Archive for April, 2021

What does SafeSourcing mean by our White Glove Services?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

 

Today’s post is from Ron Southard, CEO of SafeSourcing Inc.

When I was in the US Air Force, our TI (Training Instructor) used to conduct “White Glove” inspections.  The obvious reason was to determine if our barracks were clean, And I mean CLEAN. He ran his fingers across shelves, tops of doors, under beds and anywhere that might contain dust or dirt. Believe me as a new recruit you did not want to have anything show up on those gloves.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides a simple definition of White Glove: marked by special care or attention METICULOUS.// white-glove service.

At SafeSourcing, white glove service when it comes to hosting an eRFX RFI, RFP or RFQ which are also called reverse auctions or online bidding includes the following. Our customer services team thoroughly reviews the event strategies, supplier selection, contract terms and conditions, and any other information and requirements a minimum of three times by multiple associates before sending it for customer’s approval. Once the team receives an approval from the client, we send out invitations to the supplier community that have been approved for bidding. Simultaneously, our team plays an interactive role with the suppliers and encourages them to participate in the bidding, reviews all pertinent data with them and responds to any questions and concerns on behalf of our customer and finally teaches them how to use our tool. During the live event, our team is online and on the phone with the suppliers in order to respond to any issues that may arise.

While there are multiple steps and many touch points in the simple process explanation listed above, the results speak for themselves. Our customers over the last 30 months across multiple industries and regardless of company or spend size have averaged 24.7% savings.

If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can help you source any product, service or commodity that you require for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

 

When Launching New Initiatives– let your sourcing partner do the work.

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

 

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

When implementing a new program of any nature, your sourcing partner is a wealth of assistance; they can accomplish a majority of the legwork so you can concentrate on other priorities.  In the seafood category, how do companies begin their search for new reliably sustainable seafood partners?  How can they be certain that their new partner will adhere to the certifications required by the Global Aquaculture Alliance and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership?  Most importantly, once their new seafood partner is determined, how will they maintain a price that does not drastically damage their budget?

The answer is simple—Turn to your Sourcing Partner.

SafeSourcing can provide you with quality, vetted suppliers with the ability to fulfill all of your seafood and other category needs.  Even more, they can assist in certification identification of all suppliers, this way if you have partnerships , you can remain compliant with their practices.  Once certified suppliers are located, SafeSourcing can provide the opportunity for price compression making your new program financially attractive.

When implementing a new initiative or program, focus on the implementation and let your sourcing partner handle the rest.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist with this process, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

It Is Time for Cost Avoidance

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

 

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

At SafeSourcing, we are all about savings. If you are a reader of this blog, you will know we talk about savings quite a bit. That is for good reason. Creating savings through online RFQs have a huge impact on profitability and the savings is often attained very quickly.

A close relative of savings that gets less attention is cost avoidance. Ultimately, both cost reduction (savings) and cost avoidance are valuable, but cost reduction gets more attention. That might not be fair these days with costs fluctuating rapidly and many commodities on the rise.

For example, I recently spoke with a customer who confessed that we were able to create value far beyond the savings we initially portrayed in our RFQ. This customer had the benefit of locking their pricing in because of the RFQ. In the terms and conditions for their RFQ event, we had included a one-year price lock term that each participating vendor had to agree to. In today’s market, the inclusion of that term has caused this customer to get millions more in value from the RFQ because of this cost avoidance.

At the end of the day, by the time their agreement is up for renewal next year, the cost avoidance value created by the price lock will have far exceeded the initial savings from traditional value derived in savings from the RFQ.

While I am not saying cost, avoidance is better than cost reductions, I am saying that there is a strategic way to make sure that you are able to get both, but it is difficult to do this without the use of tools like online RFQs that put the necessary pressure on vendors to compete and agree to more favorable terms.

Do not keep accepting cost increases and wishing you could create cost reductions. Contact SafeSourcing with your procurement needs and we can help.

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.

 

 

 

Is your parking lot in need of critical repair from the harsh winter season?

Monday, April 19th, 2021

 

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

It is hard to believe but winter is finally over and with it came All of the harsh conditions such as rain, snow, ice, and the chemicals used to melt these conditions can take a toll on the maintained areas.  Now that spring is here, it is time to have your lots and driveways inspected to make sure that these minor repairs that need to be done can be completed before they become larger more expensive issues.  One of the items to inspect are the drainage systems.  The drainage systems were probably neglected for most of the winter and can become clogged with debris such as leaves, twigs, mulch, and other large pieces of debris.  A clogged or semi-clogged drain can cause corrosion to occur beneath the surface and standing water above the ground that cannot be drained correctly may cause the pavement to crumble.  Another thing to look for is small cracks in the pavement.  When the weather changes from cold to hot it can cause small cracks to appear in the pavement. If you do find that you have these small cracks, then repair the cracks before further damage occurs.  Not repairing cracks will eventually lead to the development of potholes which will lead to more costly problems.  Once all the damage areas are fixed, the pavement should be cleaned, and seal coated.  This should be done about every two to three years to help protect the asphalt.  The seal coating protects the surface from water, sun, and harsh chemicals.  Below are some tips for keeping your parking lot well maintained.

