Archive for January, 2022

Truly Appreciating Referrals ​

Monday, January 31st, 2022

 

 

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

Telling your friends, family, colleagues about some product or service is as common as anything. Online reviews and ratings are everywhere. It’s just human nature. If you need proof, just go to Facebook or Instagram and see how many pictures you see of your friends’ meals. Still, for something so common, we tend to be careful about giving actual referrals. It’s all too easy to share negative experiences as warnings to your network. There is very little personal risk in sharing a negative review. As a consumer, it can even feel somewhat satisfying to vent about a bad experience in this way.

Positive reviews are much harder to earn. Even more difficult to earn are actual referrals. There are probably many reasons for this. One is that unlike sharing a negative experience, giving a referral puts the referrer in a position of perceived risk. Clearly, they were satisfied with their experience, but will the contact in their network also feel satisfied? Worse, if they are not satisfied, will the recipient of the referral hold the referrer accountable?

Yet, this practice of sharing, both positive and negative, thrives today. Our own networks have grown steadily larger and easier to manage. Much of this is as a result of social media and technology in general. We’re able to connect with more people in more meaningful ways now that communicating from any distance is a negligible feat. While conversation about social media can be polarizing, there is no denying the scope of its impact.

Here is a Mark Zuckerberg quote about influence and referral. “People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.” Given that, Mr. Zuckerberg is the third richest person in the world as of the day I’m writing this, we should at least consider his opinion.

At SafeSourcing, we understand that to give a referral is no small thing. We understand that this is a vote of confidence and that this is a personal investment. We are fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of many customer referrals and are always incredibly appreciative of this act. We also take this very seriously and we feel the full weight of the responsibility.

SafeSourcing wants to thank our customers who think highly enough of us and the eProcurement service that we provide to stick their necks out for us with a referral. From the date of this posting through September of 2018, we’re offering a discount program for referrals. For our current clients, we’ll offer a 50% discount on your next RFx Event for any new referrals that lead to an RFx Event (contact SafeSourcing for full details).

We appreciate and are honored by each referral we receive, and we will compensate you for them generously.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

 

It is STILL time for cost avoidance

Friday, January 28th, 2022

 

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

Recently I wrote about cost avoidance and the how the impact of avoiding a cost increase can be just as beneficial as creating savings. In reality, I would argue that the difference between cost avoidance and savings is minimal.

We measure savings as current cost (what you’re paying for something today) minus the cost we are able to negotiate using our eProcurement process including an online RFQ Event. If you’ve received a price increase, then you can no longer buy whatever you were buying at your previous price. Because of that, the old price is no longer your current price. Current price defaults to whatever price you can actually expect to pay. That might not seem with pointing out, but it’s very relevant with today’s fast changing prices for things like freight costs, pulp costs, resin costs, and labor costs which will alter the pricing of nearly anything you would buy.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have several conversations with customers every single day about rising costs. This week, I heard about price increases in categories such as shelled eggs, salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, and more. I had conversations with some people who still think they haven’t seen this in full effect yet. I’ve had conversations with people who, like me, believe we’ve been seeing this in effect for at least all of this year. We’ve forced back many of these price increases significantly. As one final example of what I mean, here’s a graph from our new SafeSourceIt™ Event graph view that shows a corrugate product RFQ where the incumbent vendor (yellow) had just passed along a price increase that they said was necessary and based on the markets. You be the judge, but I don’t believe that price increase is justified based on the final pricing submitted by that vendor’s competitors (blue, green, orange).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have the ability to do this too. Don’t keep accepting cost increases and wishing you could create cost reductions. Contact SafeSourcing with your procurement needs and we can help. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

 

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Retailers it’s really pretty simple; just look at your Gross Profit.

