Archive for the ‘E-procurement’ Category

Procurement after a Natural Disaster

Monday, August 13th, 2018

 

Today’s repost is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

To be prepared is to not forget!

During 2017 both hurricane Harvey and hurricane Irma  wreaked havoc in Texas and Florida, resulting in dozens of lives lost, and costs in damage to buildings alone are being estimated as between $100 and $400 billion dollars. But of course the cost isn’t limited to direct building damage as there will be costs in disruption to production activities, costs, and increased demand for goods. So what are some of the things procurement professionals should keep an eye out for post-natural disaster?

Crop losses: Orange crop losses are estimated at 10%, grapefruit at 20%, and could increase due to the greening disease Florida has been battling with that is exacerbated by moisture. Other crops of fruit, nuts, and melons are expected to be similarly affected.

Lumber: Even before the two hurricanes hit land, demand for plywood for boarding up windows increased. Now that the rebuilding efforts are underway, lumber is in greater demand than ever. Prices in Texas and Florida are expected to rise by 20%, partially due to a secondary cause of a recent 10% tax on Canadian soft wood imports.

Insurance: Currently the insurance industry is estimating they will be on the hook for about $300 billion in property and business loss claims, with losses in the $35-$70 billion dollar range. The re-insurance industry that further protects the financial health of the insurance agencies, is considering re-negotiating their rates to account for such monumental loses.

Energy: Total production of gasoline and natural gas is not expected to have been reduced by more than 1%. However, the disruption caused by the storms has had an interesting impact on demand as well, while hundreds of thousands of people are not driving back and forth or able to utilize the amount of energy they did on a normal basis. The outlook in the mid-term is a volatile and unpredictable market.

The bottom line is that for procurement professionals, a wide variety of industries have been thrown into turmoil, making it difficult to begin new initiatives or guarantee pricing for the short term. Furthermore, logistical concerns for moving product in and out of the affected areas will incur protracted lead times. This both presents challenges to sourcing new contracts, while also making it critical to lock down future agreements. Where commodities affected by natural disasters are concerned, everyone will be feeling the pinch. However, these challenges above make it more important than ever to lock-in favorable agreements more important than ever.

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

 

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Avoiding common RFP mistakes

Monday, August 6th, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

I sometimes hear stories from suppliers that are downright outrageous; I’ve literally been told “the dog ate my RFP”, and “I didn’t read any of the documentation” on multi-million dollar projects by executive level professionals. I’ve worked with a supplier on multiple year projects who has been late on each one, and always because his “mother just passed away”. If you’ve worked with me before you know I can sometimes be a little bit pushy to make sure you understand the structure of the RFP at hand, but I assure you it’s only to make sure the process goes smoothly for you. But what causes people to overlook the details of a project? I would suggest that the root of the problem is something every human being is susceptible to: Assuming we already know everything we need to know.

When going into a new RFP or other procurement project, the first assumption should be that we don’t know the needs of the customer until we’ve taken the time to learn them. I’ve seen suppliers come into a project trying to force their agenda, or assume the details of an RFP rather than observing, learning, and understanding first and asking questions second. It will always be difficult to come to a mutually beneficial business partnership if you don’t even understand the initial request that is being made. A successful RFP provides some basic information and asks questions, allowing the supplier to respond explaining their position, including product/service details, quotes, constraints, etc. Not actively listening and learning causes us to talk past each other, and can cause a misalignment of value propositions.

Listening well is a skill so commonly lacking that it is one of the first things taught in relationship counseling, and shouldn’t be overlooked in our professional lives. Active listening is taught formally in the classroom or counseling session by having one person take turns speaking to another, with the listener repeating in his/her words what was heard. This is effective because it prevents us from falling into the destructive habit of thinking about what we want to say while we should be listening to what is being said. Research suggests we only have the mental bandwidth to process a maximum of 1.6 conversations at a time, and if you’re fully listening to your own thoughts about what you want to say, you’re only hearing 60% of what you should be observing1.

[1] “Too Much Noise – Steelcase.” 2015. 15 Jul. 2015 <http://www.steelcase.com/insights/articles/much-noise/>

We make every effort at our company to make sure you are aware of the details of any procurement project, and also encourage feedback during the process to ensure each project is a positive opportunity, allowing you to put your best foot forward.

