Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Fleet Management Services, what values do they offer?

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

How can companies benefit from using Fleet Management Services?

Fleet Service companies provide turnkey solutions for fleets.  Typically they provide solutions for Asset Management, Operating Cost Management and Risk Management.  Please see the details on services below.

Asset Management:

1. Title and Registration Services
2. Vehicle financing, acquisition, delivery
3. Used vehicle marketing
4. Violation Management

Operating Cost Management:

1. Fuel Expense Management
2. Telematics
3. Managed Fleet Maintenance
4. Vehicle expense management
5. Fleet management outsourcing

Risk Management:

1. Motor vehicle records and vehicle monitoring
2. Vehicle accident management
3. Safety Services

Fleet Service companies can help identify savings and improve fleet productivity.  In addition, they maximize your company’s fleet investment by benchmarking your fleet against the industry.  They also can recommend specific steps to improve fleet effectiveness.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your Purchasing Department evaluate Fleet Services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

The Death of Bacon

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

 

Todays’s Post is by Eli Razov, SafeSourcing  Account Manger.

No not Francis Bacon the English philosopher, but that wonderful meat we all love. Don’t worry we kept the treat, but a lot of things have changed. Back in 2011, the CME decided to remove the Pork Belly from the trade floor because of its volatility and a few other reasons. What does that mean? Is this the end of pork trade? Where do I buy a Pig?

Let’s start at the beginning. Bacon is one of the oldest cuts of meat, going back to around 1500 B.C. It has been used in multiple countries and cultures. Around the 16th century it was the European peasant food go-to because it is easy to produce and relatively cheap. This also goes for us Americans as well; we haven’t always loved or claimed this glorious breakfast staple as we do today. It wasn’t really until the mid to later 1900’s that we found our love.  In 1961 seeing the rise of demand the CME allowed Pork Bellies to be traded and that’s where we begin. The “pork belly contract” each consisting of 40,000 lbs of frozen trimmed bellies is how the CME decided to keep track of reserves. Ever since it rolled across that ticker, pork bellies have been a dramatic rollercoaster ride for investors. Everything from weather, feed, disease, other countries demands and even speculation have controlled and dictated this commodity. There have been many jokes made about the pork belly trade as well as movie appearances like in “Trading Places”. But like all good things, this too has come to an end. The country’s demand for pork bellies grew exponentially over the years and in 2010 the CME monitored warehouses were about 73 percent smaller than the previous year. This as we know is not good for most investors, seeing this drastic of a change means prices will skyrocket, but also mean the product can become extremely scarce. Well that was back when we had to freeze and keep in warehouses. But now most of what we consume is all fresh.  So in 2011 the CME decided to remove the Pork Belly from the commodity trade.

Never fear, bacon is not going anywhere.   In fact, we come up with new ways to use it every day. The CME has had “Lean Hog Futures” for many years, which are now the new pork bellies just under the same umbrella. The trade is going strong and our love for the succulent snack is ever growing. And if you are a true bacon lover, and maybe even dabble in investments, you can always go over to the CME website and put some stock in the things we love.

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

 

References —————————–

  1. http://bacon.wikia.com/wiki/Bacon_History
  2. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/porkbellies.asp
  3. http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/pork-bellies-pork-belly-futures-pork/7/18/2011/id/35803
  4. http://www.cmegroup.com/trading/agricultural/livestock/lean-hogs_quotes_settlements_futures.html

 

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

 

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

Striving for improvement within an organization is essential for any company to strengthen and grow, but many times it can be difficult to discern where to begin. First knowing what to improve is the first step, but where does that idea come from?

Employee feedback – We all hope that our organizations breed open and honest communication, but unfortunately openly expressed concerns from employees doesn’t always happen. Reaching out to employees for their feedback on the their workload, daily duties, management styles, and work-life balance can not only help to ease the concerns of an individual employee, but can forewarn an organization of potential problems other employees may face. Addressing employee concerns can help to stabilize and strengthen the core of a business, encouraging teamwork and comradery.​

Customer feedback – Listening to customers is another important aspect of any business. If something happens with a customer base, the impact can hit the pocket of an organization hard. This kind of feedback can be found through comment cards, email, toll-free numbers, online surveys, and even customer interviews. It can be essentially important in business to find and address customer concerns before a customer decides to go elsewhere.

