Archive for the ‘E-procurement’ Category

“You Buy It, We Procure it”

Monday, July 31st, 2017

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Customer Services & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

The above quote has recently become this author’s mantra. When working with current or new customers, I often ask what’s next in your pipeline or purchases. Too often I get a response similar to we don’t have anything coming up or we aren’t buying anything big today/this month/this year. A purchase doesn’t have to be considered big in the moment of ordering, but over time the expense adds up. For instance, copy paper is bought for almost every single office or location. While it might be a ream or case at time, added up might be in the thousands of dollars annually. Perhaps you own a fleet of vehicles and purchase tires multiple times a year. Without a pricing agreement in place to ensure the best possible pricing all year round, you are losing money.  Within each of these purchases, it might seem small or a onetime purchase, however, an annual spend or general ledger (GL) will show at the end of the year as a significant spend to the company.

SafeSourcing can work with your company to identify purchases and potential saving opportunities through our SafeSpend™ analysis. This presents your company with an overview of where not just the large purchases are, but where the small purchases are that add up to large purchases. This will give you the view into saving potential that SafeSourcing can offer with various sevices. Remember… “ If you buy it, we procure it”!

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.

 

 

 

Overcoming Declines

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Defeating the decline is something most of us have had to deal with. It typically starts early in life. The girl you have been waiting all year to ask to the dance, says no. The time you asked your dad to co-sign on your first car, nope! Or the college you had your heart set on, “sorry to inform you but you were not selected”, blah blah blah. It’s a part of life and you will have to deal with declines constantly. But the key is HOW you will deal with the declines.

At SafeSourcing we offer an e-procurement tool that allows our clients to get better value without the hassle of hiring additional staff or devoting countless hours doing what we do in a fraction of the time. See, we deal with declines every day. In fact, we are sort of experts at it.

Declines are basically the starting point. Declines start a dialogue or a fact finding venture, where as an Account Manager, I can become better informed on the product or service I am selling. Through the engagement of the vendor, I am able to find out the real reason for “the decline” through direct questions or just being a good listener. In many cases, after speaking with the vendor regarding the decline, we both find out that they could still participate and bring value.

Some keys things to remember are:

  1.  When you receive a decline, IMMEDIATELY follow up with a phone call and find out why? There are definitely legitimate reasons a supplier cannot participate – logistics, they no longer provide that item; but before you hang up, ask, “Whom do you recommend?” More times than not, they will give you a company and a contact person.
  2. Ask good questions why the decline, “I can only bid on some of the items.” Great, we still want their participation. This can generate better savings for the items they are able to bid on.
  3. “We don’t do this this.” Great. What do you do? We might have another event they would be perfect for.

Basically, it is our job to make a decline into an opportunity, be it new leads, becoming better educated, or engaging the supplier and then finding a better event for them to join. Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

Make Time for eProcurement

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing

Reducing spend is important. It’s actually among the most important and impactful methods to improve your company’s bottom line. In most industries, you’ll be hard pressed to generate the same effect through any other means. New stores, new accounts, improved processes, and more all have merit. The fact is, reducing spend while maintaining quality can create a one-to-one savings to bottom line improvement opportunity. Where else are you getting results like that?

So, reducing spend is a top priority. But, is it the most urgent priority? Right now? Chances are you have something going on that cannot wait. Maybe you have a fire that needs to be put out before you can tackle the job of reducing the cost of the floor tile for your upcoming new stores. Maybe that’s a literal fire that needs to be put out. It happens.

At the end of the day though, we have to make time to focus on reducing our spend. One way to handle this is to improve efficiency by working with a partner, such as SafeSourcing, to increase the number of eProcurement projects that you complete in a given time period. Let somebody work on your behalf by delegating responsibly. Then, instead of one project per month, you can easily achieve three. Your input will still be required, but your time commitment will be greatly reduced.

So put out that fire and let us focus on the details so you can realize the savings. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Here is some Lasik for retail e-procurement professionals in order to create better focus.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

 

Here’s and old post that continues to have merit with a link to another resource from FitSmallBusiness.com

Very often this author gets the question as to where to start in the e-procurement process. Too often I read that one needs to do a detailed discovery. The question is of what and how to get to the right place the quickest. So here is some Lasik for you that will help you see a little more clearly.

Using another idiom, and with renewed focus we hope to make it possible to see the forest for the trees by not focusing on excessive detail that is not needed yet.

There are four areas where you should begin your search for an e-procurement starting point and they are pretty simple.

1. Gross Sales
2. Cost of Goods Sold
3. Gross Margin
4. EBITDA.

This is really to say that if you take a look at your top line or Gross Sales and your bottom line or EBITDA and they are out of whack relative to your plan or industry averages you need to look at the above the gross margin line or Cost of Goods Sold or below the gross margin line which is expense related items for as an e-procurement focal point..

