Archive for October, 2021

Ten intangibles we bring to the table from our associates in a recent internal survey!

Friday, October 29th, 2021

 

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

I am very proud of the results of a recent internal survey that identified 80 intangibles that our employees and management believe SafeSourcing brings to our customers. Here are ten that have a great impact on our customers.

  1. SafeSourcing’s staff is passionate about Saving Companies money.
  2. SafeSourcing is willing to develop new solutions or strategies to meet our client’s needs.
  3. SafeSourcing’s staff is willing to put in the extra effort needed to meet our client’s timelines.
  4. SafeSourcing’s employees bring extreme category knowledge to all events they execute.
  5. SafeSourcing develops and provides detailed custom reporting on complex events.
  6. SafeSourcing works to keep our costs low so we can offer an extremely competitive pricing.
  7. SafeSourcing’s white glove customer service is second to none.
  8. SafeSourcing’s leadership team truly cares about the wellbeing of their employees.
  9. SafeSourcing truly cares about sourcing safe products and services.
  10. SafeSourcing is committed to continuous improvement and desires to lead our industry.

If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you improve your sourcing results,  or to learn more about our risk free trial, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services representative.

We have an entire team anxious to assist you.

 

 

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

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

 

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.

 

As Services Expand So Do Sourcing Needs

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives!

In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, retailers are getting more and more creative with the types of services they are offering their clients to get them into the stores. Dine-in space that offers music, internet access or scheduled events such as wine-tasting are becoming more popular every year as retailers compete for the customer’s time, attention and money.

With so many of these services being implemented quickly and by the individual stores, at least initially, the opportunity to consolidate and organize the entire spend for the company presents a very big and potentially profitable opportunity.

One growing service retailers are offering is in-store internet access. Customer internet is a service that can easily be sourced for the entire company either through one national vendor, or a handful of regional vendors. Leveraging the purchasing power of all of the company’s locations for internet services can be a highly successful process as there are so many more providers today than there were even 5 years ago.

The music played in these new areas is also another service that can be sourced as there are many suppliers that can either supply music that can be played and sold at the point of purchase creating yet another new revenue stream or that provide internet streamed music complete with customized marketing messaging in between songs.

Another way for retailers to successfully reduce their spends by purchasing for the whole company is with the supplies being used for their coffee or dining services. In many cases these new areas are not treated as their own profit centers and the materials needed to run them are purchased on a store by store, as needed basis. Napkins, utensils, cups, condiments as well as all of the ingredients that go into the finished product are examples of items that could be taken to the vendor community for more competitive pricing.

So many of these new ideas for bringing customers are highly affective and are difference makers for someone shopping at one location over another and by bringing the services and products they offer under solid sourcing practices they can also be highly profitable new channels of revenue for the company.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with sourcing these goods and services, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Sourcing Project Fingerprints

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

The day we are born we all get a set of identifying marks that make us unique; our fingerprints. Not one us have the same set of fingerprints and so they have become one of the things that identify who we are to the rest of the world.

In much the same way our physical fingerprints identify us, how we approach and handle tasks in our everyday lives have characteristics similar to our fingerprints that identify us as the ones involved with those tasks; how we write; how we speak; how we lead; how we organize; how we communicate. Each of us puts fingerprints on our work that identify us as being involved with a project. Let’s look at a few areas to help you determine what fingerprints you are leaving behind.

Research: Every sourcing project begins with the research. Research includes understanding what you are buying, how much you are buying, who you are currently buying that product from and who else sells that product that you could buy it from. The diligence you show in digging up the documents, emails, contracts, potential new vendors leaves your fingerprint on a project a major way.

Tool use: Tools range from pencil & paper to Excel spreadsheets to fullblown eSourcing solutions that intelligently help you organize the procurement process. Knowing what tools you have at your disposal and how to use them can mark a project with your involvement. Also, knowing when the tools you have aren’t sufficient is equally important.

Organization: Knowing all of the details does no good unless the organization of a project is done well. Great procurement professionals can assess a project; determine who needs to be involved; determine what each phase of the project should be and who should be brought in to assist with each step of the process. Knowing what to expect and organizing appropriately can be the difference between a successful project and one that fails to meet expectations.

Communication: Communication is tightly connected with organization. Without effective communication among all parties involved in the organized project, including what the expectations of each member are, many projects fail before they ever begin.

Desire: The wild card to the fingerprint you leave on a project is desire. Desire can originate from many different sources but the goal is always the same; completing a successful project in the time it was expected to happen. Among each of the five components mentioned here, desire will mark projects as yours and will many times be the difference-maker in a project being completed correctly and in a timely manner. When you strongly care about a project being successful, the majority of the time it will be.

For more information on SafeSourcing or how you can leave better fingerprints on your sourcing projects, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

What Tech Gifts Should You Buy Now For The Holidays?

