Archive for the ‘Business Sourcing’ Category

Make Stress Your Friend

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

 

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

Stress is a part of life for all of us.  As long as we face encroaching deadlines, competing responsibilities, overloaded schedules, last-minute crises, financial troubles, and social conflicts, we’re going to encounter it often. So, when my cardiologist tells me ‘you have to keep yourself stress free’, my response is who does that?  Doctors have typically been telling their patients this for decades, which causes people to spas out when confronted with a stressful situation. The new science of stress reveals that how you think about stress matters.

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a health psychologist, has a life-changing solution: “make stress your friend”.  In her 2013 TED Talk, Dr. McGonigal presented a scientific study which studied the stress patterns and responses of 30K people for 8 years.  The finding was that stress was deadly for those who believed that stress was bad for their health. Stress is not the culprit, but your thoughts surrounding stress can kill you. You should view your body’s stress response as helping you to get through a tough situation.

Anyone struggling with stress at work might take a few pointers from Major League Baseball’s mental-skills coaches. Currently, 26 of the 30 MLB teams employ sports psychologists or mental-skills coaches to help players’ mental game which can make the difference between success and failure. Ken Ravizza, a mental-skills coach for the Chicago Cubs, teaches players to stay aware of their mental state by imagining an inner traffic signal: It’s green when your body is calm and the mind focused. It turns yellow when your heart rate and blood pressure start rising and you begin having trouble focusing. It flashes red when you start believing your self-doubts. Your muscles tighten and you lose control. Dr. Ravizza directs players to choose a focal point to look at during tense moments, such as a foul pole or spot on their glove, and imbue it with special meaning.

Jonathan Fader, a former mental-skills coach for the New York Mets, coached a self-employed trader who worried so much about hitting his monthly profit targets that his performance began to slide. He advised him to let go of the outcome and focus on attaining the mental state he hoped to experience after he succeeded—calm, masterful and capable of quick, rational decisions.  By improving his performance on measures he could control, the trader began netting better monthly results. We can’t always control stressful situations, but we can control our thoughts and how we deal with them.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today. We look forward to your comments.

References———————————————————————-

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trouble-at-the-office-baseball-can-help-1528724159

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Accept Change​!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

 

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

Chances are, at some point, that you have had to face some unwanted changes in your life. Some changes are personal and some are professional, but they aren’t always fun. You may have been advised by friends or loved ones to embrace change. I’m not trying to tell you that at all. I am telling you that you should learn to accept change.

In eProcurement, change is usually the name of the game. That holds true for the vendors that participate in our online Request for Quote (RFQ) events and it is also true for our clients who are the hosts of these RFQ events. I thought I would share my perspective on change as it relates to vendor and client in eProcurement.

Vendors 

Change comes with the territory for vendors in an eProcurement RFQ. Whether you are an incumbent vendor or not, the results of the RFQ event are likely to bring change. This can be a very positive change. Vendors invited to participate in an RFQ event have an opportunity to secure new business through their participation. The host of the RFQ event might be one that the vendor has been calling on for years, or the host may be a net new sales opportunity. Either way, the potential for a positive change is there. Incumbent vendors might be more reluctant to the change. Certainly, there is risk in any such process that the incumbent vendor may not be awarded after the RFQ. That’s not always the case. Either way, it’s best to accept the change and make the most of the opportunity.

Clients 

The client who is hosting the RFQ event must also accept change. As a result of the RFQ event, their award decision may mean that they will be awarding to a new vendor. This might not be a vendor that they have worked with in the past. For this reason, there are always steps in the process which will allow this change to be managed by the client. One of the most common ways to manage this change to ensure that it is successful is to request and review samples. There are many other ways as well. This is meant to be a positive change. While savings is important and one of the largest benefits of the change that comes with this process, it is not the only benefit. Change can also come in the form of product or process improvements or in service levels. Accepting change and being open minded is very important.

