Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Tactical and Strategic Sourcing

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc Archives

Let’s define each one then note the differences. This will aid in better understanding how procurement professionals justify adopting one sourcing method or the other.

Strategic Sourcing

Strategic sourcing is a precise, long term approach to acquire supplies and or services for an organizations current need at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and the lowest risk to the supply chain. This process creates a relationship between the customer and vendor that will ensure continuous improvement in quality, delivery, cost and service while providing the means to attain ideal proficiencies with both parties. There are three key components of strategic sourcing; spend analysis, market research and supplier evaluation and relationship management. These steps require a specifically trained staff using a specific software tool to achieve desired outcomes.

Tactical Sourcing

Tactical sourcing is a short term, transactional activity practiced in small to medium companies. This approach to purchasing goods and services uses quick quote and order processing to support the company’s production or needs. This approach does require management within the company to ensure the right material is purchased at the right price and at the right time. Unlike strategic sourcing, companies are not concerned with the vendor’s core capabilities or creating a long-term relationship.

So based on the two sourcing methods one might think that the strategic approach makes for best practices compared with the tactical method. So why do many companies choose the latter of the two.

Consider a small to medium sized company where purchasing has the ability to use just about any supplier that fits their need. Typically, buyers will use their own best judgement to find the right supply that meets both their pricing and best shipping dates. This is very common in companies that don’t have the luxury of time or technology to assist them from shifting form tactical to strategic purchasing. Their biggest concern is to keep things moving while keeping an eye on costs, hence why tactical sourcing makes the most sense.

Now compared this to a larger company where they could have a suite of ERP technology and a dedicated team of purchasers. They have the time and resources to properly vet suppliers, develop reports, perform a spend analysis, and conduct market research. With these capabilities, procurement can negotiate lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), taking into consideration, quality, price, delivery and lead times. These buyers will have a deeper understanding of the company’s overall needs and requirements. Taking a strategic sourcing approach makes the most sense in these cases.

Finding the best sourcing method for any size company should be a priority, yet time and time again, companies fail to implement any thoughtful process or policy costing them time and money. SafeSourcing, with its dedicated staff and E-procurement suite of tools could do just that. Lower your risk and increase savings without hiring additional staff or buying expensive software. It’s a win-win!

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.

 

It’s just a pallet; or is it? Part II of II

Monday, November 12th, 2018

 

Today’s post from our  SafeSourcing, Inc Archives

Use of Pallets: While pallets and palletization were once considered to be powerful components of material handling strategy, today, industry takes the practice largely for granted.  When the palletization concept was first introduced, however, it had a dramatic impact on the improvement of material handling efficiency. Rail cars, for example, that had taken two days to unload could subsequently be unloaded in just one or two hours.  Palletized products can be moved more quickly than by the manual handling of individual palletized cartons.

Benefits of this quicker handling include:

•   Faster turnaround of delivery vehicle and increasing operational efficiency of transport equipment
•   Dramatically reduced labor requirement versus manual handling
•   Reduced risk of temperature abuse for perishable products on unrefrigerated docks
•   With less manual handling there is less risk of product damage and reduced risk of worker injury. Palletized products can be moved more efficiently and stored more efficiently in warehouses and customers often prefer the receipt of palletized goods.
•   Pallets provide drainage and circulation for commodities requiring this, including fresh produce.

Grades of pallets: The GMA (Grocery Manufacturer Association) has determined the standard in which pallets are graded and thus is broken into four (4) different categories. Each category is a guideline to use when buying or selling pallets. The problem is that each category is open for interpretation and it’s important to verify exactly what you’re getting. Each category will have a price range and the price range will vary from region to region. The price will also vary based on the amount of available reconditioned pallets. Below are the four (4) different grading categories and their corresponding condition.