  • Routinely Inspect
  • Keep it Clean
  • Keep it Sealed
  • Remove all Chemical Stains
  • Look for Bad Drainage Areas
  • Fill Cracks and Potholes
  • Refresh the Striping

If you need help finding a licensed maintenance company to maintain your parking lot, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   Our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database contains hundreds of vetted companies in this space. We also have lists of Insurance Agencies if your non-repaired lots cause customer property damage or injury.

SafeSourcing  can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which vendor meets your needs.  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.

 

 

It is All in the Name

Friday, April 16th, 2021

 

 

Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Vice President of Administration for SafeSourcing.

A year ago, as the COVID 19 pandemic began to emerge, Corona Beer’s Brand name suddenly became very awkward.  The marketing executives responsible for selling Corona didn’t ignore reports.  John Alvarado, Senior VP for Brand Marketing at the beer division of Constellation Brands, Inc. stated, “By and large we were experiencing many of the same challenges as other marketers, but we had the added layer and pressure that this virus was using the name ‘corona.’”1 As the year ended, sales in stores have held up.  Sales for Corona Beer and hard seltzer made up 6.78% of the category through December 6, virtually unchanged from a year ago.  There was no evident negative impact on the brand.  The familiar brand and popularity helped to ride out a very tough year.  During the early stages of the pandemic, when people were shopping so infrequently, they relied on trusted beer brands rather than buying craft beers they had never tried.

“Corona’s favorability score among consumers 21 years old and up dipped this year, perhaps reflecting some confusion or association between the brand and the Coronavirus, according to Victoria Sakura, managing director of brand intelligence at Morning Consult.”2 It was determined that consumers did not relate the name of the beer with the virus.  Giving any attention publicly to the name was purposely avoided.

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.

References………………………

1, 2 Nat Ives, WSJ, 12/22/2020

Consistency in your Supplies​  

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

 

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

Like most things in life, we must be consistent to see the best results. We must brush our teeth twice a day to keep cavities away. We must work out regularly to maintain strength. We eat healthy foods to stay healthy. A similar routine can be said for your organization too. While business consistency may vary a bit from health and hygiene, it still affects the health of your business.

A lot of organizations today regularly need and/or sell supplies. This puts nearly every organization somewhere in the supply chain and most of these organizations will say that being consistent is key. You must have a steady supply of goods, have a consistent quality of those goods, and also maintain fair pricing. If any of these consistencies fails, so often does the business too.

Whether you are a supplier or a buyer of supplies and you find that consistency is lacking, a procurement professional can help. If you want to find a new supplier for the goods or services you already purchase, then a procurement professional, like SafeSourcing, can streamline your efforts, assist your team with their work, obtain competitive pricing, or simply find the vendors that might be a good fit. If you are a supplier, SafeSourcing can match you with the company that is already looking for the goods or services you might offer. The procurement partnership can help all those involved and help keep you supply chain consistent and working the way you want 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 RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Listen to the Market!

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

 

Today’s post is  SafeSourcing Archives

When buying and selling goods and services, one of the first steps is to look at the atmosphere of the market.  Without this crucial step, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.

One issue that typically applies to individuals when they are searching for the perfect home or the right car is that they can be sucked in by the market and not even realize that they have reached their demise. For instance, if there is no market in a category, then the products will never go anywhere because no one wants them.

Potential simple things that  can and will affect the market:

-Seasons
-Natural Disasters
-Changes in trend
-The items are too specialized

Each of the above are pretty simple, but the cause and effect associated with each have a huge impact on everything you buy, ship and use. A change in trends, might be something as simple as the size of container ships increasing. More products on one ship that uses less fuel is great, but can the ports handle it? Can the existing logistics mapping handle it. Can weather (wind) impact it.

Do you have time to think this all through? I doubt it.

There are many factors that can positively or negatively affect how you buy and sell goods. Luckily for you, SafeSourcing is here to help because we study these things! Please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to your comments.

What is a Third Party Logistics Provider or 3PL and how do retailers use them?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

 

If you are having difficulty with your current distribution model, compress your spend using eProcurement tools and then source a reputable 3PL.

According to Wikipedia a third-party logistics provider (abbreviated 3PL) is a firm that provides outsourced or “third party” logistics services to companies for part, or sometimes all of their supply chain management functions. Third party logistics providers typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled and customized to customer’s needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for their products and materials.

As such, there are a number of types of 3PL’s within retail that may in fact service a single retailer as well as smaller buying groups of small retailers. All might fall under this umbrella including wholesalers such as SUPERVALU, collective buyers such as TOPCO or even a retailer collaborative that may in fact just coordinate aggregated purchases and in fact pick other 3PL’s to provide warehousing, picking and packing and distribution. Each of these providers may in fact provide some or all of the same services. The later or collaborative of multiple retailers might even be looked at as a non asset based 3PL.

