Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

How e-procurement is used to combat inflation

Friday, January 14th, 2022

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Are you having a hard time finding employees?

Monday, January 10th, 2022

 

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

With everything opening back up and things starting to get back to a little bit of normalcy, we have been venturing out and starting to dine out at our favorite local restaurants.  The other day we decided to try one of old favorites that we have not been to in over a year.  When we walked in it was about 80 percent full and we said hello to one of our favorite bar tenders.  She said hello and had enough time to say that we chose the busiest night to come in.  We grabbed an empty table that had not been cleared off and proceeded to wait for the waiter or waitress.  After about 5 minutes we went back to the bar tender, and she said that they only had two waitresses working so we decided to leave.  After leaving there we stopped at another restaurant close by that did not appear to be as busy.  As we walked in, this place looked to be about 30 percent full, so we seated ourselves and waited for the waitress.  While we were waiting, I looked around and it appeared they were short staffed as well.  When our waitress finally made it over I asked if she was the only waitress and she said that she was.  She was upbeat about it and said she did not mind and that every time they hire a group of people they only stay a few days and then do not come back.  The next day, I did a little research and discovered that this staffing issue is not only a problem in the restaurant industry alone but across many industries throughout the country.  If this staffing problem is affecting you then maybe we can help.  We can research qualified staffing agencies in your area and run an RFQ to guarantee that you get the best price and service that meets your needs.

Below are some other reasons for you to consider using a staffing agency.

  • Saves Cost
  • Increases Hiring Speed
  • Better Candidates
  • Superior Market Knowledge
  • Lower New Employee Overhead
  • Performance Guarantees
  • More Effective Job Descriptions
  • Access to a wider, better quality talent pool

If you are planning to hire new employees and would like help finding a staffing agency, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Technology and Safety

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

 

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

There recently were a string of tornados in the Midwest that proved to be deadly. While not entirely unheard of, these are a bit late in the season. With it being this late in the season, people may not initially think winter storms will bring such wind and disaster and so we rely heavily on early warning systems to notify people of approaching hazardous weather. This was the case in this situation with one big difference. Warehouse employees who were on the job during these tornados did not know anything about them because they were not allowed to have their phones or other technology on them while they work.

This approach of limiting employee’s access to technology has been in place in many different companies and was likely implemented to keep employees focused on their job instead of receiving messages, calls, or browsing phone applications. In this case, those employees were at a disadvantage because they were not notified of the tornados and were unable to find shelter of safety. This situation has begun the serious conversations of whether an employer can mandate no phones while on the job if having them could potentially save lives. Allowing phones on the job, while may risk productivity, could save lives in the future, not only by alerting them to severe weather, but also as a lifeline if someone is injured on the job.

While everyone will likely not agree on whether phones and other personal technology should be allowed on the job, everyone will likely agree that this incident has overall been tragic. Conversations on this topic will likely continue and we may even see it in legislation. If there are new laws passed about technology in the workplace or on additional safety measure required by employers, then you can count on SafeSourcing to help you get the products or gear you need to keep your workers safe. For now, you can still rely on SafeSourcing helping your company obtain the tools it needs to keep running smoothly ad safely.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

 

Silage

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

 

Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, VP of Administration at SafeSourcing.

On a cross country drive, we passed by white piles of tires along the highway.  I wondered what they could be.  It turns out they are silage piles. It’s easy to forget that grass only grows during certain times of the year.  In the winter it is too wet, rainy, or snowy to grow grass, while in the middle of summer, grass will die if not irrigated by man.  How can you create a food supply for the cows so you can feed your cows daily?  How do you store feed all year?  This feed storage problem has been around for farmers throughout time.  A cow will eat over 100 lbs. of feed per day; how do you store enough food for her during those months with less grass.

