Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Data Crash

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

 

 

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

No one likes to think about it or experience it, but computer crashes happen. Crashes can happen to anyone, at any time, and due to a variety of reasons, like viruses, heat, errors in the operating system, and disk fails.  If this were to happen to you, what would you do?

Many of us are not so tech-savvy would try and do what we can ourselves. We’d turn it off and then back on and hope it was just in our imagination. While this seems to help many other times, if you’ve had a bad enough crash, this may do little to help. At this point, next steps might be calling your IT department, contacting a computer repair person, or possibly chucking your laptop into the trash out of pure frustration. Whatever your go-to, you may have already lost important data and files that simply cannot be retrieved.

While we all hope we don’t find ourselves in the above situation, there are things we can do to ensure a crash isn’t a detrimental as it could be. One way to ensure your data is safe is to back it up with an external hard drive or other device separate from your computer. This ensures your data is stored separately from those flawed operating systems that could potentially wipe your information. The downside to this is remembering to constantly sync your data to the drive and not accidentally deleting a file from the drive as it is permanently deleted.

Another option for securing your data is storing your files in the cloud, so that if your computer ever does crash you won’t lose any important files. SafeSourcing offers this application called SafeDocument™.  Here, your files are stored safely, securely, and far from reach of computer crashes. In addition, this tool saves a number of versions, so that if you save a document to the wrong name, you can easily access the information you need and nothing is lost. In addition, SafeDocument™ is available to you from anywhere you have internet access. That means if your laptop dies, you can still access all your documents from another computer. This allows you to keep working on what you need to without interruption and without the fear that your data could be lost in a crash.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in your document storage, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.http://safesourcing.com/ContactUs/tabid/60/language/en-US/Default.aspx

 

What Would You Do? ​

Monday, October 29th, 2018

 

 

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

We all have choices to make when it comes to managing our responsibilities. In procurement, we face choices with every purchase. When we enter into a new agreement, we have choices. When we renew an agreement, we have choices.

In this post, I’ll focus in on just one major choice that procurement professionals face when it comes time to renew an agreement with a vendor. Clearly, a renewal offers the purchaser an opportunity to review the current agreement and decide whether or not they intent to continue working with the vendor. This is also an opportunity for the vendor to make changes to the agreement, very commonly in the form of price increases.

However, the question of whether to renew with the incumbent vendor or not is a bit premature. The better question is around how we want to evaluate the agreement to make that decision. SafeSourcing clients know that they have access to a powerful set of eProcurement tools that will help them attain the best pricing possible with the best terms. If your vendor knows that you have these eProcurement tools, it’s natural that they might attempt to persuade you not to use them.

Do you want to negotiate the agreement fully, including using your eProcurement tools, or do you want to accept the offer that the vendor made for renewal? This question becomes a bit more complicated if the vendor offers a discount if you were to renew without eProcurement. What would you do?

Let’s assume that your vendor offered you a renewal and agreed to reduce your pricing by 10% and hold that pricing for a year and left all the other terms the same. That’s a pretty good offer, right? Maybe. If they offered that in a non-competitive environment, then I’d bet that they have additional margin beyond the 10%. The reason I believe this is because we see this scenario play out time and again with our clients. The client tells the vendor that they are going to host an RFQ and the vendor says there is no need and offers better pricing to avoid the process. Our average savings are well over 24%. Before making a decision to accept the vendor’s offer, it makes sense to talk through what savings levels SafeSourcing expects in a particular category.

It would be very easy to renew and stay with your incumbent vendor. However, knowing that you might be overpaying by 10% or more should give you pause. We always recommend that we discuss the category details and consider whether an RFQ is the right choice to help you make this decision. We usually recommend running the RFQ after that discussion. Either way, our services are always risk free, so there is very little to lose. So, what would you do? Would you use the available eProcurement tools and negotiate the agreement fully?

We’re here to help you make the choice that’s best for you and your company. Let’s talk before you agree to a renewal.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

 

When is it important for National companies to invite regional providers to bid on their business?

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Inc Archives

Every day thousands of National companies with offices all over the country are in various stages of determining what type of product to purchase for their company and from whom they are buying it from.

