Archive for February, 2022

Invasion, war, and you

Friday, February 25th, 2022

 

Invasion, war, and you

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

If you closely watch the global news, there seems to always be some sort of invasion, war, or conflict. While the location of these conflicts and the underlying issues behind them can vary, it is always something felt by many. Recently Russian has been in the news and their presence within Ukraine. Hopefully, things will calm between the two countries, but things can escalate, and if so, you will likely feel that in yourself.

First, whenever there is a high-profile conflict, gas prices tend to rise. People get nervous and may rush to the pumps to ensure they have enough fuel to get where they are going or perhaps they just want to make sure they fill up their own tanks before prices rise. Whatever the reason, conflict tends to bring the consumer in at a higher demand than normal and this alone can raise prices.

In addition to fear and demand driving prices up, foreign conflict can have an enormous impact on the supply chain and lower the available supply of many different items.  Conflict can hinder the logistics of supplies throughout the world and additional sanctions on a country can further delay if not altogether stop supply routes. This may drive prices even higher, making the effects of conflict even closer to home.

Finally, the surge of fleeing refugees from within a conflict zone can also affect things economically. From housing and travel to regular foods essentials, and toiletries, the increased number of people within any country can greatly affect the supply and demand globally. Having a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, helping your organization navigate disruptions in supply and logistics can help your business stay on track.

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

Are we about to be out of avocados?

Thursday, February 24th, 2022

 

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

This morning I was listening to the radio show that I usually listen to, and they were joking about the ban on avocados from Mexico.  The reason the subject came up is because there was just an awfully expensive commercial that played during the Super Bowl advertising the avocados imported from Mexico.  The ban took effect the day before the big game.  According to reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Plant Health Inspection (USDA-APHIS) said it was pausing its avocado inspections in Michoacan after one of its officers received a threatening call to his official cell phone.  Unfortunately, Michoacan is the only Mexican state that is authorized to export the avocados to the United States.  Because of this ban we will now be seeing a shortage of another product here in the states.  It is estimated the over 90 percent of the avocados that we use in the U.S. during the winter months come from Mexico.  Besides Mexico, we also receive avocados from California, but low rainfall has affected the size of the fruit and the size of the crops.  The last time that we saw a shortage of avocados it led to a significant rise in price.  If this ban is not lifted soon avocados will become exceedingly rare and awfully expensive, if you can find them.  If you find yourself not being able to find avocados, below are some alternatives people use instead.

  • Smashed Bananas
  • Hummus
  • Nut Butters
  • Raw Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Olives
  • Pesto
  • Cheese

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company save money during these and other shortages?  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.

 

Brand Loyalty and Cost Reduction

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

 

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

Oftentimes, people stick with the same services, even if they know they cost just a little bit more. In normal circumstances, this is certainly a smart thing to do. Many times, cost you know is better than the one you don’t. But, when it comes time to cut costs, it would be nice if your service could bring its price down just a little bit. E-procurement is fine way to not only test the market to see if your brand really holds up to the market standard, or if it’s time to move on to greener pastures.

Even if your preferred service isn’t necessarily the best price on the market, quality service is a perfectly valid reason to keep your incumbent supplier on the books. RFQs frequently don’t see the lowest price receive your business, instead, a reasonable price with outstanding service swoops in and wins the bid. Your goal might not even be to find a new supplier in the first place. Sometimes, just putting the pressure on your incumbent supplier is enough to state that cost cutting is now becoming a serious factor.

Brand loyalty can be a powerful factor in decision making, and on the surface, e-procurement can sound like a way of upsetting your current suppliers. But by reaching out and giving your suppliers a fair chance, you can challenge them for a better cost without cutting them out completely with a sudden influx of new quotes you want them to match. A little bit of transparency can go a long way!

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

 

 

 

The conversion to working from home!

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

 

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

The number of people that have started working from home has spiked since the beginning of the pandemic. While not all have that ability, like nurses, drivers, and essential employees, those that do have shown great ability to adapt and maintain performance. Because of the pandemic and the ability for many to perform their duties from home, it has led to more demand of home services.

One such demand has been at home internet services. With schools and work being remote, as well as the reluctance or outright inability to see family and friends, web-based services have been a necessity. In fact, it has even led some to try and make internet services more affordable and available for those without access or resources.

Another significant increase is the number of home delivery services. Uber eats and Door Dash are just two of the rising new companies to seize the demand for at home food delivery. In the same realm, the demand for food and supply pick up has increased significantly too. With grocery store and big box store pickups, some even available the same day it is ordered. This fulfills the needs of everyday goods and groceries, without the need of ever leaving your car.