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

 

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

How many times do we hear all of the reasons for a retail company’s performance being off? It’s the cost of doing business over seas, the economy, the cost of fuel, heath care costs etc. How often do we hear, that we are doing better than the same period a year ago or we are exceeding plan. All of that is nice stuff, but the bottom line is your bottom line. If you top line sales are up and your net profit is up it does not necessarily mean that you have all of your procurement issues under control.

Let’s start with some numbers you might want to look at. Don’t just assume that profit is a good thing because profit could be caused by an imbalance in your category margins.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself.
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1. How do your cost of goods compare to the rest of the industry for a chain of your size?
2. How do your operating expenses compare to other chains of your size?
3. How do your gross margins compare to other chains your size?

All of the above can be good indicators of overall company health and certainly procurement health. If your cost of goods is higher than industry averages for a chain of your size, why is that? Is there a specific category that is causing the issue? Do you know how to isolate the problem and then eliminate it?

If you don’t have or know this information, you should ask your e-procurement provider if they have it, because they should if they want to model an improvement plan for you.

As an example, here is an example of a previous years U.S. based convenience store chains targets for non fuel.

1. Cost of Goods Sold should run somewhere around 71% or 72%
2. Gross Profit should run around 28% to 30%
3. Operating Expenses should run around 26% to 29%
4. Net Operating Income around 2%

While these numbers are certainly off based on Pandemic issues, product  or services mix, you can build a case model on them to compare before and after for you company. That is if you have a tool like SafeBIM™ from SafeSourcing. BIM stands for Business Impact Model.

If you are way out of balance with these numbers and want to understand how to rebalance them, contact a  SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

 

FOMO Blockchain and Bitcoin

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

 

Today’s blog is our Archives at SafeSourcing.

Don’t miss out! This post is from a few years back and it was spot on, so it might be time to invest again.

If you had invested $1,000 dollars in Bitcoin back in 2008, you’d have more than $40,000,000 today. Bitcoin is based on the blockchain protocol. What is blockchain you ask? Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly “we can actually have a look at the blockchain and see evidence of what’s going on.” Blockchain originated in the technology space, which explains slow adoption rooted in its techno-babble jargon.

Marketing and business strategist, Clay Hebert (founder of Crowdfunding Hack), sees a familiar story playing out differently this time compared to how many companies were late to the party when social media emerged. People were very apprehensive about social media, putting your business or yourself out there for the world to see. But it worked, businesses were booming after starting a Facebook or Twitter page. People new about you and everything went viral. “In the mid-to-late 2000’s, big companies missed the social media train. They couldn’t see how Twitter or Facebook would immediately impact their business, so they were slow to adopt these technologies. They don’t want to play catch-up again.” Quoted by CEO of Bitcoin.

This is the same about Bitcoin. People all over are talking about how bad it is or what a scam it is. As Hebert (founder of Crowdfunding Hack) suggests too, we’re already starting to see wider understanding and adoption in blockchain technology from companies big and small. For example:

  • Large consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte are building out entire blockchain practice areas and developing key alliances in the space.
  • IBM recently forged blockchain collaboration with Nestlé, Walmart, Costco and others to improve global food supply chain safety.
  • Some realtors have begun to differentiate themselves by accepting Bitcoin for real estate transactions (CNBC).
  • The hurdles won’t be overcome overnight. Similar to the Internet itself and social media, blockchain will enable new digital transactions that will disrupt traditional businesses like document authentication and title searches.

Smart companies will build skills around blockchain technology to ensure they are the ones doing the disrupting rather than the ones being disrupted.

Bitcoin is becoming bigger by the day and I say we all get on board fast. The Companies are drastically starting to use it around the world. And it’s a matter of time before its being used everywhere and in every aspect of our financial world.

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.

 

 

 

 

Is your company active in the Crypto Currency Space? Should you be?

Monday, January 24th, 2022

 

Today’s re-post is very time;y by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

At SafeSourcing we can now accept Crypto Currency Payments and we invest in Crypto Currency. It is not as easy as everyone thinks. In our case we could take payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin. At the moment we are just accepting BTC. We could add more easily but will not until we understand the risk models.