•   Premium – A very clean pallet that has probably been used only a few times. There is little if any repairs to the pallet. The pallet will have no plates and no companion stringers.
•   Grade #1 or A Grade – Typically this pallet has been repaired to close to its original condition. Broken stringers may have been replaced or repaired with metal plates. All damaged deck boards are replaced. This is a fairly clean pallet that is structurally sound.
•   Grade #2 or B Grade – Typically this pallet has had stringer damage that has been repaired by attaching an additional stringer alongside the damaged one. This is commonly referred to as a companion stringer, block stringer and double stringer. The “B” grade pallets usually have two (2) or less repaired stringers. The deck configuration on the “B” grade pallet is not always consistent because these pallets have been repaired many times.
•   Grade #3 or C Grade – Typically this pallet has been repaired numerous times. Most of the stringers on a “C” grade pallet will have companion stringers. The deck boards will be inconsistent in size, spacing and thickness. These pallets are usually in very poor condition and are accepted by few companies.

Owned vs Pool pallets: Many companies choose to buy their own fleet of pallets, but this is not always the best or most efficient thing to do.  What you need to consider…

Owning:

•   Cost: Depending on the amount of goods a company needs to transport, it can be very expensive to buy and upgrade a pallet fleet.
•   Management and tracking: Managing and tracking a rental fleet can be very hard work, if mismanaged, it can create huge problems if goods cannot be transported when needed.
•   Maintenance and cleaning: Once purchased, pallets will need to be continually repaired and cleaned in between usage, requiring the manpower, space and equipment to do this.
•   Storage: When not in use, pallets can take up a lot of space, which is inefficient and costly.
•   Fleet fluctuations: If a company suddenly has an increased order, or an order that requires a special type of pallet, then buying them just for these rare occasions is wasteful, as the rest of the time the overflow will just be gathering dust in storage

Pooling:

•   Flexible: You can rent as many or as few pallets as you need for each specific shipment, meaning you’re never over or under stretch with your pallet fleet.
•   Management and tracking: The pooling company can use their own specialist up-to-date management and tracking systems meaning you doesn’t have to worry about it.
•   Cleaning and maintenance: After each hire, the pallets will be inspected, repaired and cleaned by the pallet pooling company, before they are sent out again.  This means that you don’t need to worry at all about the expense of doing this yourself, and you know all the pallets will be up to standard before each use.
•   Storage: Once you’ve finished with the pallets you just need to hand them back to the pooling company with no need to set aside valuable space to store them.

As you see there are many things to consider before buying or pooling pallets in your business. Should you own pallets or use a service to manage them? What type of pallet do you really need? We at SafeSourcing are ready to help you through all the questions and help you lower your procurement costs.  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

The Importance of Finding the Right Supplier

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

 

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

When procuring something that your business needs, it’s not a good idea to just look for lowest price.  Sometimes price alone is not enough.  You want to make sure that you are receiving a quality product from a supplier that can meet all of your needs.   One way to ensure this is to thoroughly vet your suppliers before the RFQ process begins.  One way to do this is to create a survey of detailed questions for each supplier to answer.  This can be done using a tool such as SafeSurvey™.  SafeSurvey™ allows you to create sections of questions that you would like clarification on before the RFQ process begins.  After the supplier research has been completed, questions are then complied and put together within the SafeSurvey™ tool.  An email is sent out to all potential suppliers with a link to the survey.  After the surveys have been completed, the data can be exported for further analysis.  Below are some questions that may be contained within the survey.

  • Business Name
  • Company Description
  • Date Established
  • Annual Revenues
  • Headquarter Location
  • Years in Business
  • References
  • Competitors
  • Delivery Methods
  • Volume Rebates
  • Standard Roll Out Program for New Customers
  • How are Orders Places
  • How are Back Orders Handled

If you are interested in seeing how SafeSurvey™ can help you in your vetting, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which suppliers meet your needs.  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.

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be Predictable

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

 

 

Today’s Post is by Eli Razov, SafeSourcing  Account Manager.

Showing your hand before the game has started can spell disaster for any procurement. Predictability can weaken your ability to negotiate. More often than not, contract negotiations are scheduled according to contract end dates, holidays, and individual plans, instead of when market conditions are right or when the opportunity arises.

