Archive for the ‘E-procurement Solutions’ Category

Where is the best place for retailers to spend their effort to improve profitability?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

 

Today’s post is an oldie but goody by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

The answer to this posts byline is of course all three!

Obviously, all retail companies would like to focus on all three areas and there are even sub sections of these top line areas that we could spell out as needing attention. The challenge is where to deploy already taxed resources?

It does not require an accountant to figure this out. If we assume that COGS or cost of goods and services is about 75% of top line revenue that would result in a simple gross margin of 25%. Based on a number of industries reports we are also safe using a shrink number of 3% of top line revenue.

This author is aware that there are a a few companies with shrink below 1% and cost of goods below 75% which means there are also companies with gross margin better than 25%. The obvious question is are these companies that solution providers want to target for profit improvement sales? Probably not.

So, let’s look at an example of shrink improvement with data analysis tools and process improvement tools versus cost compression with SaaS e-procurement tools. Let’s assume we have a company that does top line sales of $1B. Using a shrink number of 3% shrink would be $30M annually. If you were able to reduce shrink by a third in one year, profit improvement would be $10M. If this were a supermarket company with a 1% bottom line or $10M, improvement could be as much as 100%.

Now let’s take a look at reduction in cost. If we assume the same company has COGS of 75% or $750M and that we were only going to address 20% of that number or $150 and only reduce those costs by 20% which is slightly above industry averages the net profit improvement would be $30M or 300% improvement in year over year net profit. If we were only able to achieve 10% savings which is well below industry averages, net profit would improve by 150%.

I’ll leave the gross margin example for you to figure out. In the above case it is clear that attacking COGS has an impact on the bottom line of up to 3 to 1 versus addressing shrink with your already taxed resources.

If you are interested in an immediate impact to your bottom line, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services associate today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

 

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

Todays post is a little long in the tooth, but still relevant for sourcing professionals.

Being overly simplistic an index is a system used to make finding causal 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.

On the Twelve Days of e-Procurement Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

 

It is actually twelve days until Christmas and today’s 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 and services 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 and services.
  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.

Continued best wishes for a very Merry Christmas the rest of the 2021 Holiday Season.

As Services Expand So Do Sourcing Needs

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives!

In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, retailers are getting more and more creative with the types of services they are offering their clients to get them into the stores. Dine-in space that offers music, internet access or scheduled events such as wine-tasting are becoming more popular every year as retailers compete for the customer’s time, attention and money.

With so many of these services being implemented quickly and by the individual stores, at least initially, the opportunity to consolidate and organize the entire spend for the company presents a very big and potentially profitable opportunity.

One growing service retailers are offering is in-store internet access. Customer internet is a service that can easily be sourced for the entire company either through one national vendor, or a handful of regional vendors. Leveraging the purchasing power of all of the company’s locations for internet services can be a highly successful process as there are so many more providers today than there were even 5 years ago.

The music played in these new areas is also another service that can be sourced as there are many suppliers that can either supply music that can be played and sold at the point of purchase creating yet another new revenue stream or that provide internet streamed music complete with customized marketing messaging in between songs.

Another way for retailers to successfully reduce their spends by purchasing for the whole company is with the supplies being used for their coffee or dining services. In many cases these new areas are not treated as their own profit centers and the materials needed to run them are purchased on a store by store, as needed basis. Napkins, utensils, cups, condiments as well as all of the ingredients that go into the finished product are examples of items that could be taken to the vendor community for more competitive pricing.

So many of these new ideas for bringing customers are highly affective and are difference makers for someone shopping at one location over another and by bringing the services and products they offer under solid sourcing practices they can also be highly profitable new channels of revenue for the company.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can assist your company with sourcing these goods and services, please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools White Paper Offer!

Friday, October 8th, 2021

 

Today’s re-post was written by me  in 2013 and may even be more appropriate in todays current environment than it was then.

So, here again is our  offer of a free white paper on Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools written by Ron Southard, CEO of Safesourcing Inc.