When looking at our balance sheet, it just seems insane to not invest in an asset class that has averaged over 100% growth for over 10 years and represents a store of value that you cannot get in stocks or any other asset class and certainly not in cash. I will tell you that I have spent an unusually large amount of time trying to understand this class of assets. First it was just learning the language, much of which is slang from traditional investing language. Once I thought that I understood the terminology, I began to look at floor models, stock to flow models and growth targets compared to existing asset classes like Real Estate, Gold etc.

Just as a primer, here are some terms that you will want to know as a starting point.

  1. Mint
  2. HODL
  3. DEFI
  4. NFT
  5. Altcoin
  6. Fiat
  7. Blockchain
  8. Ethereum 2.0
  9. Exchange
  10. Mining
  11. Bitcoin
  12. FOMO

There are a number of great educational offerings in the space with explanations and ongoing discussions and education. YouTube and Twitter are both reliable sources. Here are a few folks that I like to listen too with their Twitter Links. They are also easy to find on YouTube

  1. Michael Saylor
  2. Raou Pal
  3. PlanB
  4. Anthony Pompliano

At this point I am no expert on Crypto Currencies; however, I do have over one thousand hours of education and think I can help if required. If you like further information or would just like to discuss this topic further, please contact SafeSourcing and leave me a message. I will get it immediately and respond as required. Best of Luck.

 

Staffing Agencies May be the Solution

Friday, January 21st, 2022

 

 

 

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

With the news that 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November, it reminded me that businesses should look at using staffing agencies to help fill the positions that they have open.  Some are calling this event the Great Resignation.  It does not appear that the workers are just quitting and walking away but they are taking a step back and making choices to change careers to better their work-life balance.  With this influx of new workers, it might be the right time for you to look into getting help finding the right talent for your business.  Using a staffing agency may help you save valuable time and money.

Hiring new employees can be a very daunting task.  Sometimes it can be a real struggle finding the right talent.  Even if you find the right talent the new hire may not fully satisfy your company’s needs.  This can result in wasted time and money.  As a result, a lot of companies choose to work with staffing agencies to help them find the right talent.  When done in-house the vetting process for a new hire can be very time consuming and expensive.  Staffing agencies can help with this because they do all of the vetting and may absorb other costs such as skill assessments, background checks, drug screenings, driving records and training.  Because of this, using a staffing agency ensures that you get qualified candidates that can come aboard and start being productive right away.  Below are some other reasons to consider working with a staffing agency.

  • Faster Hiring Process
  • Better Candidates
  • Save Money
  • Superior Market Knowledge
  • Lower New Employee Overhead
  • Performance Guarantees
  • More Effective Job Descriptions
  • More Access to Experienced Candidates

If you are planning to hire new employees and would like help finding a staffing agency, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one meets your needs.  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.

 

 

 

Procurement Planning​

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

 

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

As companies get the new year underway, there are likely a whole slew of things they are going over, from modified budgets to new processes. One key aspect that should be on everyone’s list are areas to examine for procurement. Setting up a list of 10, 25, 50, or even 100 different product or services that your organization could take a closer look at can be a great jumping off point to begin with your procurement team or procurement partner.

When reviewing the initial list, a procurement team or a procurement partner like SafeSourcing will look at a number of different aspects around those products or services. Price increases are one aspect that can be reviewed and addressed when undergoing a procurement process. Perhaps the incumbent vendors you have worked with for many years has regular price increases built into a contract that grow despite what market conditions do. This is another great reason to have your procurement team review what options you have for sourcing.

If your organization wants to get started with procurement efforts but isn’t sure where to begin or which categories, they should look at first, talk to SafeSourcing. We can analyze your spend and invoices and begin researching areas that would benefit your organization the most – a truly custom fit dependent solely on what your company hopes to gain and fitting your own goals.

