Archive for the ‘Green eProcurement Practices’ Category

Green as in the color of money

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Today?s post is by Brad Westfall; Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Green is not just a color to me. Green makes me think about spring, and the start of life from the deep hibernation of winter. Green is the grass that grows or the leaves that sprout from the bare trees. Aside from green being the color of life, green is also a movement. The green movement not only saves energy and reduces harmful greenhouse gases; it also saves you the most important green of all. Money!

Targeting just a small portion of your spend can save you money in the long term. Take lighting for example. At this moment, common T12 florescent lighting is being phased out. Why not take this time to make the switch? While the upfront cost are a little more than a T12, T5 lights only 5% of their life compared to the 46% of T12s, and according to save you up to 78% of your lighting expenses based on energy usage .

We at SafeSourcing live on the green code. Furthermore, we are in the know of different government mandates and stay on top of the green industry news.?? For more information on how we can help you with your green 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.

Technology Helps Good Freight Companies!

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Today’s repost is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President  and COO at SafeSourcing.

Recently a couple of new technologies have made their way in to the freight and logistics world to help promote and safer and more efficient transportation system, helping to focus the inspection and weigh station attention on the companies and drivers who need it most.

The first of these technologies, PrePass, which will send data to upcoming weigh stations in advance of the driver getting there, with information about the company, the driver and the load being carried.  If there are no compliance issues found, the driver will be allowed to bypass the weight station.  If any compliance issues are found, however, that driver will be notified to stop at the next weigh station. 

A similar tool called 360SmartView will instantly download information about the carrier and driver from 90 different government sources at the inspection locations to help inspectors focus their time on the areas that that carrier or driver has had issues with in the past.

So what does this mean for the rest of the country and your business?

Safer Roads – By allowing the Department of Transportation to focus on the people and carriers that have a history of non-compliance, law enforcement in conjunction with state and federal agencies can get the suspect trucks and drivers off of the highways.  For you and your company this becomes information to share with your customers and shareholders about the types of suppliers you do business with and your commitment to safety.

Greener Output – When trucks have to stop less it means that the gases and emissions released by the trucks are reduced, contributing to a greener logistics footprint.  As with safety initiatives, many companies now have initiatives in place to reinforce their commitment to reduce their carbon footprint.  One of the ways to accomplish this that some companies don’t always think about in this process, is selecting vendors and suppliers that are also helping to get greener.  These new processes with help your carriers and, by default, your company achieve greener practices.

3PLs and your Money – The easiest way to encourage compliance among vendors is by affecting their margins.  By not having to stop as frequently for inspections, 3PLs, Carriers and Drivers all have an opportunity to save fuel, time and money.  This, is the end, will allow your company to save money and will produce more companies who strive to achieve the type of compliance that will also allow them to bypass some inspections.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you find 3PLs and Carriers with positive history, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

Companies need not spend millions in order to do their part to support the environment.

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Today?s post is by SafeSourcing’s new Executive Assistant Margaret Stewart

Whether you own your own real-estate or rent the following is easy and cheap to implement. Share this with your landlord and ask them to foot the bill and it may in fact cost you nothing.

With the growing environmental need for companies to go green, the issue of how to do so without placing the company in strain is one that can be resolved in simple cost-effective ways. Small things can be done to help preserve the environment and cost companies very little start-up costs.

One way a company can help with the carbon footprint, is to implement recycling. By having receptacles for cans, paper, and plastic around the office, employees are encouraged to recycle their waste instead of letting it all go to a landfill.

For companies that deal with confidential information, there are secure shredding and recycling companies that will pick up the paper waste, shred the paper, and then recycle it. The cost of these companies is minimal and they conveniently empty the bins weekly.

For more information on how your company can go green in easy, cost-effective ways, check out the following link three cheap ways for your business to go green.

For effective ways to implement green in your sourcing process, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The “Green” Movement is dying….or is it just misunderstood?

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing.