We are regularly asked to comment on a variety of categories by our customers, prospects and suppliers from the 427,000 member SafeSourceIt Supplier Database and SafeSourcing’s daily blog readers. These questions normally occur during the course of the discovery or value assessment phase we conduct with companies with which we do business. The questions vary, but generally have to do with SafeSourcing’s experience with a particular category (in this case, construction) or our impression of successes or failures within that category; when using today’s modern eProcurement tools such as online RFIs, RFPs and RFQs. RFQs are typically called Reverse Auctions and many times are the end result or final step of a much longer and more detailed sourcing process. While the focus is on more than just price, quite often the first question we get is what kind of savings might we expect?

The goal of this Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools white paper is to share a historical perspective, both positive and otherwise, relative to the use of these tools in the construction space from a variety of sources, as well as SafeSourcing’s specific experience with our own customers.

If you’d like to learn more about the many categories discussed in Construction Sourcing with eProcurement Tools please call Ron a 480-773-7524 or contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

Ecosystems Abound​

Monday, June 7th, 2021

 

Todays post is from our Archives by Dave Wenig and a good read!

In technology, the term ecosystem Is used to describe a set of platforms, software, solutions, etc. that all work well together to derive more benefit for the users. Often the additional benefit is found through very well designed integration points or through efficiencies. In procurement, these ecosystems exist and create these same types of benefits for the users.

The typical Procure-to-Pay model can be used as an example of how an organization can put their procurement tools and practices at the center of their ecosystem. Some eProcurement providers, SafeSourcing included, offer integrated Procure-to-Pay solutions with a focus on procurement. As more and more organizations look to cost reductions as a key part of their strategic goals, this becomes increasingly more valuable.

Of course, many organizations have implemented or considered eProcurement in their sourcing, but from an ecosystem standpoint, many have not yet progressed to capture the additional value available. For example, an organization that utilizes eProcurement, but does not have their contract management tools within that same ecosystem often has a diminished return relative to the success of the contract management tool. When that tool falls outside of the eProcurement ecosystem, users may not receive timely notifications of key contract dates and financial losses related to renewals might be experienced.

Similarly, organizations whose eProcurement ecosystem also includes cataloging and purchase order capabilities will find that they have a higher attainment rate of the initial savings created by procurement as well as tighter adherence to approved purchases throughout the life of the agreement.

These are just two examples of how to benefit from having procurement at the center of your ecosystem. These are certainly not the only two examples. To learn how you can get more from your eProcurement tools, contact a SafeSourcing representative.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

What is a Third Party Logistics Provider or 3PL and how do retailers use them?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

 

If you are having difficulty with your current distribution model, compress your spend using eProcurement tools and then source a reputable 3PL.

According to Wikipedia a third-party logistics provider (abbreviated 3PL) is a firm that provides outsourced or “third party” logistics services to companies for part, or sometimes all of their supply chain management functions. Third party logistics providers typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled and customized to customer’s needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for their products and materials.

As such, there are a number of types of 3PL’s within retail that may in fact service a single retailer as well as smaller buying groups of small retailers. All might fall under this umbrella including wholesalers such as SUPERVALU, collective buyers such as TOPCO or even a retailer collaborative that may in fact just coordinate aggregated purchases and in fact pick other 3PL’s to provide warehousing, picking and packing and distribution. Each of these providers may in fact provide some or all of the same services. The later or collaborative of multiple retailers might even be looked at as a non asset based 3PL.

In all categories of third party logistics providers however it is still the end user or retailer regardless of size that determines what products they buy and accept delivery of in their stores. As such, it should be no more difficult for smaller retailers to run e-negotiation events? There will need to be discussions as to costs that are purely associated with the warehousing, slotting, picking and distribution of products by a 3PL once an e-negotiation event has been planned, but these items should be easy to break out for bid or add to the final pricing prior to award of business as a flat fee. This is a practice that all 3PL’s should be familiar with already. Retailers should anticipate that their existing 3PL depending on services offered would rather not have you conduct these types of events as it negatively impacts their volumes with manufacturers and other providers and as such their company’s margins.

Understanding your options and the flexibility that 3PL’s can provide may actually make it easier for all retailers to use e-negotiation tools to impact their bottom line.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The Nine Deadly E-Procurement Objections!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

 

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing

This is a repost from a couple of years back because I just came out f a discovery session with a roomful of buyers and heard at least 5 of these. Fortunately the company CFO who was in attendance asked the following “If this is so, why does Ron have so many examples of products and services we buy every day at lower costs than we pay”. 

