Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Tariffs

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

 

 

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

The global market is something we all rely on in a number of different ways. Whether for personal use or business use, we each rely on products that are bought and sold throughout the world. Part of the global market includes trade between different countries, which can be susceptible to tariffs. Tariffs are nothing new, so how should a business handle the looming tariff increases and what can we do to better prepare ourselves?

One thing many businesses do to avoid tariffs, specifically between two countries, is to simply move to another country. For example, if there are increased tariffs between American products going into China, many businesses may move their production from America to another country, like Mexico or Canada, and import those same products, but with those tariffs.

Another way businesses try to avoid paying extra tariffs is by simply minimizing the market they use. For example, if a company normally buys steel from overseas, they may now seek purchasing within the same country to avoid paying the extra tariffs, which can actually be less than they were spending initially.

No matter how a business handles changes in the global market, a procurement partner may be the best way for a company to obtain the products they need without sacrificing quality. A company like SafeSourcing can even help you obtain the same goods, but at an even lower price, helping your company’s spend and overall help your organization thrive in times of change.

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.

 

 

 

 

Should you join a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)?

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

 

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

According to Wikipedia a Group Purchasing Organization (or GPO) is an entity that is created to leverage the purchasing power of a group of businesses to obtain discounts from vendors based on the collective buying power of the GPO members.

When is a company a GPO and when are they something else? Many organizations take on procurement functionality based on the spend of their members. They can be industry wholesalers, share groups, consortiums, distributors and a variety of other types of organizations. They may take on all procurement opportunities or specific opportunities like energy. GPO’s can be vertically focused or horizontally focused. They can also be horizontally focused within an industry vertical. An example might be a wholesale grocer that is focused on a retail industry vertical like supermarkets.

The question is should you join one or many? Maybe you shouldn’t join any. The only way to answer the question is to understand your own organization in terms of its strengths and weaknesses relative to the products or services categories you hope to source. As an example; if you are just buying from a wholesalers price book, it’s a good bet you are not getting the best price. It’s also a good bet that other members of the same wholesaler are getting a better price and they may be smaller than you. However you may also have a huge energy spend and this is something that your product wholesaler can’t help you with. As such, there may be a specific GPO for energy that can offer some expertise.

This author believes that your best bet is to focus on a procurement company that is horizontally focused with specific expertise in a number of verticals such as health care, retail, distribution, financial services etc. I have often seen these companies significantly out perform GPO’s by a significant amount as the overall overlap of expertise across multiple industries suggests a level of creativity that GPO’s may not have.

Ultimately understanding what your company’s limitations are as well as the opportunities that are available to you is a first and important step. After that, it’s who can do the most for you with the least disruption across the broadest area of spend.

SafeSourcing is such a company. Please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager  if you would like further information on how to improve your bottom line in the present quarter.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)
25.Logistics

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Avoiding “change blindness”

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

Let’s test how well you can focus on detailed activities. Copy and paste into your address bar, or click the following link: https://youtu.be/Ahg6qcgoay4[1]

How did you do? There are several versions of this type of video, but of course the point of them all is to illustrate our ability to miss the obvious when we are more focused on specific tasks. Perhaps you can relate to more common errors of oversight:

Have you ever been made aware after the fact, that you completely missed a detail about a project you were working on, which should have been totally obvious? Have you ever read over a document five times, only to discover a major error on the sixth read through? Stared at the same computer screen for months before noticing an assortment of buttons that could have made life easier?

Our minds have a bandwidth limitation, often described as being approximately 1.6 conversations at a time (including the one going on in your head)[2]. Focusing on one complex task, requires us to tune out certain others in order to fully process that task. One of the first researchers to call attention to this phenomenon was Dr. Marc Green, who once said “Inattentional blindness is not a mental aberration; it is the norm. Conscious perception is the abnormality”.[3] So there are benefits to our ability to tune everything else out and focus on one task, and there are benefits to being aware of a wide scope of inputs as well. Working Memory[4], the type of intelligence associated with your short-term bandwidth, is uncertain as to if it is static or malleable. So how can we make the most of both sides of our concentration capabilities?

Situationally prioritize your focus – There’s a reason why they say the best way to remember names is to not focus on what you are saying when being introduced to someone new. Knowing what you know now about what you do or don’t notice and remember based on how you’re thinking, you can apply the right strategy for each situation. When you are working on detailed, technical, or financial activities, you probably need to tune everything else out and laser focus. When you are evaluating a new project, finalizing work, or observing a new environment, you probably need to tune yourself out, and take in your surroundings.