Farmers today grow feed during the growing season and store it in large piles. The grass is cut, put into a pile, then is compacted, and covered with plastic to protect it from oxygen and the elements. The plastic covering removes oxygen from the pile so the grass can ferment naturally with microbiological bacteria. Oxygen allows spoilage, but the absence of oxygen allows anaerobic bacteria to ferment the feed and prevent spoilage. The fermentation of the grass allows storage for 1-2 years (or more) without any refrigeration.  Fermentation usually improves the digestibility of foods and helps keep your guts microflora healthy.  Making silage is not a new invention. The tradition can be traced to farmers in Germany.  American farmers didn’t start the practice until 1876. From then, many farmers started using these methods to preserve feed for their cows.  The grass is harvested and put into a pile; the tractor compresses the feed pile to eliminate oxygen

Why cover the piles with tires. Most people use tires because they offer good weight, they are easy to move, and take off. They offer enough weight to compress the pile and keep the cover on.  The grass pile is covered with the tarp and tires to keep out oxygen which allows anaerobic fermentation of the feed just other fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi.  The fermentation process actually improves the quality of feed for the cows. The pile is carved off and fed to the cows as needed, the feed has a shelf life for 1-2 years (or more) without any refrigeration.  Much of the grass cows are eating is made of cellulose and hemicellulose, the fibrous components of grass that people cannot digest. When a cow eats grass, it first must be fermented by bacteria in one of her stomachs called the rumen. The fermentation of the silage pile is the same type of fermentation that happens in the cow’s rumen. The silage is actually predigested for the cow and makes it easier for her digestive system.

The most common silage in the U.S. is corn silage. Corn is really just a very tall grass.  Compare a corn plant to a wheat plant; they look nearly the same only corn is a much larger plant. The entire plant is harvested, shredded, and put into a pile. The entire plant can be eaten by the cow including the grain. The corn kernels have starch for energy and the stalk has plenty of fiber.  Corn is also environmentally friendly because of the amount you can grow per acre. Less land and other natural resources are needed to grow feed. A corn stalk will grow up to ten feet tall so on a per acre basis you get much more feed. If you grew other grasses, you would need more land.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

References………………………

Diary Moos, The Dairy Guy, 11/26/2016

Perception vs. Reality

Monday, December 6th, 2021

 

Today’s blog is re-post by Gayl Southard, VP of Administration at SafeSourcing.

Psychiatrist Jim Taylor said: “Perception acts as a lens through which we view reality. Our perceptions influence how we focus on, process, remember interpret, understand, synthesize, decide about and act on reality. In doing so, our tendency is to assume that how we perceive reality is an accurate representation of what reality truly is.”1. In reality we are all predisposed genetically by past experiences, prior knowledge, emotions, self-interest and cognitive distortions. For example, if you were to ask several people that witnessed a car accident, many would say they saw it differently. The focus of the witness’s memory is on the action that took place and not on the circumstances under which it took place. Just because the witness is confident about their version does not make their accounts accurate.

Organizations and businesses need to pay attention how they are perceived by prospects and customers. “Does your target audience see your signature products as innovative, well-priced, useful and available? Are customers swayed by comparison advertising that presents your goods as inferior or not worth the cost?”2. You may be the best, fairest-priced, but still have a bad perception. One bad review online review can damage years of building a good name for your company and it will a lot of work to undo the damage. Unfortunately, you may never know were that review came from. It’s not fair, but it’s reality. Use every option to keep your public image positive. Customer service must be at the top of your list for every employee.

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.

References…..……………………………………………..

1, 2 Harvey Mackey, AZcentral.com, 7/20/2020

 

 

 

 

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

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

 

Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

It’s Way Past Time for Cost Avoidance

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

 

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

At SafeSourcing, we are all about savings. If you are a reader of this blog, you will know we talk about savings quite a bit. That is for good reason. Creating savings through online RFQs have a huge impact on profitability and the savings is often attained very quickly.

A close relative of savings that gets less attention is cost avoidance. Ultimately, both cost reduction (savings) and cost avoidance are valuable, but cost reduction gets more attention. That might not be fair these days with costs fluctuating rapidly and many commodities on the rise.

For example, I recently spoke with a customer who confessed that we were able to create value far beyond the savings we initially portrayed in our RFQ. This customer had the benefit of locking their pricing in because of the RFQ. In the terms and conditions for their RFQ event, we had included a one-year price lock term that each participating vendor had to agree to. In today’s market, the inclusion of that term has caused this customer to get millions more in value from the RFQ because of this cost avoidance.

At the end of the day, by the time their agreement is up for renewal next year, the cost avoidance value created by the price lock will have far exceeded the initial savings from traditional value derived in savings from the RFQ.