RFQs and contract negotiation templates are recycled with only minor revisions before they are distributed to vendors and suppliers. Suppliers are approached during certain times of the year only because “it’s always been like that” or because “that’s the way the industry works like that”. Neither of these statements is true. It is actually because we all just feel very comfortable with the routine. This comes at a price, remember we all work with the best of the best in the sales world. They are trained and paid to know procurement patterns to maximize sales. A procurement specialist predictability, combined with these skills, can have a negative effect on your business and can effect the credibility of a procurement team.

To prevent this, procurement teams should use all of the tools at their disposal, spotting opportunities, taking advantage of the market changes, and timing negotiations. Consider bringing RFQs or any negotiations up by a year. Consider using tools like our eRFX process. And always be open to new vendors and suppliers.

Being unpredictable can be a powerful tool even if change can make you uncomfortable. It may not make us friends but it will help us succeed and ensure profitability.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Representative we have an entire team waiting to assist you today.

 

 

Data Crash

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

 

 

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

No one likes to think about it or experience it, but computer crashes happen. Crashes can happen to anyone, at any time, and due to a variety of reasons, like viruses, heat, errors in the operating system, and disk fails.  If this were to happen to you, what would you do?

Many of us are not so tech-savvy would try and do what we can ourselves. We’d turn it off and then back on and hope it was just in our imagination. While this seems to help many other times, if you’ve had a bad enough crash, this may do little to help. At this point, next steps might be calling your IT department, contacting a computer repair person, or possibly chucking your laptop into the trash out of pure frustration. Whatever your go-to, you may have already lost important data and files that simply cannot be retrieved.

While we all hope we don’t find ourselves in the above situation, there are things we can do to ensure a crash isn’t a detrimental as it could be. One way to ensure your data is safe is to back it up with an external hard drive or other device separate from your computer. This ensures your data is stored separately from those flawed operating systems that could potentially wipe your information. The downside to this is remembering to constantly sync your data to the drive and not accidentally deleting a file from the drive as it is permanently deleted.

Another option for securing your data is storing your files in the cloud, so that if your computer ever does crash you won’t lose any important files. SafeSourcing offers this application called SafeDocument™.  Here, your files are stored safely, securely, and far from reach of computer crashes. In addition, this tool saves a number of versions, so that if you save a document to the wrong name, you can easily access the information you need and nothing is lost. In addition, SafeDocument™ is available to you from anywhere you have internet access. That means if your laptop dies, you can still access all your documents from another computer. This allows you to keep working on what you need to without interruption and without the fear that your data could be lost in a crash.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in your document storage, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.http://safesourcing.com/ContactUs/tabid/60/language/en-US/Default.aspx

 

What Would You Do? ​

Monday, October 29th, 2018

 

 

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

We all have choices to make when it comes to managing our responsibilities. In procurement, we face choices with every purchase. When we enter into a new agreement, we have choices. When we renew an agreement, we have choices.

In this post, I’ll focus in on just one major choice that procurement professionals face when it comes time to renew an agreement with a vendor. Clearly, a renewal offers the purchaser an opportunity to review the current agreement and decide whether or not they intent to continue working with the vendor. This is also an opportunity for the vendor to make changes to the agreement, very commonly in the form of price increases.

However, the question of whether to renew with the incumbent vendor or not is a bit premature. The better question is around how we want to evaluate the agreement to make that decision. SafeSourcing clients know that they have access to a powerful set of eProcurement tools that will help them attain the best pricing possible with the best terms. If your vendor knows that you have these eProcurement tools, it’s natural that they might attempt to persuade you not to use them.

Do you want to negotiate the agreement fully, including using your eProcurement tools, or do you want to accept the offer that the vendor made for renewal? This question becomes a bit more complicated if the vendor offers a discount if you were to renew without eProcurement. What would you do?

