Archive for August, 2021

Fail Quickly!

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Those of us who are too afraid to fail, inherently play things safe. Those of us who play it safe, don’t set “unachievable” goals.  Those of us who don’t set “unachievable” goals, don’t rethink our mental models of what is possible for achieving success.

Of course, no one will say failure doesn’t hurt. However, it doesn’t have to be crippling, if we approach it correctly. In weightlifting we have to allow the uncomfortable microscopic tears in our muscle fibers to occur before those cells can rebuild bigger and stronger. In our personal lives, it we have to be challenged and tested, and shown where our blind spots are before our character can be improved. In business, sometimes we need to surpass our own expectations of what is possible, and test that with both success and failure, before we will know what we or our organization is truly capable of.

Nathan, my second youngest brother, is more of a risk taker than I am, and I suspect there’s a lot I could learn from him. He’s traveled extensively, goes sky diving, purposely seeks out random strangers in public to sit and have lunch with, and generally is always trying new things that I’d rather not.  But he has a method about it; If the only reason he doesn’t want to take a risk is apathy, he takes it anyway. However, if the risk is so great that failure would be unrecoverable, he doesn’t go through with it. He has a lower and upper threshold for the risks he takes, so that he’s never too inactive, but also never betting more that he can afford to lose.

The point of failing quickly is not to take on gargantuan risks. In other words, we don’t go out and bet the farm just to prove a point. There are foolish ways of taking on excessive risk of course.

The point of failing quickly is to expand our self-imposed limitations of what is possible within the proving grounds of activity that we can quickly recover from should the experiment be a failure.

Please contact SafeSourcing if you’d like to discuss how this strategy can help your sourcing projects.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What are you and your procurement team looking at? CPI, Inflation, Cost of Goods?

Friday, August 27th, 2021

 

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

So many companies in so many industries are struggling with their supply chain today. Most of the blame is on the Pandemic, supposed government assistance and other calamities such as weather and wildfires. All of these have had an impact that has resulted in poor labor pools and shrinking commodity availability. This has resulted in a historic increase in the Consumer Price Index that looks like it will not slow anytime soon.

The Consumer Price Index CPI in the United States is expected to be 273.16 points by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations. In the long-term, the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) is projected to trend around 281.24 points in 2022 and 286.59 points in 2023, according to our econometric models. That’s a further 5% increase from where we sit today. So, guess what, your prices for products and services are not going down any time soon. To believe that they are is folly. Waiting for them to or for the markets to stabilize is just not a sound procurement strategy.

However, that is just what many companies are doing. There is a hunker down philosophy until we get this figured out. To me, that is a cop out strategy that supports doing less with less. Less employees, so let’s source less stuff. Let’s stick with current vendors even though they are raising prices almost daily and based on the above numbers will continue to into the foreseeable future.

What’s the answer? It’s pretty simple actually. Augment your staff with companies that have the tools and the knowledge to mitigate your workload and improve your costs and service. Companies like SafeSourcing. Just today I watched a company use our resources to source sanitary wipes. Eleven (11) suppliers participated in the bid. The low supplier offered a cost reduction of 21% on all items. More surprisingly the total of all low quotes would reduce costs by a staggering 36% offering some additional negotiation prior to award. This is in an up market. We see these types of results regularly. Because of our SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, we know where the suppliers are that can offer you the  best pricing and best service levels that support your needs. Because we run categories dozens of times in a year, we may well understand current issues in the marketplace better than you do.

So, if you want to keep paying higher and higher prices and charging your customers more and maybe losing some, keep doing things the same way. If you really would like to lower your costs in a historically up market, contact SafeSourcing  because we can help.

Resources

Trading Economics

Are your prices going up too much and to frequently from your Manufacturer?

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

 

Today’s question is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

What is a fair price increase? What type of margin should your Manufacturer be making? These are tough but fair questions that you should be asking of them every day. So, maybe in some cases it’s time to consider other than single source of supply opportunities. Maybe in other cases it’s time to consider multiple Manufacturers in order to meet your service level requirements. What language can you add to your contracts that ensures that your prices don’t rise? What indices should you be leveraging in order to mitigate in contract price increases?