As such a couple of terms whose definitions you should be aware of are as follows.

According to two separate sources, Wikipedia and FitSmallBusiness.com  Cost of Goods Sold or COGS is a financial accounting  term which includes the direct costs attributable to the production or procurement of the goods sold by a company. This amount  can include the materials cost used in creating the goods along with the direct labor costs used to produce the m. It excludes indirect expenses such as distribution costs and sales force costs. COGS appear on the income statement and can be deducted from revenue to calculate a company’s gross margin.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization or EBITDA which is an approximate measure of a company’s operating cash flow based on data from the company’s income statement. EBITDA is calculated by looking at earnings before the deduction of interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Based on the above a lot is determined by who built you annual plan and how realistic it was to begin with.

Tomorrow we will review what underperforming these measure means and how it should point you in the direction as to where to begin your e-procurement focus.

We look forward to and appreciate you comments.

Sourcing Corrugated Boxes

Friday, July 7th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing

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.

 

 

Is the Internet helping or hurting us?

Friday, June 30th, 2017

 

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

The internet has to be one of the greatest tools of our time. Or is it? The invention of the internet has brought with it changes that have completely altered the way we do virtually everything. From the way we shop, to the way we conduct business. The world is at our fingertips. We need to simply type in what our heart desires and viola the answer appears; but is that helping us? Not too many years ago research reports for school, or gathering information about a potential client required a lot of leg work with just as much paper; but it involved the researcher. It made researcher learn more about what they we searching for. Today it is very simple to find the answer and just copy and paste it into a document . Some may believe this makes us lazy or removes our involvement all together. Some may also say that this is expanding our horizons and gives us the ability to learn more at a faster pace. But what is it doing for us? Is there a correct answer? Look at what we do here at Safesourcing. We help clients in many ways, mostly by helping save a lot in the procurement process. We use the internet and our vast database of companies, locally and internationally to find the right supplier and vendors for our clients. Whether it is helping find a service or a product, we can do it. Communication is a large part of it. From emails, to instant messages, or the VOIP phone services that most companies use, almost every aspect of communication is driven by the internet. Our online tool that we use to run our events depends on the internet to have a seamless successful campaign from start to finish. But that’s not all. We are constantly improving our website and online tools to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing digital age.

Coming from an age where the internet was just coming into play and seeing the changes it has made in almost every aspect of life, from ordering my coffee, to getting live directions to the nearest shoe store, I believe the internet has had a great impact on the advancement of humankind. Yes, there are downsides. Fake news is spreading like wildfire, seeing horrific images that may scar younger viewers, as well as the darker sides of the internet. But just like everything in life, with good there is always bad. It is all up to you, the user, how you weld your power so choose wisely and try to make the world a better place, even if it is just by helping each other by passing on uplifting words or helping to teach younger generations learn to cook.

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

Old Glory – The Red, White and Blue.

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

 

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

We have recently celebrated Memorial Day and Flag Day and the Fourth of July is coming up quickly. We certainly see a lot of Old Glory this time of year.   The following is just a little flag trivia:

  1.  Betsy Ross is credited with designing the flag, but there is almost no evidence to support this. The only evidence was from her own grandson in 1870, when he presented The Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with affidavits from his own family members as evidence. Early journals from the Continental Congress claim Francis Hopkins deserves the credit.
  2. Karen Burke of Walmart’s Corporate Communications stated Walmart sold 115,000 flags on September 11, 2001 compared to 6,400 on the same day in 2000.
  3. A 17-year old student by the name of Robert G. Heft, designed the flag as it appears today. With the addition of Alaska and Hawaii as states, he designed the 50-star flag as a history project. He got a B- from his instructor that was later changed to an A when President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose Heft’s design.
  4. Six flags were planted on the moon during the Apollo missions. Only one flag fell. According to Buzz Aldrin, the one that fell was blown over by Apollo 11 liftoff from the moon’s surface.
  5. According to the US Department of State, the official colors are “old glory red” and “old glory blue.
  6. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday outside of Pennsylvania and New York. New York doesn’t observe Flag Day on the 14th, but rather the second Sunday in June.
  7. Richard Williams the animation director of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” said he modeled the rabbit’s colors after Old Glory (red overalls, white fur, blue tie). It looked like an American flag and subliminally everyone like it.
  8. There are federal regulations governing the handling and display of the flag (the U.S. Flag Code) in advertising or printing or anything intended for temporary use or display.
  9. Old Glory was a nickname for a particular U.S. flag. It was owned by a sea captain given to him by a woman in his home town of Salem, MA. He named it Old Glory after seeing it on his mast in 1831. The name became synonymous with the American flag.