Practice “open observing” – Look at all content twice: The first time looking for whatever you were specifically trying to focus on to accomplish the task, the second time not looking for anything in particular, letting the full scope of your capabilities be your frame of reference instead of the specific thing you are being asked for.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

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[1] This link leads to content and views not controlled, approved or condoned by SafeSourcing Inc. User views at their own risk.

[2] “Avoiding common RFP mistakes: SafeSourcing Blog.” 2015. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://blog.safesourcing.com/2015/07/30/avoiding-common-rfp-mistakes/>

[3] “Visual Expert Human Factors: Inattentional Blindness …” 2002. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/inattentionalblindness.html>

[4] “Working memory definition – MedicineNet – Health and …” 2005. 15 Dec. 2015 <http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7143>

Better Business Outcomes

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

 

Today’s post is from Alex Borbely, Vice President of Sales at SafeSourcing, Inc.

Over 30 million Americans don’t have access to modern broadband. The Federal Communications Commission announced that it would hold the biggest spectrum auction in U.S. history, aimed at bolstering 5G network deployment. The bidding will see roughly 3,400 megahertz across three spectrum bands auctioned off for commercial use. The auction is scheduled to start in December 2019 and may be the largest in the country’s history. The FCC also stated that there would be more auctions after this one. Three rounds of clock-phase bidding will be held each day at this stage in the auction. The clock auction format being with a “clock phase” that lets participants bid on generic blocks in each Partial Economic Area in successive bidding rounds, followed by an “assignment phase” that allows the winners of the generic blocks to bid for frequency-specific license assignments. Thirty-eight bidders qualified to participate in the auction.

In an auction, the activities are targeted towards researching/inviting suppliers and ensuring that any existing supplier has an opportunity to propose keener prices and better terms. The auction is usually held via e-procurement and has a number of activities concluding with a short time period with dynamic bidding ensuring the pricing moves rapidly downwards. This type of auction provides any number of advantages including:

  • Suppliers are encouraged to bid low and provide good terms in order to win the contract.
  • The process is seen as a fair way of awarding government contracts as well as those from large monopolistic companies.
  • It is a low cost, much quicker method of finding new suppliers.
  • Negotiation costs are almost zero.

SafeSourcing eProcurement, particularly reverse auctions, is a relatively new way to increase your bottom-line and enhance the spend process. Utilizing new technologies will add profit dollars without selling one new customer buying your products or services. The savings are traditionally 10X your investment in e-Procurement tools. You’re just accepting a different way to silicate bids/pricing even with your incumbent vendors that you currently work with.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in your procurement efforts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative

 

 

 

 

Pressure Washing Benefits

Friday, April 19th, 2019

 

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

Have you noticed a green tinted staining on the outside of your home or business? If so, you may not know that this could be mold or mildew. This is a very common occurrence if you have vinyl siding. Dirt can accumulate on the siding and this can lead to the mildewing because mildew feeds on dust and dirt. If your home or building is close to trees it may also cause mildewing as well. Another reason for the mildew or mold is excessive moisture or lack of sunlight. Because of this you may notice that the staining may only occur on certain areas of the structure and not the entire surface. Removing the mildew can be very simple to do. One of the most common ways to remove the staining is to have the area pressure washed. There are companies that specialize in pressure washing and can do an excellent job of removing the stains. You can also choose to pressure wash the area yourself. Pressure washers can be purchased from many common retailers and are fairly inexpensive. Deciding to do this can save you money but there are some hazards of doing it yourself. Having the pressure set to high can cause water to seep into the walls of your existing structure causing mold to grow within the structure. So if this is something that you decide to do yourself, make sure to research and read all documentation before beginning the job. Below are other things to be aware of when pressure washing your structure:

  • Risk of electrical shock
  • High pressure water can cause serious injuries to skin
  • Strong spray can throw small objects
  • Water seeping into the attic
  • Siding loosened or damaged
  • Damage to windows and screens
  • Accidental Removal of paint
  • Accidental Removal of mortal between bricks
  • Damages to surfaces

Whether you plan to clean the structure yourself, or hire a company, 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 you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

 

 

Feel the Hype!

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

 

 

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

There are a lot of things happening now that have people excited. From first ever pictures of a black hole, upcoming movies and television, your recent money savings or accomplishments, $100m Fortnight championship, to your upcoming holiday plans, there is so much to help you feel the hype. Let us take a moment and appreciate all the work that made these things happen.