If you’re interested in keeping your costs in line with reality or maybe even getting better pricing and service, contact SafeSourcing because we have done this many times for many companies in many industries.

 

Are your prices going up to much from your Wholesaler?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

 

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

What is a fair price increase? What type of margin should your vendor make? These are tough but fair questions. So, maybe in some cases it’s time to consider other than single source opportunities. Maybe in other cases its time to consider multiple suppliers. Do you have a fair pricing policy? Does your Supplier have one? Competing for your business is a good thing, its how the world works.

If your interested in getting your cost back in line with reality, contact SafeSourcing because we have done this many times for many companies.

Email Etiquette in the Workplace

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

 

Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, Vice President of Administrative at SafeSourcing.

Employees spend approximately one-quarter of their day reading or writing emails. The following are some basic guidelines on email etiquette.

  1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
  2. Use a professional email address.
  3. Think twice before hitting ‘reply all.’
  4. Include a signature block.
  5. Use professional salutations.
  6. Use exclamation marks sparingly.
  7. Be cautious with humor.
  8. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
  9. Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you.
  1. Proofread every message (do not rely on spell check).
  2. Add email address last. Keep your fonts classic. Nothing is confidential — so write accordingly.
  3. Emojis do not belong in your emails.
  4. Keep tabs on your tone – you could be misinterpreted.
  5. Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient(s).

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing needs, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Winter Parking Lot Maintenance

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

 

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

It’s hard to believe but winter is just around the corner and with it comes the harsh conditions that can deteriorate your parking lot and driveways.  All of the harsh conditions such as rain, snow, ice and the chemical used to melt these conditions can take a toll on a poorly maintained area.  Make sure to keep the area clean.  This means removing any materials such as leaves, planting materials, rocks and gravel.  These types of materials can hold in moisture and may help cause early corrosion.  If there are any areas that contain chemicals such as oil, gas, or other liquids, make sure and use the proper cleaner to remove the stains.  Leaving these types of petroleum stains can damage the area even if they are seal coated.  Once the seal coating is damaged, water may be able to seep in through small cracks which will weaken the area and allow larger cracks to form.  If you do find that you already have small cracks while cleaning, then repair the cracks before further damage occurs.  Not repairing cracks will eventually lead to the development of pot holes which will be lead to more costly problems.  Once cleaned and repaired make sure that it is seal coated.  This should be done about every two to three years to help protect the asphalt from surface 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 Pot Holes

If you need help finding a licensed maintenance company to maintain your parking lot, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company 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.

 

Sunscreen Recall

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

 

 

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

For years the general public has been advised to use sunscreen when out at the beach or while enjoying outside activities in order to prevent skin damage.  Recently, Neutrogena and Aveeno have voluntarily recalled their sunscreen products that contain benzene (a cancer-causing ingredient).   According to the National Cancer Institute, exposure to benzene can lead to leukemia and other blood disorders.  CVS Health stopped selling two of their after-sun care products due to suspected toxins. The majority of sunscreens have no problems; however, the following products have voluntarily been recalled:

Neutrogena Beach Defense (aerosol)

Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport (aerosol)

Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense (aerosol)

Aveeno Protect and Refresh (aerosol)

What in Benzene?  Benzene is a natural compound of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke and ranks in the top 20 chemicals used for production of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, pesticides, as well as plastic, resins and nylon and synthetic fibers according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It is a colorless or light-yellow liquid with a sweet odor.  It is flammable and floats on water.

It is suspected that benzene was a contaminant that made its way into the sunscreen product during manufacturing.  Or it could be a byproduct of the process of making chemicals that companies use to formulate personal care products and sunscreens.

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

Sandra LaMotte, CNN, 7/17/2021

 

Where to cut back on spending?  

