Archive for the ‘E-procurement Solutions’ Category

2019 SafeSourcing Top 10 List

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

 

 

Todays post is from Dave Wenig, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing Inc.

It’s the end of the year and that means many of your favorite entertainment and news sources are publishing their top 10 lists for the year. In that same spirit, I’ve pulled together a list of my Top 10 SafeSourcing moments in 2019. Let’s get right into the top 10.

10. SafeSourceIt™ Event View now features a graph view. Using this view, SafeSourcing customers have a powerful way to monitor their RFQ Events in real time at a high level that delivers valuable insights.

9. Bottled Water RFQ Events. SafeSourcing customers hosted many RFQ Events for bottled water savings between 16% and 23%. This represents an increase in category savings versus 2018.

8. Waste Removal continues its streak. Waste Removal has historically been a wildly successful category for SafeSourcing customer and that held true in 2019 with the average savings holding steady at about 35%.

7. Reruns won big. SafeSourcing customers that held rerun RFQs at the end of their contract terms beat expectations significantly. Typical expectations for rerun RFQs is about 50% of the savings from the initial RFQ Event.

6. Snow Removal and Landscaping. 2019 was a big year for customers hosting Snow Removal and Landscaping RFQ Events. Often overlooked as a competitive category, SafeSourcing’s customers saw between 16% and 42% savings. Wow.

5. Mobile Phones and Broadband were big. We noticed a huge increase in customers eager to explore their options for mobile service plans and broadband. Good for them, because each of them was very successful.

4. Flyer Distribution (Retailers). Nearly all of our larger retail customers throughout North America sourced their flyer distribution and uncovered savings. In some markets, customers often consider this impossible to source competitively and see it as a monopoly. We disagree and so do our customers who benefited from our assistance.

3. Incumbent margins. 2019 was a year full of focus on incumbent margins. We noticed a fantastic trend where incumbent vendors were awarded business after RFQs at a higher rate than is expected. This is a win for the incumbent who gets to keep their business at rates more in line with the market, and a win for the customer who gets the best pricing available and does not have to go through the process of changing vendors.

2. SafeSourcing in the Top 10. SafeSourcing was recognized as one of the world’s top auction application companies by CIO magazine. Link here.

1. Our customers and partners. We’re truly lucky to have some of the best customers and partners that any business could ask for. 2019 has been a fantastic year of working closely together with all of you. We’ve enjoyed the time spend and our visits and it has been our pleasure to work with you. If you’ve worked with us on a category named on this list, I’m sure you would agree on its inclusion. I look forward to working with all of our current customers and partners and can’t wait to make new connections in 2020. Thank you for an excellent 2019 and see you in 2020.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my picks for the Top 10 list. I’d be interested to hear what I missed and whether you agree with my ranking.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

On the Twelve Days of e-Procurement Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

 

Todays post is a holiday favorite by our CEO Ron Southard from our SafeSourcing Archives.

  1. On the first day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, a streamlined procurement process.
  2. On the second day of Christmas our e-service provider gave to us, more suppliers to source our goods from.
  3. On the third day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, pricing that works for smallest categories..
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, consistent and customized product specifications.
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas our e-procurement service supplier gave to us, more time for other priorities.
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, improved quality in our products.
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas our e-procurement service supplier gave to us, better supplier education.
  8. On the eighth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, a simple award of business process.
  9. On the ninth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, support for a better carbon footprint.
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas our e-procurement service supplier gave to us, total category e-procurement.
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, safer products for our customers and planet.
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas our e-procurement service provider gave to us, a sustainable e-procurement process and improved corporate net earnings.

Now, ask yourself if all of these goals are accomplished on your company’s behalf by your present e-procurement service provider. If n0t, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager. Click CONTACT US!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Continued best wishes for a Merry Christmas  the rest of the Happy Holiday Season.

The Importance of Marketing your Brand

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. archives

How are you marketing your brand? Is it bringing in the customer base you desire? Are you achieving your desired results?

Your company brand is your mark of distinction; it’s what sets you apart from your competitors. When you establish your brand, it is important to also develop a plan of execution by implementing a brand marketing strategy. Your level of commitment reassures consumers, suppliers, and anyone else that your company does business with that they can trust you.

