Archive for September, 2021

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

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

 

Todays re-post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. Archives

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.

Prices going up or cannot get enough Product to satisfy demand?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

 

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

If used properly a large supplier database like SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database provides companies with   readily accessible data that supports growing their spend with e-procurement tools

Companies should have continuing success when running prior e-procurement events over again, one area of commonality that has historically made this difficult is a lack of new sources of supply.

There is a proper way to ensure the sustainability of your eSourcing events such as RFI’s RFP’s and RFQ’s or Reverse auctions going forward. Since you have already conducted or should have conducted a detailed discovery the 1st time around a robust supplier database like the SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database Query Tool with over 500,000 supplier companies will allow you to do the following based on up to date vetted data.

  • Conduct a detailed supplier discovery
    • Rank the suppliers
    • By Size
    • By Experience
    • By References
    • By Environmental certifications
    • By Safety Certifications
    • By Location
  • Develop a three-year supplier game plan
    • Identify suppliers for each category over the sourcing horizon
    • Develop a three-year supplier rotation bidding schedule
  • Ask the following questions
    • What suppliers will I invite and why
    • Keep in mind the unique benefits of distributors vs. manufacturers
    • Discuss potential award of business strategies

If you don’t have a reliable new source of supplier information and only use the same suppliers that you originally used to conduct your category sourcing events, don’t expect continuing savings as you really don’t have the appropriate leverage points. If you don’t know where to access this type of data, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Sourcing For Dummies!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

 

Today’s post is another interesting perspective from our archives SafeSourcing.

As I was searching for a book in my local mega book store (maybe not during these times), I was looking for the technology section. Once I found it, I saw a wide range of the popular For Dummies series with subjects like, iPhone, Microsoft Office, and the one I purchased, HTML XHTML and CSS. I often wonder how store personnel answer the phone when someone calls asking for help and they try to explain the For Dummies series without insulting the customer. Anyway, I digress. I started thumbing through the different books and found that the paper stock and printing were all different. Noticing that, I started to think about the different aspects that went into making and producing a book.

As a sourcing expert I tend to view the world a little differently than most folks. When I see a book, it reminds me of the different weights used in the paper world as well as what drives the cost of the paper like the pulp market. For the pages of the book it is most common to use 120-170 gsm. The next thing I see is the type of binding that is used for a book. The most common and cost effective type is case binding.

At SafeSourcing we are very careful to take the time required to learn everything we can about what makes up a product or service. We conduct extensive research relative to all products and services in order to learn all that specific categories ins and outs. We don’t just do this sometimes, we do this each and every time to ensure that we not only have a complete specification, but a specification that will maximize a list of potential vendors, insure quality and drive the best price possible at this particular point in time. We do that, so that you don’t have to, because we are the sourcing experts.

To understand more about how we can help you source your projects, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

 

This post is from a year ago! I know that your costs are going UP! And they still are!

Friday, September 24th, 2021

 

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

Its amazing to me that with all the increases in spending resulting and continuing  from COVID-19 Pandemic, some of which would have been classified as tail spend that companies continue to not use tools available to them that will help to keep these and other costs down. Please contact me personally if you’d like to discuss.

At SafeSourcing, we help buyers save considerably on costs by providing tools that enhance the ability to do business in a better, safer, smarter, more streamlined and cost-effective way. Our flexible service offerings and suite of e-procurement tools deliver savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of our services and often much higher. Our annualized savings across all customers and all categories over the last 24 months are greater than 24%. You can not do better on your own!

We can help Improve your profitability and increase your efficiency. Both areas that  should and can help during these stressful times.

Here’s what one of our customers had to say. “We would not be where we are with our Indirect Spend if it were not for SafeSourcing.” SR. VP FINANCE OF $20B DISTRIBUTION COMPANY.

If you’d like to discuss our risk free trial, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services professional.

Healthcare Becoming More Predictive  

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

 

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

As tech and data sharing become more prevalent, healthcare will likely be more predictive, and telehealth will evolve, giving rise to new modalities of care.

The coronavirus pandemic set a cascade of changes in healthcare, and no sector was impacted more than digital health. Patients began receiving care outside of the hospital or doctor’s office into a necessity, instead of a luxury.  That acceleration has continued into 2021.  The global healthcare industry revenues are expected to exceed $2.6 trillion by 2025, up from $2 trillion last year, with the majority of that growth propelled by artificial intelligence and telehealth, according to consultancy Frost

Artificial intelligence is a key facet of this change. Proponents of the technology believe AI has the potential to transform healthcare functions, from clinical trials and drug discovery, to back-end administrative processes, to complex illness diagnosis.

