Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Data Driven

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

 

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

In every organization, decisions are made that can affect not only the organization, but also clients and customers. Every person within an organization must make decisions to some degree, with the more impactful decisions usually resting on those higher in that organization.

So how are big decisions made? Often in movies, television, and stories, we hear about how a decision made on the fly or based on a gut instinct can play out, sometimes to a great fortune or profound success.?While situations like this can and do happen, the opposite likely happens far more often. Those in an organization are far more apt to weigh all options before making any decisions and, possibly most importantly, have the data to back up that decision.

While a good instinct is highly valuable in an organization, being aware of and basing decisions off of tangible data may be even more valuable. For example, if a procurement department sees a company offering a product for 20% lower than what they currently pay, one may say switching to that company for that product would be most beneficial. However, if that data is reviewed and?analyzed it may show that the new company charges switching fees, administrative fees, minimum order fees, and delivery fees. In this hypothetical case, that same procurement department would likely stay with their current supplier.

Like the company in the example, SafeSourcing values data and uses that data to best help their clients and customers. We review and analyze internal information and market trends to see the best categories to take to market or not take to market and use that information to make decisions and help those we are involved with.

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

 

 

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Truly Appreciating Referrals ?

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

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

Telling your?friends, family, colleagues about some product or service is as common as anything.?Online reviews and ratings are everywhere.?It?s?just human nature.?If you need proof, just go to Facebook or Instagram and see how many pictures you see of your friends? meals.?Still, for something so common, we tend to be careful about?giving?actual?referrals. It?s all too easy to share negative experiences as warnings to your network. There is very little personal risk in sharing a negative review. As a consumer, it can even feel somewhat satisfying to vent about a bad experience in this way.

Positive reviews are much harder to earn.?Even more difficult to earn are actual referrals. There are probably many reasons for this. One is that unlike sharing a negative experience, giving a referral puts the referrer in a position of perceived risk. Clearly, they were satisfied with their experience, but will the contact in their network also feel satisfied? Worse, if they are not satisfied, will?the recipient of the referral?hold?the referrer?accountable?

Yet, this practice of sharing, both positive and negative, thrives today. Our own networks have grown steadily larger and easier to manage. Much of this is as a result of social media and technology in general. We?re able to connect with more people in more meaningful ways now that communicating from any distance is a negligible feat. While conversation about social media can be polarizing, there is no denying the scope of its impact.

Here is a?Mark Zuckerberg?quote about influence and referral.??People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.? Given that, Mr. Zuckerberg is the third richest person in the world as of the day I?m writing this, we should at least consider his opinion.

At SafeSourcing, we understand that to give a referral is no small thing. We understand that this is a vote of confidence and that this is a personal investment. We are fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of many customer referrals and are always incredibly appreciative of this act. We also take this very seriously and we feel the full weight of the responsibility.

SafeSourcing wants to thank our customers who think highly enough of us and the eProcurement service that we provide to stick their necks out for us with a referral. From the date of this posting through September of 2018, we?re offering a discount program for referrals. For our current clients, we?ll offer a 50% discount on your next RFx Event for any new referrals that lead to an RFx Event (contact?SafeSourcing?for full details).

We appreciate and are honored by each referral we receive.

For more information, please contact?SafeSourcing.??

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Amazon Shakes up the Pharmacy Business

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

 

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

PillPack, Inc. is being bought by Amazon. This e-commerce giant will be able to ship prescriptions across the country, and even overnight them, except to Hawaii.? The purchase price is $1 billion in cash.? CVS Health Corp. and Walmart currently have a hefty investment in the pharmacy business.? ?The acquisition means Amazon doesn?t have to build capabilities in-house that current players have spent years assembling.?1.

This health care market may prove difficult to penetrate for Amazon. This is a highly regulated and complex market depends on a complex web of contracts, interconnected data systems and other relationships with health plans, drug-benefit managers, and various health care providers which could alienate Amazon.? Walgreens CEO Stefan Pessina indicated he is not overly concerned with the acquisition as he believes the drug market is not just about delivering pills and packages.? He still believes that the physical pharmacy still plays an important role with consumers.? PillPack?s specializes in a month?s worth of pills for chronic-disease patients.? This is a small market; however, with the acquisition, Amazon will keep the brand name along with the pharmaceutical licensing.? This is the same strategy that Amazon used when they bought Whole Foods and Zappos.com Inc.

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—————————————————————

1 Sharon Terkel and Laura Stevens, WSJ, 6/29/2018

 

 

 

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Personal relationships are critical for successful business

Friday, July 27th, 2018

 

Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing?Archives

The importance of a personal relationship with colleagues, clients, and suppliers in our world of social networking, emailing, and text messaging.