When reviewing data, a procurement partner like SafeSourcing can set timelines that are timely, but do not short any essential aspects along the way. Using a procurement partner can free up your own procurement team’s time to focus on other important roles within your company, all while still delivering the service and value you expect from your own.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Amusement Park

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

 

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

When reflecting on the last two or so years since the emergence of Covid-19 and thinking about all the many things that have happened and changed since then, the best image I can use to express what this whole time has been like would be an amusement park (albeit a pretty unamusing one). There are a number of different ways an (un)amusement park and our world now are metaphorically similar.

First, it’s easy to get lost. Amusement parks are often pretty large, with endlessly winding roads and new shops and attractions around each bend. It’s difficult to navigate through the maze just as it is difficult to traverse through the world now with so many twists and turns. You may find yourself wandering around, looking for a good place to stop, only to find you are back where you started except no way out. Much of Covid-19 has been like this for so many people and there no gleaming exit sign to show us the way to go.

Second, it’s unpredictable. With each new twist and turn in amusement parks as well as Covid life, we can only guess what we think the future might hold and what will be coming next. Just like the roller coasters that go up and down, all around and back again, the market for so many goods or services (or even companies like GameStop) have been completely unpredictable. Many people have struggled to find things that they normally would an abundance of, like toilet paper in Covid life or just a toilet for amusement park life.

Third, it’s exhausting. With so much uncertainty and the inability to find rest both since covid and at amusement parks, naturally we grow weary of it. We may want things to change and go back to normal, but for now we can reminisce about days before Covid or amusement parks and look forward to a time when normalcy returns. Until then, we must keep striving on and doing the best we can, but there is some help out there. A procurement partner, like SafeSourcing can help you navigate the chaos of the market and help to source the goods or services that you have not been able to find.

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.

 

 

 

What Exactly are you Waiting For?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

 

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

I recently had a conversation with a procurement professional who is responsible for generating savings for his organization. His job is to use his skills to purchase goods and services at a better cost than they have been able to do previously. It’s simple and it’s common.

As you may know, this market has seen astronomical cost increases across nearly every category there is. This poses quite a challenge for the procurement professional as his livelihood depends on his ability to achieve savings.

Yet, there is a tendency within some organizations to view savings as a rigid formula where current cost – new cost = savings. I absolutely get that and have worked for many years to achieve that very goal consistently.

That said, the conversation must shift, and procurement professionals need to be held to a more realistic standard. In this market, cost avoidance is just as valuable. If an organization waits until the market allows traditional savings as defined above, then they will lose out on the savings they can achieve through cost avoidance.

Accepting vendors’ price increases as-is because “not is not a good time” to source a category is to agree to pay more than you have paid before. If you use tools like our eProcurement RFQ, for example, in this market, you might avoid that cost increase altogether.

What exactly are you waiting for?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

How e-procurement is used to combat inflation

Friday, January 14th, 2022

 

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

The inflation rate from 2021 was a top concern for businesses of all industries and scales, and nearly everyone is concerned about when, and if, rates will drop off.

Fortunately, many economists predict that the rate will fall in a significant fashion. Unfortunately, it will likely not fall at the rate they had hoped just a month ago. Optimistic outlooks predicted inflation will fall to 2.6% by the end of 2022, down from 7% at the end of 2021. Now, the outlook is not so clear. Household necessities such as rent and clothing costs are still rising, but other costs, such as meat and gasoline, seem to already have found a balance in the new market.

As a result, different industries are facing different challenges in 2022, and cost management looks very different from business to business. For example, retailers are focused on managing new demands in labor costs, and manufacturers find themselves getting hit with rising materials costs.

However, by using e-procurement to proactively evaluate the market, these concerns can be highly mitigated. But the severity of a rising market varies from cost to cost. The reason for a price increase can stem from a number of different issues, and by using e-procurement to source suppliers driving different costs, inflation can be met at its minimum rising rate, instead of having your costs rise at the sum of its different components.

To help you find the source of your rising costs, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.