Hype: A simple picture, one that would not be recognizable before, has made headlines because it is the first of its kind – an actual picture of a black hole. Not only is it amazing to see and confirms Einstein’s theory of general relativity, but astounding when we consider the efforts put forth to make it happen. Thousands of hours of work, hundreds of thousands of computer codes, millions of light years between us, yet it can and has been observed and photographed. ​

Hype: What’s new to watch? Feel the hype because the final season of Game of Thrones is here and so is the final Avengers: End Game along with other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On top of that, there are many other highly anticipated movies and series, like the live action Dumbo movie, a return of The Twilight Zone, and Stranger Things. These exciting shows have been in the works for quite a while the time has finally arrived that we can reap the rewards of the hard work of so many.

Hype: If you get hyped when you save money, then here’s news for you. Using a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can save you even more. In fact, those who use SafeSourcing typically see 10x ROI. Not only can you save money, but you can get the quality and service you really want from people you may not have known existed. You can feel the hype and see the savings, and SafeSourcing can do the work for you. We will work with your procurement department, buyers, and finance people to help get the results that we can all feel excited about.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in 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.

 

 

 

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.

Create Small wins for buy-in.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our archives at SafeSourcing.

Whether the focus is believing in a leader, a boss (there’s a difference 😉 a spouse, a product, or even themselves, there is a threshold at which a number of perceived failures will begin to cause people to stop believing in certain proposed possibilities. For some people their threshold is very low; all it takes is one setback, one negative comment, one harsh statement from the boss, to get them to lack belief in the viability of a positive outcome. While we can’t pander to everyone’s insecurities, there are ways to start rebuilding confidence, and expanding the perceived realm of possibility for your team.

One such way is to create small wins. A series of small accomplishments for an individual can be a huge bolster to Buy-in. A boss that follows through with his promises is more likely to be trusted when he asks the impossible of his employees. When a leader consistently demonstrates that greater things can be accomplished than what others thought was possible, co-workers will start increasing their self-expectations.

This is one of the greatest differences between incentivizing productivity through negative consequences and positive expectations. You can get people to scramble through fear, but you can’t get them to believe that what you’re proposing is achievable. And study after study has shown that a workforce that believes in a common purpose is always more effective than one that would rather see the project fail because they resent the fear tactics.

Learning what the threshold of buy in is, and consistently exceeding those expectations one step, one “win” at a time, is essential to managing a buy-in paradigm shift. Creating buy- in is what keeps clients patronizing your business; your employee’s following your vision, and your self-confidence high enough to accomplish your goals.

If you’d like to discuss getting your e-procurement program off to a quick start with focused small wins, please contact a SafeSourcing Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

 

 

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

People don’t just dislike having their given names misspelled, they often have feelings of rejection when the person who does the misspelling is a relative, friend, teacher or a business associate. Although my first name is common, the spelling is not. In fact, I have only met one person that spelled their name like mine. If you know people well enough to address them by name, please have the courtesy to learn how to spell their name.

The White House press office misspelled the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s name three times. One error referenced a “bilateral meeting” between Trump and “Teresa May”. Teresa May is a former soft porn star and model. That was a huge gaffe.

It is important to check for grammar and spelling errors for three reasons:

  1. It limits the chances that your message will be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
  2. It reflects your credibility, intelligence and reliability.
  3. It indicates that you care about how you do business.

Spelling mistakes can cost millions of dollars in lost sales. A single spelling mistake can can cut online sales in half, according to William Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. There seems to be more tolerance with informal parts of the internet, such as Facebook, towards grammar and spelling. Although Spellcheck is a valuable tool, it does not catch homophones (words that sound alike, but are spelled differently, and have completely different meanings). It can automatically change the spelling of new or unusual words, such as names to a word that is more easily recognized, without your permission,

There are four tips to observe when sending important business correspondence:

  1. Slow Down. Never send anything without proofreading it first.
  2. Don’t Multitask. Your brain refocuses each time you switch to a new activity.
  3. Get a Second Pair of Eyes. Have a colleague review your work.
  4. Double Check Facts, Names, and Industry Terminology. Spelling someone’s name correctly is extremely important because a name is part of one’s identity. Messing up relevant information can be interpreted as disrespect, and makes you look unprofessional. It also represents the lack of attention to detail, which can negatively affect the relationship between two parties.

“We are human and therefore bound to make mistakes. But your business reputation is too important to lose out over poor spelling. Try to be as accurate as possible when corresponding with clients, customers and colleagues. Your reputation (and ultimately your bottom line) may depend on it.”1

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in 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.

References………………

  1. Jessica Robinson, Michigan Mobility Institute, Entrepreneur.com/article/288812, 4/5/2019