Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

How Much Does FREE Cost? Simple Question right?

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from the SafeSourcing Archive

The byline to this post would seem simple but the number of large companies that are taken in by it is staggering.

My brother dropped his phone and to no surprise the screen was cracked. He took it into his wireless provider and without insurance he would have to buy a new phone. A new phone? That sounds great! Right? Well he did not have an upgrade available and without insurance he would have to buy the phone at “full retail price”.

The phone that cost him ZERO dollars when he signed a two-year contract was $349.99! I understand that the contract gets you a better deal, but how do wireless providers make a profit when they are just “giving away” phones.

Wireless providers subsidize the cost of your phone into your wireless plan. They have to pay the manufacturer for these phones, but take such a large hit initially in the contract. It takes wireless providers an average of at least six months to begin making a profit on your wireless contract. Makes you wonder how low your service contract could be a month if you paid “full retail” price for your phone.

Many companies have used the word ‘FREE’ to sell a product or service, but are they really free? If you did not accept the free or significantly low cost coffee maker for the office would the year supply of coffee be cheaper? There is a cost for free and that cost usually falls back on the customer or consumer.

SafeSourcing, Inc. has the knowledge and expertise to eliminate the cost of ‘free’ from your service related plans.  If you’d like more information on how avoid the free pitfall, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

Be careful out there or you might just get what you have not asked for.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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What is a Blister Pack?

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

 

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

SafeSourcing helps clients save money on a wide variety of categories. From sugar to fuel hauling, there isn’t much we haven’t sourced for our clients. One category that we source regularly is Blister Packs. Blister Packs have consistently provided significant savings for our clients making it a successful event. Currently, we are offering an opportunity for you to become involved in that savings opportunity. But first let’s learn little about Blister Packs.

Blister packs are the unsung hero of the retail world. They are used to package products such as toys, hardware, medication, etc. Blister packs have been around for many years and come in many different forms. Blister packs are commonly used as unit-dose packaging for pharmaceutical tablets, capsules or lozenges. Specifically, that is our focus at the moment. In other regions of the world, blister packs are the main packaging type since pharmacy dispensing and re-packaging are not common. In some parts of the world, the pharmaceutical blister pack is known as a push-through pack.

Materials Used to make Blister Packs:

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVDC)
  • Polychlorotrifluoro Ethylene (PCTFE)
  • Cyclic Olefin Copolymers (COC)
  • Cold Form Foil
  • Lidding Foils

There are many benefits to using Blister Packs. Blister packaging is a cost effective way of showcasing a product. Due to the nature of the material and design, it makes it more cost effective than other types of packages that are on the market. There is a wide range of colors and finishes that blister packaging can be constructed to feature. Manufacturers can use that to help make their products stand out on shelves. Blister packaging allows either the manufacturer or retailer to include promotional materials or advertisements to help build a brand and increase customer loyalty. To prevent retail theft, packages are specifically designed so that the customer cannot “touch and feel” the product. Clear, protective, and durable thermoformed plastic packaging enables the customer to fully view the product while maintaining the security of the product. Blister packaging can easily be sealed using heat sealing machinery.

So what does this mean to you? Many of our retail pharmacy clients use Blister Packs at their stores. What many don’t realize at first is that there are numerous vendors in every region competing with the larger, national vendors and that this is a very competitive category when sourced using e-Procurement. With the use of SafeSourcing’s services, many of our clients have saved significantly. The last client who sourced this category with us saved over thirteen percent.

SafeCollaborative™ is a new way for many companies to pool their procurement needs to aggregate larger savings with higher purchasing volumes. We will be offering a Blister Pack SafeCollaborative RFQ Event in Q1 of 2018 which is open to any companies that might want to join. If you have any questions or are interested in participating please contact us at 888-261-9070

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

 

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Document Management Systems

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

 

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

Document management systems (DSM) are computer software tools used to manage and help track the lifecycle of your documents.  Implementing a document management tool allows you to check out, lock and check in your important documents.  Using these features will allow you to maintain older versions of the documents and compare changes that are made.  Because there are multiple versions of the documents stored, you can roll back to an older version if unwanted changes occur.  Each version that is checked in is stored and contains information such as the date, time, description and the user that made the changes.  Using the document management tool also ensures that all of your documents are stored in one secure place and can easily be searched and located when needed.  Another benefit of using a document management system is security.  The access to the documents can be set up so that users or groups can access certain folders and files.  The access can be as finite as limiting a user to access to only a single file.

Below are some of the benefits that can be achieved from a well-designed document management system like our SafeDocument™.

