Archive for the ‘B2b Supply Chain’ Category

Knowing Who Your Suppliers Are – Onsite Visits – Part II of II

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

 

Yesterday we posted  about the importance of onsite visits with your suppliers, how to prepare, what to look for, and the value of performing these visits.  This week we will be taking a look at some of the additional things that you need to think about when visiting a supplier in another country.

Visits to international sites will need to encompass the same types of information gathering as a domestic one such as reviewing the cleanliness of the facilities, observing production, logistic and storage processes, but there 3 important areas that must be considered in addition to these that may determine the success or failure of the visit.

Language – Assuming you are visiting a supplier that is not located in a predominantly English-speaking country, the capability to communicate onsite is an important one that should be addressed well in advance of the visit.  Many times the supplier will have staff that is fluent in more than language and can act as an interpreter, however procuring your own interpreter is also a suggestion and possibility. Also, some basic considerations of your own communication style would be to speak more slowly than usual and pause in between sentences to be understood more easily.

Culture – This is an important area to prepare for because in some countries seemingly minor things can create a tense atmosphere.  Determining whether to bow and the details surrounding when and how, if the country shakes hands when they greet and which hand they shake with are all important items in some countries and should be learned prior to your visit.  On the other hand, it is equally important to note the things that are normally unaccepted behaviors in the U.S. which many times are not viewed the same way in other countries.  Americans would generally never answer a phone call in a meeting or show up to an appointment late, but in other countries these behaviors are far less important and frequently occur during the course of doing business.

Capturing the details – Visits to international suppliers generally come with a price tag that is not insignificant to your company, so capturing as much data as possible is important on these visits.  Wherever you go during your visit take a notepad and camera with you to record what you see and hear while on the visit.  Many manufacturers will allow you to take occasional pictures as long as you ask in advance and have it cleared.  Some may not allow it and others may allow it as long as no employees are included in the pictures.  Capturing these details will be very useful to you and your team in the future and can potentially save trips for other employees in the future.

Onsite visits to your suppliers are incredibly valuable and important to your organization and are a terrific tool for knowing who your suppliers are and how they do business.  They are also important forums to gather details necessary for later contract negotiations.

If you are interested in locating potential new sources of supply, please contact SafeSourcing.  The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database contains 457,000 globally.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Knowing Who Your Suppliers Are – Onsite Visits – Part I of II

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

One of the important practices recognized by many successful procurement professionals is that of performing onsite visits to both their new and incumbent suppliers.  So much can be learned about how your suppliers do business that may affect your future decisions and contracts.

Today’s blog will be focusing on visits to domestic suppliers and Part II will have more details on visiting your international suppliers.

If you are dealing with a new supplier and scheduling an onsite visit, this is the opportunity for you to validate all of the details they have presented in their RFP/RFI response or presentation; validating that they have the staff, resources and facilities to handle the demand you are requiring of them.

This will be an opportunity to meet the sales and support team that will be assisting you and your company when the inevitable problem does occur, so take advantage of this time to get acquainted with the supplier’s staff.

If you are dealing with an incumbent supplier, make sure you have thoroughly reviewed your existing contract so that details about the level of service and quality promised can be focused on as part of the visit.  Make sure that you request, in advance, any additional reporting from your IT department or from the supplier on the history of the relationship so far.  This would include quality issues, shipping issues, product delays, inventory availability or any other special circumstance that may have occurred.  This visit will be the right time for you discuss these with the supplier face-to-face.

A final very important area to spend time in your visit, whether new or existing supplier, is the shipping area.  Here you will have a very clear idea of how the supplier is organized and you may even get a glimpse at the companies they get their raw materials from as well as other customers they are shipping too for future reference and follow-up.  Information found in this area will also go a long way when having contract negotiations with your incumbent suppliers for concessions on how your products and deliveries are handled.

Onsite visits are critical to understanding who you suppliers are and can be extremely valuable negotiation checkpoints.  My next blog will focus on the differences and things to consider when visiting international suppliers.

If you are interested in locating potential new sources of supply, please contact SafeSourcing.  The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database contains 457,000 globally.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What’s the genesis of your supplier database and how was it built?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

 

Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

All databases have their start as an information gathering exercise that ultimately is enhanced by those characteristics the owner or developer determines to be useful to the community of interest the database is to be offered to. The information then becomes part of a data model where information sets can be accessed or searched based on a variety of queries or questions. Most developers follow a process called Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration or UDDI  as this process.

Universal Description, Discovery and Integration or (UDDI) is a standard established for building online databases of companies and the goods and services they provide, similar to Yellow Pages for the Internet. UDDI is intended to help businesses locate suppliers and products. Sourcing companies supplier databases go well beyond this definition.

Data models can be extremely complex and that is where they become more than a simple on line yellow pages. In fact high quality supplier databases should be able to provide much of the data you might find in the opening pages of a detailed RFI. A simple query like show me all companies within a 500 mile radius of your home office zip code that provide a set of products that meet the following safety certifications.  A next step might be summarizing all company information for these companies by a list of attributes such as company description, sale, years in business, officers etc.

