Archive for November, 2021

Vendors or Partners?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

 

 

Recently, it’s been easier than ever to tell who are vendors and who are partners.

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

Times are tough for many businesses. For many business the road to a full recovery is still long, even as some businesses boom and others find they haven’t been overly impacted. Regardless of how long or short your road to recovery is, I suspect you’ve had an opportunity to see how some of your vendors have behaved during this difficult time and have taken note.

We’re no different. Typically, the stories I share are those of our clients. In this case, we have been able to make observations both through our clients and in our own dealings with vendors.

We’ve seen some real partners out there. Even while their own business might have been struggling, they are still looking for ways to help their customer. Some are doing so an downright creative ways. One example would be offering up less expensive alternative products for consideration instead of the passing along outrageous price increases caused by increased demand for many supply items globally. Another example we’ve seen is partners considering and allowing changes in agreements to accept lower volume orders than had been agreed to previously.

Vendors taking steps like these are great partners. When the dust finally settles and we are all back to normal, the customer will remember that these great partners were there for them during their time of need.

We’ve also seen some vendors out there who have proven to be bad partners. In the face of adversity and when their customers needed them, they chose to take advantage or to refuse to provide any assistance. I previously talked about price gouging in another blog post. The sad reality is that this is also happening.

Vendors who prove through their actions that they are not your partner will also be remembered when this is all over. The reality is, your customers are not going to forget that you didn’t help them or that you decided to try to help yourself at their expense. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I can tell you what the future has in store for you if you fall into this category. Your customers will leave you as soon as they have the chance to do so.

Right now, SafeSourcing is helping customers replace some of their vendors with partners. Right now, our customers are saying no to price gouging. Right now, all vendors have the chance to show that they are great partners. 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.

 

How are you managing price increases for your customers?

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

 

Today’s post is from SafeSourcing’s  monthly newsletter that goes out to over 6500 subscribers.

Here’s some examples of where price increases rising and according to sources, why!

McDonald’s Raises Menu Prices In order to keep up with rising costs, including a 10% increase in employee wages this year, McDonald’s has increased their menu pricing. The company is struggling to hire enough staff to keep their doors open even with higher wages as an enticement. The company is paying more for paper, food, and supplies. The commodity costs for the year have risen 3.5% to 4%, up 2% from earlier in 2021. It is expected that menu prices will increase by 6% compared to last year. “Companies across the globe are raising consumer prices in response to growing costs spanning distribution and freight to fuel and food. U.S. inflation in September remained at its highest rate in more than a decade, Labor Department data showed.” Starbucks Corp. will increase the average employee pay to $17 an hour from $14. Baristas that have been with the company will get a 5% pay increase and employees that have been with the company for five years or more will be eligible for up to 10% pay increase. Many restaurants have increased menu prices to offset higher wages for cooks and servers, as well as increased prices for meat, packaging, vegetable oil and other commodities.

At SafeSourcing we help our B-to-B customers keep their costs down so that their B to C customers do not have to suffer huge price increases. You can too if you contact SafeSourcing.

References

Heather Haddon. WSJ, 10/28/2021

When Life Gives Us Lemons…

Friday, November 19th, 2021

 

 

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

Depending on who you talk to, most executives responsible for procurement will tell you the road ahead for procurement is either going to be difficult for a while longer or a whole lot longer. The reality is there are a bevy of challenges putting pressure on the markets for nearly all goods and services and it will take a while for enough of that pressure to be relieved to see a measurable improvement. If you are in the procurement space, that sure sounds like life giving you lemons.

It has been this way for a while though, so there is no sense on dwelling on the challenges. It is better to face the challenges head on. The best procurement teams and most savvy executives will – like always – find a way to make lemonade.

Much has been said already about the constant price increases we are all seeing. You cannot read the news or watch TV without seeing or hearing about the prices of everything going up. But it is not all about price. Sure, price is an important piece of procurement, but price is not everything. Price is merely a symptom. Right now, what is more important is ensuring that you will be able to receive the products or services you need on time or even at all.

Not too long ago, this was a given. You order products and the products arrive. You contract for services and the services are rendered.

With this shift of importance, the ability for a strong procurement team to source what they need becomes a competitive advantage. The construction company that cannot source their windows is one who cannot open a new office building. The ever-growing importance of a robust database of qualified vendors and the ability to source and negotiate well in times like this can be the difference between failure and success. Sourcing activities now require even more attention and resources to complete. More complex negotiations are commonplace just to achieve normal results. The stakes are much higher for procurement than the cost reduction goals of the past.

Yes, you have been handed lemons. Make sure your team realizes that now is exactly the right time to make lemonade and that this can be done well.

You have the ability to do this too. Do not keep accepting cost increases and wishing you could create cost reductions. Contact SafeSourcing with your procurement needs and we can help.  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.

