Archive for the ‘Online Procurement’ Category

Is the inclusion of freight in an e- bid or reverse auction equal to the net landed cost?

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

If you are looking to break out all of the other costs associated in a product bid, just asking to have freight included or free freight within a certain radius or other similar language will not accomplish net landed cost or allow you to manage it going forward.

Quite often the terms net landed cost, haul back, FOB and others come up during the logistics portion of a sourcing event. Some times they are bid on separately and or delivered by a third party. When a company says they want a net landed cost what they are referring to is the cost of a product or products plus all of the relevant logistics costs, such as transportation, warehousing, handling etc. In other words, what?s my cost when it gets here or where we want it?

If you want to drive the best pricing and service possible you need to understand the terminology and make sure it is clear in your specifications and terms and conditions.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Here is how to insure that your e-procurement bids as successful as possible

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Competitive bidding is the process of inviting and obtaining bids from competing suppliers in response to documented specifications, by which an award is made to the best overall bid that meets or exceeds the specifications in areas such as price and quality. Probably one of the most important elements and most overlooked is that of incumbent supplier communication once a bid has been authorized. That is not setting any false expectations with your incumbent suppliers. As you already have a relationship you will most likely receive calls, emails or texts as to what is going on. Your answer has to be that we value our relationship and encourage you to use this process as it is the only process by which we will review bids.. Do not indicate that everything will be ok or that things will work out just fine or any similar language. If you are using a 3rd party, instruct your supplier to provide any questions or communications through the third party only.?

The e-negotiation process contemplates giving potential bidders a reasonable opportunity to bid, and requires that all bidders be placed on an equal playing field. Ideally each supplier must bid on the same documented specifications, terms, and conditions for all items. However breaking out individual line items that a specialty supplier can provide bids for can help to reduce the opportunity for suppliers to manage the overall gross margin of their bids and drive higher savings. The purpose of competitive bidding is to stimulate competition, prevent favoritism, and secure the best goods and services at the lowest possible price, for the benefit of the host company. Competitive bidding cannot occur where specifications, terms, or conditions prevent or unduly restrict competition, favor a particular supplier, or increase the cost of goods or services without providing a corresponding tangible benefit for the host company.

The above message needs to be communicated to any and all associates that are involved in the process and may have a reason to communicate with suppliers.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Should I buy on demand software (SaaS) for my e-procurement needs?

Friday, September 10th, 2010

On demand software or SaaS (Software as a Service) by its nature is an internet based application and as such is accessible from wherever you happen to be as long as you have a network connection. With today?s broad band offerings that literally means anywhere. So the first rule of thumb is that it provides easy access. In addition, since most of the newest versions of SaaS applications are native web based applications, they integrate very nicely with most office infrastructures. With Microsoft being the most deployed environment, data is easily exported or imported to formats that comply with their standards. In many cases these tools can also be made 100% available to you within days of contract signature

Most of us have horror stories about when our PC, Network, Application etc. went down and we were not able to complete tasks at work. When we call our internal service department, the response is normally less than what we would like or hurry up and wait. With a hosted software application, it is the responsibility of the SaaS provider to maintain the application. They know up front that if they don?t do a superior job of support and availability, that you the customer can go somewhere else to find a provider that will. This is not the case with internally installed corporate applications.

Your data at a SaaS provider is also often more secured than the data at your corporate office. Since this is the core business of a SaaS provider, the architecture of the application normally has multiple levels of redundancy, failover recovery and is backed up regularly.

Typically, SaaS applications are easier to change than traditionally installed corporate applications. There are not as many feature upgrade charges with every point release in a SaaS environment because the provider needs to provide these features to continue to attract new customers and to keep up with the pace of the industry.

Finally, the total cost of ownership is much quicker in a SaaS environment than traditional application software installations. Often as much as 100% faster. In fact there are many stories of breakeven ROI?s with your first series of e-procurement events. The biggest question you have to ask of your future provider is are you a true SaaS environment with the newest technologies available or are you a reengineered ASP provider. I?ll comment more on that later.

We?look forward to and appreciate?your comments.


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E-procurement.What?s in a definition?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

I was reading a blog post from the Doctor over at Sourcing Innovation today titled ?A Hitchhiker’s Guide to e-Procurement: Terminology? and I thought it was great as well as very timely.

Ultimately it is up to practitioners and solution providers of these tools to educate their customers as to what the proper terms are for the tools they are using. As an example E-RFI, E-RFP, E-RFQ. I have numbers of customers that have used other solution providers and not only are the definitions different by customer; they are actually different within a specific company. In some cases everything is referred to as a reverse auction and in other situations the companies have made up their own name for the service or tool.