Part of this decision making process involves deciding on whether they are going to deal only with other National companies or whether they will include regional companies as well.  Today we will be looking at some of the reasons why inviting regional companies to compete for you business is a good idea.

Multi-Award for Geography – While there are frequently several National companies that can handle the needs of a large National customer, there are certain services and products that can be best serviced with companies who specialize in certain regions of the country.  In these cases it adds great value when the companies that know those geographical regions the best are included in the mix of those competing directly for that portion of your company’s business.

Secondary Supplier – Many companies in today’s market have introduced Board-Level directives requiring a level of division of the company’s business so that no one vendor has the entire share for any one product or service; especially those services critical to the mission of the company.  There are different trains of thought on the effectiveness of this philosophy, but where it applies, introducing regional players, especially ones that can handle a large portion of your spend, can help meet those requirements and provide competitive savings in certain products backing up your primary supplier.

Expanding the selection pool – Often there will be products or services that by focusing only on National suppliers, will limit the field from which you have to choose.  Expanding the field of vision from which to choose to include regional players provides you, as the customer, an opportunity to see more of what is out there and allow for a more competitive landscape from which to choose.  These companies may not always be selected but in following this approach they have an opportunity for access into an account they may never had had before while providing you with a strong field from which to choose from.

These are just a few of the reasons why expanding the pool of companies allowed to win your company’s business to include regional vendors can be a good idea for you.  For more reasons or for assistance in finding regional companies who can compete for your business, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. 

We look forward to your comments.

Gas Station or Convenience Store and Truck Stop or Travel Center? Part 2 of 2

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

 

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

In the blog, Salad from a Gas Station? Sushi from a Truck Stop? This author raised a couple of questions, in addition to the actual questions, both of the questions may seem odd to us in 2018. There are two parts to inquire about within these questions. The first was getting food typically not found within these establishments and second is the common name of the establishments. For today’s blog, I will focus on the common naming of these establishments.

In some rural areas of America today, there are places of business that just serve gasoline and maybe vehicle lubricants and these were the true gas stations found in every town; however, today the gas station you may visit will carry grocery items, health and beauty items, health and junk foods, even bakery items, some fresh baked on site and some brought in by local bakeries. These establishments are called convenience stores or C-stores. They offer the consumer a small variety of items that a grocery store, bakery, or even a retail store may offer at a convenience from going to multiple places to get items needed.

Convenience stores usually charge significantly higher prices than conventional grocery stores or supermarkets, as convenience stores order smaller quantities of inventory at higher per-unit prices from wholesalers. However, convenience stores make up for this loss by having longer open hours, serving more locations, and having shorter cashier lines.1

Truck stops are similar in naming conventions. The traditional truck stop was a little more than a few diesel gas pumps and a large parking lot for truck drivers to stop and rest. Many years ago, the traditional truck stop might have had a locally owned diner attached or associated with it. Today, the word truck stop brings up a stereotype of large stations that are dirty and filled with truckers and a regular vehicle and its driver feel out of place. This is why the term Travel Center has replaced the term truck stop. Travel Centers are worded to make a place a business seem open, inviting, and clean for all drivers not matter what vehicle they come in with.  Travel Centers are often right off the highways and interstates and have lower fuel prices than conveniences stores that are usually miles off the freeway and in town.

  • Author Mark Sedenqist said it best,” I like the gas prices, but what I really like about truck stops is the retail stores. I love to walk the aisles and marvel at the array of merchandise on the shelves. Some of the automotive tools may look familiar, but few stores offer the following items all within 20 feet of each other: an audio tape on New Age mediation, a Browning knife, a Garmin fish finder, an aromatherapy reed diffuser, a genuine wood-grain noise-canceling CB mike, a Joan of Arc VHS tape, a 250-channel preprogrammed police scanner, a die-cast collectible fuel tanker, a metal detector, the complete “Seinfeld” series on DVD, a rocking chair, a deep-fat fryer, an excellent selection of women’s watches, cameras, the world’s largest assortment of beef jerky and other salty snacks, a DISH satellite “finder meter,” a cordless drill, a 12-volt ionizer and air purifier, several styles of small refrigerators, coffee makers, mugs, T-shirts, flashlights, electric blankets and the little gizmos that truckers use to lock their trailer doors.”2