Should we Switch to even More Video Conferencing?

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

 

 

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

If your company is like most companies these days, you have people working in all dissimilar locations and serving people across multiple regions and countries.  With work habits changing over the last couple of years a lot of employees are working from home (WHF). Whether this is full time or just a few days a week it can put a strain on communication throughout the organization.  One thing that can improve communication is video conferencing.  Video conferencing can offer businesses countless opportunities.  Whether it is connecting remote workers, allowing collaboration between departments, managing suppliers, or interviewing potential employees.  From what I have found by using video conferencing for most of my remote meetings is that everyone involved in the meetings feel more connected than they do when we have a normal audio conference call.  When using audio calls only, it is easy for participants to get distracted and multitask and not apply their full focus on the call.  Adding the video makes people more attentive by knowing that others in the meeting can see them and allows them to stay focused on the meeting at hand.  Also using video conferencing allows for more effective communication and a more personal experience during the meetings.  Being able to see all the members makes you more inclined to use communication skills that we all have learned from face-to-face conversations. If you are thinking about adding more video conferencing calls to replace the audio, below are some other benefits.

  • Improves Communication
  • Improves Efficiency
  • Helps Build Relationships
  • Saves Time
  • Saves Money on Travel
  • Connects Departments
  • More Personable and Engaging
  • Flexibility Improves Attendance
  • Adds More Structure
  • Improves Associate Lifestyle

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.

 

 

 

Ethanol Prices Still Climbing  

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

 

Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, VP of Administration at SafeSourcing.

As drivers return to the road, ethanol prices are reaching record highs.  Ethanol, the corn-based fuel, is a common gas additive, has risen about 50% in 2021.  The price pushed to over $2 a gallon earlier this year, the first time since 2014.  Gasoline prices are the highest they have been in seven years, averaging $3.41 a gallon as of November 8 reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.   The increase equates to $1.31 from last year.  Commodity prices in general have risen.  Agricultural prices have risen as the supply chain has been clogged.  It has been reported that refineries have been producing more fuel but have not been able to keep up with the demand.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of ethanol fell to all-time low last year as people stayed off the roads, leading to ethanol production to stop and the closure of unprofitable plants.  “ The ethanol margins that we’re seeing right now in the market are extremely healthy,’ said Ray Young, ADA’s chief financial officer, on the company’s  earnings call.  ‘And that is just reflective of a very tight supply-demand situation right now.”1.

Farmers have indicated the price for fertilizers used in corn crops have increased substantially.  This has pressured farmers to plant less corn (a fertilizer intensive crop) in favor of soybeans that use far less fertilizer.

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. Kirk Maltais, WSJ, 11/11/2021

 

 

Source Local

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

 

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

With the rising problems with shipping, the global market, and product shortages, it may be time to take a look at what you can do to overcome your challenges and prosper.

With shipping rates up and packing supplies in high demand, if you can get something locally and avoid shipping altogether then you are in luck. You may be able to avoid shipping altogether. This may only work on small scale items but could be a fantastic opportunity with the upcoming holiday season.

With the global market being where it is now there may be a rise in local businesses. Businesses located nearby your home or office could mean shorter wait times for goods or services, which may in turn help you get back to business sooner. While local or small businesses can often cost more than big box stores, there is the benefit of investing your money and support to your community and helping it grow. This can work to not only keep products on your shelves, but also drive more business in the area you supported.

One other benefit to sourcing some of your goods and services locally is that you may find something you like and never expected. Often, some of the tastiest goodies or well-made items are hand-made and sourced locally. Having unique items that are well received can even bring more business in to your organization because of its uniqueness and originality.

Whether or not your organization has sourced locally, you may benefit from attaining the assistance of a procurement partner like SafeSourcing. We can help to find the products or services you need and maybe even find something you never knew you needed.

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.

 

 

 

 

Vendor Training!

Friday, November 12th, 2021

 

 

Today’s post is by Patrick Quinn, Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.

Ensuring the consistency of any of your business activities is always top priority, and for SafeSourcing, that means making sure each of our events runs as smoothly as possible. In an eRFX event, many participants will be competing for the business of our clients, and that means that each of them must be focused on their pricing, and not on how to properly submit their quote with a ticking clock running.

In order to provide a consistent experience for our participating vendors, we invite each associate who plans on submitting quotes to attend a brief one-on-one training session with us. Our training will cover the basics of how to submit a quote as quickly and efficiently as possible, what each listed piece of information on the screen means, the rules and procedures of the event, and how to know if you have submitted the lowest price for an item. In addition, we’ll also allow time for questions on your end at the end of the training in case there’s something that we didn’t cover.

