Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

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.

 

Ready, Set, Gone

Monday, February 20th, 2017

 

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

With a world of information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to no not only gain people’s attention, but also to sustain that interest. It is believed that a person forms an opinion of a product, company, or another person within eight seconds. On top of that, most people visiting websites only average 10-20 seconds before leaving. Viewers visiting websites and online articles will likely only read about 20% of the words on the page. This is a growing challenge for businesses and especially marketing groups, but they have found a few ways to not only get more viewers, but to keep their attention even longer.

First, keep messages short and to the point. While lots of information and expanding on a variety of topics is great for research and academic papers, most consumers retain short simple messages. If the message happens to resonate with a consumer, short and clear facts help to keep their attention.

If the message you want to relay is a long and complex one, there are ways of getting viewers invested in what you are trying to say. For example, telling a story or using real life examples can be highly effective. Presenting a common problem or situation with your message embedded into the story can leave a lasting impression.

Second, make things easy. Majority or viewers prefer watching a video to reading a block of text. Often, just putting text over a video can be just as effective. However, if a video is not an option, using graphics and images is a way to keep attention and even inject humor into topics.

With our ever-moving, fast-paced digital age, getting your message across effectively can not only get the attention you seek, but also change the processes of how business and marketing approach consumers. Different tactics can yield different results, and sometimes stopping to smell the roses is an underrated activity.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can get your message out, 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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http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/shortening-human-attention-span-and-what-it-means-marketers-infographic

 

 

The components of information

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Manager 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.

Sourcing in Times of Disaster!

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

 

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

Recently, Gatlinburg, TN experienced a historical wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. The residents of the city where forced to evacuate and seek refuge in emergency shelters. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said, “This is a fire for the history books,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said, “The likes of this has never been seen here.”

As I read about this tragedy, I thought, can this beautiful and lucrative tourist town recover from such devastation? Ironically, that same week I read one of the White Pages written by our CEO, Ron Southard, entitled, 4 Tips and 3 Pitfalls to Avoid when Sourcing Professional Services, A Little Planning can Save Companies Millions.” In it Ron listed poplar services targeted for new procurement projects: The professional services that could be useful for homes and businesses in Gatlinburg are: Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup), Environmental Services, Construction Services, Temporary Labor, and Waste Management Services. Yes, Gatlinburg will be great again and sourcing professional services during this tragic disaster can help.

SafeSourcing, Inc. can assist you in times of disaster. We provide innovative eProcurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers, and 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 sourcing projects. 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.

 

Could YOUR Company be saving more money?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

 

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

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.

To-do List Management

Monday, January 30th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Tyler Walther; Sr. Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Today Tyler is discussing methods of managing your to-do lists.

We are all overwhelmed with work. Organizing our to-do lists is a job amongst itself in addition to performing our job duties.

The purpose of a to-do list is to organize your tasks and their deadlines for completion. If you keep adding to them with no method, they can become a roadblock to your efficiency as opposed to simplifying your work.

If you have multiple to-do lists, combine them into one all-encompassing list, and then put the tasks in some kind of logical order for job or project. You’ll find just completing this simple procedure will make you feel less stressed out about what needs to be done because you’ll know what that is.

Another critical step is the prioritization of the tasks on the list. You will need to update and have the list in a fluid form so that the priorities can be set. Prioritize based on target dates, the amount of work anticipated to complete each task, the complexity of each task, and the importance of the task towards the deadline.

Now you’ll need to set completion target dates. When a new task arises you can decide whether it is a critical task. You can have soft, flexible target dates for noncritical tasks.

You need to keep your list updated and relevant. The to-do list should be visited and updated numerous times. If your to-do list is accurate, you track your progress, and refer to it multiple times throughout the planning and monitoring of your project, you will find more success.

Let SafeSourcing better manage your sourcing projects. 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.

 

 

Paying too much for your goods?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

 

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

How do you know if you are paying too much for a particular item or service? Many companies over the years have discovered they have been paying a vender way too much for an item or service. In some cases, a company may discover that they could be accumulating these items for a cheaper price from their current vender. When trying to determine if your company is paying too much for an item, you will need to keep two terms in mind while conducting your research. Those terms would be Market Value and Total Market Size. The Market Values is the highest price a buyer would pay a vender for a particular good in an open and competitive market. The Total Market Size is defined by the business dictionary as “The number of individuals in a certain market who are potential buyers and/or sellers of a product or service. Companies are interested in knowing the market size before launching a new product or service in an area.” In other words, how many buyer or sellers of a particular product or service are in the market today? That a company will need to know this if they wish to have success with launching a new product or to check the feasibility of continuing to sell a product.

