Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

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

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

 

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.

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Starbucks’ $10m Challenge to develop and Eco-Friendly Coffee Cup

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

 

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

Starbucks is sponsoring a challenge targeting the paper coffee cup. It is the hope that scientists, chemists, or the average tinkerer can develop a paper coffee cup that is compostable, breaking down in such a way that it disappears or can be used as a component in another product.  The problem isn’t the paper cup, it is the lining.

Six-hundred billion paper cups and plastic cups are used worldwide each year. Starbucks reports that coffee drinkers and other customers represent 1%, which is about 6 billion.  The NextGen Cup Challenge was announced in March in conjunction with Closed Loop Partner’s Center for the Circular Economy, which advocates sustainable goods and recycling.  Inventors working on this cup conundrum will receive grants.

This is the first initiative of a global end-to end solution that will allow cups from around the world not to end up in landfills and composted or given a new life as another cup, napkin, or even furniture. Currently Starbucks cups are made with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber.  In 2017, Starbucks began serving their Nitro Cold Brew Coffee with sippable lids, so no plastic straws are needed.  Reusable cups are the best answer; however, any movement to reducing the amount of waste that goes into the landfill is a good thing.

SafeSourcing regularly sources cups and lids. To help your business be more competitive with your sourcing needs. 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—————————————————–

Ziati Meyer (USA TODAY), Arizona Republic, 3/26/2016

 

 

 

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Blockchain

Friday, April 27th, 2018

 

Today’s blog is by Ashley Riviello, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

If you had invested $1,000 dollars in Bitcoin back in 2008, you’d have more than $40,000,000 today. Bitcoin is based on the blockchain protocol. What is blockchain you ask? Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly “we can actually have a look at the blockchain and see evidence of what’s going on.” Blockchain originated in the technology space, which explains slow adoption rooted in its techno-babble jargon.

Marketing and business strategist, Clay Hebert (founder of Crowdfunding Hack), sees a familiar story playing out differently this time compared to how many companies were late to the party when social media emerged. People were very apprehensive about social media, putting your business or yourself out there for the world to see. But it worked, businesses were booming after starting a Facebook or Twitter page. People new about you and everything went viral. “In the mid-to-late 2000’s, big companies missed the social media train. They couldn’t see how Twitter or Facebook would immediately impact their business, so they were slow to adopt these technologies. They don’t want to play catch-up again.” Quoted by CEO of Bitcoin.

This is the same about Bitcoin. People all over are talking about how bad it is or what a scam it is. As Hebert (founder of Crowdfunding Hack) suggests too, we’re already starting to see wider understanding and adoption in blockchain technology from companies big and small. For example:

  • Large consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte are building out entire blockchain practice areas and developing key alliances in the space.
  • IBM recently forged blockchain collaboration with Nestlé, Walmart, Costco and others to improve global food supply chain safety.
  • Some realtors have begun to differentiate themselves by accepting Bitcoin for real estate transactions (CNBC).
  • The hurdles won’t be overcome overnight. Similar to the Internet itself and social media, blockchain will enable new digital transactions that will disrupt traditional businesses like document authentication and title searches.

Smart companies will build skills around blockchain technology to ensure they are the ones doing the disrupting rather than the ones being disrupted.

Bitcoin is becoming bigger by the day and I say we all get on board fast. The Companies are drastically starting to use it around the world. And it’s a matter of time before its being used everywhere and in every aspect of our financial world.

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.

 

 

 

 

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The Numbers Are In ​

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

 

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

The numbers are in, and while this might seem somewhat-braggadocios, 2017 was an incredible year for clients of SafeSourcing. As our readers are probably aware, SafeSourcing offers a wide variety of solutions in the Procure-to-Pay space. This includes our SafeSpendAnalysis™, SafeDocument™, the SafeSourceIt™ suite (electronic RFI, RFP, RFQ), and more. Of all these solutions, it is the RFQ that has always been the most interesting to our clients when it comes to value and ROI.

The RFQ, sometimes called the reverse auction, is a long-time client favorite. In 2017, SafeSourcing’s clients were able to benefit from some very incredible savings through the use of RFQs. Across all of the categories we hosted on behalf of all of our clients in various industry verticals, the average RFQ savings in 2017 was 24.81%.

With this level of savings, it is not hard to imagine exactly why there has been, and continues to be, such interest in the RFQ. As we are now well into 2018, we are happy to report that this trend is continuing and our clients are on track to have yet another big year for RFQ savings.

As we pause to reflect and enjoy this success, perhaps you might reflect as well. There is no reason why you should not enjoy this level of savings. By taking a strategic approach to your own categories, and by leveraging established best practices and the proper tools, this opportunity can be realized.

After reflection, if you feel that your own savings might have room for improvement, we should make time for a conversation.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

We look forward to your comments.

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What is a price or commodity index and how is it used?

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

 

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

SafeSourcing uses a number of  indices in our sourcing events every day and the same question always comes up from buyers when we do. While this is an older post from our archives I believe you will still find it useful today.