The Green Initiative has been the focus of much attention over the past decade as companies have tried to become “greener” and ideas whose funding has been backed by Federal clean-energy programs were born by the dozens.  With all of the attention it would seem that we would be making great progress on the country and businesses developing a greener footprint.  On closer examination, it seems as though the successes have been limited to a much smaller group than was expected.  In a recent article in The Washington Times the details were released concerning yet another company who was given Federal assistance in order to develop “greener” products.  In fact dozens of Federally assisted companies who received money from the Department of Energy have struggled and in many cases filed for bankruptcy.

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Lack of Committment – As with any program a company choses to implement, the lack of leadership support is the prime reason a program finds an early grave.  While everyone will agree that creating a greener planet is a good thing and they that they want to do what they can to support making it happen, at the end of the day business is business and the bottom line is the measure of ultimate success.  Getting support for green initiatives should start with those things that also positively affect the bottom line.  Initiatives that cost $100,000 up front but that will return an ROI of 5-10x will receive much more support than one that costs $10,000 and takes 10 years to recoup.

Lack of Planning – There are many aspects of planning a new green initiative (accountability assignment, longer term goals, communication) that should be taken into consideration as seriously as any other corporate objective for success to be achieved.   Because Green initiative projects do not always have the support as mentioned above, being able to define and measure goals for the project become even more critical.  Without accountability and measurable goals, the initiative will quickly lose momentum and excitement and become the “Program of the Month” to be filed away with the others that did not succeed.  Short, medium and long-term goals should be developed to create a constant flow of little victories while also moving the project and giving the company visibility into the value the project brings.

Time & Money – The two greatest resources an individual or company has apart from the human variety are time and money.  The greatest ideas in the world have failed to ever make it out of the gate in large part because of one or both of these things.  The best planning and executive backing will not help if there is not enough time for your company to invest in the project in the midst of conducting normal business.  Likewise the cost of a project or presence of/lack of an ROI can also keep a project stalled or kill it altogether.  Another important piece of this can be the lack of personal incentive to get a project done.  When projects aren’t part of an individual or departments performance evaluation it tends to be the first thing that gets pushed to the side and replaced by more important projects.  Allocating time and money, understanding how it can positively affect your company’s financial landscape and attaching the success of a project to performance appraisals will help ensure the project is a success.

While there have been struggles and challenges with sustainability initiatives recently, SafeSourcing believes in the value of pursuing them and is committed to helping our customers make them successful for their companies without creating a conflict with the demands of running a business.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with preparing for your next “event” 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.

Have you ever sourced hand dryers?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

What’s the most cost effective action that companies of all types and sizes can take to help reduce the number of food born or airborne illnesses?

This can be a simple statement posted in your building washrooms and reflected in your company’s socially responsible language.

I was reading USA TODAY (I do this every day). I love their Snapshots at the bottom of each section. This front page USA TODAY Snapshot was titled Has news coverage on airborne/foodborne illnesses prompted you to wash your hands more by Rachel Huggins and Veronica Bravo.  The snapshot sites Bradley Corps Healthy Hand Washing Survey and indicates that 54% of those surveyed said NO and 46% said YES.

Personally I find these results disturbing. Just think about how often you shake someone’s hand and then think about what they were doing in the 15 minutes before you met. Maybe Howie Mandel has it right by just doing the fist bump.

If the answer to this survey were 100%, it would be interesting to see what the impact on these types’ illnesses would be. As a result, this author will continue to write about food safety and strategies that companies can take to reduce them

Go wash your hands.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Vendors: We Need More Toothpaste Squeezers!

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Today?s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing. Mark asks

In my house we try to conserve and be ?green? where we can but the other day I noticed a product in our house that I had seen a hundred times but never thought much about.? The Toothpaste Squeezer (see below) allows you to squeeze every last ounce of toothpaste out of the tube. Over the course of my life this device will probably only save enough toothpaste to result in a couple of free tubes but the process by which it conserves was fascinating to me and I wondered what other companies are developing products and services to help conserve.?