Let’s assume that your vendor offered you a renewal and agreed to reduce your pricing by 10% and hold that pricing for a year and left all the other terms the same. That’s a pretty good offer, right? Maybe. If they offered that in a non-competitive environment, then I’d bet that they have additional margin beyond the 10%. The reason I believe this is because we see this scenario play out time and again with our clients. The client tells the vendor that they are going to host an RFQ and the vendor says there is no need and offers better pricing to avoid the process. Our average savings are well over 24%. Before making a decision to accept the vendor’s offer, it makes sense to talk through what savings levels SafeSourcing expects in a particular category.

It would be very easy to renew and stay with your incumbent vendor. However, knowing that you might be overpaying by 10% or more should give you pause. We always recommend that we discuss the category details and consider whether an RFQ is the right choice to help you make this decision. We usually recommend running the RFQ after that discussion. Either way, our services are always risk free, so there is very little to lose. So, what would you do? Would you use the available eProcurement tools and negotiate the agreement fully?

We’re here to help you make the choice that’s best for you and your company. Let’s talk before you agree to a renewal.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

 

When is it important for National companies to invite regional providers to bid on their business?

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Inc Archives

Every day thousands of National companies with offices all over the country are in various stages of determining what type of product to purchase for their company and from whom they are buying it from.

Part of this decision making process involves deciding on whether they are going to deal only with other National companies or whether they will include regional companies as well.  Today we will be looking at some of the reasons why inviting regional companies to compete for you business is a good idea.

Multi-Award for Geography – While there are frequently several National companies that can handle the needs of a large National customer, there are certain services and products that can be best serviced with companies who specialize in certain regions of the country.  In these cases it adds great value when the companies that know those geographical regions the best are included in the mix of those competing directly for that portion of your company’s business.

Secondary Supplier – Many companies in today’s market have introduced Board-Level directives requiring a level of division of the company’s business so that no one vendor has the entire share for any one product or service; especially those services critical to the mission of the company.  There are different trains of thought on the effectiveness of this philosophy, but where it applies, introducing regional players, especially ones that can handle a large portion of your spend, can help meet those requirements and provide competitive savings in certain products backing up your primary supplier.

Expanding the selection pool – Often there will be products or services that by focusing only on National suppliers, will limit the field from which you have to choose.  Expanding the field of vision from which to choose to include regional players provides you, as the customer, an opportunity to see more of what is out there and allow for a more competitive landscape from which to choose.  These companies may not always be selected but in following this approach they have an opportunity for access into an account they may never had had before while providing you with a strong field from which to choose from.

These are just a few of the reasons why expanding the pool of companies allowed to win your company’s business to include regional vendors can be a good idea for you.  For more reasons or for assistance in finding regional companies who can compete for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. 

We look forward to your comments.

Gas Station or Convenience Store and Truck Stop or Travel Center? Part 2 of 2

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of Major Accounts and Special Projects at SafeSourcing Inc.

In the blog, Salad from a Gas Station? Sushi from a Truck Stop? This author raised a couple of questions, in addition to the actual questions, both of the questions may seem odd to us in 2018. There are two parts to inquire about within these questions. The first was getting food typically not found within these establishments and second is the common name of the establishments. For today’s blog, I will focus on the common naming of these establishments.

In some rural areas of America today, there are places of business that just serve gasoline and maybe vehicle lubricants and these were the true gas stations found in every town; however, today the gas station you may visit will carry grocery items, health and beauty items, health and junk foods, even bakery items, some fresh baked on site and some brought in by local bakeries. These establishments are called convenience stores or C-stores. They offer the consumer a small variety of items that a grocery store, bakery, or even a retail store may offer at a convenience from going to multiple places to get items needed.