Research – Another great way to learn where an organization can use improvement is to look for outside sources. This can mean looking at processes of other organizations and determining if that process is something that could be implemented in your business, and whether it would have a positive or negative overall effect on both customers and employees. In addition to other organizations, looking at upcoming technologies and research can help a business not only stay up to date, but also ease the burdens on employees and customers alike.

While each method of obtaining information and ideas for improvement are instrumental in a growing business, utilizing all three methods will ultimately generate the most knowledge. Seeking feedback is essential in keeping employees, customers, and everyone else happy with an organization because without the knowledge, you would never know how far you could go.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help your organization, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

Egg Carton Labeling Terms

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

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

The egg carton was invented in 1911 by newspaper editor Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia, to solve the debate between a local farmer and a hotel owner over the farmer’s eggs being delivered broken. Up until that time the eggs were delivered in egg baskets.  The egg carton, or “box” was refined by H. G. Bennett (Riseley UK) during the 1950’s and became the norm for egg transportation.

Some terms used in labeling eggs are as follows:

  1.  Antibiotic-Free. This term is misleading, as all eggs produced in the U.S. are antibiotic-free. If the hen becomes ill and antibiotics are needed, they are used on a therapeutic level under the supervision of a veterinarian. Hens given antibiotics at a high dose would be diverted from human consumption according to FDA regulations.
  2. Brown Eggs. Red-brown feathered breeds lay brown eggs. According to the USDA the nutritional content is the same as white eggs.
  3. Cage-Free/Free-Roaming Eggs. Eggs laid by these hens are indoor floor operations, sometimes referred to as free roaming. These hens may roam in a building, room to room, or in an open area, usually a barn or poultry house and have unlimited access to food and water. Some hens may even be allowed outside to forage for food. These hens have a shelter that protects them from predators.
  4. Enriched Colony. A production system that contains adequate perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.
  5. Fertile Eggs. Eggs, if not refrigerated, can be incubated to hatch into chicks. These are eggs are a result of roosters and hens housed together.
  6. Free-Range Eggs. Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors. Hens have continuous access to food and water and may forage for wild plants and insects.
  7. Good Source of Protein. All eggs qualify for the nutrient content as they meet or exceed 10% of the DV (daily value).
  8. Gluten Free. All eggs are naturally gluten free. Any grains a chicken ingests is broken down during the digestive process and not passed through the body tissue.
  9. Hormones. The egg industry does not use hormones in the production of shell eggs. The FDA require that a qualifying statement “Hormones are not used in the production of shell eggs” to prevent misleading consumers that some eggs have added hormones.

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

Source: Egg Nutrition CenterSafeSourcing has a lot of experience sourcing eggs and poultry. It is a category that is run regularly.

The components of information

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

 

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

Communication is a funny thing. We communicate day in and day out, most of the time successfully, but it’s easy to think of examples where our message has not be received as intended, or we just weren’t able to pick up what someone else was trying to communicate to us. Much of the time, we find that the fundamental issue in miscommunication is that the message giver and the message receiver have different understandings of the concepts being traded back and forth. For example, one person’s idea of “love” looks completely different from someone raised in a family that expressed love in a totally different way. Another simple example could be if you’re sent to the grocery store with instructions to get “apples”. In your mind, when you hear the word “apple” you have a picture of a Honey Crisp apple, but the person who sent the request has an image in their mind of green Granny Smith apples. All communication is based on templates stored in our minds, on hard drives, on documents, etc. And if we don’t understand what information IS, we’re bound to make mistakes in how we trade it with others in our professional lives.

Information, generally speaking, is a representation of other objects stored within a physical medium. All information is stored in physical objects, such as hard drives, CD’s, brain cells, etc. The higher fidelity of information is stored, the more accurately it represents the object of its focus. For instance, a picture of a widget in low definition, and vague description in a specifications sheet, won’t represent that widget as well as a high definition picture, with several pages of precise descriptors. Similarly, a cell phone recording of a symphony won’t represent the event as well as an IMAX recording would. But the IMAX data will be potentially thousands of times larger, because it takes larger physical space, to record information at higher fidelity. This is because the more possibilities your information CAN’T represent, the more detailed it has to be and the more likely it can only represent what you intend it to.

In the Information Theory context, entropy can be defined as the delta of change from order, to disorder/randomness. Information entropy is the average information of all possible outcomes. In other words, information is most precise, when it disqualifies EVERY possibility other than the very specific one it is trying to represent. If the information you are sending could mean any one of a dozen things, you are bound to have some unavoidable margin of error in communicating to your audience. The tricky thing though, is there’s a tradeoff.