This may seem like a lot of hassle just to compete for a sale, but with twenty to thirty minutes of your time, you’ll be able to quickly jump into any event that we run in the future, and strategize with your sales team without having to worry about what each and every number on our interface means, and if it even applies to your bid at all. So, if you are a new vendor about to participate in your first eRFX event with us, give a call to schedule a brief training session!

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services specialist.

Are you having problems with your inventories?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

 

Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard. CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

What issues are you having with you inventory?

We hear a variety of issues/excuses every day of the week.

  1. Cannot get the items you want even if they are on order
  2. Cannot figure out acceptable substitutes for items you cannot get
  3. Cannot find a new or additional sources of supply to make up the difference.
  4. Stuck in a sole source environment.
  5. Not sure of what inventory you should commit to post pandemic.
  6. Not enough workers available to manage incoming inventory or returns.
  7. Do not want to tie up too much capital on potentially excess inventory.
  8. To many yet unknown supply chain issues to deal with!
  9. Not structured properly to decentralize inventory.
  10. No collaboration program with other companies that may have inventory to share.

I could add another ten issues right of the top of my head! Why? Because we hear it every single day from every single customer as well as every single supplier. Many retail customers do not have products to fill orders and many suppliers do not have product capacity to bid on new business.

There are creative ways to work around these situations. They may not fix all your issues, but they well may fix or solve many of them and keep customers from looking elsewhere.

Is it secret sauce you might ask? In some sense yes, because companies like SafeSourcing, a SaaS based sourcing platform for all categories know where alternative sources of supply are because we deal with more of them than you do on a regular basis. We also must produce temporary solutions for the current situation of which you may not think.

I am however not going to share any detail with you. If you think I addressed some of your issues, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative and we can talk. We might save your people invaluable time that can be used in other areas. If you would like to speak with me directly, Contact SafeSourcing and they will transfer the call.

Best of Luck!

Persistence is Key!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

 

Today’s post is from Patrick Quinn, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

As supply chain issues persist, many businesses have found it frustrating to find not just the best quotes from suppliers, but any competitive quotes at all. The sourcing process can be incredibly time consuming when seeking the right suppliers, and the very real possibility exists that at the end of the day, your new prospective supplier can only quote at a higher price than your current supplier is already providing. If that happens, your business must now decide between keeping your current supplier and starting the whole process over again to hopefully find a better price on the market. If your business goes through this enough times, eventually you’ll find a supplier that can save you money. But, this cost saving measure comes at the price of all the time you spent on suppliers, and not any other issues that your business might be facing.

This is a problem that rarely exists for SafeSourcing’s customers. Our eRFX events are filled with quality vendors competing for your business. The persistence that it takes to find a supplier that truly earns your business is a practiced skill that pays off huge for you during our events.

Each event is unique to us, and is given the same level of commitment as the last. Vendors are constantly researched, contacted, invited to our events, trained on our tools, and contacted again, all to find competitive quotes, no matter the market environment.

Patrick Quinn is a Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

With WFH, Do these measure still Motivate Employees?

Friday, November 5th, 2021

 

Today’s re-post is by Gayl Southard, VP of Administration at SafeSourcing.

Traditional methods of motivating employees is all very familiar within organizations: good compensation and bonuses for targets achieved, praising teams’ performances, encouraging joint decision  making, and leading by example are all second nature to many business people.  As time and business evolve so must the ways we try to get the best from employees.  Listed below are five ways to motivate employees.

    1. Help Employees Understand the “Why”. When a new employee is added to your organization, make sure they are aware their role is vital. Explain exactly why they are doing their job and what they are out to achieve in making clients and customers’ lives easier. Give employees a purpose. A self-motivated employee is more personally accountable for their objective.
    2. Acknowledge all Progress Made. It is imperative for employees to feel like they are accomplishing something and their work makes a difference. Make sure to acknowledge progress is being made rather than a target not being hit. It is demotivating if a specific target has not been hit and giving up at that point is detrimental to future success. If employees receive recognition for whatever they do in the right direction, it will inspire them to work harder to exceed their objectives.
    3. Provide Career Development.Encourage employees to develop their skills, as well as the role within the organization. Opening job vacancies to existing staff will increase motivation and entice them to invest more in the organization.
    4. Encourage Work-Life Balance. Modern workplace puts emphasis on the importance of a balanced work-life. A happy employee is a motivated employee – develop fun and leisure activities in your organizations, such as celebrating birthdays, graduations, first-home purchases, as well as other significant milestones.
    5. Know Employees as Individuals. It is wise for Directors and team leaders to invest time in developing a good rapport with their employees. Every individual – even when doing the same job has a unique skill set and work style. Having an open-door policy so people feel you are accessible and open to their views makes them feel appreciated.

Safesourcing is motivated to help you achieve your business goals! 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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Executive Insight, Omar Hosari, 12/15/15