We are guilty of quickly pressing the ?Reply? button on an email. How often do you consider picking up the phone? Social media, text messaging, email, and Instant Messaging applications are all frequently used and accepted methods of communicating in today?s technology driven business.

None of these methods of communication give you the trust earning cues that voice tone, eye contact, or posture can give you. Of course, technology has made us more efficient, we can get more done, in less time. However, this efficiency does not necessarily lead to the trust that is required for a prosperous business relationship. It takes less time to reply to that email but if you pick up the phone, walk to their desk, or visit them, there will be substantial benefits.

We have witnessed suppliers lose business over the personal relationship, not realizing its impact. Think of all of the business deals that have been closed on only a handshake. That is not possible without trust. It is important to get out and visit your customers and suppliers to keep them engaged. When travel is not possible, try calling them before you send that text or respond to that email. You will find that your relationships with your customers, suppliers, and colleagues will drastically improve.

Let SafeSourcing call you. 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. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

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Benefits of Recycling

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

 

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

The rise of self-service merchandising spawned the need for new packaging materials to both protect and help sell products. Today, packaging comprises one-third of solid waste.??Out of every $10 spent buying things, $1 (10%) goes for packaging that is thrown away. ?Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.

We?currently?have massive amounts of waste accumulating in landfills across this country. ?The U.S. is the number one trash-producing country in the world, at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.?Studies of effective waste management options consistently indicate?that?prudent?practices?hold the greatest promise?of lessening the need for new landfills and incinerators. These practices(the “3?Rs”): reduce consumption of disposable consumer products, particularly packaging materials; re-use materials wherever possible; and remake or recycle used items.?Of these, recycling is a?key component?to reduce waste and increase environmental sustainability.

Many people simply do not feel comfortable about the huge volumes of garbage they tote to the curb each week.?Much of?our?waste?retains some value (energy,?fibre, metal) and?can be converted into recycled goods, instead of adding it to our?landfills.??Some?facts?to think about as listed on Recycling Revolution website:

  • A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes.
  • Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.
  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, and 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.Most of them are thrown away.

Thousands of U.S. companies have saved millions of dollars through their voluntary recycling programs. Recycling benefits the environment and the economy. ?Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls. ?It also benefits the air and water by creating a net reduction in ten major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water pollutants.

It is imperative that we all find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, because every little bit helps!

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://recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recycling

 

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Empathy in Your Business

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

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Today?s post is written by Heather Powell,?Manager of Major Accounts and Special Projects at ?SafeSourcing Inc.

This is the seventh blog within the author?s series of Emotional Intelligence in Business explaining empathy and how it will affect and help your business. Despite a bevy of research and best-selling books on the topic, many managers still downplay emotional intelligence as a ?touchy-feely? soft skill1. The importance of characteristics like empathy and self-awareness is understood, sure, but intelligence and technical capability are seen as the real drivers of professional success1. Evidence suggests quite the opposite: that high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of a success1. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops1.

?Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and respond on the mark,” (Goleman, 2015, pp 3).2

4). Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

a.) Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers. (In an educational context, empathy is often thought to include, or lead to, sympathy, which implies concern, or care or a wish to soften negative emotions or experiences in others.)3?

Three Kinds of Empathy: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate:

The first is ?cognitive empathy,? simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Sometimes called perspective-taking, this kind of empathy can help in, say, a negotiation or in motivating people. A study at the University of Birmingham found, for example, that managers who are good at perspective-taking were able to move workers to give their best efforts.4

The second is ?emotional empathy,? ? when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This emotional contagion, social neuroscience tells us, depends in large part on the mirror neuron system. Emotional empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person?s inner emotional world, a plus in any of a wide range of callings, from sales to nursing.4

The third is ?compassionate empathy,? also known as ?empathic concern?, with this kind of empathy we not only understand a person?s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed4. It is not out of place at work: you see it when a leader lets people know that he will support them, that she can be trusted, that they are free to take risks rather than maintain a too-safe defensive posture5.

Please stay tuned for the next and final blog in Emotional Intelligence on how social skills can help you and your business.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you 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. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

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References:

  1. http://www.dce.harvard.edu/professional/blog/emotional-intelligence-no-soft-skill
  2. http://cultureofempathy.com/references/Experts/Daniel-Goleman.htm
  3. https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/goleman.htm
  4. http://www.danielgoleman.info/three-kinds-of-empathy-cognitive-emotional-compassionate/
  5. http://www.danielgoleman.info/empathy-101/

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Telephone Skills 101

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

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

The world has gotten smaller with technology. You can be connected around the globe in seconds by computers and telephones. Businesses can reach people in seconds that were entirely inaccessible years ago.? The phone may be best tool available.? That being said, why are we so bad at it.? Here are some techniques to consider when making a call.

