Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Why it is Important to Know What you are Buying…

Friday, December 7th, 2018


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

For years you purchase from the same supplier, expect the same product level, anticipate some price increases due to market changes. You think you know what you are ordering; however, when you want to take your product out to test the market prices from other suppliers is when you realize you have not been purchasing what you thought you were.

In procurement we see this often whether it be elastomer requirements in an O-ring or broiler chickens. History has told us that elastomers are critical to the function of mechanics, as we lost the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 due to an O-ring failure. There are over 24 synthetic rubber and thermoplastics that make up O-rings and over 8,000 different sizes. Does your product require heat and freezing variables? Does your product require a specific lubricant that is EPDM compliant?

In another example, recently a client wanted to test the market for their diced chicken needs. They provided their current product specifications and pricing and quickly found out that the major manufacturers could not meet the client’s needs. Why? Because the client thoughts they were getting broiler chickens from their current supplier and they were receiving fowl chickens. Fowl chickens are the older chickens that can no longer produce eggs and the meat is considered by some to be a tougher meat. Needless to say, this was a big awakening for the client and they needed to re-evaluate their needs for their product manufacturing.

Are you sure you are purchasing exactly what your specifications require? Are you testing your suppliers products to ensure quality, quantity, safety expectations are met? Are you paying a fair price for your product needs? If you answered no to any of these questions, 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.



Don’t Cut before Measuring

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018


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

Don’t cut before measuring. It’s a common phrase and probably one of the first things someone learns when doing any kind of construction – measure before you cut. In fact, many people would recommend measuring a board multiple times before ever making any cuts. While this saying is primarily woodworking, home improvement, or construction specific, the idea can prove useful in multiple industries.

The idea here is that each and every time you are about to execute a project, first make sure you are doing it right. Then make sure again. Sometimes, we can miss important details or overlook glaring errors. For example, while sending an email and forgetting to attach a document is a minor detail, sending an email to a wrong person can be much more serious.

SafeSourcing, however, can help with some things that are often overlooked. For example, when sourcing a product, we analyze the data and the specifications and check them against invoice and industry standards. This ensures that the data is correct and that the savings you see after your procurement project completes is true. We can work with your own procurement, purchasing, or finance department and determine which categories would best be taken out to source. Do you know if you are getting the best price on the goods you already purchase?

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in your procurement efforts or to help analyze your data, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We have an entire team ready to assist you today.


Rapid Growth of Foodservice Disposables

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018



Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.

The global foodservice disposables market is experiencing rapid growth, linked to growing online food ordering and home delivery services, according to a report by Persistence Market Research.

North America dominated the global food service disposable industry with 21.4 billion in revenue in 2015. The food service disposable market in North America is anticipated to reach 27.50 billion in 2021. This is largely due to increasing population, expanding commercial markets, and the convenience of single-use service ware.  Busy lifestyles and low consumer preference towards cooking at home also acts as a major driver for the foodservice disposables market.

An increasing number of food and coffee joints for hanging out are another predominant factor driving growth of foodservice disposables market. The increased focus on gourmet coffee and specialty cold drinks by restaurants and convenience stores has heightened interest in higher-cost environmentally friendly products. In an effort to mineralize wastage, multiple shops have started offering reusable cups and plates. With foodservice business experiencing impressive growth, the increase of foodservice disposables market has become unstoppable and is not likely to slow down anytime soon.

Plastics are the most widely used raw material for the manufacture of disposable foodservice products. When compared to paper, paperboard, and aluminum, plastic is expected to evolve as the preferred raw material in the foodservice disposables industry. With the recent push for eco-friendly products, manufacturers are emphasizing the use of recyclable plastics. Due to this sustainability trend, several vendors are slowly moving toward the use of compostable and eco-friendly raw materials to manufacture foodservice disposables. Although, governments across various nations are executing various regulations on the use of plastic, popularity of plastic is not likely to come down drastically, as it has widespread acceptance.

Disposable service ware, including single-use cups, dinnerware and utensils, will remain the largest product type through the year 2021 and beyond. However, the fastest demand growth is expected in the disposable packaging segment, which includes foodservice containers, lids and domes, wraps, bags, and trays.

The food packaging industry has become extremely competitive and manufacturing companies are continually improving their products and availability of efficient and sustainable products. Let SafeSourcing source your foodservice products!

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.




Knowledge is Power

Monday, November 19th, 2018



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

At SafeSourcing, we host many eProcurement Request for Quote (RFQ) events. In fact, this is a large portion of our services because of the savings that this generates for our customers. If we’ve spoken before, you’ve probably heard me talk about this. Specifically, that while each of SafeSourcing’s customers might source a particular category once a year or once every two years, SafeSourcing is likely sourcing that same category many times a year.