While I am not saying cost, avoidance is better than cost reductions, I am saying that there is a strategic way to make sure that you are able to get both, but it is difficult to do this without the use of tools like online RFQs that put the necessary pressure on vendors to compete and agree to more favorable terms.

Do not keep accepting cost increases and wishing you could create cost reductions. Contact SafeSourcing with your procurement needs and we can help.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

How do commodities influence market pricing?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

 

Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This is an oldie but goodie. Enjoy!

So, are you a buyer, a category manager, a commodities trader or a little bit of each? Be careful because commodities make your job of buying tricky.

As an example, Oil is the most widely watched commodity. This is because the price of oil changes daily which has a great effect on other goods and services that are produced around the world. As such commodities have an impact on supply and demand of almost all products.

Let’s take a look at a fairly simple example. As a buyer you are planning to buy Windshield Washer Fluid, Anti-Freeze products or both. Consumers buy these products at Grocery Stores, Auto Parts Stores, General Merchandise Stores, Convenience Stores and Drug Stores and on line at Amazon. There are many global suppliers for these products whether they are private label in nature or mixes for use at service stations. The products can be near shored and off shored. The commodity markets that drive pricing in these items are actually quite a few such as the methanol market, ethylene glycol market and resin indexes that effect packaging. If that were not enough, the product is also influenced by the price of oil because of its impact on the logistical component or how the products get to market. This can be a combination of ocean bound freight and land freight both of which are impacted by the price of fuel as well as issues like availability of drivers. The packaging of these products is also influenced by another commodity which is the pulp market that drives pricing for corrugated and other paper-based packaging.

So, it’s a pretty simple product and you just got a good price for. The question is did you really? You better go back and take a look at the fine print. You might want to look for things like escalator language and contract termination language. These and other similar tactics can result in higher prices.

Your best bet however might be to find someone that knows what they are doing in the procurement solution provider space.

If you think that’s complicated, how many products do you think are influenced by the price of corn, maize or its genetic modifications? The answer is 100’s including non-edible products like glue for packaging. As such the influence may be actually in the 1000’s. How do you keep up with the changes in this commodity? One way would to discuss it with a company that sources categories dozens of times every year when you may source it once every few years which is also a mistake. SafeSourcing Inc. is that type of company that annually saves our customers in excess of 24% across all expense, cost of goods and capital spend areas.

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Project Manager in order to learn more.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Vendors or Partners?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

 

 

Recently, it’s been easier than ever to tell who are vendors and who are partners.

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

Times are tough for many businesses. For many business the road to a full recovery is still long, even as some businesses boom and others find they haven’t been overly impacted. Regardless of how long or short your road to recovery is, I suspect you’ve had an opportunity to see how some of your vendors have behaved during this difficult time and have taken note.

We’re no different. Typically, the stories I share are those of our clients. In this case, we have been able to make observations both through our clients and in our own dealings with vendors.

We’ve seen some real partners out there. Even while their own business might have been struggling, they are still looking for ways to help their customer. Some are doing so an downright creative ways. One example would be offering up less expensive alternative products for consideration instead of the passing along outrageous price increases caused by increased demand for many supply items globally. Another example we’ve seen is partners considering and allowing changes in agreements to accept lower volume orders than had been agreed to previously.

Vendors taking steps like these are great partners. When the dust finally settles and we are all back to normal, the customer will remember that these great partners were there for them during their time of need.

We’ve also seen some vendors out there who have proven to be bad partners. In the face of adversity and when their customers needed them, they chose to take advantage or to refuse to provide any assistance. I previously talked about price gouging in another blog post. The sad reality is that this is also happening.

Vendors who prove through their actions that they are not your partner will also be remembered when this is all over. The reality is, your customers are not going to forget that you didn’t help them or that you decided to try to help yourself at their expense. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I can tell you what the future has in store for you if you fall into this category. Your customers will leave you as soon as they have the chance to do so.

Right now, SafeSourcing is helping customers replace some of their vendors with partners. Right now, our customers are saying no to price gouging. Right now, all vendors have the chance to show that they are great partners. 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.

 

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

Friday, November 26th, 2021

 

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.