Water ? The Energy Policy Act of 1992 set new guidelines for how much water and energy products should using.? Since that time companies continue to improve on these standards by developing new water conserving products for personal and commercial use.? Businesses now have the opportunity to become WaterSense partners (An EPA Partnership Program) helping them to join with other companies to implement water conserving products and programs.? Along with these new products, many companies are contacting 3rd parties to conduct water audits of their business and make recommendations for how they can conserve in even better ways.

Energy ? Energy conservation has been at the front of the ?green? movement since its beginning.? Opportunities for rebates from utility providers and the Federal government have given many companies increased incentives to be smarter about their conservation of energy and there are several consulting companies that can help find these opportunities.? One way businesses are making huge strides in conserving energy is by implementing energy management software (EMS) solutions.? These solutions can monitor your company?s energy use and then control the levels of energy in real-time savings millions of dollars a year.

Materials ? In a recent program performed by IBM for its shipping and distribution a complete analysis and redesign of their packaging led to an annual savings of $4.3 million dollars.? The combination of packaging redesign, new packaging equipment and product redesign allowed for massive material conservation for the organization.? Several consulting services provide assessments of a manufacturers business and engagements that will help them achieve similar results.? These new software and equipment products are helping companies save billions of dollars each year.

At SafeSourcing we are constantly helping companies who want to try and find ways to conserve resources in their organizations.? Through new products, new services and new processes these savings are helping businesses grow and in some cases, stay in operation.? For more information on how we can help you, 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.

Thought about the externalities of your roofing material lately?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Today’s post is from Steven Schwerin an account manager at SafeSourcing

The word ‘externality’ probably occupies even less.  An externality is an effect of a purchase or use decision by one set of parties on others who did not have a choice and whose interests were not taken into account, or so says  A more general definition of an externality is merely an unintended consequence. 

Like it or not, what you chose to purchase affects those around you even your choice of roofing material.  For those who don’t like shades of grey in their decision making, reading the rest of this post is going to feel good.  You basically get two color choices when installing commercial roofing; there isn’t much in between.  I’m going out on a limb and assuming that, like me, a large percentage of the general population does not know that commercial roofing material is regularly installed in the color white.  When I think roof, I think tar, gravel and really, really hot.  Largely, this is an unintended consequence of the black, tar roof absorbing solar radiation.  It is easy to assume that large, flat commercial roofs will be covered in tar and gravel, but a white TPO or EPMD roof, on the other hand, is quite common and reflects large quantities of solar radiation back from whence it came.  This difference affects not only you, but others who use your building and even the environment around your building.  

I witnessed this externality first hand in one of my favorite apartments.   I lived for two years on the second story of an old commercial building in a small, Midwestern town.  As great as the building was, the place was a little difficult to live in for one reason, the temperature.  It was scorching hot during the summer and biting cold during the winter.  Leaving Jack Frost aside for the sake of this post, the summer might have been a different story if the owner had chosen white EPMD or TPO over the traditional black variety when she replaced the roof a year or two before I moved in.

I have been up on that roof multiple times to witness the heat-sink effect of black roofing material in the summer sun.  Interestingly, it could have been different.  The excess heat was a consequence of the decision made by someone else, and hence are an externality, affecting everyone who rents that apartment who didn’t make the decision.  The extra heat added close to ground level in the city during the summer months also affects people who did not make the decision.  Finally, the extra energy it takes to cool the building during summer consumes more of the world’s finite resources which affects us all.  So, how much of a difference does a white roof make?  These claims differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but white rooftops are often 70 degrees cooler than normal roofs during the summer months.  Not only does this heat not get transmitted into your building, but it also keeps the air around it cooler letting your rooftop HVAC units run off cooler air netting you energy savings there as well.  The timing could not be better for your pocketbook either.  These energy savings come during the middle of the day when energy prices are at their peak. 

Your procurement professional is in a position to help you minimize externalities and save you money in the process. Please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager if you’d like help with your sourcing needs.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Here’s a repost that still has some legs.