In all categories of third party logistics providers however it is still the end user or retailer regardless of size that determines what products they buy and accept delivery of in their stores. As such, it should be no more difficult for smaller retailers to run e-negotiation events? There will need to be discussions as to costs that are purely associated with the warehousing, slotting, picking and distribution of products by a 3PL once an e-negotiation event has been planned, but these items should be easy to break out for bid or add to the final pricing prior to award of business as a flat fee. This is a practice that all 3PL’s should be familiar with already. Retailers should anticipate that their existing 3PL depending on services offered would rather not have you conduct these types of events as it negatively impacts their volumes with manufacturers and other providers and as such their company’s margins.

Understanding your options and the flexibility that 3PL’s can provide may actually make it easier for all retailers to use e-negotiation tools to impact their bottom line.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Retail spend management basics.

Monday, April 12th, 2021

 

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

No you do not!

A major step to trying to understand where to spend your effort when building an e-RFX attack plan is to understand the detail of your company’s P&L and how it can provide clues as to where you might have the most impact.

I meet with buyers or other e-procurement knowledge workers on a regular basis that want to know what categories are the best to select in the short term to prove the benefit of  e-negotiation tools. This quite honestly is not a bad approach for pilot selection as it creates an almost sure thing that results in a lot of excitement and the energy to move the process forward within a company.

Quite often before meeting with a new client, I will analyze their annual report and their summary and detailed P&L if available in order to get a good idea as to where the opportunities are hiding that can have an immediate impact. However in order to have long term viability as a way to conduct the business of buying, a more detailed analysis is required. Quite frankly before you can even begin to discuss vendor or supplier selection, management or evaluation this process is critical.

Key data required to prepare you for this analysis can consist of but is certainly not limited to the following. All of this data is readily available from a variety of industry sources. Quite often the data is a year old but you can bet it is better than anything else your customer may be using today.

1. Research and accumulate your specific Industry data
2. Analyze last years P&L
3. Compare your cost of goods with your Industries averages
4. Compare your gross margins with your Industry averages
5. Compare your net earnings with your industry averages
6. Conduct the same comparisons with selected retailers with whom you compete. Pretty easy if they are public.
7. Compare your departmental sales and margin results to those of your specific industry.
8. Look for department level anomalies.
9. Look for specific product anomalies within major and sub departments.
10.Select top categories that are below plan and outside industry average for cost of goods and margin.
11.Select top products that are underperforming to industry averages and plan

One example of the above might be to look at the grocery department sub category of pet care. Now drill down to the sub category of cat and dog products and a list of all accessories. Now look at what products are underperforming to the industry and plan. Continue your analysis with other underperforming categories.

In summary, did you need a spend cube to try and figure this out? No you did not. You needed someone that understands your industry and your P&L with some analytical common sense.

If you’d like to learn how these techniques can assist you, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

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

Have you ever played liars poker?

Friday, April 9th, 2021

 

Today’s post is from Ron Southard, CEO of SafeSourcing Inc.

I was just re-reading some of my old posts and came across this one. You know what? It’s still true!

So, when SafeSourcing in 2021 says it has 5 suppliers (think 5 Aces)  because it does.

Locating, managing and updating supplier information for companies you may choose to do business with has never been more difficult. How many former suppliers from let’s say 4-5 years ago are no longer in business? How many newer companies have evolved or taken their place? I already know the answer you are going to give me. It’s I don’t know.

We keep hearing about big data. What you need relative to suppliers beyond just their name is more data. With new regulatory requirements emerging daily, economies failing, the supply chain shrinking in some places and expanding in others,  changing  safety factors and  environmental factors ( think LEEDS), detailed supplier information and traceability are but a few of the issues that require regular maintenance in order to mitigate a company’s risk.

Solution Providers like SafeSourcing that provide supplier databases (SafeSourceIt™) that are part of automating the procurement process, need to step up and make sure that their data support these changes on a regular basis to the greatest extent possible by providing tools that interact with both regulatory agencies and suppliers  in order to insure consumer safety and environmental impact.
Particularly as more new sources of supply and a continual stream of new products enter the supply chain daily.

Actions that solution providers should take include but are not limited to:

1.  Monitor daily alert data as to product recalls and safety warnings.
2.  Trace warnings back to the original source of supply automatically and maintain history.
3.  Require that suppliers meet certain safety certifications in order to participate in their database.
4.  Require that suppliers meet required environmental certifications or programs in order to participate in their database
5.  Provide a regular purge of suppliers that do not comply with necessary standards.
6.  Validate the entire database regularly for companies no longer in business
7.  Adhere to a strict RFI process for new suppliers requesting participation in your database.
8.  Provide a KPI rating system for suppliers you offer to companies as new sources of supply.
9.  Monitor regulatory agencies such as ISO for new standards and include them as further requirements for suppliers in your supplier databases.
10. Conduct on going category research for evolving new sources of supply.
11. Compare your best customers GL to your database for additions deletions.

Ask your solution provider what their process is to grow manage and maintain their supplier database for your benefit.

If you’d like more information on the SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database of nearly 500,000 cleansed global sources of supply, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.