Archive for the ‘Procurement Company’ Category

The Central Procurement Function!

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

As you can imagine the answer to this question could actually be pages in length. However the following is directionally correct based on the question and minus the organizational structure and alignment.

The Central Procurement Function in responsible for the procurement of goods, services and capital projects by an authorized group within a company’s hierarchy. Central procurement in a best case scenario includes the financial decision making authority specific to that procurement on behalf of the entire company for reuse or resale from an approved list of vendors or suppliers. In some cases the budget for a specific spend may reside within another functional area  where central procurement collaborates and negotiates on behalf of that areas subject matter experts but the subject matter experts approve the final vendor selection.  In the case of manufacturing company’s  this function also includes the purchase of commodities used in the manufacture of finished goods.

The central procurement function is typically authorized within a company in order to insure consistency thought-out the organizations procurement process by eliminating the potential negative effects of non-collaborative, non-aggregated purchasing by multiple divisions, departments and other corporate entities that can support rogue or unstructured buying.

Measurements of a central procurement organizations success can differ widely from company to company depending upon where they fall relative to a procurement maturity model. Typically these organizations are measured by overall procurement Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s at the procurement department level that usually includes the following at a minimum.

1.  Percent of spend under management
2.  Price Improvement
3.  Quality Improvement
4.  Safety Improvement
5.  Reduction in Carbon Footprint
6.  Service Level Improvement
7.  Distribution Flexibility
8.  On  Time Delivery Improvement
9.  Supplier Management

Management of these KPI’s is intended to insure that  companies have a defined  processes in place so as to promote a fair and open competitive model for the supplier community that’s  interested in soliciting their business.  This also minimizes the opportunity for fraud and collusion while insuring the best possible product or service is purchased at the best possible price and overall value to the company.

If you’d like to learn more about the central procurement function, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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DO You Have a winning or Super Bowl Level Team?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Teamwork – The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is often necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance. Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.

I believe the New England Patriots displayed the perfect example of how teamwork should be carried out and an example of how far it can take you if done properly. The now 5-time Super Bowl champions had the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Great news for New England fans, however, how did they do it? That answer is easy, teamwork. They were a team that was down by more than 21 points by half time. However, their determination, desire, and of course teamwork brought them back to win the game in overtime. It was amazing to watch the Patriots firing away on all cylinders and looking like a well-oiled machine.  Do you have a Super bowl team?

It is truly a great thing when you have a team that can function like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows their part and others can pick up the slack when someone is behind. Teamwork is truly a great thing. This is why at SafeSourcing we consider ourselves a team. We strive to always be on the same page and to also provide our customer with the best market value. Our expert knowledge of the market and suppliers helps us find you the best person for the job/supplies needed for your company. Once we get word of an event it is like watching a 4X100m track race, each member of the team completing a step until we reach the finish line. Every handoff is as smooth as possible and we all move as fast and precise as possible; again, like a well-oiled machine, all to bring you the best total market value and the potential to provide you with at least with 10X ROI.

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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“What Is Teamwork?” BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

 

 

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The Injustice of Procurement

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

During my “spare time” when I am away from the office, I attend night and weekend classes to achieve a higher education at a local university. Every semester, the Professors have the students introduce themselves to the class. We are asked to explain ‘simple’ insights into our lives outside of our academic careers.

1. “Who are you?”
2.  “Where are you from?”
3. “Do you work? If so, where? What do you do?”

All of the questions seem harmless. You have the typical responses from traditional students for questions 1-3, but very few pause on the third question, I am one of them. The last question, “what do you do?” always gives me pause. I pause whenever I am asked this question whether in academia or not.

This semester, I was asked these questions by my Microeconomics Professor. My response was, “Yes, I work for a company in Arizona called SafeSourcing. We are a third party e-Procurement company.”

After I spoke, I was met with many confused looks, and I realized why after I said it. No one knows what procurement or e-procurement is. Procurement is rarely taught in higher education, unless you are a Supply Chain Management Major, and in the private sector it is brought up if you work within a company sect for it, however in the government sector it is common language.

The common individual or fellow student has no idea what Procurement means.

As I was looking through my textbook for Microeconomics, I realized that “Procurement” is not listed anywhere within the book. Why?