How easy would that make your life?

If you’d like to find more qualified and vetted suppliers to support your sourcing efforts of any product or service, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday is really a story of a supply chain found and developed!

Friday, November 29th, 2019

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend from SafeSourcing

One hundred and two pilgrims and crew arrived in Massachusetts after a 3,000 mile trip from England on the Mayflower. It is safe to say that as a result of that distance there was no existing supply chain to leverage, so one had to be developed and quickly. This began with basic hunting and gathering and later included trading with the areas indigenous peoples known as the Wampanoag’s for corn, seed and foraging and planting techniques.

The Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621. Since the pilgrims had only arrived on November 21st of 1620 they had really not been there long enough to develop a fully reliable and renewable supply source. They had however established collaborative relationships with the local Wampanoag people who became regular trading partners and who helped them celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest.

The most detailed description of the “First Thanksgiving” comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:”Our harvest  being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.

The fowl referred to above certainly could have included a wide range of fowl that was plentiful in the area such as wild turkey, pheasant, goose, duck, and partridge and unfortunately by today’s standards even eagles.

The pilgrims probably didn’t have pies or much of anything sweet at the harvest feast because they did not yet have ovens. They had brought some sugar with them on the Mayflower but by the time of the first Thanksgiving, the supply had probably run out.

Their meals also included many different types of meats. Vegetable dishes, one of the staples of today’s Thanksgiving, didn’t really play a large part in the feast. Other items that may have been on the menu certainly included sea food such as clams and lobster, Indian corn, wild fruits and nuts, meats such as venison and seal and certain dry herbs and spices.

The Thanksgiving meal that has today become a national holiday is a symbol of supply chain cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Can recessions represent opportunity Part II of II?

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Please view Part I  of this post to understand this subject matter in its entirety.

Recession brings destruction, and with that opportunity, within the gaps created by those business changes. Many other firms have simply pulled back, and have less aggressive marketing, and are less aggressively pursuing new opportunities, new customers, and new products. Others have been effective in centralizing purchasing, locking in supplier commitment, and transforming their internal purchasing culture. All the above scenarios create opportunity savings for the suppliers.

But how do the purchasers take advantage of the changing business landscape?

A more aggressive survival of the fittest environment means the incumbent suppliers are more apt to make concessions in order to keep your business, making the market more competitive. That is, more competitive for your business. Furthermore, more suppliers are focusing on converting to leaner product management, meaning lowering inventories and overhead. The most difficult aspect of taking advantage of this is sifting through the overwhelming number of suppliers, and creating an environment that breaks down the pricing informational barriers, in order to promote competition for your business. How do you take advantage of this competitiveness in a way that’s safe, effective, and manageable?

That’s what we do. We do the research, the legwork, and bring the competitive environment to bear in a way that is risk free to the supplier, but high reward to the businesses that establish the purchasing relationship.

If you think your business could benefit from our managed sourcing solutions, contact a  SafeSourcing customer services representative and we’d be happy to discuss your strategic options.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Can recessions represent opportunity Part I of II ?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archive.

Do you know what FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, Disney, Hyatt, MTV, and CNN all have in common? They were all started during periods of economic recession.
Uncertainty in the business landscape can fuel tremendous opportunity. How many corporations are trying to scale down excess inventory and are willing to sell at drastic discount to do it? How many dislocated and highly skilled professionals are willing to accept historically low salaries to find reliable work? How many consumers have drastically changed their purchasing behaviors?

To the adaptive go the spoils?

That last scenario is the one that frightens retail businesses the most.

After all, who wants to abandon their core business and cash cows? That’s a scary proposition, when traditionally most firms would prefer low risk/low reward stability over higher risk innovative adaptability (Consumers have the same career mindset, as you’ll see below). However, as our highly dynamic economic and technological environment has repetitively proven, no one can afford not to adapt if they want to survive. Some corporations and new startups have discovered that trying to convince consumers to spend the way they used to (and can no longer afford to) is a losing game, and that the real opportunity is to discover and acquire a share of the new ways consumers are spending. For instance, Target has rebranded itself as a discount designer product store. For others though, it may be more prudent to create spin-off discount brands to serve that market, but keep that brand insulated from your premium brand to prevent any negative ass
ociations of discount retail from your primary brand. Opportunity is not exclusive to consumer spending though, it exists also in the new ways consumers are seeking revenue.

Counterintuitive to what most of us might think about recession-era job seekers, is that there has been a shift in emphasis away from the pursuit of higher pay for potential job seekers.

Due to the insecurity the population is feeling however, it should come as no surprise that security is the consistent priority, replacing pay scale as the most sought after characteristic of employment. A 2010 poll by the Associated Press showed 64% of workers under 25 years of age are unhappy with their jobs, and less than half of all Americans are happy with their jobs. What does this mean to employers? There exists opportunity in recruiting talent, and they are looking more for stability than they are looking for large salaries. Of course, savings in production are being pursued just as fervently as savings in acquisition, but everyone can benefit from these savings all along the supply chain.