  • Central Repository for Easy Retrieval
  • Enhanced Security
  • Reduced Storage Space
  • Improved Search Capabilities
  • Notifications when changes occur
  • Reliable Backup and Recovery

There are several things to keep in mind before purchasing a Document Management System; such as the number of users and the amount of space you will need.  At SafeSourcing, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide why SafeDocument™ is the right DMS for 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.

 

 

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Baseball and Procurement

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

 

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

Baseball is widely considered America’s pastime with a colorful history and a nostalgic place in many people’s lives. Some of the lessons learned in baseball can also apply to everyday life, including your business. Here are quite a few common teachings that many of us learned from baseball and how they apply to your business.

  1. Hit a home run – to be very successful. This can mean successfully completing your project, gaining a new client, making your goals, or exceeding your goals. While just one person in baseball will hit a home run at a time, the whole team benefits. In business, the whole team can be responsible for hitting a home run.
  2. A ball park figure – an estimate. When this phrase is used, it can have a wide range of estimation. For example, a person may offer a ballpark figure for a new hire, which may cover a range of a few thousand dollars, whereas a ballpark figure of a company’s entire spend may range from several million dollars to tens of millions.
  3. Strike out – to fail. This phrase is often used in business, and especially sales. Often sales teams will try a pitch a few times, like in baseball, before they deem it a strike out and will not spend any more time or effort continuing, but rather try a new approach.
  4. Batting a thousand – maintaining a perfect record. This is when a person has been exceptionally successful in their ventures to a point where failure never seems to be an option. While such a high record in anything cannot be expected or maintained indefinitely, it is always a goal for everyone to strive for.
  5. Play hardball – use extreme measures to ensure success. This phase can be used to describe individuals or businesses that take more extreme stances when it comes to compromise. They may maintain a firm position on an offer, which may or may not work out in their favor.
  6. Go to bat for someone – to aid or support someone. This can describe when someone comes to your aid in some way, whether to reiterate strategies or points, defend positions, or just take some of the burden of a person or team for an amount of time.
  7. Throw a curve ball – to do something unexpected. This phase is very common in business and many businesses take great care to avoid curve balls, even hiring analysts and researchers to ensure no signs of an upcoming curveball were missed. However, like the definition states, curveballs refer to the unexpected, so being prepared for anything can help your organization combat any curve balls coming.
  8. On the ball – very aware, responsible, and intelligent. This phase in business is commonly used to describe a person or team who takes initiative, is proactive, or generally takes care of the things necessary without trouble, hassle, or complaint.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you cover your procurement bases, 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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Twelve areas to consider in your spend analysis if you don’t want to lose your hard earned savings.

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

 

Todays post is a favorite from the SafeSourcing Archive

This is actually a great questions and a tough one to answer if in fact it has not been planned for during the strategy process. We all know that there are all sorts of saving figures quoted in the e-procurement industry for just about any product or service available.

Here are 12 areas of focus to consider when trying to figure out not only your ROI on these projects, but more importantly how much of the savings made their way to the bottom line and what is your leakage percentage.

1. How clean was your GL data?
2. How clean were your specifications?
3. How long did it take you to award the business?
4. How long did it take you to test samples?
5. How long did it take you to sign a contract?
6. How long did it take you to accept your first delivery?
7. Was the first invoice for the exact price you contracted for?
8. Was the shipping and handling exactly as bid?
9. Were there any SOW change requests that raised pricing?
10. What P&L period are you reporting against?
11. What was the budget for this product or service?
12. Can you trace the spend to a specific P&L line item?

It would not be too hard to add another dozen items to this list. The answer here is that proper planning helps eliminate savings leakage. Don’t plan and it will hurt or erode some or all of your potential savings.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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If All Your Friends Jumped Off A Bridge

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

 

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

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you too?” Usually, when you hear a parent ask this question, then they are saying this because they don’t approve of the child’s decisions. While I understand the sentiment, I’d propose an alternative and that we think about this more in the sense of trying something new.

There are some who have still not jumped off the bridge into e-Procurement. Perhaps they look at their peers who have taken to using e-Procurement with the same dismissive view as the parent who is disappointed in their child. What they have probably not considered is that what they have deemed a questionable decision is actually very beneficial.

The difficult part is being open to alternatives. Many who do not use e-Procurement will point to their well-established procurement practices, their own experience, and their rolodex as the evidence that they should not even consider jumping off the bridge that their friends have jumped off.

But, by allowing for an open mind, you might come to realize that e-Procurement is also very well established, that the providers in the space such as SafeSourcing have incredible experience, and that your rolodex is important and will be included but will be augmented by vendors from a database with hundreds of thousands of global sources of supply.