Another change we have seen is the increased ability to perform almost every need from home, from doctor consultations, watching new movies, remodeling your kitchen, or even buying a car. With the right tools available, nearly any task can be performed in a new way. Even within your company or organization. Using the tools of a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can help you get the services or supplies you need.  While you maintain the business activities you need to, SafeSourcing can detail your project needs, find the right people who fit those needs and collect pricing and other information to help you choose the best vendor for you.

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

Why so many lightbulbs?

Friday, February 18th, 2022

 

 

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

If you have happened to walk down a hardware or lighting aisle recently, you might have noticed an abundance of lightbulbs in their retail selection. They may be split by size and shape, or even color. Not knowing ahead of time what kind of light bulb you need can cause quite the headache when trying to purchase.

So how do you know what type of light bulb you need? First thing to look at is the fixture your intent on placing the bulb. Often lamps, especially smaller or kids’ lamps, may require a particular type of bulb, like Type A or B. If this is the case, you can usually find a sticker stating which kind on the actual plug. Here, there may also be information about the maximum wattage allowed for a lamp. This is especially important too to ensure safety and electrical codes and kept.

Sometimes if you are not sure what type of bulb, checking with the manufacturer can be your best bet. You can often find the same model of fixture online or even at your home repair supply store. If you have an old light bulb you can usually get some assistance and find exactly which type you need.

Once you know the size and wattage bulb, next you can pick a color. The standard for most lights is a warm tone and most mimics the lights bulbs of 20 plus years ago. It provides enough light and is a soft glow. There is also the daylight color, which is much cooler. This provides high visibility but can mimic the light you see in hospitals or other fluorescent lights. In addition, there are a number of different festive colors you can pick from, red and green, orange or pick, those that mimic a flame, or even black light.

Whatever your lighting needs entail, having a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can help your efforts in getting the supplies or suppliers you need for your organization.

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

 

Batteries Included

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

 

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

Over one hundred million eyes were on Super Bowl LVI this week.  Football fans are in it for the game, others for the entertainment, and some just watching for the advertising commercials.  These ads cost a whopping $6.5 million for a 30-second slot.[1] Most of which were automakers touting their Electronic Vehicles, also known as EV.

General Motors, Nissan, and BMW shelled out billions of dollars on ads promoting their new EV offerings.  Still, none for Tesla which leads sales in EV and has never done any advertising, because demand for their cars currently far exceeds the number of cars their company can build.[2] Some of these vehicles that were advertised will not be available for months. Chevrolet’s Silverado EV is not due out until 2024.

The delays in getting these EVs on the market are due to a number of factors, including the global chip shortage, supply chain disruptions, and the difficulties of transitioning from internal combustion engine models to electric powered motors.  Another key factor in this delay is the battery.

Power and range of the EV depends on the type of battery it uses. Lithium-ion batteries are relatively low-cost, low maintenance, and have high energy density but manufacturers are exploring different battery options such as solid-state batteries which can store more energy, charge faster and are safer than lithium-ion batteries.[3] Solid-state batteries are still in the process of development and are a long way off from being considered as the standard, but investors are pouring money into their development and production.

The global automotive battery market is expected to reach $85.41 billion by 2025.[4] Lithium-ion batteries are currently the best choice for EV and the demand is anticipated to rise in the coming years.  Since lithium is one of the most important components in the manufacturing of EV batteries, stocks in lithium mining companies are on the rise. While it may be a while before you consider investing in the purchase of an EV, it seems lithium stocks may prove to be a worthy investment.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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.

We look forward to your comments.

References………………………………….

[1] https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/super-bowl-lvi-commercials-take-lighter-approach/2888301/

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/14/business/super-bowl-ev-ads/index.html

[3] https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/factorial-energy-200m-future-ev-solid-state-lithium-batteries

[4] https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/3-battery-stocks-to-watch-amid-electric-car-revolution-2020-06-25

Tips To Get More Out from Your RFQ

Wednesday, February 16th, 2022

 

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

The purpose of a request for quote (RFQ) is typically to reduce costs. Whether you are trying to get the same product or service at a better price, or you are in need of the best pricing available for a new product or service, an RFQ is one of the best ways to get costs reduced.

More recently, that has been challenging with prices for nearly everything constantly on the rise. So how do the best negotiators find success in a challenging market?

Strategy: This may seem basic, but this is often overlooked. The best buyers have a detailed strategy. At SafeSourcing, we create a strategy for every RFQ we deliver, and we create that based on feedback from the markets, from the customers, from the vendor community, and from our own database of RFQ event history. Write out your strategy if you want to be successful. Be specific.

Reserve Prices: Using on online RFQ process like SafeSourcing’s SafeSourceIt™ eRFx tool likely gives you some interesting options. One of those that has been used more heavily recently is reserve pricing. A buyer can set an unpublished reserve price that indicates to the vendors quoting that the customer has a price point in mind and will not be satisfied if that is not met. Make this part of your strategy upfront for best results and set realistic reserves that are tied to a realistic goal.

