in blood clotting, immune health and platelet adhesion.
  2. They contain high levels of antioxidants.  The antioxidant capabilities are 20 times more potent than vitamin C and 50 times more than vitamin E.
  3. They are a high-protein snack favored by athletes and fitness buffs.  Clinical studies show that consumption of almonds 2 hours before before exercise can improve performance.  Almonds may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  4. A macadamia-rich diet can reduce LDL cholesterol in men and women.
  5. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.  Due to their high vitamin E content, it also protects against cell damage.  Clinical studies in mice have shown that they support brain health by slowing down motor-neuron degeneration.
  6. Brazil Nuts. They are the best source of selenium.  Low levels of selenium produces brain fog and also can affect the thyroid.  Brazil nuts can improve your mood and reduce anxiety.  They can also improve energy levels.
  7. They can reduce cholesterol levels.  They contain the anticancer, catechol, which has demonstrated activity against drug-resistant cancer cell lines.
  8. They are high in vitamin B and B6 which is vital to a healthy nervous system.  They are heart healthy.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.


Food as Medicine, Epoch Times,



Best Practices to ensure that you have a sufficient supplier community for your eRFX process.

Thursday, November 12th, 2020


Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Suppliers can be broken into multiple categories such as Manufacturers, Wholesalers, Distributors, jobbers etc.  SafeSourcing maintains a robust database called the SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database that consists of greater than 427,000 global suppliers. While this is our primary research facility for identifying suppliers that participate in our eRFX events, we also use other sources such as the Thomas Register, Alibaba, and a variety of Search Engine tools.

While it would be ideal for manufacturers, growers etc. to be the primary participant in an RFP or RFQ, for the most part these companies determine how and to whom they want to take their products to market. In many cases, Manufacturers refuse to go to market directly and often direct us to use their distributors. Quite often they will recommend a couple of distributors because distributors typically have value added services that they want to provide and may bid the base products differently even if they are receiving similar volume discounts. In some cases, there may only be a couple of manufacturers of a particular product. An example in the C-store space is spill bucket liners and drain plugs where historically there were only two manufacturers.

Once we have compiled and reviewed a list of suppliers internally for a category, we review it with our customers who may from time to time have the name of a supplier we are not aware of. Although that is rare. Upon approval from our customers we then send invitations out to the suppliers and await acceptance over a pre-determined period. After that time has expired, SafeSourcing will reach out to all suppliers whether they have accepted or not and encourage all suppliers to participate. We are well practiced at this methodology and do not accept no as an answer. Our team regularly goes through training as to handling objections from suppliers to convince them to participate.

Historically the average number of suppliers participating in eRFX events has been between 5 and 7. That is over many years with categories like hotels or temporary labor that included 100’s of participants. We quite often will have to invite more than the 5-7 average to get that many to accept. Ultimately it is up to the suppliers if they want to bid on our customers business.

Obviously, the number of suppliers we end up inviting, convincing to participate, training, answering questions and hosting increases SafeSourcing’s workload as the numbers grow. As such we have always charged a second event when the number of actual participants reaches 10 or exceeds twenty-line items.

While one may think that the larger the number of participants involved, the better the results will be, that is not actually the case. The spill bucket and drain plug category mentioned above, we have achieved 19.7 percent savings with just two participants and have hosted events with just one participant. Suppliers do not know how many others are bidding in any given event and that is part of the process for them not to know.

While customers may challenge participation from time to time, rest assured that SafeSourcing is continually driving to get as many participants involved as possible.

If you’d like to learn more about working with SafeSourcing, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services associate. Make sure to ask about our risk free trial program.


Remember to say thanks to all veterans today, and every day!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Todays post if by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc. and proud USAF Veteran.

Thank you to all my veteran brothers and sisters for your service past present and in the future.

SafeSourcing is proud to be a Veteran owned company.





Where is the best place for retailers to spend their effort to improve profitability?

Thursday, November 5th, 2020


Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This has always been a great question for retailers. Should we attack the bottom line by focusing on shrink, cost of goods or gross margin?

Obviously all retail companies would like to focus on all three areas and there are even sub sections of these top line areas that we could spell out as needing attention. The challenge is where to deploy already taxed resources?

It does not require an accountant to figure this out. If we assume that COGS or cost of goods and services is about 75% of top line revenue that would result in a simple gross margin of 25%. Based on a number of industry reports we are also safe using a shrink number of 3% of top line revenue.

This author is aware that there area a few companies with shrink below 1% and cost of goods below 75% which means there are also companies with gross margin better than 25%. The obvious question is; are these companies that solution providers want to target for profit improvement sales? Probably not!

So let’s look at an example of shrink improvement with data analysis tools and process improvement tools versus cost compression with SaaS e-procurement tools. Let’s assume we have a company that does top line sales of $1B. Using a shrink number of 3% shrink would be $30M annually. If you were able to reduce shrink by a third in one year, profit improvement would be $10M. If this were a supermarket company with a 1% bottom line or $10M, improvement could be as much as 100%.

Now let’s take a look at reduction in cost. If we assume the same company has COGS of 75% or $750M and that we were only going to address 20% of that number or $150 and only reduce those costs by 20% which is slightly above industry averages the net profit improvement would be $30M or 300% improvement in year over year net profit. If we were only able to achieve 10% savings which is well below industry averages, net profit would improve by 150%.

I’ll leave the gross margin example for you to figure out. In the above case it is clear that attacking COGS has an impact on the bottom line of up to 3 to 1 versus addressing shrink with your already taxed resources.

In order to learn about SafeSourcings risk free trial, click here or please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate