Archive for the ‘E-supply Chain’ Category

What’s the genesis of your supplier database and how was it built?

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

 

Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

All databases have their start as an information gathering exercise that ultimately is enhanced by those characteristics the owner or developer determines to be useful to the community of interest the database is to be offered to. The information then becomes part of a data model where information sets can be accessed or searched based on a variety of queries or questions. Most developers follow a process called Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration or UDDI  as this process.

Universal Description, Discovery and Integration or (UDDI) is a standard established for building online databases of companies and the goods and services they provide, similar to Yellow Pages for the Internet. UDDI is intended to help businesses locate suppliers and products. Sourcing companies supplier databases go well beyond this definition.

Data models can be extremely complex and that is where they become more than a simple on line yellow pages. In fact high quality supplier databases should be able to provide much of the data you might find in the opening pages of a detailed RFI. A simple query like show me all companies within a 500 mile radius of your home office zip code that provide a set of products that meet the following safety certifications.  A next step might be summarizing all company information for these companies by a list of attributes such as company description, sale, years in business, officers etc.

How easy would that make your life?

If you’d like to find more qualified and vetted suppliers to support your sourcing efforts of any product or service, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The Value of Data

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

 

Here’s and oldie but goody.

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archive

Data has a way of sneaking into every aspect of our life. In an article in the Wall Street Journal from 1/14/2012 titled “How Google & Co. Will Rule Your Rep” by Holly Finn, the uses of personal data as it relates to one’s reputation are described. Soon, it seems, data will be carefully analyzed at even the most personal or intangible aspects of life.

With that in mind, it is my belief that as you approach your procurement process, this rings true as ever. Too often in procurement, a purchase decision must be made when there is either no historical data to support the decision or the historical data available is insubstantial.

In these cases, it may seem as though there are no valid options that would help make a purchase decision beyond the data at hand.

In most cases, however, there are more options available. In an example where you do not have adequate historical data to make a sound purchasing decision based on pricing, you may find that it is possible to move forward in your decision with the confidence that you have received the best pricing possible. Ask your strategic sourcing partner to work with you to review your project. In most cases, an RFP can be created and managed in such a way that will provide you with the data that you might not have otherwise. Once completed, a live RFQ can be managed as needed to provide the compressed prices that you seek.

With your new data in hand, you can make your decision with confidence and with the metrics to back it up.

Just think, it used to be enough to want to share an opinion. But now, as we write this, we are hoping that it will be worthy of online comment and reaction so to boost my (quantifiable) reputation.

Please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Representative to learn how we can help with your sourcing data needs. You might be very surprised at what we know about you based on what we have learned from others.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

How to Survive The Psychology of The Grocery Store

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

 

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

Running into the local Kroger or Safeway for a quart of milk and coming out with a cartload of unintended food purchases is universal—and it’s not our fault. Supermarkets make us do it, or at least they try. Grocery shopping is an orchestrated process. Every feature of the store—from floor plan and shelf layout to lighting, music, and ladies in aprons offering free sausages on sticks—is designed to lure us in, and seduce us into spending money. Once you enter a grocery store, it’s often not easy to get out again. A common feature of supermarkets is the one-way entry door; to get back out, you’re compelled to walk through a good portion of the store. After the one-way front door, the feature first displayed is the produce department. The impact of all those scents, textures, and colors (think fat tomatoes, glossy eggplants, luscious strawberries) makes us feel both upbeat and hungry. Also the store bakery is usually near the entrance, with its smell of fresh-baked bread; as is the flower shop, with its buckets of tulips, and bouquets gorgeous flowers. The message we get right off the bat is that the store is a welcoming place.

The cruel truth is that the produce department is less garden and kitchen than stage set. Lighting is chosen to make fruits and veggies appear at their brightest and best; and – according to Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy—the sprays of fresh water over the produce bins are all for show. Though used to give fresh foods a deceptive dewy and fresh-picked look, the water actually has no real purpose. It actually makes vegetables spoil faster.A classic of this kind of customer manipulation, Lindstrom points out, is the banana—still America’s favorite fruit—whose signature ripe yellow is actually the result of painstaking marketing analyses. Sales records indicated the customers bought more bananas if their peels were Pantone color 12-0752 (Buttercup) rather than the slightly brighter Pantone color 13-0858 (Vibrant Yellow). Banana growers responded by planting their crops under conditions tailored to produce Buttercup.”1

The supermarket is designed to make customers spend as much time as possible in the store. Dairy departments are almost always located as far from the entrance as possible.   Customers will most likely have at least one dairy item on their list which will make them walk the length of the store. Mid-aisle positioning is intended to sideline the so-called Boomerang Effect, in which some shoppers (notably men) simply head for the item they need, then return the way they came.

“Music encourages us to dawdle: A famous study of background music and supermarket shoppers, conducted in 1982, found that people spent 34 percent more time shopping, with a corresponding uptick in sales, in stores that played music. And supermarkets tend to be devoid of external time cues: most have no windows or skylights, and shoppers are often hard-pressed to find a clock.

The theory is the longer you stay in the store, the more stuff you’ll see, and the more stuff you see, the more you’ll buy. The average supermarket carries approximately 44,000 different items. “According to brain-scan experiments conducted by Paul Mullins and colleagues of Bangor University, Wales, the demands of so much decision-making quickly become too much for us. After about 40 minutes of shopping, most people stop struggling to be rationally selective, and instead began shopping emotionally—which is the point at which we accumulate the 50 percent of stuff in our cart that we never intended buying.”2

Shelf order is a psychological trap. The expensive items are generally placed at eye level; generic brands are on the lower shelves so that you have to crouch. Foods meant to appeal to kids are set at kids’ eye level so that the cartoon characters on the boxes make eye contact with (short) passers-by.

The displays at the ends of the aisles (end caps) are shopper traps. Companies pay high prices to display their products there.  A product at an end cap sells eight times faster than the same product shelved elsewhere on the aisle. Also the size of our shopping carts increases the chance of our buying more. Carts have tripled in size, and they’re still growing. Shoppers tend to buy 40 percent more with a bigger cart. So what to do about all this? Make a list and stick to it. Try not to shop so often—fewer and more efficient trips to the store are easier on the pocketbook.

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.

References——————————————-

1, 2.   Rebecca Rupp, The Plate, 6/15/2015

 

Landscape Maintenance

Friday, May 19th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.

Now that things are warming up, it doesn’t take long for your landscaping to get out of control.  Whether that be lawn, flower beds, bushes, plants or trees.  Most of these items will need to be cared for on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to keep them under control and looking nice throughout the summer.  In order for this to be done successfully, you will probably want to hire a reliable landscaping maintenance company to maintain your property.  There are a lot of factors that go into selecting the right company.  Are they bonded and insured in case there is any property damage during the routine maintenance?  How long have they business?  Going with a more experienced company will help ensure that the job is done professionally and right the first time.  You may want to check around with others in your area and make sure that the company has a good reputation.  Also, ask for references and ask key questions regarding the type of work that you will need to have performed.  Does the company offer other services such as weed control, fertilization and insect management?   These services will help keep the lawn and bushes healthy and may be less expensive if they are provided by the same company.  Below are other things that need to be considered when searching for a maintenance company.

➢ Contract Options

➢ Is the company Regional or local

➢ Experience of Management

➢ Customer Service

➢ Price

➢ Warranty

If you need help finding a licensed landscaping maintenance company, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

Equipping to Deliver

Monday, April 17th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing archives

In a recent study performed by Noosh, Inc., of over 5,000 companies handling almost $12 billion in procurement projects, some not so surprising trends were confirmed by the data.  One of these dealt with companies expecting their procurement teams to handle more sourcing projects with a higher degree of complexity in the same amount of time than in previous years.  Today we will look at a few areas that can be addressed to help achieve these results.

Helping hand – Several 3rd party strategic sourcing companies exist with the purpose of helping extend procurement teams in order to tackle more projects in a shorter amount of time.  Where individuals on your team may source a category like stretch wrap every year or two, 3rd party companies are sourcing the same category several times a year all over the world for companies of varying sizes.  Not only can they run a project from beginning to end, but they can also provide advice on the best way to structure a project based on what is currently working in the industry.

New tools – Investigating tools that can streamline certain areas of the sourcing process is another important step.  One example of these types of tools is a survey tool.  This tool will allow departments to quickly gather the information they need to assemble projects and structure the best approach.  When this information is combined with online RFx or Reverse auction tools, it allows the department to have several suppliers compete for the business in a LIVE online format that produces hundreds of quote adjustments from several suppliers all at once.  This frees the procurement team up to concentrate on other aspects of the eventual contract that will be signed.

Get better at tracking – Once the decision on getting extra help and getting the right tools in place has been made, developing ways to standardize and track the progress of these projects is the third area that should be examined.   Most strategic sourcing companies can assist in this area as well but in standardizing the sourcing approach, documents, project plans, expectations and roles can all be defined in order to streamline how future projects will run but also to provide an accurate timeline of when it will be completed.  This reduces the company’s vulnerability that can happen when a department attempts to source something on their own.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help be a helping hand, provide new online tools or assist with developing stronger tracking and standardization 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.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 from Safesourcing; Your GLOBAL SOURCING PARTNER!

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

picture of world

If you’d like to learn more about alternative sources of supply around the world or locally, contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager to learn more about SafeSourceIt™ our 427,000 global supplier database and let us translate it into increased profits for you.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend 2016 from SafeSourcing. Who were the Pilgrims?

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

According to the Mayflower Society, as history has evolved, any of the 102 Mayflower passengers who arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower and survived the initial hardships is now considered a Pilgrim with no distinction being made on the basis of their original purposes for making the voyage.

The Mayflower Pilgrims and their fellow travelers were authors of the first true governing document created in a New World colony. The Mayflower Compact is considered to have set the stage for the Constitution of the United States.

These were the same pilgrims that were responsible for the holiday we celebrate today called Thanksgiving.

We wish you and yours a peaceful and happy extended holiday weekend.

Are you looking forward to the outdoor cooking season?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.

With spring upon us, many of us will be cooking out on the grill. It’s great to be able to relax in the warm sun with a cold beverage and a spatula in your hand.  It also helps knowing that cooking your meals will be a little cheaper this season than last.  According to the USDA, supermarket prices should only rise 1 to 2 percent this year which is lower than the 20 year average of 2.5 percent.  Although the supermarket prices have risen overall, the good news is that the price of beef is about 5 percent lower and poultry is down about 4 percent.  Eating healthy will cost us a little more due to the fact of fresh vegetables being about 9 percent higher.  Overall we should be spending a little less this season which eases the stress and makes grilling out that much more enjoyable.  Below are some other notable price changes between March 2015 and March 2016.

  • Pork – Down 5.6%
  • Eggs – Up 0.7%
  • Dairy Products – Down 2.8%
  • Milk – Down 6%

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company reduce your costs and run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

 

Teaming up with Suppliers For More Savings…. Part II of II

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

Yesterday we began taking a look at some of the ways you can arrange to run a sourcing project for products on behalf of your suppliers to increase the opportunity for the suppliers of those products, lower your suppliers’ costs while lowering your costs for those items or services as well.  Today we will conclude the series by looking at the project itself and the process of using the results to achieve greater value for your company.

Determine the greater opportunity – Once you have determined where your spend lies in relation to your suppliers’ other customers and opened a dialog with them about your plans, it will be time to begin laying out the scope of what the project will entail.  Much of this will be determined by the amount of involvement your suppliers wish to provide in the way of information and management of the process.  The first major part of this step will be to understand if there are other products or services that need to be included in the project even if your company does not use them.  These create a greater opportunity for the suppliers and will results in better results for you and your incumbent suppliers.  The second part of this step is to determine the volume, frequency and location these items will need to be delivered to so that you can begin rounding out the specification and terms and conditions documentation.

Control the project yourself – No matter how much involvement your incumbent suppliers wish to provide you in this process, it is imperative that you own and manage the project from start to finish.  The insight you will gain on these products and services throughout the process will be extremely valuable and will be the foundation by which the final negotiations are achieved with the manufacturers.  Establishing and maintaining these relationships can also be important in later stages should there be customer service issues that your suppliers are unable to leverage properly themselves.

Leverage the results to your advantage – When the project is complete you will be left with a detailed view of the manufacturers, their offerings and their pricing.  You will have at your disposal all of the tools necessary to not only negotiate better value from the manufacturers but also better terms for how those products and services are then charged to you from your suppliers.  Your efforts will be used by your suppliers with all of their customers, improving their margins across the board.  This type of leverage will allow you to reduce or eliminate upcharge percentages from your suppliers or possibly to receive some other benefit in exchange for the results you were able to achieve.  This step would include reaching out to the manufacturer(s) selected and obtaining a letter of intent stating you are working with them and they will honor the pricing to your suppliers and their customers as well.

Sourcing projects on behalf of your suppliers may not be something you are used to running; however the benefits are just as real as traditional sourcing efforts.   These projects provide manufacturers greater volume opportunities and provide your suppliers and their customers and you with better service, value and pricing and should be included in all annual project reviews.  For more information about SafeSourcing 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.

Teaming up with Suppliers For More Savings…. Part I of II

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

It seems like every article and blog you read about sourcing deals with how to get the best value out of the relationships you have with your vendors and for most companies this is not a bad thing.  One of the areas that frequently gets overlooked is the opportunity to leverage your company’s spend on behalf of your suppliers to achieve better pricing for you, them and their other customers.  Products like pallets, roofing materials, corrugated or other packaging related material are perfect categories to look for this situation because they are frequently costs that are passed straight through from the manufacturer to your supplier to your company.

By negotiating better prices than your suppliers have themselves, you can help your suppliers lower their costs for their other customers and you.  This gives them added incentive to work with you and can provide a much bigger spend opportunity to the vendors than just yours alone.  Today’s blog will focus on some of the steps you can take in engaging all of the interested parties in this process.

Understand your portion – Before anything gets set in motion or communications are begun with outside suppliers or your incumbents, it will be critical to get an idea of where your volume of product from your suppliers falls in relation to their other customers.   This understanding will help you and your company level set before speaking with your suppliers about the project.  Your leverage will come in direct relation to the portion of spend your company represents with not only your incumbents but also the amount it would represent for a new supplier.  If you make up 10% of your incumbents pass through cost for a product, you still may be able to run the project, however the leverage your spend and the results you achieve represent will need to tempered differently than if your spend represented 50% of your incumbents spend in this area.

Engage your suppliers – At the onset, engaging your suppliers and/or distributors in this process will be key.  By letting them know in advance that you are looking to negotiate your volume on your own, you give them an opportunity to examine their current suppliers and customer needs and help you form an event that provides a much larger opportunity for the market.  The other advantage to notifying your suppliers, regardless of their involvement, is that there will be no surprises once the process is complete and they understand the direction your company is going.

Tomorrow we will look at the final steps to consider when running projects for products on behalf of your suppliers.  For more information about SafeSourcing 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.