After reading this, it is easy to see where a company could overlook and continue to over pay for a service or good. It is simply too much work to constantly check the market size and the market value. This is where SafeSourcing could be of assistance. We would conduct a supplier research to discover the market size that is available to you and also use our online web tool to discover the Best Market Value of a certain item or service. So if you feel like your company is paying too much for a service, or any items, give us a call and let us review your accounts with you and discover where we could help your company cut back in your procurement process.

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 Market Size? Definition.” BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.

 

 

 

What are my Internet connection options?

Friday, January 20th, 2017

 

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

When looking for an Internet connection solution, there are several types of connections available. The most common are DSL, Cable and Fiber Optics.

DSL(Digital Subscriber Line) uses telephone cable to transmit data. When using DSL you have a dedicated connection that is not shared with others within your area.  The speed is, however, affected by the distance between your location and the location of your Internet Service Provider(ISP).  There are two types of DSL connections, asymmetric and symmetric.  Asymmetric uses the phone line to connect to the internet and still allows you to use the same phone line to make phone calls.  Because of this design, the upload speeds are slower than the download speeds.  Symmetric also uses the phone line for the connection but uses both parts of the phone line for its connection.  This allows for increased upload speeds, but the line cannot be used for incoming or outgoing phone communication.

Cable uses coax cable to transfer data. Cable is generally faster than DSL, but it is not dedicated so you are sharing bandwidth with others in your area.  So there may be peak times during the day when the connection is slower because of the amount of usage within your area.  Since most of the internet usage is used for downloading, cable is designed to give priority to downloading and upload speeds are much slower.  If you are planning to upload a lot of data then you may want to consider DSL or Fiber for your solution.

Fiber Optics, which is the future for transmitting data, uses optical fibers to transfer data. Instead of using electricity and metal cables it uses light and glass to transmit the data.  Because of this, it offers faster speeds because of its ability to move large amounts of data over great distances.  Along with DSL, Fiber is a dedicated connection and not shared with others in your area so your speed will not be affected by other users.  One downside to this technology is that is new and expensive to install so it may not be available in your area.

If you would like some help finding the right Internet solution, 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.

 

Teamwork in a Moment of Crisis or Emergency

Friday, December 30th, 2016

 

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Customer Services & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

While these guidelines were created for management roles, it is important to note that in a team environment that these suggestions apply to ALL members of the team:

Many of us in businesses are ill-prepared to handle the traumatic events- death of immediate family members, natural disasters, accidents, etc., and yet these events can and do occur in our workplaces. They are events, for which preparation helps.

Let all employees know that you are concerned and doing all you can to help them. You represent the organization to your employees, and your caring presence can mean a great deal in helping them feel supported. You don’t have to say anything profound; just be there, do your best to manage, and let your employees know you are concerned about them. Be visible to your team, and take time to ask them how they are doing.

Let people know, in whatever way is natural for you, that you are feeling fear, grief, shock, anger, or whatever your natural reaction to the situation may be. This shows your employees you care about them. Since you also can function rationally in spite of your strong feelings, they know that they can do likewise.

Share information with your employees as soon as you have it available. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Particularly in the first few hours after a tragedy, information will be scarce and much in demand. If you can be an advocate in obtaining it, you will show your employees you care and help lessen anxiety.

Encourage employees to talk about their painful experiences. This is hard to do, but eases healing as people express their painful thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, and come to realize that their reactions are normal and shared by others. Your team may prefer to discuss the situation among them. Don’t be afraid to participate, and to set a positive example by discussing your own feelings openly. Your example says more than your words.

Build on the strengths of the group. Encourage employees to take care of one another through such simple measures as listening to those in distress, offering practical help, visiting the hospitalized, or going with an employee on the first visit to a feared site. The more you have done to build a cohesive work group, and to foster self-confidence in your employees, the better your staff can help one another in a crisis.

Build on your work group’s prior planning. If you have talked together about how you, as a group, would handle a hypothetical crisis, it will help prepare all employees, mentally and practically, to deal with a real one. Knowing employees’ strengths and experience, having an established plan for communication in emergencies, and procedures can help you “hit the ground running” when a crisis actually strikes.

Be aware of the healing value of work. Getting back to the daily routine can be a comforting experience, and most people can work productively while still dealing with grief and trauma. However, the process of getting a staff back to work is one which must be approached with great care and sensitivity. In particular, if anyone has died or been seriously injured, the process must be handled in a way that shows appropriate respect for them.

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While we, the team at SafeSourcing, are no stranger to moments of emergency or crisis, we pull together as one team and one family ensuring that our customers and suppliers are taken care throughout our crisis. We take pride in offering the best customer service in the industry and will do whatever it takes to ensure that it remains our top priority and invisible to the outside world.

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.

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Resource: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/worklife/reference-materials/traumaticevents.pdf