This author has heard a lot lately about prices indexes or indices. Every time we source something we are asked what index should we use. Although there are times when an index is helpful in sourcing in order to manage contracted pricing once a baseline has been determined versus the rise or fall of an index, that is not always the case for every product.

I was reading our local paper today “The Arizona Republic”. In their MARKET TIP on page 3 of the business section they had a nice synopsis of the Consumer Price Index or CPI relative to measuring inflation. It was brief and holds true in terms of how indices are used to measure the rise or drop in prices over time. In your annual contracts you may wish to review them quarterly and have escalator language that locks in price increases or decreases versus a specific index to protect you from volatile commodity markets like the oil market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI is used as an economic indicator, a deflator of other economic series and as a means of adjusting dollar values. The CPI affects nearly all Americans because of the many ways it is used.

To learn more about how the CPI index is used please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

If you’d like to learn more about the variety of indices and how they impact the many products that you buy for reuse as well as resale or if you are not in the business of prognostication, please contact a SafeSourcing  customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Growth in the Internet Has Impacted Our Economy

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Toys R Us is closing their doors following a disastrous Christmas season.  Amazon, Walmart and Target all ratcheted up toy discounts during the holidays.  Toys R Us typically does well against the competition between Thanksgiving and Christmas, because of significant inventory offerings and a strategy of selling late at high margins after competitors sell out of ‘hot’ inventory and attracting last-minute shoppers who fear that online deliveries will not be made in time.  This year, however, was different.  As a result of a general decline in toy sales, competitors had full product offerings through the end of the holiday season and same-day and two-day delivery guarantees eased customer fears regarding online shopping.

Toys R Us was once king of the toy castle. In the 1990s, it was the biggest toy seller in the US, expanding rapidly as it pushed out smaller chains. But by 1998, things had changed, and Walmart began selling more toys than Toys R Us in the US.

A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Paul Krugman wrote in 1998, “The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in ‘Metcalfe’s law’…the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”  This seems silly now.  The Internet has had a major impact on our economy, and the shift has had an effect on everything in the marketplace, from home goods, to auto purchases, and to entertainment.

Most brick and mortar stores have had to recreate themselves to stay in business with the internet competition.  Even print media is fighting to stay alive in our internet culture. Change is good, if you’re on the right side of it, or if you know when to get ahead of it.

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

We look forward to your comments.

 

References—————————————————-

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-walmart-target-killed-toys-r-us-2018-3

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/346996

 

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New Pollution Laws in China Will Raise Prices of Vinyl Gloves and Cause A Shortage

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

 

Today’s blog is by Ashley Riviello, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

As China’s pollution levels hit an all-time high, factories are being forced to shut down throughout Northern China. China has depended very heavily on coal to make itself the second-largest economy in the world, United States being number one. With the new pollution laws in China, how is this going to affect our vinyl glove cost and market?

The shortage of vinyl gloves will have a huge impact on the world. China is a major producer of vinyl used in latex-free gloves and in January of 2017, a production ban was imposed on vinyl glove factories due to record levels of air pollution. Vinyl has spiked in price by more than 55 percent in the past few months, from $946 per ton in September 2017 to $1,500 per ton today. That is a huge change. With a minimum of 170 production lines shut down in one area alone, this equals to around 1.7 million cases of disposable gloves. Longterm, all suppliers of vinyl gloves will be affected. Not only will there be a significant price change in the gloves, there will most likely be a shortage due to production being down. Anyone in the food, medical or surgical markets will be highly affected. Some companies have already started thinking of alternatives for vinyl gloves, such as a higher quality disposable nitrile glove or the octoglove which is a better quality than vinyl at half the price.

As we see the increase in price for vinyl gloves, and the shortage of supply, we will definitely be seeing a huge incline in new and alternative gloves for food and medical markets, most of which will be better quality at a cheaper price. Working with suppliers on a daily basis I would love to see this change and start saving people money, because that’s what SafeSourcing does.

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.

 

 

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Is your fleet prepared for Vehicle Emergencies

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

 

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

If you have been driving for a while, you know that unexpected things can happen.  Most of us spend hours in our cars and don’t think twice about emergencies that can occur while on the road.  These emergencies may not even involve you and your automobile.  With all of the traffic and congestion on the roadways, it is possible that you could end up stuck for hours because of bad weather or accidents.  It is important to be prepared and ready for these unexpected problems.  One way to prepare yourself is to have an emergency car kit in all of your vehicles.  These kits can be purchased or you can make your own kit stocked with all of the necessary items.  These emergencies don’t always happen in convenient places where cell phone service is available nor may a tow truck be nearby. Therefore, you need to be prepared for any conditions that may occur.  Below are some suggested items that you should include in your emergency car kit:

  • Jumper Cables
  • Tool Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Reflective Warning Triangles
  • Tow Strap
  • Foam Tire Sealant
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Duct Tape
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Warm Blanket
  • Windshield Ice Scraper
  • Drinking Water
  • Non Perishable Snacks
  • Matches or a Lighter

If you need help researching emergency kits for your vehicles, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which kit meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcingCustomer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

 

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Spend Visibility ​

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

 

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

How well do you understand your spend? Recently, I have been having more frequent conversations about understanding spend. What has been interesting lately is that this question seems to be on the top of the minds of procurement professionals. It seems that, collectively, this topic has had a bit of a renaissance and we will all be better off as a result. It has always been fairly common that companies don’t have a very clear view into their spend and there have been many different approaches on how to overcome this challenge. Some set out on a lengthy, labor-intensive process, perhaps turning to spend cubes and the like.