Please check back tomorrow to read part II of Michaels informative post.

If you’d like more information about SafeSourcing, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

We’ve all heard about the wild blue yonder. But what is Blue Ocean Strategy?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

 

Todays repost is fro Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc. in 2014 and still relevant today.

4PL’s or fourth generation logistics providers are the newest (although not that new) of logistics providers and typically they are a consulting firm that brings together the resources of other providers such as 2PL’s and 3PL’s to drive world class logistics performance. This might include global or local companies that are focused on air transportation; ground transportation as well as ocean bound freight. The goal of these organizations is to piece together solutions rather than to develop or own them. Without assets, 4PL’s can change quickly as performance and demand dictates.

With a good 4PL in place companies typically are not bound by their traditional marketing areas and can create new demand in areas they may have never conducted business in before. This is referred to as Blue Ocean Strategy.

According to Wikipedia, Blue Ocean Strategy is a business strategy book first published in 2005 and written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of The Blue Ocean Strategy Institute at INSEAD. The book illustrates what the authors believe is the high growth and profits an organization can generate by creating new demand in an uncontested market space, or a “Blue Ocean”.

How are you managing your logistics requirements? If you’d like some guidance before you just jump in and get overwhelmed, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Effective Supplier Data Management Improves Procurement Process

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

 

This may be old, eight (8) years in fact. Its still no less true today then it was then.

The following excerpt is from the above titled article.

There is more to an effective e-procurement program than cost reduction.

While buyers frequently record cost reductions in the range of 30% to 40% when utilizing an e-procurement or reverse auction process, the issues of quality and performance cannot be overlooked.

The foundation for successful e-procurement is the supplier database
that has been developed and is maintained by the e-procurement service provider. Significant time and capital investment goes into the development of an effective supplier database. It provides the buyer with a recognizable advantage in terms of classification of supplier capabilities, historical performance and the quality of the products provided.

The scope, accuracy and functionality of the supplier database are critical components for buyers when using e-procurement. These elements allow buyers to identify the best sources of supply quickly and cost-effectively, oftentimes uncovering alternative sources that were previously not even considered. This is one of the major advantages of including the services of an online reverse auction service provider like SafeSourcing in the procurement process.

Supplier data management is an excellent example of pairing technology advancements with intellectual property to produce an effective, economical support tool that benefits both suppliers and buyers – better pricing,better quality and better sources of supply.

Click here in order to view the entire article.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Avoiding the fallacy of the single cause.

Friday, May 31st, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

Procurement projects will of course come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of complexity. Rarely is any single facet of a project determined by only “top-down” variables. Any one part is more likely influenced by a three dimensional layout of different variables, all of which can determine the outcome of the greater whole. But how can all of these intricacies be accounted for, without complicating the project so greatly that it becomes unmanageable? Here are three tips for managing complexity:

  1.  Honestly identify complexity: Don’t close your eye’s to the reality of the project and pretend that it’s simpler than it really is. Admitting that  your value chain is non-linear is not conceding defeat, it’s setting you up for identifying your criteria for success (Be similarly honest with identifying your constraints/bottlenecks).
  2. Consolidate complexity early (accelerated vs delayed differentiation): In supply chains that start with homogenous parts, differentiation should come late in the chain, but the opposite is true for outputs that begin with high complexity. If you consolidate complexity by identifying requirements, scope, and expectations of variables that lead to the single end product, it will keep you from having to break out the constituent parts.
  3. Leverage the entire value proposition: Build into your project the ability to negotiate details based on the full value of the project. For example, make it clear that if a vendor wants to find loopholes that diminish the value of their original quote, that you will be awarding the vendor with the best overall value proposition, not the one who presents a polished picture and adds all manner of hidden fees.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement projects 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.

Part II of II. Are reverse auctions a good tool to use in the retail distribution cost plus arena?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Yesterdays post reviewed why and how this author felt that reverse auctions were potentially good for both the distributor and the retailer alike. So just what is cost plus?

According to Wikipedia  Cost-plus pricing is a pricing method used by companies. It is used primarily because it is easy to calculate and requires little information. There are several varieties, but the common thread in all of them is that one first calculates the cost of the product, and then includes an additional amount to represent profit. It is a way for companies to calculate how much profit they will make. Cost-plus pricing is often used on government contracts, and has been criticized as promoting wasteful expenditures.

Once unit level cost has been established for the distribution of products it’s easy to turn that into a percentage and add it to the price of a product coming up with a distributed unit price or category price. The most important part of this pricing exercise for the distributor is to get the distribution costs correct. This can include price of storage, freight, length of travel, driver cost and any number of other costs. This is an area where a distributor can lose a lot of money if they are not very careful.

So, are revere auctions a tool that can help distribution companies?  The answer is a clear yes both above and below the gross margin line. If you like to know more please contact me at ronsouthard@safesourcing.com.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.