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

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Sourcing Corrugated Boxes

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

When companies are looking to save money, they often look in places that have the largest spend, but also the greatest fixed costs. Sometimes the most commonly used items represent the best opportunity to compress spend. In today’s case, we are going to look at Corrugated Boxes. Don’t be fooled though by this deceptively simple item. If you aren’t intimately familiar with what your company buys today, especially if you have multiple Distribution Centers, developing a new RFP can get complicated quickly. Here are a few specification considerations to understand about this category that might save you some frustration before you get too far into the project:

Dimensions (Inside or outside?): Sometimes your invoices will give you measurements different than what you would measure yourself simply because the invoice gives interior measurements and you are measuring the outside. Make sure you indicate whether your specified sizes are interior or exterior. Also make sure you are consolidating box sizes where you can. If DC1 uses the exact box DC2 uses with a 1/16th inch difference, is there a good reason? You might be able to save a lot of expense by getting your DC’s all on the same program with a limited variety of box types.

Grade: The most commonly used measurement of corrugate strength is the Edge Crush Test (ETC). For example, an ETC of 32 would mean a box could withstand a maximum load of 40 lbs. Suppliers would need to know this requirement in order to gauge how to construct the box in terms of its flute size, number of walls, etc.

Coatings: Your intended use will determine the type of coating requirement you will have. For instance, food safe boxes may require non-stick surface coating, and boxes with marketing information may be colored white with logo printing. But for basic usage to fulfill your supply chain and distribution needs, the unaltered brown standard color is the cheapest, and the term for it is “Kraft”.

Printing: A print design can be both functional, or marketing related. Meaning, you may need certain marks for optical machine box loading, barcodes for tracking, or simply logos for easy retail identification. Either way, you will likely want to provide detailed drawings and artwork along with dimensions, and precise color in order to end up with what you intended.

The Usual Suspects: All of the typical concerns within any given sourcing project still apply, such as:

  • Shipping terms: If delivered to multiple DC’s, you’ll probably want separate quotes per location. However, if you don’t need delivered pricing, obtaining FOB quotes can save you a lot of headaches.
  •  Volume: Unit of measure, lead time, delivery schedule, must be indicated, and under the correct annual multiplier.
  •  Current cost: Is it inclusive of any promotional allowances, taxes, freight, etc and are you asking for quotes to include all of the same factors for accurate comparison?
  • Always run through a sample process before approving a large production run. A mountain of useless boxes would ruin anyone’s day.

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

 

 

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eProcurement Planning

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

 

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

In this post rerun, Dave discusses eProcurement Planning.

We often talk about how an organization can utilize various eProcurement solutions to drive savings and find safe, qualified sources of supply. We also commonly talk about the results of eProcurement efforts derived from the same. These are two incredibly important pillars of any organization’s eProcurement strategy and are certainly deserving of the attention paid to them. That said, there is another eProcurement strategy pillar on which I’ll elaborate. This pillar, often overlooked and infrequently discussed compared to its counterparts, is eProcurement planning.

eProcurement planning can be done in any number of ways either with an organization’s own internal resources, external consultants, or some mix of both. In the remainder of this post, I will discuss the approach which SafeSourcing recommends. We offer this approach as a spend analysis service called SafeSpendAnalysis™.

When we engage with an organization to deliver a SafeSpendAnalysis™, we are looking to analyze 100% of that organization’s spend for a 12-month period at minimum including all capital, cost of goods, and expense spending.

The SafeSpendAnalysis™ service compares your spend data to the SafeSourcing database. The spend data is run against our SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database of over 432,000 global suppliers to fully identify the companies within. Then that augmented spend data is compared to historical SafeSourceIt™ Events to identify appropriate supplier categories and subcategories. We then run that data set against the SafeSourceIt™ historical Events to establish potential savings based on category averages.

The output of SafeSpendAnalysis™ is a detailed presentation with an in-depth category analysis; recommendations, questions, and savings opportunities identified in several key areas such as high spend categories, high supplier count categories, and quick wins.

