Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Retailers if you want to reduce shrink and improve liquidity try a Forward Auction

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

 

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

For major chains the liquidation of this stock in a timely manner can significantly reduce reported shrink numbers and improve financial results and liquidity.

A Forward Auction is part of most e-negotiation tool belts. Probably the most well known type of forward auctions are those run by eBay. These tools are often overlooked as a way for companies to sell items that represent overstock, out of cycle, buffer stock, new old stock and other types of inventory that has been paid for and not sold through.

Placing these items for sale on your e-procurement provider’s website so that buyers from a variety of formats such as dollar stores, liquidation companies and other overstock resellers can bid for the items can positively impact shrink.

The simple philosophy here is that getting something for inventory that has already been paid for is better than getting nothing. The biggest dilemma to this solution is that most retailers do not know what is in the back rooms of their stores or how long it has been there.

An issue the above can create is the misinterpretation that shrinkage caused by employee theft, error or other mistakes is actually higher than it is.

There are any numbers of sources that report on annual retail shrinkage numbers. It is safe to say that average shrink numbers across the retail industry has hovered around 3% for years, although you will find significantly higher numbers by specific retail industry vertical.

The fact is that for a one billion dollar supermarket company, this represents $30,000,000.00 annually. With net earnings in this vertical averaging 1%, a reduction in shrink of 33% can improve earnings by as much as 100%.

A quick hit to these numbers can be accomplished by a forward auction. What do you have to lose? Better yet, what do you have to gain?

If  you are profitable enough or don’t care about your shareholders, then  don’t bother to contact a SafeSourcing customer services project  manager. After all, shrink has not gone down as a percentage in 30 years, so most don’t seem to care anyway. Maybe we could help make you a hero. It’s just a click away.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Tactical and Strategic Sourcing

Monday, April 10th, 2017

 

Today’s post is written by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

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

Strategic Sourcing

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

Tactical Sourcing

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to your comments.

 

The Oxford Comma and Proofreading

Friday, March 31st, 2017

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing

For many of us, our schooling has emphasized the importance of proofreading our written works. This is supposed to eliminate any grammatical and punctuation errors, remove redundant ideas, and help keep a message fluid and comprehensible. Outside of the classroom and into the business world, proofreading should be even more important, but is often rushed or not done at all. This oversight and missing errors in a written work can affect your business, and your pocket.

As some background, the Oxford comma is the last comma used to separate a list of items. While it is often acceptably omitted, omitting it can change the meaning of a sentence. The oxford comma is used in the sentence, “You see two dancers, President Kennedy, and Bob Hope.” Clearly, the meaning of this sentence is that you see two people plus two dancers, for a total of four people. The same sentence, without the Oxford comma, “You see two dancers, President Kennedy and Bob Hope,” implies that you see two dancers, one being President Kennedy, and one being Bob Hope.

The real-life effects of omitting the Oxford comma can have detrimental effects on business. For example, a recent article described how the lack of the Oxford comma left one company to pay millions of dollars in a lawsuit. As the New York Times reported, the lack of the Oxford comma in one of Oakhurst Dairy’s contracts forced the company to pay $10 million for overtime it wasn’t expecting to pay.

While this is just one example, this situation demonstrates why proofreading is more important than ever, especially in business. Simple typing errors, misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and unclear language can leave customers and clients wondering about the quality of a business. On the other hand, clear, well-written, and informative language can bring in customers and clients.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your contracts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

Salesmanship

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Salesmanship, you see it every day, almost everywhere you go. To better understand how important this skill is, we must first look at the definition of Salesmanship according to the business dictionary. “Practice of investigating and satisfying customer needs through a process that is efficient, fair, sincere, mutually beneficial, and aimed at long-term productive relationship.” What this means, in simple terms, is that it is the employee’s job to discover what exactly the needs and wants are of the customer. After we discover what the customer needs and wants, it is then time to discover a process to fulfill those needs and wants of the customer. We must perform this process as fast and efficiently as possible. However, we must also find a way that our company does not lose out on the deal; this is where the “mutually beneficial” aspect comes into to play. A mutually beneficial agreement is an agreed upon term that benefits both parties of the deal. This is crucial to insure both parties are happy and leave the potential to start a long-term and happy relationship with the customer. All this starts with the employees of a workplace. It is key for all employees to go into the workplace with a salesman attitude. You never know who you will be meeting with or talking to at any point of the day, no matter the area you work in. Salesmanship should be practiced by all employees of a company. After all, you won’t have a successful company without customers. Just remember one bad conversation could end a great relationship, as one conversation could introduce a new customer.

Here at SafeSourcing we like to practice salesmanship in all areas of our work. It does not matter if we are talking to a current customer, a potential customer, or even a vendor. We believe we should conduct ourselves in a professional manner at all time, but also have fun while doing so. If you were to give SafeSourcing a call I can guarantee you will find yourself in a conversation with someone here with a great personality. So I challenge you to give it a try and call today and see how we can potential give a 10X or more ROI.