I don’t view change as positive or negative. There are definitely times when change falls pretty directly into one of those categories, but the concept of change doesn’t imply either. In eProcurement, change should be accepted and managed. Perhaps through acceptance, you might even find you’ll be able to embrace it.

For more information as to how SafeSourcing has been able to assist its clients adapt to the ever changing world of procurement best practices, please contact a SafeSourcing customers services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

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Procurement Expectations

Monday, June 18th, 2018

 

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

If you have never utilized e-procurement or used a procurement partner, you may not know what to expect when first beginning. Typically, a procurement partner works with your team to assist with the procurement process. This can mean a number of things, and could include e-procurement tools, like those offered by SafeSourcing. These tools and the expertise of a procurement partner can greatly help with the success of your own efforts and can help your organization realize more savings, more opportunities, and a more streamlined and quicker process.

When working with these tools and your procurement partner, it is important to outline what you hope to achieve from the process. Making your expectations known can help direct those procurement efforts to produce the results most sought. For example, if an organization is seeking to use a new product in store, a procurement professional can help research that product, list potential suppliers, and provide a market estimate of costs to implement that product. If an organization is expanding into a new region, your procurement partner can source everything you might need, from construction companies and building supplies to products to fill the new stores. Even if a company is looking for a private label product from a certified green vendor, that is what your procurement partner would focus on finding.

Ultimately, utilizing e-procurement, and especially a procurement partner, can help you attain the results you hope for. However, if expectations aren’t known or aren’t relayed, the outcome may not align with what was wanted. A procurement partner’s job is to help your organization get the results it desires and works with you and for you to ensure the outcome is a success, because when your organization succeeds, so does your procurement team.

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

 

 

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Retail collective buyer organizations and consortiums are evolving in order to compete with mega retailers.

Friday, June 15th, 2018

 

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge e-negotiation and eProcurement tools. Their retailer members are also benefiting from their use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs in many different ways

These types of organization can go by many different names such as wholesaler, collective buyer, consortium, cooperative, share groups and more. They all have one thing in common. They consolidate purchasing volumes for a wide array of groups that may have very similar business structures, but for the savvy consortium can also be wildly different.

In the retail vertical, companies may actually belong to several different buying groups because their primary group does not offer expertise in a certain area.

Consortiums are also evolving and beginning to focus mixed markets where it makes sense. In general consortiums tend to be vertically focused such as a drug industry consortium with the members generally representing the drug industry only. However some consortiums are beginning to market them selves outside of their vertical to retailers or other companies who want to take advantage of learned expertise that the consortium possesses in the categories that are common across more than their own vertical and offer increased volumes. An example might be drug stores sourcing very similar products that health care organizations like hospitals source. Although this may seem like a stretch fro most, it is now very common within retail for non vertical specific players to work together.

Today’s advanced e-negotiation or e-procurement tools make it much easier to accomplish collective buying and aggregating outside of a consortiums initial area of expertise. Large and small retailers alike now have the capability of viewing a much broader universe of suppliers and other companies while also coordinating and participating in collaborative events from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Suppliers now have an opportunity to earn business they could never compete for in the past.

Retailers should ask their collective buyers how they plan to make the use of these types of tools and what they have to offer in terms of introductions to other companies for increased volume.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Phone Addiction in the Office

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

 

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

According to a study by Dscout Inc., a mobile app research firm, the average person taps, swipes, pokes their phones 2,617 times each day. That adds up to 2 hours and 25 minutes everyday!  Chief Executive, Jason Brown, of Brown, Parker & DeMarinas, observed while giving a business presentation, the majority in attendance were all fiddling their phones.  He was so angered by this that he issued a company edict: “Don’t show up at a meeting with me with your phone.  If someone shows up with their phone, it’ll be their last meeting.”