This is where SafeSourcing’s knowledge can become your power. I’ll offer this following example, but just know that this is one of many examples that we could share.

Many of our retail clients sell hot and cold beverages. Of course, these come in a variety of cups with different lids and different straws, but for this example, I’m talking about foam cups. Many of our customers are aware of 1-2 suppliers that offer these cups. We actually have more. That wider supplier base generates real savings in an RFQ scenario. It’s easy to talk about recent savings percentages or to speak generally, but consider this next specific statement.

At SafeSourcing, our retail convenience store customers have saved an average of about $5,000 per store on their foam cups, lids, and straws in the past year while still awarding to their incumbent vendor.

What this statement means is that there is a very strong likelihood that you can save on this category too. If you are a convenience store operator, and you have 50 stores where you use these products, that could be a quarter of a million dollars that you’re overpaying per year. Maybe it’s not the exact case for you, but the data tells me that it’s very likely. Shouldn’t you use SafeSourcing’s knowledge to your benefit?

As I said, this was just one specific example out of many. The only way to really tap into SafeSourcing’s category knowledge is to talk with us.

  • Ask us a specific question about category savings.
  • Ask our opinion on the current market conditions for a category.
  • Ask about the timing of a category due to harvest seasons.

I’ll share one more thing that we know at SafeSourcing; if you aren’t using SafeSourcing for our knowledge and our RFQ services, then you’re overpaying on all your spend.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing. 


Kroger Offers a new way to Shop

Friday, November 16th, 2018


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

I was in my local Kroger the other day and saw a kiosk full of scanners.  So, when I got home I decided to go online and see what they were all about.  It turns out the scanners are part of their new shopping experience called Scan, Bag, Go.  This new way of shopping is available for people that would like to scan and bag the items as they walk throughout the store.  Not only can you use the scanners, but you can also download an app to your device and use the device instead.  To start, you need to log into the scanner or app with your account and as you shop you just scan the item and place it in your bag or cart.  You must scan each item one at a time, and for produce, you bag the items, scan the barcode on the item or the shelf tag, scan a barcode on the closest available scale and follow the directions for weighing the items.  As you are shopping, you can see your running total and fuel points accumulated.  So using a calculator or cell phone are no longer needed for those who like to keep track of their spend during the shopping process.  When you are finished shopping, just head to self-checkout and scan a barcode on any available machine and complete the pay process.  This new offering is a speedy way to get what you need and avoid the hassle of the long checkout lines.

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk-free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

We look forward to your comments.



Tactical and Strategic Sourcing

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc Archives

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.


It’s just a pallet; or is it? Part II of II

Monday, November 12th, 2018


Today’s post from our  SafeSourcing, Inc Archives

Use of Pallets: While pallets and palletization were once considered to be powerful components of material handling strategy, today, industry takes the practice largely for granted.  When the palletization concept was first introduced, however, it had a dramatic impact on the improvement of material handling efficiency. Rail cars, for example, that had taken two days to unload could subsequently be unloaded in just one or two hours.  Palletized products can be moved more quickly than by the manual handling of individual palletized cartons.

Benefits of this quicker handling include:

•   Faster turnaround of delivery vehicle and increasing operational efficiency of transport equipment
•   Dramatically reduced labor requirement versus manual handling
•   Reduced risk of temperature abuse for perishable products on unrefrigerated docks
•   With less manual handling there is less risk of product damage and reduced risk of worker injury. Palletized products can be moved more efficiently and stored more efficiently in warehouses and customers often prefer the receipt of palletized goods.
•   Pallets provide drainage and circulation for commodities requiring this, including fresh produce.

Grades of pallets: The GMA (Grocery Manufacturer Association) has determined the standard in which pallets are graded and thus is broken into four (4) different categories. Each category is a guideline to use when buying or selling pallets. The problem is that each category is open for interpretation and it’s important to verify exactly what you’re getting. Each category will have a price range and the price range will vary from region to region. The price will also vary based on the amount of available reconditioned pallets. Below are the four (4) different grading categories and their corresponding condition.