Investment in AI has exploded. With the advent of the cloud, which allows organizations to ingest and analyze large amounts of data, AI could help drive major insights in care while saving the industry a lot of money. According to a 2019 Optum survey, senior health executives plan to spend $40 million over the few years on AI-related projects, compared to an estimated $32.7 million in 2018.

In 2021, industry could see further oversight of AI for healthcare use cases, especially those in the exam room, to try to address these questions of data bias.  “If an AI makes a mistake, who’s liable for that?,” said Karen Howard, the director of science, technology assessment and analytics for the Government Accountability Office, at a late January webinar on AI policymaking.

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……………………………….

Rebecca Pifer, HealthCareDive, 1/29/2021

Holiday Thoughts! Will There be Shortages this Christmas?  

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

 

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

There are rumors that there is going to be supply shortages this coming Christmas.  Because of this, you may expect to pay more for items that you can find.  A recent survey showed that about 82% of retail executives that were surveyed stated that that they were somewhat to very concerned about the shortages.  There are a lot of things impacting the supplies including understaffed factories, record high plastic prices and now there’s a shortage of shipping containers.  Experts say that the Covid-19 pandemic caused a reduction in the number of shipping vessels operating and that has led to fewer empty containers being picked up.  Because of this there are a lot of empty containers stuck at ports for long periods of time.  Also, there is a lot of congestion in key ports within the US which is contributing to lengthening the turnaround time for the containers.  Because of these issues, the time it takes to ship cargo from Asia to the US has almost doubled during the pandemic.  Below is a list of some of the items that may be in less selection and with higher prices.

  • Toys
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Gift Boxes
  • Gift Bags
  • Gaming Consoles
  • Televisions
  • Automobiles
  • Home Appliances
  • Clothes
  • Sneakers
  • Furniture
  • Christmas Trees
  • Meat
  • Candy Canes
  • Paper/Books
  • Actually Everything

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.

 

 

We Wear the Masks

Monday, September 20th, 2021

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

We have gotten used to regular mask wearing while in an enclosed space with others, and it appears that we will be wearing them for a while longer than expected. I believe we have all heard numerous conflicting facts regarding mask wearing and their various levels of protection.

Most of us have been used to wearing a cloth mask, which is intended to trap respiratory droplets that are released when we talk, cough or sneeze, and provides a barrier to protect us from inhaling droplets released by others.  The most effective cloths masks are made of multiple layers of tightly woven fabric like cotton. A mask with layers will stop more droplets from getting through your mask or escaping from it.

The more commonly available surgical face masks are generally graded through ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), but not all masks are graded. You need to make sure that you are purchasing a mask that is graded by the ASTM and it is from a reputable manufacturer. It will have the ASTM level printed on the box and are rated numerically.

  • Level One: Low barrier protection. Only for general use, not used for aerosols, spray or fluids.
  • Level Two: Moderate barrier protection. Use for low to moderate levels of aerosols, spray and/or fluids.
  • Level Three: Maximum barrier protection. Use for high risk of fluid, spray and/or fluids.

Masks are tested to five key performance criteria, bacterial filtration, particulate filtration, fluid resistance, breathability, and flammability. The more resistance it provides, the higher the grade. Surgical masks are loose fitting and do not provide a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles and is not considered respiratory protection because leakage can occur around the edges of the mask.

A respirator mask is designed to reduce the risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles, gases, or vapors. These are graded by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The most commonly used respirator is the surgical N95, which has been tested to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles, and must be fit-tested for each individual to ensure proper protection.

Although the availability of surgical and respirator masks have improved, there is still a limited supply.  Let SafeSourcing help you source the right masks from a reputable manufacturer.  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.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Healthcare companies: You are overpaying for your consultants

Friday, September 17th, 2021

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

 

Of all the different categories we source across the different industries we support, there are a few that stand out as consistently delivering savings well above the 24.8% average we regularly talk about. One such category is consultants in the healthcare industry.

 

To illustrate that point, I’ll highlight an example where we worked with one of our healthcare customers to source their Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) Consultant services using a two phase process. In the first phase, we began with an RFP and in the second phase we finished with an RFQ.

 

During the RFP, we ensured that all of the participating vendors were well qualified to provide the financial audit of their claims, assessing current PBM practices and claims data to ensure that proper and accurate management of the prescription plan is occurring. We also made certain that the vendors were well qualified in other ways such as meeting the criteria outlined by the business for partners. Once we had that initial starting point, we were able to proceed to the RFQ.