“Brand management is so important that Reputations Corporation, a Vancouver-based consultancy group, reports that 72 percent of consumers say reputation influences their buying decisions; 80 percent of employees will accept less pay to work with a company with an excellent reputation; while another 89 percent say reputation is a tiebreaker between equal products. Whether you’re trying to influence key decision makers or attract and retain top talent, you’ll want to consider the following tips on managing your company’s brand.” (Fenn, 2010)

If you need help with: buying marketing tools, hiring the right marketing consultants or with any advertising avenues. We can assist you with your sourcing needs and look into the potential savings in the process.

SafeSourcing, Inc. provides 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.

_____________________________________________________________

Ahearn, Cale (2016, September 21). : Read more: Business Ethics Definition | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/business-ethics.asp#ixzz4Vx9u5zDh Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

 

Enterprise Software RFPs

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

We’ve discussed the differences between the RFPs, RFIs, RFQs, and Surveys many time and also touched on why they were different as well as when you would use one.  What we said then was that you typically want to run one of these events when you have an idea about the basic functionality of a product you need but are not sure who can provide it and what else it is they can bring that you didn’t think of.

In many cases, the road to procuring enterprise software will require one of these tools due, in part, to the fact that software can change so quickly, but also because typical decision factors like price play a much smaller role to the features and functionality of the software.

In preparing to make a major software purchase a Request for Information or Proposal can be a great first step.  Here are some things to keep in mind about the solution and the company when preparing for one.

Flexibility – One of the keys in the process of evaluating software solutions and the companies that create them is to gather information about the flexibility of the product.  A focus on how configurable the system is and how well a solution can be fitted with your company’s needs and appearance is an important part to building a good software RFP/RFI.

Reputation – A company’s reputation for delivery used to go a long way in the business world but in the wake of a tougher economy price has begun to gain ground.  In the arena of software, it is still one of the most important factors to evaluate when selecting a software partner.  Building a relationship with companies known for under promising and over delivering on a consistent and referenceable level can be a huge factor in protecting a million dollar investment.

Pricing model – The key here is not in the actual price but how the company prices that is important.  Your company’s needs will dictate the pricing model that benefits your company whether for the enterprise; per seat or per user.  How a software provider prices and what they charge you for are HUGE factors in determining if they are suited for you and your company. The more information you can gather at the RFP/RFI stage as possible is very important.

Support – There is no more important product to verify good support on than software.  As upgrades occur, employees get promoted or leave the company, new employees need training, or issues arise, the level of support a company will commit to is critical to the confidence you can place in them.  On top of this, the more mission critical the functionality the software is to support is for your company, the more important the level of support becomes.  Any software RFP/RFI you create should have a detailed section to determine what level of support you can expect from each vendor.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can provide RFIs/RFPs that help you focus on these important factors, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

HEY! Leadership Teams!

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Let’s also assume that you want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time, like the next budget period; and want a sustainable process moving forward. Are you comfortable with your teams answer?

A number of issues you might consider are whether you have the requisite headcount, specifications, strategy, research skills as well as knowledge of new sources of supply to accomplish these lofty goals yourself.

Once you have settled on the fact that your existing team cannot achieve the above goal, the next question should be; what type of event services can an e-procurement solutions provider offer to help us if we can’t this ourselves?

By now, let’s assume you have come to the conclusion that there is no way possible for your team to do this alone. You now need to find a reputable eProcurement solutions provider. A quality e-procurement solutions provider should be able to ramp up to your task immediately. They should possess skills that are the foundation of their past success. These are very specific skills that enable them to run large volumes of e-procurement events in a full service mode with little guidance from you that have historically driven impressive savings on products and services over a long period of time. They should be able to provide reference to where they have done this in the past and how they were able to augment other company’s staff with little interference of their day to day work. Remember, knowledge transfer; passion, skill and required headcount to carry out these practices on a day by day basis are what drive results.

This process is provided by people behind the scenes with a very specific skill sets. If you really want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time, like your next budget period. And, you already know that you cannot do this by yourself, reach out to a Safesourcing customer services account manager to see how quickly we can be of assistance.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Do you know how a price index plays into e-procurement best practices?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

 

Todays post is a repost by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

From a simplistic perspective an index is a system used to make finding information easier. There are any numbers of indexes or indices available to help procurement knowledge workers insure they are sourcing products at the best possible pricing. The key word here is price as what we will be discussing are specifically price indices.

According to Wikipedia a price index (plural: “price indices” or “price indexes”) is a normalized average (typically a weighted average) of prices for a given class of goods or services in a given region, during a given interval of time. It is a statistic designed to help to compare how these prices, taken as a whole, differ between time periods or geographical locations.