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

 

Retaining Traditions

Friday, June 16th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing

Even the best planned eProcurement initiatives, sponsored as they should be at the executive level, are susceptible to one common challenge. Moving to eProcurement, just like any change, will require an organization’s resources to support the change. It’s important to understand that the individuals required to support eProcurement must be coached and must buy into the program. Sometimes, however, individuals or teams within the organization will be reluctant to adopt to the change.

It’s understandable that we all believe our own techniques and processes are best. After all, we’ve learned and honed these over the course of our careers. That makes it more difficult to accept change. Some people may even feel threatened by change.

Knowing this, I’ll offer a couple suggestions to help ease the transition and provide an atmosphere that encourages each individual resource to embrace the change and not fear it. This does not necessarily mean that existing techniques and processes are no longer valuable. In fact, certain traditional purchasing concepts will continue to play as integral a role in eProcurement as they did before eProcurement. For example, vendor relationships will continue to be necessary.

Encourage culture: Spread the good news. Did Marketing just have a great month of savings? Share that with your other business units. We’ve seen tremendous momentum generated by posting a scoreboard where BU’s savings percentages are posted on a regular basis. This often drives friendly competition.

Keep positive: Focus on the wins. When you see big savings, applaud it. The worst thing you can do is to ask why you were overpaying before. Instead, focus that energy on targeting the next category for savings opportunity.

By using these and other techniques to encourage adoption of your eProcurement process and retaining certain key elements of traditional purchasing, you will pave the way for success.

Dave Wenig is the Director of Sales, North America at SafeSourcing. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

We look forward to your comments.

 

Who comes first?

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing archives.

When completing a successful eRFX event, who comes first? “The client always comes first” is the general answer, but what about the suppliers? The suppliers’ full participation brings success to your event. This raises the question, “does the supplier come first?”

With eRFX events on a rise and being used with many companies now it allows a competitive, fair, and easy quoting process for the supplier. Suppliers’ full participation is necessary for a successful eRFX event. The following steps are crucial to a successful event:

•  Detailed and thorough eRFX requirements- If the scope of work or supplies does not make sense to you it probably will not make sense to your supplier.

•  Be open and ready for feedback and questions from suppliers- if you dismiss their questions and concerns, they will in turn feel the  information is inadequate and could either provide quotes that your client cannot use or will quote beyond your clients’ needs to cover their liability.

•  Continuous engagement between the supplier and intermediary- Your suppliers may be experienced with eRFX events, but some will be very frightened of the idea. Keep your supplier engaged with continuous communication and availability.

•  Provide feedback- The supplier put in a lot of time and effort in to provide competitive pricing. Acknowledge that. Follow-up with suppliers after the award of business has been made. This is going to be the reason they engage in another eRFX event. Provide feedback to the suppliers when necessary.

It is not always the outcome of the quote, so even if the supplier did not get awarded the business, which impacts their thoughts on eRFX events; it is the process that leaves an impact on the supplier. The supplier will be encouraged by the process and feel confident in the quotes provided to your client.

We, at SafeSourcing, practice this level of service to all suppliers.  For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

Savings Now

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Director of Sales at SafeSourcing Inc.

Many post have been written about the reasons for implementing eProcurement into your purchasing process. Today, we’ll assume that this decision has already been made. The question now is how do you start realizing savings? When will we see the results?

The reality is that you should be able to see results within the current quarter. Whether or not you do depends on several factors, but is completely within your control.

First, have you targeted categories that range in complexity from simple to complex? The quick win categories are often fairly simple and can be achieved while you continue to work through the details necessary for more complex categories. Make sure that you constantly achieve savings by avoiding the pitfall of only selecting complex categories, especially as you begin sourcing with eProcurement. The excitement from success is contagious

Second, you’ll need to be sure that the entire team understands the eProcurement process. The most successful eProcurement initiatives are driven at the C level. From there, everyone involved in the purchase process should know what is involved in the process and how the award of business will be made. This will go a long want to prevent rogue spending and negotiations with vendors outside of the eProcurement process; both of which will derail your initiative.

Third, there comes a time to simply take action. Avoiding analysis paralysis is necessary to achieve savings. It’s understandable that you wonder if making optimization changes to your existing program will drive better savings or to seek out higher volumes in search of better savings. However, the time required for these considerations comes at a cost as you continue to purchase at your existing price. The alternative? Decide to reduce your current costs now and plan to optimize process or collaborate and renegotiate again only once you are ready. This allows you to buy at a much better cost while you work on your longer term strategies within that category.

There are other considerations as well, but the fact is that the success of your eProcurement program depends on your organization’s commitment to identifying and achieving savings at every opportunity.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to your comments