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

 

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

In a BLOG that I wrote about a month ago, I warned about the upcoming supply shortages that could occur this holiday season.  Well a month later it appears that it may be worse than expected.  Many are saying that you need to start your holiday shopping now to ensure that you get the items need.  Almost everything that we will be buying this season will be affected in some way or another.  But the items that will be most affected are the ones that are usually the hottest items of the season, electronics.  These items will be hard to find because of the shortage of semiconductors which experts are saying could last well into 2022 and they do not expect things to return to normal before the first half of 2023.  Below are some of the hot electronics that you may to start buying now before it’s too late.

  • Laptops
  • Computer Monitors
  • Televisions
  • Soundbars
  • Robot Vacuums
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Sony PlayStation 5
  • Xbox Series X and Series S
  • Amazon Echos
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Apple Watch
  • Apple iPads
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds+
  • Apple AirPods Pro

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.

 

 

 

Cancelled Sysco Orders Hurt Phoenix Restaurants  

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

 

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

On October 8th, restaurant owner Mike Baum, waited six hours in line at the Sysco warehouse in Tolleson, AZ to pick up food for his restaurant, only to leave empty handed. He was able to secure an order the following week after waiting four hours.  Baum and several local restaurant owners report challenges in obtaining supplies not only from Sysco, but other distributors as well.  Braun reported he can’t get corn on the cob although it is available from Kansas.  There are no trucks to transport it to Arizona.  Braun was told the lack of labor; truck drivers and warehouse workers are the cause of the supply chain delays.  Sysco is one of the largest food and kitchenware suppliers in the country.  Shannon Mutschler, a spokesperson for Sysco made the following statement to the Arizona Republic Newspaper: “Sysco regrets that we have had to delay or pause service for a limited number of customers in various locations.  This is mainly due to unprecedented labor shortages in the industry.  We are aggressively recruiting delivery partners and warehouse associates, and our goal is to restore service to our impacted customers as soon as possible.”

Some restaurant owners said that they have had to reduce their menu offerings due to lack of product.  Julia Chugerman, owner of Verdura restaurant in Phoenix works with US Food, as well as a local supplier.  One of the more popular menu items her restaurant relies on oyster mushrooms.  The mushrooms have been difficult to source.  Other vegetables, such as Brussel sprouts arrive moldy, or they aren’t in stock.  She has been substituting broccoli for Brussel sprouts.

Sysco isn’t the only distributor that restaurant owners are having difficulty getting products.  Some days it’s the liquor distributors and some days it’s trying to source straws and other paper products.  It is difficult for the customers that frequent restaurants to understand how frustrating this is on the restaurant owners and their staff.

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:

Pricilla Totlyapungprasert, WSJ, 10/16/2021

 

 

 

Yes, Your Costs Really Are Going Up.  Part 2

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

 

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

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

In yesterday’s post, we covered some of the reasons why costs continue to rise across all categories. You’ve probably noticed this in your own personal purchasing experiences as well.

No matter why a certain cost has been rising, some of our customers have continued to work with SafeSourcing to push back against these forces. What we’ve learned has been interesting. At times, what we’ve learned has actually been genuinely surprising.

In the previous post, we focused in on a couple main reasons why purchasers feel they cannot control the rising cost. These were that they don’t want to disrupt their existing supply chain and that they don’t feel they have the leverage to have an impact.

So, what’s a buyer to do? Let’s get into some answers.

If you worried about potential disruption in your supply chain, we could say that this is unlikely if you manage the process well. We’re aware of the pitfalls such as delays caused by switching and we’re going to help you avoid that. What we’ve seen from experience is that patience wins out. If you’re likely to have continually rising costs over the next year and you choose to do nothing, then you have accepted the cost increases for the full year. No matter what. If you choose to work strategically and source a category even if it will take some amount of time to work through the change from your current source to an alternative source, you will eventually benefit from that new pricing model. Rather than accept 12 months of increases on top of your pricing, you may only have to tolerate 3 months as you work and be patient through the initial the delays. There are other examples, but this more short-sighted example seems to be common.

You do have leverage. Those that think they don’t have leverage as a buyer in this market lack the perspective that we have at SafeSourcing. We see customers of all sizes find success if they’re willing to put in the work with us and try. The reality is, there are always competitors looking to win your business. Many customers come to us with this concern without realizing that there are much smaller competitors out there finding success in sourcing already and they are likely to find even more based on their size. Regardless of your perspective on leverage, it’s important to trust the process that brings the vendors together to compete in real time for your business. Even in an up market, the process still causes margins to be minimized based on the actual market conditions. This can often be surprising when a vendor brings you a large price increase and you find out through an RFQ that the actual increase should have only about half of what they told you if not less.