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

I choose to post simply because I can
My wife seems to think it’s because I’m a concerned and caring man.
So why or when to post, just what is my deal
It could simply be that I just had a bad meal
A meal from a food source that was not really safe
That sickened me some
And just could not be traced
It’s origin cloudy I really get ticked
That many more people could also become sick
So I post a few comments on product safety and more
In the hopes that they become part of the cure
Whether near shoring or off shoring and from local suppliers too
We offer opinions hoping they’ll be helpful to you
It’s time that our supply chain start to get the game right
And that will only happen if buyers make the process more tight
With adherence to certifications and timely inspections
That are clearly executed against consistent directions
While we’re at it, it’s important to do and say what we mean
And while we tighten up our processes
Let’s try to keep them focused on becoming more green
With a supply chain that’s safer
And greener to boot
Our new posts can discuss how to reinforce doing both, while still saving you some loot!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments. However, there is no need for them to be poetic in nature.

New Recycled Packaging Guidance Released

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Today?s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.?

Recently GreenBlue, a nonprofit organization that helps organizations develop more sustainable products and packaging released their ?Guidelines for Recycled Content in Paper and Paperboard Packaging? report which outlines the best ways to use recycled content in over 20 types of packaging.

This 31 page report delivers technical details and cost related information to help companies make the best decisions possible for their packaging strategy and is one of the areas we will be touching on today in discussing the types of tools and resources companies have to make their recycled packaging decisions.

The Consultants ? Independent consulting groups such as GreenBlue were created to help organizations develop stronger recycled packaging decisions that meet the ?Green? needs of the company without negatively affecting the company?s bottom-line.? Organizations like these can meet one-on-one with your company to discuss your strategy but they can also provide valuable publications and events that are equally valuable to your company to help you make recycled packaging decisions.

Existing Partners ? You may not know it but you are likely partnering today with companies like SafeSourcing that can provide you additional assistance in finding vendors that can either improve the packaging you are using today or can help you find vendors who excel in providing products with industry-recognized recycled packaging.? Your eProcurement partners should be able to provide you with a good clear picture of the best companies to be doing with when looking at these criteria.

Organizations? Government and standards organizations are terrific sources of information and current trends.? New trends such as the one where dairy-based films as opposed to petroleum based packaging are just one of the emerging trends that organizations such as the Agricultural Research Service ( an in-house research agency of the U.S Department of Agriculture) can provide, but there is much more.? Almost all of these organizations have certifications and standards that they offer companies and will generally make the companies that have earned these available so that you know which companies are taking the steps to be ?greener? in what they do.? These same certifications may also be something that your company may be interested in pursuing and marketing as well.

For more information on finding vendors or organizations who can help you become an industry-leading recycled packaging company, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.??

We look forward to your comments.

Part II of II. Sustainable Packaging is an Attractive Option for More Companies.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Today’s post is by Ryan Melowic Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

One potential concern that companies may have when deciding to go the sustainable route with packaging is whether or not it’s an economically viable decision for their company. Companies who choose to focus on the monetary rewards of packaging may find themselves sorely disappointed. Companies don’t want to sacrifice the quality of their products. They also want to ensure their packaging is modern and in step with growing environmental concerns.
It isn’t just the packaging itself that causes concern in some companies. The way the packaging is made also makes a difference in its ability to be labeled sustainable. Companies interested in eco-friendly packaging will aim for packaging that is not only designed responsibly but is also made using an environmentally friendly approach. For example, the best packaging would be created using renewable energy. Recycling is also important, and biodegradable packages or packages made from recyclable materials provide the greatest benefit to the environment and world.

Fortunately not every sustainable packaging material is expensive or difficult to procure. There are still many packaging materials that do an excellent job, but are not as costly to the environment. The right materials are also not too costly to businesses and their customers.

Contact a representative at SafeSourcing and we can provide more information on a solution and an approach to a cost effective process for sustainable packaging.