Although smartphones allow people to get their jobs done remotely, they are also the leading productivity killers at the job. Research conducted by the University of Texas, revealed that the shear presence of a smartphone on the desk, untouched, the cognitive performance  was lower than if the phone was stored in a purse, pocket, or a coat hanging near the workspace.

Mat Ishbua, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage banned phones from meetings two years ago, and recently requested that his executive team refrain from using their phones to and from meetings. He stated that you are never too important not to say hello to fellow employees or make eye contact.

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…………………………………………….

John Simmons, WSJ, 5/17/2018

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Your Procurement Health Dashboard

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archive

Today, we will look at some of the principles of this dashboard and how you could be using them to help track the health of how your company spends its money.

Establish the baseline – One of the premises with which most dashboards work successfully is that of establishing where you are right now.  Even better than that is being able to go back 1-2 years to see where you have come from.  When you can go back over historical data, you can begin to establish the trends of how you have done and what areas need the most attention.  If a category has consistently increased year after year, then you may need to source a different vendor or item.  Other areas of the company can use this data, too, to determine if a total shift in products or raw materials should be used to get away from those made with material that continues to increase.  The baseline will establish your health before you do anything else.

Pull from other sources – Often times, procurement departments do not have access to the best data they need to make decisions.  This may be because it is held in systems they do not have access to or because the company itself has never had a process to track the details.  By looking to outside sources, you may uncover data that is useful in making decisions, such as going to the suppliers you do business with and asking for historical performance for purchases or pricing.  It could also mean that you research internally for data that isn’t dollars and cents.  You may purchase material handling equipment, but the warehouse uses it.  How the equipment holds up and runs and how the supplier supports you for fixes and replacement parts are just as important in determining your procurement health as is the cost of the equipment in a contract.  The more data you have, the better choices you can make for the company.

Correlating Data Points – With data from several sources, you can put the final piece in play.  Just like the new Apple Health Dashboard can correlate calories consumed from MyFitnessPal and burnt from MapMyRun, to the blood pressure measurements taken from an iHealth wireless device, you should be looking for solutions that can help correlate the key data points you are receiving from external and internal sources.  When you correlate which resource runs projects quickly but with good savings you can begin to examine what they are doing differently than other team members, for instance.  The correlations of savings and the time it takes to realize the savings is just one correlation we can provide.

At SafeSourcing, we can help your company establish a procurement dashboard to monitor your company’s spend health with our SafeDashboard™.  For more information on this tool 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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Disaster Recovery

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

 

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

Another hurricane season is approaching, and after a record hurricane season in 2017, meteorologists predict there will be between 14 and 18 named storms on the eastern seaboard this season.  There are areas that are still in recovery from the last season.  According to The Weather Company, cooler water temperatures in the Atlantic and warmer temperatures in the Pacific could hamper activity, and result in an average hurricane season with about 13 named tropical storms and 6 developing into hurricanes, with 2 being major.

We can’t fight the forces of nature, but we can be prepared as we enter the hurricane season.  Safety is the initial concern during a weather disaster, but the residual damages can be far reaching. Whether the damages are resulting from hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, or blizzards, it could greatly affect business operations.   An event that disrupts your business could actually put you out of business if you don’t have a plan in place. Your organization may not be directly affected by such an event, but your key suppliers and vendors could be.

A disaster recovery plan is essential to keeping your organization running in the case of a natural disaster. It is a good idea to utilize the National Weather Service’s national preparedness calendar as a guide for year-round reminders to identify potential disasters and review your organization’s disaster recovery plan.

Some questions that an organization should keep in mind are:

  • How will your data be affected?
  • Do you have remote systems in place?
  • Do you have backup vendors?
  • Is there a secure alternate operations site?

Disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster.  It’s not enough to have the procedures in place; you need to know what’s in the plans to be able to execute them when the time comes.  Have a plan and be ready for action, but most of all be safe!