Hopefully this helps you see that you do still have options and that SafeSourcing will be your partner to manage the project from end-to-end to help keep you on track. We’d love to hear from you if you have any other specific concerns outside of what we focused on here.  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.

 

 

 

 

Yes, Your Costs Really Are Going Up. Part I

Monday, October 18th, 2021

 

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

As a result of a variety of factors, you have probably noticed that costs are increasing. Regardless of whether you are responsible for procurement in your professional life, you can’t help but notice these trends. We’ve been working with our customers on this for about a year as we’ve been watching prices rise continually. We’ve covered that in our blog posts extensively as well such as covering the costs of lumber back in a May 2021 post.

Every day, we hear more from customers about why they feel this is happening in just about every spend category. Commonly cited issues include shipping container delays, labor shortages, and inflation. Each of these is either compounded in some way due to the changes in the economy related to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, we hear from many executives responsible for procurement that they feel they have no control over the rising costs.

Some feel that the rising costs cannot be managed because they don’t want to risk supply chain interruptions as a result of working to negotiate with their current vendors or working to find an alternative source of supply.

Others feel that they don’t have the necessary leverage to negotiate for better prices. Whether that’s because they have their own opinions of the market conditions or they feel that their purchasing power doesn’t offer them enough power in the negotiations, that can be a matter of perspective.

So, what’s a buyer to do?

Check back for tomorrow’s post and we will share some examples of where our customers have decided that they are going to continue to work against these forces and have been managing to find successes with our help despite the ever-rising costs that most are simply accepting.

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.

 

 

Is Your Sourcing a Trick or Treat!

Friday, October 15th, 2021

 

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

With the approaching Trick or Treat and Halloween season, families may be planning their costumes, parties, and sweet treats. Perhaps you are trying to coordinate all of the above. If you have ever looked around to find the exact things you need – from spooky, scary skeletons to bubbling, green-lit cauldron decorations – you will likely try to find the best deal on the things you need.  Unless you have a knack for magic, you are likely doing what many businesses do too – procure.

While you may go from hobby shop to hobby shop looking for glow in the dark spray paint and cotton to string through your yard as decorative spider webs, a business may do something similar with their items, be it napkins, cups, or overhead logo fluorescent signs. Both of these acts are types of sourcing and trying to find the right thing at the right price from the right place. Ultimately, the more often you source your supplies, the more familiar you may become with who has what and where the best values might be. Just like the Price is Right, if you watch the products and prices enough, you will be able to know what reasonable prices are for different products. This is where a procurement partner can help businesses efforts. A procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, has the experience and knowledge in order to help you find the products you need from vendors that are a right fit at a price you want. This coordination is how SafeSourcing does its e-procurement – and it is no trick, but rather quite a treat.

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.

 

 

Are you Utilizing the Zoom Application Shortcuts?

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

 

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

With a lot of people spending more time working from home, you might have been introduced to the world of video conferencing.  There a lot of apps that you can use for video conferencing and one of the most popular right now is Zoom. If you spend a lot of time using the Zoom application, you could save some time and be more efficient by learning some of the built in shortcuts.  The keyboard shortcuts are used by clicking a combination of the keyboard keys.  Two things that you probably do most often while using zoom can be done by using the shortcuts “Alt+V” and “Alt+A”.  These two shortcuts allow you to start/stop the video and to mute/unmute the audio. Besides these two shortcuts there are many more shortcuts available for use.  For example, using “F6” will allow you to navigate among the zoom popup windows and “Ctrl+Alt+Shift” will move focus to Zoom’s meeting controls.  Memorizing the available keyboard shortcuts will make you more efficient because you don’t have to remove your hands from the keyboard to use the mouse.  Below are some other shortcuts that can be used.

Meeting Shortcuts:

➢ Alt+F1 – Switch to Active speaker view in video meeting

➢ Alt+F2 – Switch to gallery video view in video meeting

➢ PageUp – View previous 25 video stream in gallery view

➢ PageDown – View next 25 video stream in gallery view

➢ Alt+F4 – Close the current window

➢ Alt+M – Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host

➢ Alt+S – Launch share screen window and stop screen share

➢ Alt+T: Pause or resume screen share

➢ Alt+R: Start/stop local recording

➢ Alt+Shift+R: Gain remote control

➢ Alt+Shift+G: Stop remote control

➢ Alt+C: Start/stop cloud recording

➢ Alt+P: Pause or resume recording

➢ Alt+I: Open invite window

➢ Alt+N: Switch camera

➢ Alt+F: Enter or exit full screen

➢ Alt+H: Display/hide in-meeting chat panel

➢ Alt+U:Display/hide participants panel

➢ Alt+Y: Raise/lower hand

➢ Ctrl+2: Read active speaker name

➢ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H: Show/hide floating meeting controls

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently?  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.