During the SafeSpendAnalysis™ review with the leadership team and the teams responsible for the various spend categories, SafeSourcing works with your organization to identify appropriate categories for which you will utilize eProcurement in the future. It is common for SafeSpendAnalysis™ to identify tens of millions of dollars in potential eProcurement savings and offers the deep insight required to prioritize resource planning for maximum impact in the minimum amount of time.

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with SafeSpendAnalysis™. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

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eProcurement Time to Value

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

 

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

In eProcurement, one important, yet often overlooked measure of success is time to value. Of course, one of the primary goals of any eProcurement strategy is to reduce spend for the goods and services that an organization requires.

For the sake of this post, I am defining time to value as the time between when you determine that you would like to host an eProcurement event, such as a live Request for Quote (RFQ), to the time that you can begin ordering with the newly negotiating pricing from that eProcurement event. I tend to see that we focus heavily on the savings result, but far less on the amount of time that was required to complete that project. The reality is that those two goals are both important and actually complement each other. The sooner you conclude your eProcurement event, the sooner you are able to realize the savings.

There are several key reasons why an organization needs to monitor time to value closely. A contract expiration date is one factor that creates pressure to attain results quickly. When a contract is set to expire or to automatically renew, it is important to negotiate quickly to avoid any unfavorable outcomes. Another factor is seasonality. For certain products and services, the negotiation must be done in advance of a particular season. For example, in northern climates, snow removal contracts should be in place well before the possibility of snow.

Every organization will set its own time to value success criteria. I always advise that projects should typically range from four to six weeks and that clients should expect to see significant savings that can be achieved and realized in the current quarter.

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing. Dave, or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing, would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you achieve faster time to value in your eProcurement efforts. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

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Here, Let Me Take That Purchasing Problem Off Your Plate…

Friday, June 29th, 2018

 

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

Are you in the middle or end of a contract and stuck as to what to do next?  Has pricing increased

year after year, but service or product delays have been more frequent? Let SafeSourcing, Inc. help YOU! How, you say? With our custom e-procurement process that takes supplier vetting off your plate, helps you establish a contract ready terms and conditions that protects you, and creates a specifications that is detailed for your needs.

You see, we take all your hours of work off your plate and do the work for you, bringing you a reliable supplier base, clean contract ready terms and conditions, and an equal to or better service or product need. And we can do it quickly!  But what is e-procurement?

Wikipedia defines E-Procurement as electronic procurement, sometimes also known as supplier exchange is the business-to-business or business-to-consumer or business-to-government purchase and sale of supplies, work, and services through the Internet as well as other information and networking systems, such as electronic data interchange and enterprise resource planning. The e-procurement value chain consists of indent management, e-Informing, e-Tendering, e-Auctioning, vendor management, catalogue management, Purchase Order Integration, Order Status, Ship Notice, e-invoicing, e-payment, and contract management. Indent management is the workflow involved in the preparation of tenders. This part of the value chain is optional, with individual procuring departments defining their indenting process. In works procurement, administrative approval and technical sanction are obtained in electronic format. In goods procurement, indent generation activity is done online.

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

We look forward to your comments.

 

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Category Discovery is a critical step in building your e-negotiation strategy?

Monday, June 25th, 2018

 

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

Category discovery is the basis of any quality implementation of an e-negotiation strategy. It is essential that this process be supported by the company’s executive management because they hold the key to unlocking access to data sources across the enterprise. This process will include working with all category managers, buyers, other procurement knowledge workers and anyone that participates in sourcing to uncover what you don’t know in support of your Requests for Information (RFI), Proposals (RFP) and Quotations (RFQ).

The first step in this process is the understanding of where the data is hiding and in most companies large and small it is. Here’s a list to get you started. Data discovery generally comes from two sources; Internal and external.

Examples of Internal and External Data Sources

1. SLRP
2. Budgets
3. General Ledger
4. Detailed P&L
5. Purchase Orders
6. Contracts
7. Detailed Vendor Listing
8. Product List by Vendor
9. Invoices
10. Product cut sheets
11. Copies of orders
12. Brochures
13. Supplier Websites
14. Annual Reports

If you’d like some help with your category discovery and have a GL you’d like analyzed, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Project Manager.

As always we look forward to and appreciate your comments

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Should you try e-Procurement?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

 

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

Should you try e-Procurement? Recently I met with the owner of a local company to discuss the possibility of helping his company with procurement. We discussed our background and how we have helped clients big and small. One of his first questions was, “I am only one location do you believe I have a spend large enough that warrants help from SafeSourcing?” The answer is a resounding, YES!  We discussed what he currently purchases and what he needs. After talking for quite some time, we found out that there are a couple of things he would like to try to take to market.  The first thing was janitorial and cleaning supplies. With his business there is always cleaning needed to be done; but with only one business is that enough spend to pay an event fee and still see savings? I explained to him our Risk Free Trial and that in recent history, we have saved clients over 27% on the same items. Even with the smallest of spends that is still a sizable amount. We then discussed other possibilities and his future plans. He explained to me that he is expanding and looking to open a new location/warehouse. That is fantastic!  I proceeded to inform him that construction, project management, and general contracting is also something we can help him with. We are not just a one trick pony. We can help with it all, I told him to think outside of the box. From the walk-in coolers and HVAC, to the building itself, we will help him find the general contractor that suits his requirements. I hope to help him grow his business and look to help him expand in the future years

So should you try e-Procurement? The answer is yes, from small goods to large construction jobs, we can help with it all.  In 2017, we have helped our clients save an average of 24% +/- across all categories. So give it a try, challenge us and see what SafeSourcing can do for you!

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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Why e-Procurement?

Monday, April 9th, 2018

 

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

Is e-Procurement the right way to go for your company? Why not just keep doing things the old fashioned way of which there are many. What would the real difference be? There are many benefits that result from using an e-Procurement service provider. A very important benefit is the time it saves a company on everything that goes on behind the scenes of procurement, even a single item or simple service can result in many many man hours on your part in order to complete a project. Why?

First identify the item or service you want to take to market. That first step alone can take some time. If it is a current item or service you already receive, you need to discover if the specifications are something you need and want, or is this something you are sourcing because you no longer believe that is the best product for your needs. Next dig up some invoices because you want to make sure of your current price in order for you to know what you need to beat it. Great, now you know what it is and how much you are paying. Next you need to figure out where to get it. Thankfully the internet helps with this step. Use your favorite search engine and type in what you are looking for along with manufactures or distributors. At this point you may have a list of four or five companies. Now it’s time to get contacts for these companies. Sometimes it is as simple as asking for someone in sales, or maybe if you’re lucky and the person that answered the phone can help you. Often times however you get someone that will take a message and have a customer service representative call you. Guess what you are only a fraction of the way there, if they call back at all.

Once you are finally in touch with a sales rep, it is time to discuss what you need. Typically you have to send them the specifications which require an email or fax of what you are looking for and anything other information that ensures that they know exactly what you want. At this point, they compile pricing and work with their teams and eventually send you their “best price”. So now you have to do that 3, 4, 5 or more times so you can compare these prices. Now that you have prices, it’s time to test the quality of the goods; or maybe it is a service, and you have to do some research to see if this is a reputable company. You will need to research any good or bad ratings they may have. So after waiting a few weeks, you have found the lowest price of the collection, but does that still give you the quality you are looking for?

But was that the best price? Did you get the best “value”? Who knows, you have already put so much time into finding the right vendor or supplier, this has to be the best. That is until you’re at an event with some peers and a counterpart is bragging how they got the same items at a drastically lower price. Now what, do you try to get out of that contract or do you stick it out for the remainder and repeat the process?

This is where we come in. SafeSourcing a full service eProcurement service provider does the leg work for you. We run a live sourcing event from start to finish while you can focus on your other business needs. We research your products; develop specification documents from our comprehensive list of over 470,000 vendors to ensure that we find the right one for you. We ensure low pricing with a live online bidding event for the vendors. After a sourcing event we compile reports on every action taken, as well as request any samples on your behalf with a strict timeline that you agree upon. We actually take the stress out of the entire procurement process.

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

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

 

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.

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