The greater fidelity the information is, more precise your communication will be. However, this increases the size of the information content, making it more difficult to manage, decode, or asses. The tradeoff is that the more precise the information, the more difficult to use. How this translates into procurement specifically, is that there will always be some margin of ambiguity in any specifications document. However, that doesn’t mean an RFP can’t be flexible enough to meet a buyer’s needs. Here are a few ways procurement professionals can make sure their documentation avoids falling into some of the common communication pitfalls inherent to the transfer of information:

  •  Identify the most important attributes, and focus your specifications on those. For instance, perhaps the business goal of the purchase doesn’t depend at all on color, or pack size, or the availability of support staff. Keep the more detailed information limited to the important attributes.
  • Add flexibility to your bid for consideration of equivalent products. Sometimes being too specific means that a vendor who may have a superior product to offer, isn’t able to propose his alternative if a specification calls for an exact match to a lesser product.
  • Ask yourself “would something I wouldn’t want qualify under the specifications I’m creating?” Remember, information should guide your audience to a specific concept, and disqualify all other possible concepts, as much as is possible without overburdening your audience.

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.

Managing your RFP process

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Director of Sales, at SafeSourcing.

While the biggest reason that an organization sites as they begin to leverage eProcurement is to reduce costs and many first think of reverse auctions when they think of eProcurement, there are other benefits as well.

For example, when an organization is considering a complicated Request for Proposal (RFP) and want to understand much more than price alone, they often turn to their eProcurement partner for assistance. In fact, one of the more common misconceptions about eProcurement is that it does not work well for categories that are not commodities.

Actually, there are many reasons, including cost reduction to use eProcurement to better manage your RFP process for complex categories. The complexities may exist in the service requirements and might be considered difficult to quantify. They might also be in detailed technical requirements. These complexities create an even greater burden on a purchasing organization than other less complex categories.

A traditional RFP process can be cumbersome to manage internally. Beginning with the creation of the scope, requirements and other details, your team will typically have a heavy burden and are often under the additional pressure of a tight timeline. Then, once the RFP is ready the responses have to be solicited from vendors. From there, each vendor will respond, likely in varying formats and with varying levels of detail.Finally, all of these responses has to be reviewed thoroughly in order for decisions to be made. It is a substantial undertaking that will significantly tax your resources.

So then, what does eProcurement offer to address these challenges? First, you’ll have the guidance of your eProcurement partner in the creation and preparation of your online RFP. They will lighten the load for your team by taking on much of the burden associated with the process. Second, and this is a big one, your eProcurement partner will ensure that you’ll have vendor responses submitted and organized in a manner that allows for easy and efficient review and comparison of the vendor submissions including pricing. No more digging though vendor documents to align their response to your requirements. Each response is in its proper place for consideration. Third, you’ll have all of this at your fingertips electronically. Finally, you’ll continue to have support during your review process.

Dave Wenig is the Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss many more reasons why our clients choose to host their RFPs online. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

How Do You Ensure You Are Getting What You Paid For?

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

 

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

We often hear about Terms and Conditions, though many people do not actually read them. In this blog, I will be touching on the Terms and Conditions associated with a Request for Quote (RFQ). These Terms and Conditions often include specific details about Shipping, Price Protection Terms, Quality Requirements, and in some cases the Specifications. Terms and Conditions are basically the rules and guidelines that one must follow during a transaction.

Another step of the Procurement process that often does not receive the credit it deserves would be the Specifications. The specifications play a major role in the procurement process because it lays out specific details of each particular item your company wishes to purchase.  Also, the specification will detail essential characteristics that are required. The document will cover every tiny detail of the product and service that the buyer wishes to accumulate. The Business Dictionary Defines Specifications as “Exact statement of the particular needs to be satisfied, or essential characteristics that a customer requires (in a good, material, method, process, service, system, or work) and which a vendor must deliver. Specifications are written usually in a manner that enables both parties (and/or an independent certifier) to measure the degree of conformance. They are, however, not the same as control limits (which allow fluctuations within a range), and conformance to them does not necessarily mean quality (which is a predictable degree of dependability and uniformity).”1 As one can see there is a lot more time and focus that would go into a Specification document, or even a Terms and Conditions document for that matter. Thankfully SafeSourcing will cover all the Terms and Conditions and Specification documents for you and your company; though we will of course, need to know what you want.

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.

Resources—————————————–

“What Is a Specification (spec)? Definition and Meaning.” BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

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.