Regardless of the method used for analyzing spend; there are often some common concerns. One such concern is the time and resources required to complete this analysis. This is particularly true when an organization approaches this task on its own. Another concern is whether or not the output of the effort is actionable.

At SafeSourcing, we have been addressing this question for our clients for years. Our approach is called SafeSpendAnalysis™. SafeSourcing’s clients that leverage this solution are able to understand their spend in just about two weeks. Better yet, the results of this solution are actionable immediately. SafeSpendAnalysis™ analyzes 100% of our clients’ spend for a 12-month period and assigns all vendors into Categories and Subcategories. SafeSpendAnalysis™ also determines the estimated savings opportunity for each based on SafeSouring’s extensive category experience and data.

When we review the results with our clients, we typically spend an entire day onsite meeting with the teams that will benefit from the new information. When that day is done, we have a clear picture of what the top targets are and where to focus. We also typically have over 100 categories identified for eProcurement.

As a result of the SafeSpendAnalysis™, our clients can answer confidently that they understand their spend well. Beyond that, they are able to make decisions and take actions to control their spend.

I’ll ask again – How well do you understand your spend? For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

We look forward to your comments.

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Do you feel a bit sluggish?

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

 

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

Do you feel a bit sluggish? Are you falling behind on deadlines at work; or are you springing out of bed every morning feeling your best? An active lifestyle can help your mood and improve your productivity. Many people think I just don’t have time. I can’t go to the gym, work, take care of my family, cook, eat properly, etc. Many people also have a distorted view of an active lifestyle; they think I have to spend two hours a day in the gym and sign up for every 5k in a 50-mile radius. While this is possible for just a few people, it is not easy for the 9-5 crowd. So what should you do? Do you embrace the couch potato lifestyle and let it all go or do you want the beach body you have always sought. Just like most things in life, it is a process. You will not see results over night, but do not get discouraged. Make a goal and set checkpoints. Do not run to the scale every day or after every workout. A lot of what you do has to do with that four letter word DIET. And no I do not mean the latest fad that your co-workers are talking about. I mean the understanding that your body is a machine and your food is the fuel and your “diet” should consist of premium fuel. While there are so many options, no two people will have the same results. Go slow andtweak what works for you. If it helps, start simple.   Find the proteins that work for you — the veggies you like, and whatever you do stop drinking soda! Next find local sports clubs that interest you, maybe it was a sport you always wanted to play or that CrossFit club that just opened up around the corner. Don’t be afraid, all of these teams and clubs want people looking to change themselves or stay healthy. They will not judge you and will help you every step of the way. Take advantage of a support group of teammates that want you to be the best you can be. But if you want to go at it alone, and start small, use the following steps as an outline.

  1. Set your Goals
    1. Are you looking to lose weight?
    2. Are you looking to tone your muscle?
    3. Are you trying to bulk and add muscle?
  2. Establish a good diet,
    1. Find the food that you like and are the best fuel for your system
    2. Cut out the bad, high fructose corn syrup, a lot of sugars and bad fats
  3. Find a gym or club in a reasonable range of home and work
    1. Can you take your hour lunch and go workout?
    2. Can you go before or right after work?
    3. Make sure you can make time for the gym and stick to it
  4. Do NOT give up
    1. You will not see immediate results
    2. This will not be easy
    3. Don’t panic if you do not see that scale move
    4. Do remember muscle weighs more than fat
    5. Make reasonable checkpoints
      1. Set a goal to check measurements and weight every 2 weeks this is when you will begin to see some results

You may be wondering what does this have to do with business or my job? Well that’s simple; with an active lifestyle you will begin to see a spike in energy levels. After around the third week, you will get “the fever”, the need for the gym or to go move around. That’s your body telling you that you are now addicted. Great! At this time you may notice you have been following a schedule and sticking to it. You will see that now translates over to your time management and bandwidth at work. You also may notice that you are not passing out at your desk around 2pm because of all that pent up energy just screaming to be released. Well on top of that, maybe you signed up for that local rugby team or now you are one of those crazy CrossFitters. Fantastic, because every minute you spend with that team you are learning how to be a better team player, how to read and work better with others. That’s a no-brainer translation right there. So now you are 3 months into a new routine. Without any intention you now wake up an hour before your alarm, you no longer have that “hangry” feeling before lunch, you notice you no longer get mad at co-workers because you can communicate better. All because a couple hours out of the week you decided to put some real YOU time in.

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.

We look forward to your comments

 

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