Price indices have several potential uses. For particularly broad indices, the index can be said to measure the economy’s price level or a cost of living. More narrow price indices can help producers with business plans and pricing. Sometimes, they can be useful in helping to guide investment.

Normally an index reflects the current and historical price of a variety of commodities ranging from metals to grain. A common index used in sourcing petroleum products is OPIS or the Oil Price Information Service which you can learn more about by visiting www.opisnet.com.  However in order to drive the best possible fuel pricing there are other dependencies such as whether you are doing spot buys or bulk purchases and these strategies will determine what specific index you would want to review as well as it’s relation to other product information sources such as Platts or the Gulf Coast spot assessments.  This will put you in a better position to determine how to bid the product and also earn a discount relative to the lowest common denominator.

All other commodities have similar sourcing issues dependant on what the highest cost item is in their product makeup. An example here might be the cost of grain in the feeding of cattle or poultry.

Ask you solution provider to explain these tools to you and to recommend how you might use them toward the best outcome.

If you’d like more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

It’s About Time

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

 

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

As we continue to ramp up another year of providing eProcurement services to our customers, it’s a good time to consider what categories you’ll be sourcing this year. In an effective eProcurement program, every spend category should be considered at the appropriate time. But how do you know when it’s time to source a category?

One of the first considerations is contract timing. Unfortunately, many organizations today don’t have good controls in place to monitor contract terms. In some cases, the contracts are even missing because they were not saved in a central repository.

That’s where a contract management tool comes in. SafeSourcing’s contract management tool called SafeContract™is a great way to manage contracts and avoid the issues caused by losing track of your contracts and/or losing track of important contract milestones such as renewal dates and contracted prices.

SafeContract™ is an online contract repository that stores, tracks, and monitors your contracts. SafeContract puts you in control of your contract and notifies the appropriate users when it’s time to consider a category for eProcurement based on contract termination. For example, if the contract requires 30-day written notice before termination, a user might set a 60 or 90 day reminder so that they remember to take action. With SafeContract™, as your contract management tool, you’ll know when it’s time to consider sourcing a category. Not only will you know when to source your categories, you’ll also avoid missing deadlines for automatic renewals and other unfavorable outcomes.

Contact SafeSourcing if you’re interested in learning more about our contract management tool or any of our full suite of Procure to Pay tools such as SafeSurvey™, SafePO™SafeCatalog™, or any others.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

It’s About Time​

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

 

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

As we wrap up another year of providing eProcurement services to our customers, it’s a good time to consider what categories you’ll be sourcing in the new year. In an effective eProcurement program, every spend category should be considered at the appropriate time. But how do you know when it’s time to source a category?

One of the first considerations is contract timing. Unfortunately, many organizations today don’t have good controls in place to monitor contract terms. In some cases, the contracts are even missing because they were not saved in a central repository.

That’s where a contract management tool comes in. SafeSourcing’s contract management tool, called SafeContract™,  is a great way to manage contracts and avoid the issues caused by losing track of your contract terms, or even entire contracts.

SafeContract™ is an online contract repository that stores, tracks, and monitors your contracts. SafeContract™ puts you in control of your contract and notifies the user when it’s time to consider a category for eProcurement based on contract termination. For example, if the contract requires 30-day written notice before termination, a user might set a 60 or 90 day reminder so that they remember to take action. With SafeContract™ as your contract management tool, you’ll know when it’s time to consider sourcing a category. Not only will you know when to source your categories, you’ll also avoid missing deadlines for automatic renewals and other unfavorable outcomes.

Please Contact SafeSourcing if you’re interested in learning more about our contract management tool or any of our full suite of Procure to Pay tools.

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 5 of 5: Service

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archive!

Strategic sourcing companies each have their own unique offering whether that is based on a price model, category focus, supplier database or some other defining trait, but the overall goal is to help their customers source products and services easier, smarter and with an end result that creates more value than the customer could achieve on its own. Over the past four days we will be looking at some of features and characteristics you should be looking at when evaluating a new or existing sourcing partner. Today we will close out the series by focusing on the one trait that should be examined closer than any of the other five; Service.

Having great data, tools, reporting, or technology will only be as good as the team helping you to run new projects and your partner should be as strong, if not stronger in their customer service offering than anything else they do. Today we will look at a few of the specific areas you should be looking at when evaluating your current or a new strategic sourcing partner.