The following are the objections we hear all of the time after we have presented to a prospect that has not been exposed to e-procurement tools in the past.

1. We already get the best cost.
2. We’ve done business with this supplier for years.
3. We don’t have product specifications.
4. We don’t have time for this.
5. Switching costs will be too high.
6. We can’t insure the same quality.
7. We need to adhere to certain standards.
8. We are aware of all of the sources of supply in this area.
9. Our business is different!

Often the real reason for these objections is a lack of understanding as to the services being provided which actually extend the productivity of financial and procurement knowledge workers. An underlying reason is that these same knowledge workers believe they are already doing a good to great job. They believe they understand the detail of the category, the supplier community and the leverage point for driving quality results.

So what does it mean to your procurement knowledge workers when based on the above the very first e-procurement event you run returns dramatic savings from your incumbent as well as several other suppliers you were not aware of? Does it mean your team is not doing their job? Does it reflect poorly on them as individuals and or a team?

This author does not believe so, what it simply means is that they are not aware of how much more they can accomplish, how much further they can extend their reach and how much more time they will have to evaluate data instead of collecting and assembling it based on the use of modern strategic sourcing tools that extend their knowledge base.

If you would like to learn more about how your team can accomplish more in a shorter period of time, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Why should retailers be concerned with evergreen contracts?

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

 

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

This author has been asked on numerous occasions why I am so concerned with evergreen contracts. First, let’s discuss what an evergreen contract is. A simple definition is that it is a contract or an agreement between two parties (you and your supplier) that is automatically renewed or rolled over after each completion period which is typically a year, until canceled by the either party.

This does not sound so bad at first glance, particularly if the current terms of the contract such as price, performance, quality, service or service level are all being met and are to your advantage when they automatically renew. However this is not normally the case, particularly with contracts that are driven by commodity markets such as oil, chemicals, resins, pulp, steel and many others. In addition you can bet if the advantage is in your favor in the initial contract that your current supplier will notify you in writing within the specified period which is usually 60 days that they are going to let the contract expire or want to renegotiate.

In large parts of the retail trade, there are very few sophisticated contract management solutions deployed, the cost to the industry annually runs in the billions of dollars. This is because the original contract normally has language that includes price increases above the current contract when it auto renews and the auto renewal is normally for a year if the supplier is not notified in writing prior to the anniversary date. Once renewed you are stuck. This happens because most buyers or executives think they will remember in time to notify your supplier when in fact this almost never is the case. As most retail companies have thousands of contracts in the place the amount of data requiring review is unmanageable.

The worst case I ever reviewed was a contract written nine years earlier that had renewed every year. The customer was actually paying the uplifted prices and substantially more than a much smaller company was paying for the same type of service at significantly lower volumes. This did not even include newer technology benefits.

Contract management solutions that offer alert subsystems based on contracts Meta data are the best solution to this problem and typically provide near immediate ROI based solely on the cost avoidance associated with evergreen contracts.

SafeSourcing offers an easy to use solution called SafeContract™ to help our customers with this problem. Ask your solution provider how they can help you. Or contact SafeSourcing.

 

What Procurement KPI’s are on your dashboard?

Friday, March 26th, 2021

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

At a minimum the following data fields; start date, event date, award date, letter of intent date, contract date, initial delivery date, total low company quotes, total all low quotes, award of business quotes are the basis for e-procurement KPI’s that will help to measure how your procurement department is performing and progressing over time and where opportunity for additional savings exist.

Wit the above data you can measure the following daily by department and associate assigned to that project. You should be able to actually click on any of the KPI’s to drill down for further analysis and causal data.

1. Opportunity lost cost results
2. Timeline analysis of a project launch to event, letter of intent and contract
3. Low quote company versus all low quotes or missed savings
4. Average days to complete event
5. Average days to complete award
6. Average days to complete LOI
7. Analysis of supplier count and line item count versus where savings were maximized.
8. Number of events occurring above and below average.
9. Average or mean performance by KPI
10. Deviation or the best and worst events by KPI

If you had these KPI’s on your desktop of mobile dashboard, how much easier would it be for you to manage your business? If you don’t have this data please contact a SafeSourcing?Customer Services Account Manager to find out just how easy it is to retrieve.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.