Be Realistic: However, you feel about it, prices are significantly higher than they were before. If you had a fixed price contract that you negotiated 2 years ago, you are unlikely to get that same price again now. Do not fall into the trap of setting the parameters for your bid too tightly. An example would be setting a max quote based on your 2-year-old pricing and forcing vendors to sit out because they cannot compete. Again, as part of your strategy, you must consider your current price as well as any price increases you have been notified about or are anticipating. That plus the appropriate markets will guide you toward success.

These are just three tips out of many, and we are always happy to share more. Let us know what types of challenges you face, and we will share some guidance!

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

 

C-Suite Leaders. Do you really believe that prices should be rising or that inflation should be so high?

Friday, February 11th, 2022

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, Chairman and CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

In the last several weeks SafeSourcing has run online bids for construction materials, meat products, and several types of store fixtures. All have resulted in beneficial results for our customers. In fact, for savings that are lower than their previous contract pricing. I am not going to ask you to believe me, because you will have a bunch of reasons as to why your procurement teams cannot produce the same results. So just sit around until inflation goes away. Or just sit around until perceived supply chain issues resolve themselves. Once that happens, your costs will return to pre pandemic pricing. Here is what I have to say about that, BS!

I have read articles recently about Ford Motors CEO being upset with dealerships for unreasonable markups, to the point of potentially restricting allocations to those dealers. Today GM entered the same conversation. I have read about giant meat packing companies paying millions of dollars to settle price fixing charges. There are many more examples like this, there is no need for the price increases that are being charged to consumers or for your vendors to be raising prices to you as much as they are.

Actual savings versus your older contract pricing may be difficult, but per the few examples I mentioned above, not impossible. Cost avoidance from the pricing your suppliers are quoting you is nearly 100% possible if you setup your bid correctly. In today’s world, single source is a danger as we have seen during our ongoing and perhaps never going away pandemic. Our SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database has thousands upon thousands of suppliers that would love your business or part of your business and at a better price than you are getting today.

Whether you have capital projects, cost of goods issues as we have discussed or want to focus on your expense, we have done it all from software and services to commodities.

If you do not believe me, click on the contact us link imbedded here, and it will go directly to me. Or just keep not focusing on it and as your team is telling you, it will not get any better

Communicating the Good eAuction News

Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

 

An Oldie but goody from our SafeSourcing Archives

While the answer is probably not going to be “I’m going to Disneyland,” the answer from some of the biggest companies in the world, actually because they are the biggest companies in the world, is more surprising than you think.

Companies invest hundreds of hours gathering specifications and employing 3rd party partners to hold RFIs, RFPs, RFQs, and reverse auctions so that, at the end of the day, they can be assured of reducing their costs on the items that they purchase.

Unfortunately, great prices are only good if the rest of the company knows that they should all be ordering from the vendor that guaranteed and was contracted to deliver those low prices.

By not doing so, your company can actually lose money twice; once for the lost savings you could have received but didn’t because the company ordered from other, more expensive companies, and twice because many of these great deals are made on the premise that a certain volume of purchases will be made from that supplier.  If that level is not met, worst case scenario is that there will be financial penalties associated with the lack of activity, but you are at least looking at a situation where that vendor will not offer those same discounts again.

Communicating this information is not as difficult of a task as it may seem, so make sure you have a channel for everyone to go to that will let them know what items are affected by these contracts and who they should be purchasing the items from.

Many times, a company will have an intranet that can be used for this purpose.  In other cases, you may choose to employ a third party to host this information securely for your company.  If the latter is of interest to you, contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative today to speak about the options available to you in this area.

 

Is your company getting the best rates for natural gas and electric?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

 

Today’s re-post is from many years ago and our SafeSourcing Archives

Since the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) chose to limit its power to wholesale transactions, the road was paved for states to choose how they would allow price competition. This is also known as deregulating, which, means that companies can choose the gas and electric that is used at their business locations. It doesn’t mean eliminating of laws that protect against fraud, but reduces how business is done, thus migrating towards a freer market.

Currently, there are only twenty-six (26) states that are deregulated. A number of those are listed in the chart below.

 

Natural Gas Electric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PC=Partial Choice

Online bidding has now become a best practice for energy procurement. By inviting multiple energy suppliers to your specific opportunity being hosted for you by SafeSourcing, all suppliers will be able to quote interactively during a set time which extends until the lowest rates are identified. The method ensures fair and translucent competition, these benefits suppliers who want to win more business and challenges the market to offer aggressive rates.

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.

We look forward to your comments.