Experienced – Sourcing experience across dozens of category is not something that every strategic sourcing has. There is a reason why some sourcing partners focus on travel, energy, and logistics only for their customers. Experience in sourcing events from both a consumer, sourcing partner, and supplier side is a big key to understanding the perspective of all the parties involved. This experience helps with the management of the suppliers as well as that of the customer to keep the projects moving and details and communication delivered. Well rounded strategic sourcing companies will have had sourcing experience in IT related products and services, software, warehouse materials and equipment, construction related goods and services, temporary services, For Resell goods, transportation and logistics, commodity goods, and normal indirect spend items to name a few.
Supplier management – The most difficult task in running a sourcing project, outside of collecting the data necessary to run the event, is managing the suppliers during the process. Management begins as soon as suppliers are contacted to participate in the event. Your strategic sourcing partner should be able to assist you with fielding all questions from suppliers, speaking to suppliers on your behalf to get them engaged in the process, handling objections they may have about the process, and training them on how to follow the process and tools with live support. Once a sourcing project begins, your strategic sourcing partner should manage the process and all communications so that your team can be allowed to focus on the important things they will do later. Support should continue through the entire process all the way until the project completes and suppliers have submitted everything requested.

Post event support – In some cases once the sourcing event is completed, handling and communication of the suppliers selected for award goes back to the customer. In many other cases, the sourcing event (RFI, RFP, RFQ) is just the beginning of the evaluation process. Many times samples will need to coordinated, presentations scheduled with the selection committee, scorecards and evaluation materials developed and distributed to the internal decision makers as well as agendas to the suppliers. These are all ways that good strategic sourcing partners stay involved and take the load of the sourcing process off of the customer. Many times the suppliers are used to the customer service member they have been dealing with and having that same person take them all the way through the process is a big advantage to the process going smoothly.

Many things should be looked at when evaluating a strategic sourcing partner and depending on the structure of your department, some characteristics will be more important than others but all should be considered at some point. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with sourcing projects 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.

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 4 of 5: Tools

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

This week we have been looking at the different characteristics strategic sourcing companies and solutions have that should be evaluated when making a decision as to what is most important to your company. At the beginning of the week we looked at technology, data and reporting capabilities and the different aspects of each and the importance they could play in sourcing projects. Today we will look at the different types of tools strategic sourcing companies can sometimes offer that can make your job as a procurement professional event easier.

Information Gathering – In Tuesday’s blog we discussed the importance of a good supplier database and template library foundation to beginning a sourcing project. This addresses the external data but does not always help explain the internal spend data and specifications especially when the category is a new one to your company. Being able to send electronic surveys to resources within your company in a way that requires very little effort can save a procurement team hours of time in legwork but, more importantly, can ensure that the picture of your spend you are painting for potential suppliers is accurate. Being able to understand who in your company is buying something, what they are buying, how much they historically purchased, how much they expect to purchase and whether they like the current product and supplier are all details which will shape a very successful event and can be easily collected with an online survey tool.

RFx – The concept of moving from Request to Information to Request for Proposal to Request for Quote/Tender is not a foreign one in the procurement industry and virtually every strategic sourcing company offers some type of tool or service to support this flow. Where the differentiator begins to come in is how seamless the flow from one step to another is. Do suppliers need to learn multiple tools? Is it online? Are details from step automatically moved over into the preparation and documentation of the next step? Each step of the RFx process is unique but has common threads that tie each together. Good RFx solutions will tie these threads together in a way that reduces the time it takes run from beginning to end and the amount of repetitive tasks required of the suppliers with each step.

Result Management – The information is gathered, the project is complete and the results are better than you could have expected. The problem is that without the tools to put those results into effect, they become worthless. Being able to manage the results of your sourcing events is considered by many to be more important than the results themselves and can take several different forms. Top begin with is a catalog/ordering/purchase order system that will allow your company to place the orders they need at the new pricing you have negotiated. Implementing a catalog system can also prevent rogue spending from unapproved suppliers based on past history. Another useful solution is a contract management tool to track your contracts and important details and dates, ensuring that the contract will not roll over into a situation that costs you even more money than you saved. Managing both aspects of a new deal are critical to maintaining your project’s success.

Having covered the technical, data and tool aspects of strategic sourcing partners and tools, tomorrow we will conclude with the most important piece of the puzzle which is the service your strategic sourcing partners can offer you that can save your team hundreds of hours and provide experience where you may have none. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you 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.