  • When your call is answered, ask if this is a good time to talk. Get the name of the person that answers the call. Use their name when speaking with them.
  • You want to answer the call on the second or third ring. Speak slowly and articulate what you are saying. If you switch to speakerphone, make sure your connection is still acceptable. Focus on the caller, do not interrupt. Make sure your cell phone ringer is off.
  • Make sure you are not eating or chewing gum. Do not shuffle papers.
  • Your voice should be pleasant when answering a call. Some people recommend smiling when you answer a call. You want to make sure your customers feel they are important.
  • Try to start all calls with good news, even if you have bad news to report.
  • Have an agenda that you wish to accomplish.
  • Start early in your career to keep track of 100-300 most important people in your network. Keeping track of people?s birthdays can really help a sales person. People like to be acknowledged and remembered.
  • Call ahead to make sure your customer is there before making a cold call.
  • When leaving a message start with your name, day, date, and time and guarantee you will call back in 24 hours. Set aside a specific time to return calls each day.

Resources———————————————————

Harvey MacKay, AZCentral, 4/9/2018

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.

 

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Looking Back Helps you look forward

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

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

I believe it?s important to take a look in the rear-view mirror once in a while. To evaluate where you started, what it took to get further, your method for navigating, or things you wished you had done differently.?Over the course of 6 years at Safe-Sourcing I have learned a lot, and think it?s worth sharing what I want to keep doing in the form of professional habits. However, the most valuable lessons might be just identifying how I want to grow, and what I want to do better:

Professional Habits:

Taking notes:?Just do it. Maybe you want to appear as though you didn?t need to be told something to do it, or you just don?t like writing things down. Researchers have determined that we only retain about 11% of what we read or hear on average, and that isn?t?nearly?enough when you are having a fairly detailed conversation upon which the success or failure of your project may?be determined. So do yourself a favor: Take notes for?everything, and save them in a format that works best with your workflow (Laptop document, email,?cellphone app, hand written, etc.)?and check them off as you implement them.

Correlation: In procurement and inventory control, this means having unique identifiers that link 2 or more variables together.?For example, how would your GPS app navigate you to the right location if there were multiple buildings with the?exact?same address in your city? A lot of people would get to the wrong place. Unique identifiers are a lot like addresses; they lead to a?unique?product or spec, so that there is no room for ambiguity in identifying exactly what you are looking for.?Committing to a specification of a product because it ?looks like? the specification of another is relying on luck to get the right product to fit your needs, and it will eventually end up biting you. Relying on exact matching of unique identifiers will make sure that what you want, and what you get, end up being the same thing.

Changing/Adapting:?This requires a consistent willingness to reinvent one?s-self, and the humility to assume we always have new things we can learn. Sometimes this means taking notes, implementing a new policy off of those notes, and changing the way we do something going forward without having to check that its getting done right. This could also mean not adhering to static job descriptions and titles, so that when we see a need arise, we find a solution and create a path forward regardless of if the waters have been charted yet or not.

Things I want to do better:

Training ?Sessions? vs ad-hoc feedback:?Not everyone can turn on a dime, especially when they?re deep in the weeds. How would you find a dime in weeds anyway?? When I?ve seen new policies not get implemented quickly enough with my team (or even myself), I know it?s because I need to undo/redirect old habits. Every day we come across opportunities for improvement, but sometimes that opportunity is buried in an email from your boss 23 emails down a chain of long emails. A more formal training session has worked much better in many cases I?ve seen, and is something I would like to use in the future to develop my teams.

Reward, and provide opportunities to practice: Related to training, I really do think practice is necessary to change a previously?habitualized?work policy.?It can be as simple as having the team do mock phone calls, draft document templates, or create faux financial calculations. But actually going through the motions of a new procedure helps re-wire the muscle memory, and memory ques,?that?people often need to?happen in order to?change habits. Furthermore, in highly dynamic businesses, I need to reward and recognize those that put forth the effort to adapt and learn quickly. The better my team is at this, the?easier it makes my life?as well.

Pass along the method, not just the order:?Perhaps my biggest takeaway from looking back is that I want to empower my team to make the right?decisions, not just teach them to take orders. This means I need to take more time to sit down with a team member, and review how to?approach and analyze?a problem. I would focus more on how to arrive at a conclusion, rather than just?praise or criticize?the result.?This would be the counterpoint to the old-school means of changing?activities?by?beating policy into the heads of employees.?Policies are informed by objectives, and without understanding how to strategize to achieve those objectives, following policy will manifest as filling orders even when it doesn?t make sense to.