 

In the RFQ portion, we saw amazing opportunity for savings. How high was the savings? 70.37%. Over the course of 38 minutes we hosted an RFQ in which 7 of the finalist vendors from the RFP participated and competed to earn the business of our customer.

 

While this example is really interesting, it actually isn’t unique. RFQs for consultant services in the healthcare industry typically yield impressive results well in excess of our 24.8% average.

 

How would you like to enhance the negotiations with your contractors before you engage them for their next audit? Reach out and we’ll be happy to share our thoughts and experience.

 

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 Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

Essential Service 

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

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

The word essential has seen so much more use in the past 10 months or so. Because of this, many of us have had a chance to stop and think whether we are an essential worker and what that really means. I mention this to help point out that the word can sometimes be subjective.

During the last 10 months, I have had a lot of really interesting conversations with people in all sorts of roles in their different organizations. I have heard a lot about their trials and the new and unforeseen challenges they have faced.

What I have come to see as an outside observer with a wider view of how people approach similar challenges is that it can be hard to see past the challenges that are right in front of us. Here are the top three challenges and why the SafeSourcing’s services are essential even in the face of them.

  1. New and ongoing challenges. While it sometimes feels like we have all settled into the changes we had to make to adjust to the pandemic, the reality is this is not behind us. Staffing issues and ongoing workplace safety concerns take too much attention. But that is actually a reason why you should be working with SafeSourcing. We stay focused on your procurement-related initiatives so you can focus on all the new challenges that you have to face. There is no reason to have to choose between the efforts.
  2. There just are not enough resources. For too many of our customers, they must do more with less. Between layoffs, furloughs, and absences, there is a pretty good chance we have all felt a strain. Here again, SafeSourcing is an extension of your own team. We can assist you, so you do not have to worry about spreading yourself too thin. You will reduce expenses and can use that savings to acquire more resources.
  3. My other responsibilities are higher priorities. Managing your costs directly relates to any of your other strategic responsibilities. Whether you are responsible for sales, HR, IT, or any other role, I guarantee your own goals are in line with managing costs. If you are responsible for growing your company’s revenue, you should also be concerned with improving your company’s gross margin. At the end of the day, everyone in the organization needs to be responsible stewards of its expenses. You keep your eye on your goals and bring us on to keep our eye on your costs.

The main takeaway is that if you can keep an open mind about the benefits of strategic sourcing, you will find that one of the biggest is that it can be a great solution to your challenges both now and in the future.

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.

 

 

Empathy in Your Business

Monday, September 13th, 2021

 

 

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

This is the seventh blog within the author’s series of Emotional Intelligence in Business explaining empathy and how it will affect and help your business. Despite a bevy of research and best-selling books on the topic, many managers still downplay emotional intelligence as a “touchy-feely” soft skill1. The importance of characteristics like empathy and self-awareness is understood, sure, but intelligence and technical capability are seen as the real drivers of professional success1. Evidence suggests quite the opposite: that high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of a success1. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops1.

“Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark,” (Goleman, 2015, pp 3).2

4). Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

a.) Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers. (In an educational context, empathy is often thought to include, or lead to, sympathy, which implies concern, or care or a wish to soften negative emotions or experiences in others.)3 

Three Kinds of Empathy: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate:

The first is “cognitive empathy,” simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Sometimes called perspective-taking, this kind of empathy can help in, say, a negotiation or in motivating people. A study at the University of Birmingham found, for example, that managers who are good at perspective-taking were able to move workers to give their best efforts.4

The second is “emotional empathy,” – when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This emotional contagion, social neuroscience tells us, depends in large part on the mirror neuron system. Emotional empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world, a plus in any of a wide range of callings, from sales to nursing.4

The third is “compassionate empathy,” also known as “empathic concern”, with this kind of empathy we not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed4. It is not out of place at work: you see it when a leader lets people know that he will support them, that she can be trusted, that they are free to take risks rather than maintain a too-safe defensive posture5.

Please stay tuned for the next and final blog in Emotional Intelligence on how social skills can help you and your business.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you 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.

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References:

  1. http://www.dce.harvard.edu/professional/blog/emotional-intelligence-no-soft-skill
  2. http://cultureofempathy.com/references/Experts/Daniel-Goleman.htm
  3. https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/goleman.htm
  4. http://www.danielgoleman.info/three-kinds-of-empathy-cognitive-emotional-compassionate/
  5. http://www.danielgoleman.info/empathy-101/