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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“What Is Salesmanship? Definition and Meaning.” BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

 

Nuclear Incentive

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

 

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

This is a continuation of the blog “Nuclear Negotiation”. I’m setting out to answer the most important questions about nukes by listing facts I deem important by two measures: How severe the effect on human beings could be, and 2. The number of lives it could affect. Then I will conclude with discussing the human factors at play, and how they affect our daily lives.

  •  Global Nuclear war would not end all life on earth: The US and Russia each have detonated thousands of nuclear weapons tests, and these did great harm to the environment, but it did not trigger an extinction level event (though most were in the ocean, to prevent debris fallout that an actual war would not). A war detonating anything above 100-megatons of total yield seems to be the estimate for what it would take to end “modern” humanity, in terms of causing global collapse of infrastructure (Turco et al. 1983) due to its environmental and radiological effects. Most experts seem to agree that some remnant of human life would continue to exist, even if it took thousands of years to recover, though of course there is no guarantee it ever would return to our current level of modernity.
  • The system will only work/stay out of nuclear war for as long as all players behave predictably. Mutually Assured Destruction (or MAD as it’s referred to) is the concept that for as long as it is assured that an attacking company would be destroyed for destroying its intended country, it won’t make the attack in the first place out of its own interest of self-preservation. The problem though of course, is that MAD assumes a. all participants are rational, and b. that no unpredictable cause, such as an accident/malfunction or terrorist nuclear incident, would occur and throw the delicate system out of order.
  • The British philosopher Bertrand Russell called this balance a walk on a tightrope, however: “You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years.” There are bills being considered with the aim of limiting the US President’s ability to launch a nuclear strike (Lockie 2017) in an attempt to create a safety net below this “tightrope”. However, this in and of itself could cause nuclear war, by removing the “Assured” part of Mutually Assured Destruction for any would-be attacking nation.
  • Reducing Risk  If you’ve wondered why there has been so much pressure over the years to reduce all nations’ nuclear arsenals, this is it. The assumption is that there needs to be a balance where our weapons of mass destruction are present enough to de-incentivize war, but that there are few enough of these weapons around that we don’t destroy our species over a misunderstanding inept leader. Afterall, the leaders we are trusting not to push that nuclear button are subject to all of the same weaknesses you and I are, and to expect that to go on indefinitely without disaster is to not understand human nature.

Why has MAD worked for the past 70-some years? Because of game theory: Player A makes a move, that forces player B to make a move to get to an optimum point, and both players keep making moves until there is no new move that will improve either player’s condition (equilibrium). In procurement, this means a buyer will switch suppliers that provide better products, pricing, logistics, etc. And conversely, a supplier will adjust pricing in order to retain (or gain new) business, up until the point where any more moves will not gain more benefit/would incur a negative outcome. Sound familiar? It’s the force that drives basically all human activity: Businesses change suppliers, people change relationships, nations create weapons of mass destruction, and the changes continue until all actors have reached a point where change would be less good than the current arrangement, and so equilibrium is reached.

But have you ever seen someone make a decision/change that took them out of equilibrium, to the point that they incurred a loss? Someone destroys a positive personal relationship? Sells product at a loss? Makes an irrational decision? It’s an irrational but very human thing to do. We do have the ability to learn and the capacity to be rational, and avoid making this mistakes in our professional lives. But maybe the most important thing we can do, is ensure our leaders the world over are unflappably rational, by knowing how to be rational ourselves. It’s literally the only thing allowing us to deal with our opponents effectively, in politics and in business.

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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Mills, Michael J., Owen B. Toon, Julia Lee‐Taylor, and Alan Robock. 2014. “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” Earth’s Future 2 (4). Wiley Periodicals, Inc.: 161–76.

“[No Title].” 2017a. Accessed March 12. http://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/files/IS3904_pp007-048.pdf.

———. 2017b. Accessed March 12. https://ia802303.us.archive.org/26/items/ManhattanDistrictHistory/MDH-B8V02P01-LosAlamos-Technical.pdf.

“Nuclear Arsenals | ICAN.” 2017. Accessed March 12. http://www.icanw.org/the-facts/nuclear-arsenals/.

Turco, R. P., O. B. Toon, T. P. Ackerman, J. B. Pollack, and Carl Sagan. 1983. “Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multple Nuclear Explosions.” Science 222 (4630). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 1283–92.

 

The Importance of Good Leadership in the Workplace

Friday, March 17th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Jericia Stevens, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Good leadership is a direct correlation to the success of a company, because of this good leadership cannot be overlooked or over emphasized. Leadership is the substance that makes all other elements come together. Great leaders know the importance of being in tune with the needs and issues concerning the business as well as his/or employees.

As a leader of an organization or business, it is also important to stay abreast of new developments in leadership theories and methods in order to maximize effectiveness.

Rebecca Hourston stated it best, “The substance of what you do—the result you deliver—is pretty fundamental in today’s economy. But working on the way that you do it is what will launch you into a different sphere of success altogether—even if you already count yourself as pretty successful.”

An effective leader trains others to become leaders. A good indicator of your ability to lead is how well the company operates in the mist of his/her absence. A company should not falter in the absence of its leader; it should operate business as usual.