This author uses Wikipedia and Wictionary quite often as a source and in this case, they have a very good definition that covers most of the terminology in the entire e-procurement space as well as related B2B and B2C internet based or private network based functions. As your company moves in the direction of a computerized supply chain management solution for your company understanding what you are asking for and what you are using will make both your job and that of your solution provider easier.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Retail buyers need to think individually and act collectively in their e-negotiations.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

This is as true for e-negotiation events as it is for personal negotiations. The question is how the tools you are using allow you the flexibility to do so.

I was reading an article in the USA TODAY on Friday July 30th by Jillian Berman titled “Negotiate your way to savings”. ?The lead in was Cable TV, cell phone bills are ripe for cutting. This author would add the following; so is everything else.

So what is a negotiation? According to Wikipedia, negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution.

In terms of our discussion and the article we are talking about pricing and services. The article goes on to suggest what they call tenacious bargainers tips. Two of the tips are; don?t be afraid to complain and negotiate away extra fees up front.

Retail buyers need to do the same and the ability to think individually and act collectively when they develop the specifications and rules of their e-negotiation events. What would you ask for if you were buying this product or service for yourself and then be just as aggressive when it comes to your department and company?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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Pricing for Retail E-Procurement can be interesting!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

In other words, there are too many companies that have been at this for a long time whose pricing is way too high in the retail marketplace for what they provide.

I was speaking to a large retailer recently that has an unlimited use tool in place from a very large player in the e-procurement space. I asked what type of savings they were able to achieve and how many people they had assigned to handle events, supplier communication, hosting support etc. These are all of the normal questions.

After we had discussed at least 20 different categories, it occurred to the both of us that the savings from our events were at least a third higher than the savings from the use of the unlimited tool.? Even if you added in our fees, the savings were still substantially higher on event by event basis with SafeSourcing. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that to many times when retailers deploy a solution internally or as a SaaS offering they default back to their old way of doing business with a new tool once the solutions provider has left. Supplier research is limited, the number of participants is less, training is inadequate and the result is lower savings. There are also proprietary benefits to the SafeSourcing solution that I won?t share.

Another way that retailers over pay, is when an older company comes in and matches the lower cost of doing business with a newer and better provider in order to win the business. This model will not last because many of these older companies are not structured in such a way that will allow them to absorb these lower fees profitably on an ongoing basis. Over time your price will continue to rise. In fact next year, your price should go down if you are running the same event again. Hasn?t most of the work already been done in the past?

Some good questions to ask your prospective solutions provider would be the following.

1.?How many events per month can one of associate host?
2.?What are you doing to automate your solution to take out cost?
3.?Will we pay the same in year two as we paid in year one for identical events?
4.?Is your cost higher because of your investment in brick and mortar locations?
5.?Is your cost higher because of your headcount required to run events?
6.?What are your average savings for events over $100K?
7.?What are your average savings for events under $100K?

There are certainly more questions but you get the idea. Be careful out there.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Yesterday?s post created a lot of questions relative to attacking Gross Margin!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The following position was offered relative to the title. ?This has always been a great question for retailers?. Should we attack the bottom line by focusing on shrink, cost of goods or gross margin?

During the post we answered the areas of shrink and cost of goods and services. The question now is how would we focus on gross margin and what would the bottom line impact be?

Let?s begin by restated our gross margin assumption. If we assume that COGS or cost of goods and services is about 75% of top line revenue that would result in a simple gross margin of 25%. Now that we know our gross margin, it is pretty simple to measure the impact. The first step is to look at the categories which generally fall into gross margin reduction such as the expense category. Examples might include employee benefits, construction, insurance and not for resale purchases etc.

We already know that our gross margin dollars are equal to 25% of our fictional company?s sales of $1B or $250M. Therefore the impact to the bottom line at most could be a percentage of $250. The next logical step is to look for the largest category spends with in the gross margin area. Let?s assume that employee benefits are 15% of payroll costs and that payroll costs for our fictional company are 15% of revenue. For our $1B retailer payroll would be $150M and benefits would be 15% of that or $22.5M. If we attacked health benefits costs and were able to reduce them by 20% the improvement to the bottom line would be $4.5M or 45%. This would certainly be a worthy target, but would not impact net profit as much as our shrink or COGs models as discussed yesterday. To summarize the impact to net profit as discussed in both posts.

1.?COGS? up to 300%
2.?Shrink up to 100%
3.?Gross Margin up to 45%

Please remember these numbers are fictitious.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Retailers we Dare you to Compare. We?ll run one event for you FOR FREE and if you don?t save a minimum of 15%.