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

 

 

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

If you haven’t noticed the price of just about everything has been going up over the past year or so.  Just recently another key inflation index rose significantly as the supply and demand mismatch continues.  The Producer Price Index, an economic measurement of the average change in prices that domestic producers of goods receive for their products in a given country, rose almost 8 percent over the last 12 months.  With everything going up, it is time to start thinking about where and how you can save money.  One way to do this is to cut down on your grocery budget.  According to researchers, the average household family of four is spending over 900 dollars a month.  That comes out to almost 11,000 dollars a year.  There are many ways to cut spending on groceries.  One way is to price compare before you shop by comparing prices using grocery store apps.  You can use the apps to browse their weekly ads and to download digital coupons.  When you go through the checkout and use you reward card the coupons are automatically taken off when the items are purchased.  Below are some other tips to help you save money during these trying times.

  • Get rid of Debt
  • Buy Generic
  • Use Coupons and Cash Back Apps
  • Buy in Bulk
  • Shop Online
  • Get rid of Cable Television
  • Cancel automatic subscription services you’re not using
  • Reduce Energy Costs
  • Pack your Lunch
  • Make your own Coffee
  • Set up your Bank accounts to automatically transfer money from Checking to Savings

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently?  If you would like 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.

 

 

What Do You Source?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

 

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

If your company hasn’t ever sourced products or if you have and just aren’t sure where to begin, you are not alone. With all the number of things each organization buys throughout the year, it can be a challenge to determine where to begin and what to source first. Determining what services or items you source first can depend a lot on different circumstances, such as time of year or even current market conditions.

The time of year you look for goods and services will affect the results of your procurement efforts. When you are considering sourcing snow removal services, you will likely have the results if you source during the warmer months of the year instead of the winter or fall. This is because the need for those services are at their peak during the winter months and vendors may charge higher prices for the same services because they may be low on time. Sourcing ahead of time lets you and the service provider better prepare for the upcoming season so that headcounts, equipment, and schedules can accommodate the need.

Another significant factor in the timing of your procurement efforts is current market conditions. While market conditions are not something we can predict or control, there can be some speculation. For instance, if resin prices increase in the market, the prices for plastics will likely rise. It can be beneficial to source your plastic goods during that point and simply lock in prices to help offset the price increases. If market prices decrease from there, you can implement language into your supplier agreements to reevaluate prices monthly or quarterly to adjust to those market conditions.

If you are simply unsure what products you should begin sourcing, a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can assist your team. Whether you already have a procurement team in place or no procurement team, SafeSourcing can assist your business or organization from start to finish so your sourcing projects are successful. In fact, SafeSourcing even offers a risk free offer where we guarantee the success of our procurement efforts for your organization.

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.

 

 

 

We Can Source Anything Part 2

Monday, August 16th, 2021

 

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

In this month’s installment of “We Can Source Anything” we’ll consider fuel. I’m sure many of you don’t purchase fuel in bulk, but this is a really good example of how we can truly source anything. In last month’s entry, we talked about jet fuel and charters, so I suppose many of our readers don’t source that either. The point is that no matter how obscure your need or how challenging it might seem to use an eProcurement process to source it, we can work with you.

Over the years, SafeSourcing has worked with some of our customers to source their fuel needs in a variety of markets and for various categories. If you’re a regular reader of the SafeSourcing blog, you have probably read that we have an average savings greater than 24% and that we consider any event that achieves over 25% to be a Grand Slam. These were certainly not Grand Slams from a percent saved perspective, but I would absolutely call them a Grand Slam from a dollar saved perspective. For example, causing the vendors to have to compete for spot buy volumes on 1000 RBOB, 80 PBOB, 50 ULSD, and more caused over 1.5% savings in one market against millions of gallons of fuel.

Along with fuel, we’ve also sourced many additives in bulk for those same customers, also with great success such as IVD additive and others.

Finally, let’s not forget that fuel services may also come into play. Companies that have a diesel fueling service as an example have done very well using our services to source that program savings on average about 7.5% overall. Depending on fleet size, this can become a very substantial source of savings annually.

The point is that SafeSourcing’s services should not be limited to mere supply categories. We do so much more than that. Check back in the future and I’ll share more examples of some out of the ordinary sourcing activities.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.