An important thing to remember is leaders and leadership styles may need to change at times to accommodate the changes within the business or organization. For example, when new people are hired and join your team; when a leader is promoted or moved to another department.

Leadership also effects productivity.  A good leader knows the strength of their team and knows how to delegate task efficiently, resulting in increase in work productivity.

Also, good leadership can improve employee morale and make workers more loyal to the company.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

Resources——————————————————-

Hourston, R. (Ed.). (2014, June 09). 7 Steps To A Truly Effective Leadership Style. Retrieved March 15, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2013/04/24/7-steps-to-a-truly-effective-leadership-style/#62e15e411ce5

 

How to Determine the Best Bid

Monday, March 6th, 2017

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

After six years, our house needed to be repainted. This can be an overwhelming process.  Picking the right painting crew, the type of paint to be used, the prep process, and warranty are all important aspects to be considered.

There is really no difference in sourcing and evaluating vendors to paint your home than there is for a business. However the percentage of your income that is spent on this task may be much higher than it is for a public or private company. All the more reason to ask the correct questions the 1st time around so that everything is covered in your vendor’s proposal.

The following information should be helpful and get you off to a good start.

  1.  Why do some five-year old paint jobs peel and flake while others look like they were applied last week. The simple answer is quality paint and a properly prepped surface. Consumers have a wide range of paint to choose from -nationally known paint to locally produced paint.
  2. Oil paint versus water-based paint?       Water-based paint wins hands down for exterior paint jobs. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Product Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, showed water-based paints expand and contract with siding.       They also allow water vapor generated inside the house to pass through the paint film. Oil-based paint dries to an inflexible coating that blocks moisture. Also, water-based paint is gentler to the environment because they are lower in volatile organic compounds.
  3. Because the cost to paint the exterior of your home is primarily labor, it makes sense to go with premium paint that offer a longer warranty.
  4. The proper prep process is important. Only prime if the paint has cracked or flaked. If you need to scrape to bare wood, then prime that area.
  5. Clean up. Your property needs to be cleaned up after it is painted. All tarps, taping material, and compounds used to fill in cracks needs to be removed from your property.
  6. Make sure you walk your property with your contractor to make sure you are both satisfied with the job. I used a painting company from a national referral company. The contractor is motivated to do a good job, as a survey is completed after the job is done. A bad review can seriously damage a contractor’s reputation.

When sourcing goods and/or services, SafeSourcing can provide you with all the information necessary to make a decision on a vendor. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative We have a entire customer services team waiting to assist you.

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

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

 

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.

Gross Domestic Product

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Jericia Stevens, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. The GDP figure is released quarterly. We use GDP to measure economic output. The growth rate in GDP is closely evaluated by the Federal Reserve to determine whether the economy is growing too slowly or too quickly. (Bankrate.com)

I recently read an article concerning the GDP and if it can still effectively measure the economy. This was being questioned because the economy has shifted from being a production driven economy to a more service driven economy. The economy used to be driven by the production of things, such as refrigerators, cars, shoes, etc.

Today the economy thrives from services and technologies. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the quarterly data by industry reports that finance and insurance; wholesale trade; and information services were the leading contributors to the increase U.S. economic growth in the third quarter of 2016. The Bureau also reported, 20 of 22 industry groups contributed to the overall 3.5 percent increase in real GDP in the third quarter.

SafeSourcing, Inc. is part of the service industry. We provide innovative eProcurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers; as well as provide superior value for all stakeholders. In addition to providing information, tools and services, SafeSourcing proactively supports consumer safety and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain management process.

To learn more, visit SafeSourcing.com.  Let SafeSourcing manage your services, goods and projects. We can handle your sourcing needs. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

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https://bea.gov/newsreleases/glance.htm Ahearn, Cale (2016, September 21).

 

 

What is an Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) Scanner?

Friday, February 24th, 2017

 

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

An Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) scanner is a device that is used to read information from the computer within vehicles that were built after 1996. There are two types of OBD-II devices.  The first are basic code readers which can read and clear codes.  The second are scan tools which can provide more information about specific codes and provide access to recorded and live data.  The scan tool is the more expensive of the two and offers a variety of features not found in the basic reader. The devices are fairly simple to use and connect to a standard connector usually located under the dash.  Some of the devices are Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled and can connect to your smart phone using apps that are available for download.  There a many apps available that offer different features, you just need to make sure it is compatible with your OBD-II device you own.  To use the scanner, simply plug the device into the vehicles connector, connect to the device using your smartphone and then open the OBD-II application.  The most common use for the device is reading current trouble code(s).  These are codes that can be given off by the check engine light, check transmission light, ABS light, airbag light or other modules.  These codes can be accessed and cleared by using the downloaded application.  Depending on the application you may also be given additional information about the trouble codes such as possible causes and possible fixes for the recorded code.  Below are some other diagnostic features that are available with a scan tool and compatible application.

  • Engine Temperature
  • Fuel Rate
  • O2 Sensors
  • MAF Airflow Rate
  • Batter Voltage
  • Vehicle Speed
  • RPM

If you would like some help finding the right scanner, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one will meet your needs. If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.