Convenience stores usually charge significantly higher prices than conventional grocery stores or supermarkets, as convenience stores order smaller quantities of inventory at higher per-unit prices from wholesalers. However, convenience stores make up for this loss by having longer open hours, serving more locations, and having shorter cashier lines.1

Truck stops are similar in naming conventions. The traditional truck stop was a little more than a few diesel gas pumps and a large parking lot for truck drivers to stop and rest. Many years ago, the traditional truck stop might have had a locally owned diner attached or associated with it. Today, the word truck stop brings up a stereotype of large stations that are dirty and filled with truckers and a regular vehicle and its driver feel out of place. This is why the term Travel Center has replaced the term truck stop. Travel Centers are worded to make a place a business seem open, inviting, and clean for all drivers not matter what vehicle they come in with.  Travel Centers are often right off the highways and interstates and have lower fuel prices than conveniences stores that are usually miles off the freeway and in town.

  • Author Mark Sedenqist said it best,” I like the gas prices, but what I really like about truck stops is the retail stores. I love to walk the aisles and marvel at the array of merchandise on the shelves. Some of the automotive tools may look familiar, but few stores offer the following items all within 20 feet of each other: an audio tape on New Age mediation, a Browning knife, a Garmin fish finder, an aromatherapy reed diffuser, a genuine wood-grain noise-canceling CB mike, a Joan of Arc VHS tape, a 250-channel preprogrammed police scanner, a die-cast collectible fuel tanker, a metal detector, the complete “Seinfeld” series on DVD, a rocking chair, a deep-fat fryer, an excellent selection of women’s watches, cameras, the world’s largest assortment of beef jerky and other salty snacks, a DISH satellite “finder meter,” a cordless drill, a 12-volt ionizer and air purifier, several styles of small refrigerators, coffee makers, mugs, T-shirts, flashlights, electric blankets and the little gizmos that truckers use to lock their trailer doors.”2

As a consumer and a driver, you have a variety of choices available to you today when your parents, grandparents and even older generations of drivers did not have luxuries of buying anything other than fuel for their vehicles and had to go to another store to buy a meal before getting back on the road.  You now have a clearer understanding of the new names for establishments that have been around for decades.

Are you interested in more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program for RFPs and RFQs, 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_store
  2. https://www.roadtripamerica.com/tips/Truck-Stops-Not-Just-For-Truckers.htm

 

Coca-Cola is Getting Boozy

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

 

 

Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant at SafeSourcing.

Coca-Cola took its first fly at a lemon-flavored alcoholic drink that went to market in Fukuoka, Japan at the end of May 2018. Canned drinks known as chuhai have been popular in Japan for sometime.  Often they are made with distilled grain-based alcohol, known as shochu, along with carbonated water and fruit juice.  This new lemon-flavored alcoholic beverage is called Lemon-Do.  The beverage is sold in 3%, 5%, and 7% alcohol, including a salty lemon version and another flavored with honey and lemon; however, it contains no Coke!  Currently, Coca-Cola is a big competitor of non-alcoholic drinks in Japan.  To date, Suntory Holdings, Ltd., Kirin Holdings Co. and Asashi Group Holdings products dominate the convenience-store and supermarket shelves.

With a population of 13 million, the southern island of Kyushu will allow Coca-Cola to see how this test market of Japanese-style booze will be received and, hopefully, give it insight into how to apply their knowledge in other countries. “Despite falling demand overall for alcoholic drinks in Japan owing to the country’s shrinking population, demand for canned booze has been growing, in part because it is taxed less than beer and is cheaper.”  The product is well received by both men and women.  Coca-Cola wants to appeal to women with a low-alcoholic product.

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

References————————————————

Suryatapa Bhattacharya, WSJ, 5/29/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

 

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

Do you know how many products are affected by the price of corn?

Here are an easy? bakers dozen of the more than?hundreds for you to ponder. How do they affect your purchasing? Many of? you probably have no idea. the good news is that SafeSourcing can help.

1. Alternative medicine
2. Chemicals
3. Bio-fuel
4. Food
5. Feed
6. Sweeteners
7. Starch
8. Beverage Alcohol
9. Plastics
10. Fabrics
11. Adhesives
12. Fish Bait
13. Herbal Supplements

If you’d like to understand how SafeSourcing takes into account this type of commodity information when sourcing your products, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.