Monday, June 21st, 2010

SafeSourcing has averaged over 30% savings for the entire time we have been in business across hundreds of millions in spend volume. This includes single event spends as small as $20K and as large event spends as large as hundreds of millions. You can rest assured that you can source all products and services with SafeSourcing regardless of how small or how large.
We believe there are very important reasons for these results. A few are as follows.

1.?Our Event Template Library.
2.?The SafeSourceIt? Supplier Database with over 380,000 sources of supply.
3.?Our customer services to assist buyers in building quality specifications quickly.
4.?Event setup strategies that drive the best results.
5.?Time to event.
6.?Percentage of new suppliers per event.

So, here is the offer. Source any product or category regardless of the size of the spend and if you don?t save at least 15%?THE EVENT IS FREE. Experience the difference for yourself in retail e-procurement leadership.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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This is Part III of an III part post series titled ?Technology Drives E.Procurement Acceptance? focuses on Reasons to Use E-Procurement.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

?Part III Reasons to Use E-Procurement

Sometimes an explanation can be lost in translation so we have developed the following 20 reasons why utilizing the technology-based e-procurement process can provide significant benefits to you and your company. These are certainly not all of the benefits that can be derived from the use of the e-procurement process, but it is a good starting point.

While this list is not ranked in order of importance, many might argue that not much is more important than the #1 item which is improved earnings.

? Improve net earnings
? Enhance safety
? Reinforce corporate social responsibility
? Find new sources of supply
? Streamline the procurement process
? Elevate supplier accountability to meet your standards
? Improve quality
? Reduce costs in a volatile market
? Ensure a competitive environment
? Buy at market pricing
? Maintain a reliable history for comparison
? Educate suppliers as to how you wish to procure products
? Eliminates questions through effective supplier training
? Maintain consistent product specifications
? Improve negotiation
? Improve carbon footprint
? Simplify your ?award of business? process
? Free up time for other tasks
? Process works for all product categories
? Provide a detailed audit trail

E-procurement offers many benefits for a broad range of companies in a variety of industries, assuming that the process selected is a high quality system with an extensive supplier database. We must also assume that the e-procurement process is implemented properly with the purchasing company and that the experienced e-procurement system provider works in concert with the buyer in order to realize optimal cost savings.

Numerous technology advancements have streamlined the e-procurement process and made it more user-friendly and less expensive. A company today can expect to reap significant benefits from e-procurement, including: saving money on purchases, reducing the time involved in the purchasing process, tracking current and archival activities and results, eliminating waste and improving the overall efficiency of the supply chain.

?Take advantage of the technology advancements and don?t overlook the benefits of implementing an e-procurement process to strengthen your company?s bottom line.

To download copies of this entire article please use the following link.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Ron Southard CEO of Safesourcing is featured with Tim Hull CEO of TDH Marketing in April issue of Technology First. Part I of III

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Technology First is an Ohio based industry-led, industry-driven trade association dedicated to proactively representing IT in their region and highlighting niche technology companies.

Part I.? E.Procurement Background .
Technology advancements are broadening the acceptance and utilization of e-procurement processes worldwide and making it available through internet access without the need for technology investment. The retail industry has been somewhat slow in considering e-procurement initiatives than have other industries. As a result, much of the lower tier one and tier two retail chains do not use the e-procurement resources that are readily available in the? marketplace today. Some companies would like to, but do not quite know how to get started. In several cases, even the big retail chains are sourcing a smaller percentage of their total spend than the levels being recorded in other industries.

E-procurement processes have been utilized in maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) applications in a variety of industries in addition to manufacturing materials supply. The purchase of office supplies, consumable items and numerous types of hired services from snow removal to landscaping and facilities maintenance can all realize great savings by using the e-procurement process which can range from a simple RFQ to a very detailed RFI. Although e-procurement is oftentimes perceived as merely the purchase of products and services over the Internet, e-procurement is much more than just a means for making purchases online. It is a well-managed, organized process that handles all interactions between the purchaser and the supplier. This process includes optimal management of communications, questions and answers, bids, previous pricing information, inventory utilization and reorder sequences, access to suppliers, historical cost savings, supplier transactions and much more. With built-in monitoring tools, a well managed e-procurement process provides numerous benefits, the most recognizable ones being improved cost control and maximized supplier performance.

With the technology based e-procurement services that are available today, there is no excuse for overlooking this opportunity to reduce supply costs and boost the bottom line. Getting started is easier than ever and more user-friendly, thanks to continuing technology advancements. With high speed bandwidth, reliable security solutions, enhanced software and integrated programs, the e-procurement process is proving itself on a daily basis in terms of performance and reliability.

Please join us tomorrow for Part II of this series titled Getting Started. To download the entire article please use the following link.

?We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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