•   Premium – A very clean pallet that has probably been used only a few times. There is little if any repairs to the pallet. The pallet will have no plates and no companion stringers.
•   Grade #1 or A Grade – Typically this pallet has been repaired to close to its original condition. Broken stringers may have been replaced or repaired with metal plates. All damaged deck boards are replaced. This is a fairly clean pallet that is structurally sound.
•   Grade #2 or B Grade – Typically this pallet has had stringer damage that has been repaired by attaching an additional stringer alongside the damaged one. This is commonly referred to as a companion stringer, block stringer and double stringer. The “B” grade pallets usually have two (2) or less repaired stringers. The deck configuration on the “B” grade pallet is not always consistent because these pallets have been repaired many times.
•   Grade #3 or C Grade – Typically this pallet has been repaired numerous times. Most of the stringers on a “C” grade pallet will have companion stringers. The deck boards will be inconsistent in size, spacing and thickness. These pallets are usually in very poor condition and are accepted by few companies.

Owned vs Pool pallets: Many companies choose to buy their own fleet of pallets, but this is not always the best or most efficient thing to do.  What you need to consider…


•   Cost: Depending on the amount of goods a company needs to transport, it can be very expensive to buy and upgrade a pallet fleet.
•   Management and tracking: Managing and tracking a rental fleet can be very hard work, if mismanaged, it can create huge problems if goods cannot be transported when needed.
•   Maintenance and cleaning: Once purchased, pallets will need to be continually repaired and cleaned in between usage, requiring the manpower, space and equipment to do this.
•   Storage: When not in use, pallets can take up a lot of space, which is inefficient and costly.
•   Fleet fluctuations: If a company suddenly has an increased order, or an order that requires a special type of pallet, then buying them just for these rare occasions is wasteful, as the rest of the time the overflow will just be gathering dust in storage


•   Flexible: You can rent as many or as few pallets as you need for each specific shipment, meaning you’re never over or under stretch with your pallet fleet.
•   Management and tracking: The pooling company can use their own specialist up-to-date management and tracking systems meaning you doesn’t have to worry about it.
•   Cleaning and maintenance: After each hire, the pallets will be inspected, repaired and cleaned by the pallet pooling company, before they are sent out again.  This means that you don’t need to worry at all about the expense of doing this yourself, and you know all the pallets will be up to standard before each use.
•   Storage: Once you’ve finished with the pallets you just need to hand them back to the pooling company with no need to set aside valuable space to store them.

As you see there are many things to consider before buying or pooling pallets in your business. Should you own pallets or use a service to manage them? What type of pallet do you really need? We at SafeSourcing are ready to help you through all the questions and help you lower your procurement costs.  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

The Importance of Finding the Right Supplier

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018


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

When procuring something that your business needs, it’s not a good idea to just look for lowest price.  Sometimes price alone is not enough.  You want to make sure that you are receiving a quality product from a supplier that can meet all of your needs.   One way to ensure this is to thoroughly vet your suppliers before the RFQ process begins.  One way to do this is to create a survey of detailed questions for each supplier to answer.  This can be done using a tool such as SafeSurvey™.  SafeSurvey™ allows you to create sections of questions that you would like clarification on before the RFQ process begins.  After the supplier research has been completed, questions are then complied and put together within the SafeSurvey™ tool.  An email is sent out to all potential suppliers with a link to the survey.  After the surveys have been completed, the data can be exported for further analysis.  Below are some questions that may be contained within the survey.

  • Business Name
  • Company Description
  • Date Established
  • Annual Revenues
  • Headquarter Location
  • Years in Business
  • References
  • Competitors
  • Delivery Methods
  • Volume Rebates
  • Standard Roll Out Program for New Customers
  • How are Orders Places
  • How are Back Orders Handled

If you are interested in seeing how SafeSurvey™ can help you in your vetting, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which suppliers 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.

We look forward to your comments.





Don’t be Predictable

Friday, November 2nd, 2018



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

Showing your hand before the game has started can spell disaster for any procurement. Predictability can weaken your ability to negotiate. More often than not, contract negotiations are scheduled according to contract end dates, holidays, and individual plans, instead of when market conditions are right or when the opportunity arises.

RFQs and contract negotiation templates are recycled with only minor revisions before they are distributed to vendors and suppliers. Suppliers are approached during certain times of the year only because “it’s always been like that” or because “that’s the way the industry works like that”. Neither of these statements is true. It is actually because we all just feel very comfortable with the routine. This comes at a price, remember we all work with the best of the best in the sales world. They are trained and paid to know procurement patterns to maximize sales. A procurement specialist predictability, combined with these skills, can have a negative effect on your business and can effect the credibility of a procurement team.

To prevent this, procurement teams should use all of the tools at their disposal, spotting opportunities, taking advantage of the market changes, and timing negotiations. Consider bringing RFQs or any negotiations up by a year. Consider using tools like our eRFX process. And always be open to new vendors and suppliers.

Being unpredictable can be a powerful tool even if change can make you uncomfortable. It may not make us friends but it will help us succeed and ensure profitability.

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 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.