I’m not suggesting that anyone blindly do as others do or succumb unnecessarily to peer pressure. I’m saying that anyone who has responsibility for purchasing has a fiduciary duty to examine all options. Sometimes, you’ll find that jumping off the bridge is the right thing to do.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  We look forward to your comments.

 

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Physicians, Accountants, Attorneys, Oh My!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

 

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

Most of us have had some experience with one, if not all, and you may very well dread having to see one another again. But why are so many people anxious about seeing a doctor, lawyer, or accountant? Going to a doctor often means we are sick or are in need of some sort of treatment, which is hardly pleasant. Needing to see an attorney often implies civil or criminal matters and finding out what repercussions may arise. Seeing an accountant could mean that either tax season has arrived or that your finances are too complicated to do yourself.

Another common link between these three professions is money. Each profession can charge you significant amounts each time to visit or talk. Sometimes, you may even get a bill for something you weren’t expecting. Often people try very hard to avoid hiring one of these professionals simply due to the unknown amount of money you may find yourself liable for. So, why are these professions still so successful? The answer is because they are worth it.

Everyone in these professions has to go through a lot of training and education. Even after the education and training, they must be tested. Even after that, certifications must be routinely updated. All of this costs time and money, and often these professional absorb massive amounts of debt as they initially work through their education. For a high price tag, however, they are expected to know and advise on some of the most important aspects of a person’s life, so they need to be up to date and more than knowledgeable in their field. They have to be experts.

While other professions also require vast amounts of education or experience, some also require the same type of dedication and continual research and education that is often seen with doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

At SafeSourcing, we expect and train our account managers and project managers to also be experts in their field, which means being prepared to give you advice on your procurement needs, categories, spend, and whatever else may arise during our process. Fortunately, SafeSourcing is here to save you money instead of breaking the bank.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can be your procurement expert, 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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Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

 

 

Considering Feedback During Negotiations

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

Regular readers of the SafeSourcing Blog know that we have covered the topic of vendor feedback and its role in the overall negotiation before. The blog “The Negotiation Began Long Before the Quote. Or, Make a Plan and Stick with It” is one great example and is worth a quick read through.

That said, it is still worth covering again and is as relevant as ever. In the past week alone, I’ve encountered at least three instances of how supplier feedback has had an impact on the negotiation process and has, possibly, affected the results of the e-Procurement events one way or another. I wanted to share these examples in an effort to provide some guidance about what type of feedback you might receive.

The first example is related to specifications where an incumbent supplier contacts the company hosting the e-Procurement event and points out that there are some details that they don’t think are properly represented. When the feedback reached our organization, the client asked whether or not these details were, in fact relevant and whether anything needed to be done. This is a great example of exactly how this type of supplier feedback should be treated.

Another example relates to pricing. It’s a very common practice to assign Max Quotes to each item in an RFQ. The Max Quote is the highest price that can be entered into the RFQ for that line item. Often, we will get feedback from vendors directly that the Max Quote is too low and that we need to increase it to allow for their quotes. Depending on how the Max Quote was determined and other factors affecting pricing, this might be valid feedback. On the other hand, I can point to two separate instances where this feedback was not accurate. In fact, in both cases, the results of the RFQs indicated that the Max Quotes were set at a reasonable amount. The evidence was the double digit savings in both RFQs.

The last example of vendor feedback that I’ll share here is a little more difficult to spot and is not something that I would consider to be common. This is feedback that is given to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). FUD might be caused by a vendor before, during, or after an e-Procurement event. FUD might be caused by a laundry list of questions or concerns. This might be done to imply that the results of the e-Procurement event are suspect, or that this vendor is the only one who is truly qualified for the opportunity. Again, this can be tricky to identify, but is most often identified by a vendor who is alone in their concerns or who asks unique questions, sometimes circumventing the outlined communication policies to do so.

What is common among each of these examples is that all feedback should be considered. Some of it will be actionable. Some feedback will be determined to be of a lesser value. Another commonality is that your e-Procurement provider has probably seen all of this and has the experience to help you decide which is which.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  We look forward to your comments.

 

 

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The Future of Work and Pay – Part 2

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

When I was in high school, a music album cost me $15-$20. Today, for $10 a month or less, I can literally listen to any song in the world as much as I want. Similarly, the amount of calories that are available to me for relatively little money is greater than it’s ever been in the history of mankind. Medical advancements have lowered mortality rates, and will allow me to live longer than I ever would have been able to in past decades. So in many ways, you could say that even after compensating for inflation, we are more wealthy today than we have ever been just in terms of access to more, cheaper, and better quality resources. However, we also need to consider that the producers, like in the music industry, are making only tiny fractions of what they used to. This loss of profit margin spans across all industries being affected by automation, and equates to there being less jobs available, as well as less pay available  for those positions. However, there are many who think that because income used to be higher when compared to inflation, and things like education and healthcare used to be cheaper, that we should revert back to the industrial practices of previous decades.