As a consumer and a driver, you have a variety of choices available to you today when your parents, grandparents and even older generations of drivers did not have luxuries of buying anything other than fuel for their vehicles and had to go to another store to buy a meal before getting back on the road.  You now have a clearer understanding of the new names for establishments that have been around for decades.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_store
  2. https://www.roadtripamerica.com/tips/Truck-Stops-Not-Just-For-Truckers.htm

 

Coca-Cola is Getting Boozy

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

 

 

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

Coca-Cola took its first fly at a lemon-flavored alcoholic drink that went to market in Fukuoka, Japan at the end of May 2018. Canned drinks known as chuhai have been popular in Japan for sometime.  Often they are made with distilled grain-based alcohol, known as shochu, along with carbonated water and fruit juice.  This new lemon-flavored alcoholic beverage is called Lemon-Do.  The beverage is sold in 3%, 5%, and 7% alcohol, including a salty lemon version and another flavored with honey and lemon; however, it contains no Coke!  Currently, Coca-Cola is a big competitor of non-alcoholic drinks in Japan.  To date, Suntory Holdings, Ltd., Kirin Holdings Co. and Asashi Group Holdings products dominate the convenience-store and supermarket shelves.

With a population of 13 million, the southern island of Kyushu will allow Coca-Cola to see how this test market of Japanese-style booze will be received and, hopefully, give it insight into how to apply their knowledge in other countries. “Despite falling demand overall for alcoholic drinks in Japan owing to the country’s shrinking population, demand for canned booze has been growing, in part because it is taxed less than beer and is cheaper.”  The product is well received by both men and women.  Coca-Cola wants to appeal to women with a low-alcoholic product.

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————————————————

Suryatapa Bhattacharya, WSJ, 5/29/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

 

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

Do you know how many products are affected by the price of corn?

Here are an easy? bakers dozen of the more than?hundreds for you to ponder. How do they affect your purchasing? Many of? you probably have no idea. the good news is that SafeSourcing can help.

1. Alternative medicine
2. Chemicals
3. Bio-fuel
4. Food
5. Feed
6. Sweeteners
7. Starch
8. Beverage Alcohol
9. Plastics
10. Fabrics
11. Adhesives
12. Fish Bait
13. Herbal Supplements

If you’d like to understand how SafeSourcing takes into account this type of commodity information when sourcing your products, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Could YOUR Company be saving more money?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives

What prevents a business from reducing costs by engaging in eProcurement best practices? The most common obstacle we see is simply a limitation in mindset, or the lack of will to change practices that maintain the status-quo. eProcurement practices have been around for as long as the internet has, and yet we still find businesses that aren’t aware of the most up to date tools for sourcing, and for whom suggesting a change in practice is akin to blasphemy. What is the barrier to change, and how can you overcome internal objections to improving procurement practices within your organization?

A concept that has come back into the spotlight this election cycle is The Overton Window. This concept is sometimes called “the window of discourse”, and signifies the range of ideas that your audience will accept. Though typically applied to political ideas, it simply relates to what ideas a group of people is willing to consider, and not willing to consider. However, the effort to enact any type of change within an organization will come up against this concept, and will require that The Overton Window be widened. Once the window is widened/the range of concepts willing to be considered has grown in scope, you can begin to garner buy-in of improved processes. So how can we accomplish this in the procurement space? Here are a few recommendations:

  •  Let the results speak for themselves: We run risk-free pilot events for new customers to demonstrate what can be accomplished with eProcurement practices. We routinely saving upwards of 20% on spends in excess of a million dollars using our process. Seeing one category save hundreds of thousands of dollars can quickly get your team to see the possibilities open to them for other categories across the business.
  • Implement cost reduction goals: If you create goals that can’t be accomplished by maintaining the status-quo, your team will have to open their expectations to considering new possibilities. “Necessity is the mother of all invention” as they say.
  • Find examples of being overcharged: We often do analysis of a company’s spend categories and uncover situations where companies are being charged 50% more for products/services than other clients of ours being charged. The only difference is that they’ve never addressed that spend and taken it out to market. If your boss isn’t interested in eProcurement, find a spend he’s losing money on that a category RFP has high historical savings in to demonstrate how much money is being left on the table with current purchasing practices.