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

References ————————————————————————————–

  1. http://fortune.com/2018/05/14/2018-hurricane-season-forecast-possible-tropical-storm-in-gulf/
  2. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-04-19-2018-hurricane-season-forecast-the-weather-company-ibm-april
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_recovery

 

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Procurement and AI

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

 

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

Artificial Intelligence is a vastly growing field and with huge strides in its advancement, it has become more of a household tool. With technologies like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, the desire for more AI has increased. AI advancements in business, especially procurement, could make processes easier and more streamlined with your goals.

Many businesses currently use their own in house teams on their procurement efforts. This can pull people away from other pressing tasks essential to business operations. Implementing a procurement team can alleviate those currently taking on that role and provide an expertise not otherwise seen within the company. This can also shorten the amount of time it takes to analyze data, evaluate risk, and implement new processes.

If artificial intelligence is added into your procurement efforts with your procurement partner, these processes could make even further advancements. Indices, risks, and spend management could be analyzed in a matter of moments with the right AI application and platform. This could help your business obtain the supplies, services, and data it needs to run as efficiently as possible without taking time away from other projects, ultimately helping your bottom line.

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

 

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What can e-Procurement do for you?

Monday, May 21st, 2018

 

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

What can you take to market with e-Procurement?  The answer is quite simple, anything you want! I was talking with a friend recently that owns a roofing company. We were just discussing work and the question came up, “do you have any way of sourcing fleet trucks?” I responded with yes we can. We have recently run a Truck Lease event saving our client over 11% based on previous year leases. This grabbed his interest and he began asking a lot more questions. What about supplies, shingles, equipment? The answer of course is yes to all. If you purchase it, we can source it. What started as simple small talk blossomed into a full blown discussion on what we could do to help his business? With our extensive vendor and supplier database we can find the right people for what he needs. We went over a few categories including supplies and equipment.  Based on what he spends now, and the size of his company, we could potentially save him over 23% just on his supplies alone, compared to previous events we have run.

He asked so what is the difference from him just calling all the vendors to get the quotes himself and using an e-Procurement tool such as ours? That can be answered a couple of ways. To begin with, as previously mentioned, we have an extensive vendor list of over five hundred thousand companies for many different categories to which we are constantly adding more. Secondly, by inviting these different companies to participate in a “Live Event” it brings out the competitive nature in companies to want to be the best and offer the best pricing. So by hosting these events, it shows vendors their price, and if they have the lowest quote, gives them the ability to lower their price. Additionally, we do all of the leg work contacting vendors, building specification documents, gathering pricing and giving full event reports. We handle it all, making the procurement easier and less expensive.  On top of that, he has time to work on his business while making it grow without the extra headache of expenses. Needless to say, we will be looking to help him in the near future with all of his procurement needs.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Representative we have an entire team waiting to assist you today.

 

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Part II of II. Are reverse auctions a good tool to use in the retail distribution cost plus arena?

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Yesterdays post reviewed why and how this author felt that reverse auctions were potentially good for both the distributor and the retailer alike. So just what is cost plus?

According to Wikipedia  Cost-plus pricing is a pricing method used by companies. It is used primarily because it is easy to calculate and requires little information. There are several varieties, but the common thread in all of them is that one first calculates the cost of the product, and then includes an additional amount to represent profit. It is a way for companies to calculate how much profit they will make. Cost-plus pricing is often used on government contracts, and has been criticized as promoting wasteful expenditures.

Once unit level cost has been established for the distribution of products it’s easy to turn that into a percentage and add it to the price of a product coming up with a distributed unit price or category price. The most important part of this pricing exercise for the distributor is to get the distribution costs correct. This can include price of storage, freight, length of travel, driver cost and any number of other costs. This is an area where a distributor can lose a lot of money if they are not very careful.

So, are revere auctions a tool that can help distribution companies?  The answer is a clear yes both above and below the gross margin line. If you like to know more please contact me at ronsouthard@safesourcing.com.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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