Although manufacturing is critical to output, not all manufacturing practices should be lumped together in the same bucket. To say that an industrial machine press of 30 years ago is the same as one from 2017 would be ludicrous. Today’s machine presses have a throughput that is higher, and their operation takes much less man power than of previous generations. Factory jobs that used to need thousands of workers now take hundreds, and require much more advanced education. So when it is proposed that the solution to all of America’s problems is to gain back the factory jobs of the 90’s, we should take the advice Steve Job’s gave to Obama in 2011 when he said, “American manufacturing jobs are not coming back”. To go back to the factory jobs of 30 years ago, would be to reduce the available efficiency, and therefore increase the cost of current goods. In short, there’s no going back to “the way things were”.

For America to be competitive in the marketplace, manufacturing jobs will need to either have the same level of automation that modern international factories do, or be able to pay their laborers pennies on the hour as they do in countries with lower wage markets. Obviously, more productive capacity per capita is always the better option, but society will have to adjust to a new normal of lacking low-skill labor opportunities.

Work, career goals, professional community, and monetary incentive to produce goods and services are important reasons to keep the able-bodied working. So how do we keep our society doing fulfilling work, at a livable wage without de-incentivizing high level output and innovation? There are a few ideas being discussed right now:

• Universal Basic Income: A flat income rate, given to every citizen, regardless of how much or how little they work, or income they have.

• Negative Income Tax: A flat tax rate across all income brackets, but with payments (negative tax) given to those individuals whose income falls below a minimum.

• Working Income Tax Benefit: A tax credit that is given out for to those who work, with the benefit being tied to how much they work, up to a certain threshold.

These are just a few of the models being discussed right now that have risen to prominence. However, the conversation is far from over, and there will be many considerations to explore for a very complex problem. One thing is certain: That either technology will stop advancing, or work as we know it will fundamentally change.

What other potential solutions are there?  We would love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment or 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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The Future of Work and Pay – Part I

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

 

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

The power of exponential growth is not something very easy to understand intuitively. The classic example of this, is the fabled story of the creator of the game Chess. The emperor who was enamored with the game asked its creator what he wanted for it. The game’s creator simply asked for rice, at a rate of 1 grain, doubled in number, for every square on the Chess board. This meant he received 1 grain for the first square, 2 grains for the second square, 4 grains for the third square, 8 grains for the fourth, and so on. Not until the emperor agreed, did he realize that he owed the game’s creator more rice than would be needed to build a pile the size of Mount Everest.

Similarly, not many people understand the rate at which technology is advancing today. Technology isn’t just  advancing, its rate of advancement is advancing. In other words, if technological advancement was represented visually on a chart, it wouldn’t be a straight line moving upward, it would be a line curving upward steeply. So steeply in fact, that you would need a new chart to represent it every few years just to be able to see the full curve. The computers that took us to the moon cost millions of dollars to create, filled warehouses, and had the computational power of a pocket calculator. Twenty years later, supercomputers would shrink to room-sized contraptions, but able to process at a rate of a full teraflop. Ten years later, I’d be playing video games in my living room on a game console with more computing power for a few hundred dollars. And today, my daughter has an even more powerful kids tablet that cost less than $100.

If you have found yourself wondering why there is so much talk in business right now about automation taking away jobs, it’s not only because more and more activities are being automated that used to be done by humans. It’s also because the ability of machines to do human’s jobs is growing exponentially. During the industrial revolution, thousands of workers lost farm jobs to factory farming. But that change took decades to take place. Today, a new app hits the market and makes thousands of jobs irrelevant in a day. Predictions today indicate that any job that requires financial analysis will be replaced by computer applications in the next 20 years. As technology advances, our ability to produce products faster and cheaper will advance with it. However, those advances won’t be limited to increasing the scale of the production of goods. Advances of scope in what is available to automation, in the form of algorithms that can analyze financials, grade students, scan x-rays, and create proposals, with a tiny fraction of the human input that it takes today.

Procurement won’t be safe from this advance either. In the coming decades, spend will be synced with market suppliers, and bidding will be automatic. Massive databases will house everything there is to know about a company, so that RFIs will be generated within minutes of the proposal being requested. While these advances will destroy many jobs, exponential growth will also increase the wealth available.

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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