Likewise I need to ask well-worded questions to illicit a breakdown of how my mangers?think about problems?as learning opportunities?for myself.?I want to take a first-principles approach to both learning how and teaching how-to problem solve. As mentioned above, I?believe?humility is going to be a key ingredient to enacting this self-managing policy. However, I believe a lot of managers have an aversion to humility because it seems like such an antithesis to?authority. I read an article recently by Dan Cable that I think summed up nicely why this is not the case:

?Humility and servant leadership do not imply that leaders have low self-esteem, or take on an attitude of servility. Instead, servant leadership emphasizes that the responsibility of a leader is to increase the ownership, autonomy, and responsibility of followers ? to encourage them to think for themselves and try out their own ideas.?

Please leave a comment or for more information on how SafeSourcing?can assist your team with your procurement?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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Overcome the ?What If??

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

 

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

?What if? is a question we ask ourselves a lot.?Typically the ?what if? factor can be what causes us to be our own worst enemy. Ever since I was around 8 years old,?I have been afraid of biting into?an?apple fearing I will lose a tooth.?That fear meant anytime I wanted to eat my favorite fruit, I had to have a knife or some way of slicing it. Well, that ended recently when a co-worker came into the office with a bunch of small delicious looking apples. He offered me one and I looked forward to cutting it up and eating at lunch. Well the day blew by before I knew it, it was time to go home. Not wanting to warm up my lunch and try to navigate rush hour while trying to eat, I decided to just go home and eat when I got there. As I pull onto the highway entrance ramp,?I see a sea of stopped traffic. Afterabout 15 minutes, I had successfully entered the highway. With a ravishing hunger, looking through my lunch bag, there was nothing that I could eat that didn?t require some kind of prepping. I was about to close the bag and there it was, that delicious looking apple. So I decided to take the chance and it was great! I ate the whole thing and didn?t lose a tooth! That made me think I had spent a major part of my life afraid to bite into an apple.

This got me thinking about everything I had turned down or have been too afraid to do. How often I missed an opportunity. This also had me thinking on how often I have spoken to companies and they have told me how they are afraid to try e-procurement because it may not grasp the entire scope of what they?are looking to take to market. They also feared this may upset their incumbents or they may be wasting their time and not see any savings.?I have also spoken to potential vendors we invite to participate in the bidding process. I often get the infamous ?we do not participate in e-bids?. Once I follow up on that response, it often boils down to they have never participated in one, do not know how it will work, and fear they may be wasting resources by participating and not being awarded the business. I love explaining to them our SafeSourcing representatives are here to help them through the entire process and we?are practically bringing the business to them, all they have to do is put their best foot forward. By coming up with strong pricing and a plan, the worst thing that can happen is they may not be awarded the business, but it may help them reflect and gauge where their prices stack up.? SafeSourcing has successfully helped another clients and has brought new business to a happy sales team.?This may not be ?apples to apples?? but it can be a great change! SafeSourcing offers ?Risk Free? Trials and Pilot Agreements and we pride ourselves on?an average savings of 24%?across all categories. Can you imagine the savings you could see and what you could so with those savings? Overcome the ?What If?!

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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Single-Use Plastic to Eventually Become a Thing of The Past

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

 

Today?s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of Major Accounts and Special Projects at SafeSourcing Inc.

McDonald?s announced this week that by 2020 all of the UK will use paper straws. In the US McDonald?s will be test alternative straws to the plastic version. Sea World already uses paper straws and has eliminated plastic shopping bags and A&W in Canada will offer paper straws only by the end of this year.

So why all the ?sudden? changes? As you may know, even though oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth, humans have dumped so much plastic into them that animals such as pilot whales are dying from consuming it. By 2050, according to a prediction from the MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans unless something drastically changes in the meantime. Also, this past spring, reports came out that over 83% of our bottled water contains plastic particles.1

Laws are changing globally to combat the single-use/disposable crisis to our environment. For example; styrofoam cups are banned in California and California is also looking to make new laws to include plastic straws.

Our landfills are filling up with plastics such as water bottles, coffee pods, ziplock bagies, cereal bags, and many more items that typically don?t get recycled. Think back to what you have thrown away in the past 24 hours, how much of it was a plastic that couldn?t be recycled?

What are your business practices to emlinate or reduce your use of single-use plastics? Have you looked at alternative products? Long term what are your company goals to reduce waste or your carbon footprint?

SafeSourcing offers a wide variety of business solutions to your purchasing needs and one of those solutions is research and market changes. We at SafeSourcing can do the leg work for you to find alternatives and give the current market pricing and fluctuating market trends.

Are you interested in more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our ?Risk Free? trial program for RFPs and RFQs, 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:———————————————————————————————————

  1. https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/mcdonalds-plastic-straws-phasing-out-uk-britain.html

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