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.

Salad from a Gas Station? Sushi from a Truck Stop? Part 1 of 2

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

 

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

Salad from a Gas Station? Sushi from a Truck Stop? Both of these questions may seem odd to us in 2018 and there are two parts to inquire about within these questions. First is getting food typically not found within these establishments and second is the common name of the establishments. For today’s blog, I will focus on the food selections found in today’s market.

Many consumers used to think that the only food you could purchase at a gas station or convenience store was a hot dog, nachos, chips, and candy. While many truck stops or travel centers offered the same as convenience store, they would typically have a diner attached or associated within them.

Today, pay at the pump options make it easier for drivers to fill up and go, but do not entice them to enter the store given the past food options available. The convenience stores have had to re-think how to get drivers in their doors and various things have changed over the years to do just that, from larger and cleaner restrooms to multiple food options.

Food especially has changed and is ever evolving within the convenience store business. Consumers and drivers want something fresh, quick, and yes, even healthy.

  • Consumers care what’s in their food today – they want to know when it was made, how it was prepared and what ingredients they’re about to eat. Enter the fresh trend, fresh made, fresh ingredients, and fresh foods.
  • It’s no secret that health has been a growing concern of consumers for the last decade. With folks becoming more aware of the effects certain foods have on their health, it’s becoming increasingly important to include healthy options in your food lineup.  Whether it’s a customer stopping in to grab a water before a gym session or someone just looking to lose a pound or two. Stores are looking at healthy side of things; don’t just think about obvious choices like salad and fruit. They are thinking about clean foods, snacks with fewer than four ingredients, and healthy alternatives as fan favorites. They can easily make a chicken sandwich healthier when switching from fried to baked, mayonnaise to avocado, and a white roll to a wrap.1
  • Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, consumers want things faster than ever. People don’t have time to wait for their pizza to cook, they want it ready NOW. With that in mind we have to put a focus on quickness. Convenience stores are taking advantage of this trend; think about the ways to reduce customer’s time spent getting food. From high speed ovens, fast cooking fryers, grab and go solutions, and easy check out kiosks, there are a multitude of ways to be perceived as a quick option for consumers.

Today a driver can choose from a salad and fresh made grilled chicken sandwich from a gas station/convenience store or sushi or fresh custom pizza from a truck stop/travel center. The options are starting to become endless giving drivers and consumers more options than just driving on down the road to find a suitable place to eat.

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://blog.mtiproducts.com/convenience-store-foodservice-trends-2017

 

Buying Power!

Friday, August 24th, 2018

 

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

Do you believe you are getting the biggest bang for your buck?Are you getting the best prices for your goods and services? Everyone would like to believe so. Most companies buy larger volumes than a private buyer, which is why they often see better prices. Well, unfortunately you are not always getting the best price. Typically you already have a vendor for your goods or services. Any time you need to place an order you may send in a PO. Every once in a while you may see an increase in pricing with a reasoning attributed to rising index prices or something of the like. But how are you sure this should affect you and how can you tell is this is the best price for you?

We, here at SafeSourcing, have put together a SafeCollaborative which brings many of our clients together to increase buying power. By combining our clients’ like items and taking them out to market, we can increase the volume needed and, therefore, decrease the price. We will be looking to take a Plastic T-Shirt bag event out to market within the next month. This is a great opportunity for everyone to participate in an event for an item everybody needs. While most companies may have their own particular specifications regarding size, mil, weight, and color, these bags typically are sold by the same vendors and manufacturers. So combining everyone’s needs we can ensure a lower price for a higher volume therefore helping you get the lower price.

We have run collaborative events for multiple services and goods.

If you have something you would like to have us take to market, we are sure there are a few more clients that would like to join and take advantage of these savings. Please contact a member of the SafeSourcing team for any inquiries or RFQ events you would like us to help with.

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.

 

 

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.