Procurement is, in my opinion, the step child in the Economic world. I say that because sometimes, even people who are familiar with purchasing have no idea what Procurement is. They do not know that is the purchasing of goods and services. Every single time a bar code is swiped at the grocery store, the buyer is procuring it. Individuals that participate within the economy typically assume that the items that line the store shelves just get there. It doesn’t matter how, or at what cost, until they reach the check-out line.

Procurement is the awareness around supply chain management and demand curves, and reducing costs where it is possible, so that extra cost never hits the consumer.  Procurement happens where people aren’t looking, at every single point in the economy where money is spent.

Oh, and to educate those who still do not know the definition, defined by BusinessDictionary.com:

The act of obtaining or buying goods and services. The process includes preparation and processing of a demand as well as the end receipt and approval of payment. It often involves:

(1) Purchase planning
(2) Standards determination
(3) Specifications development
(4) Supplier research and selection
(5) Value analysis
(6) Financing
(7) Price negotiation
(8) Making the purchase
(9) Supply contract administration
(10) Inventory control and stores
(11) Disposals and other related functions

The process of procurement is often part of a company’s strategy because the ability to purchase certain materials will determine if operations will continue. A business will not be able to survive if its price of procurement is more than the profit it makes on selling the actual product.
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.

 

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Teamwork makes the dream work

Monday, July 18th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing.

I like teamwork. I also enjoy collaboration or any other terms roughly representing the concept of a group working together toward some objective. Teamwork is quite helpful in achieving an organization’s goals. It allows for individuals to showcase their strengths and groups to produce more/better/faster than they could by working alone. Plus, there’s no shortage of inspirational quotes from which you can draw… inspiration!

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

So, beyond quotes, how does an organization make teamwork work

Like many organizations, you probably find that your teams rely heavily on email while collaborating on projects. Document versions are sent and received almost constantly throughout the day. This often creates too many moving parts and too many opportunities for human error. Is each team member reviewing the correct version? Did I forget to copy a team member on that email? Were we both editing the document at the same time? Where is that file?

“T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More” – Unknown

We’ve all been through some version of the struggle created by collaborating with a team and passing around documents. Fortunately, organizations are now able to easily put in place solutions that reduce these types of common teamwork difficulties. Document Management solutions are available that ensure that documents are centrally stored, protected, and have editing and version control that prevent and protect against human error.

When a member of my team saves a new version of a project document, I have immediate access to the most current version. When I am making edits, my teammates cannot also until I have finished. I can search through tens of thousands of documents to quickly find exactly what I’m looking for.

Document Management is a viable answer for the challenges I’ve outlines and many more as well. At SafeSourcing, our solution is called SafeDocument™ and it empowers our own team, as well as our customers’ teams, and will do the same for yours. After all, it’s what makes our teamwork work.

“Teamwork makes the dream work” – John C. Maxwell

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing and is a devoted champion of saving money. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you at any point in the Source to Pay lifecycle. For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing representative.

We look forward to your comments.

 

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The Difference between Customer Service and GREAT Customer Service

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing archives

When you think about any type of customer service, you usually just remember your bad experiences and really great experiences. Anything that is considered expected just seems to slip through the cracks without being thought twice about.

So, how do you stand out to be that company that everyone remembers and talks about? I’m going to discuss two steps that, if you follow, you will have a very satisfied customer/client that keeps coming back to you and also refers you to others as well.

Going Above and Beyond:  Giving a customer more than what’s expected or out of the norm is always something that will be remembered. Another way to go above and beyond is overachieving. For example, if a customer requests a document by a specific date, shoot for a date that is prior to that deadline, this will show you’re engaged and committed to exceed their expectations.

Good Communication:  Make yourself readily available at all times, even if it is after hours. This shows that you are committed to get the job done and make the customer happy. Keep the customers or clients up to date and always in the loop with any information needed or requested.  By being proactive with your communication, the customer will not have to continually chase you down for information or updates.

Customer Frame of Mind:  The number one key to creating a happy customer is by placing yourself in their shoes.  Continually think, “If this was my decision to make, what information would I need?  What details would I need to know about a new vendor?  What are the missing pieces I would need to award this business?”, and then get those things.

Creating an Overall Memorable Experience:  If the above steps are followed, you will have a very happy customer. They will understand that you went outside the expected services to make sure they had a very painless and positive experience. They will remember the experience and want to share their experiences with others.

For all of your procurement needs, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative for a great customer service experience. A service that is more than just what’s expected and that you will want to share with all of your family, friends, and/or colleagues.

We look forward to your comments.

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Keeping your feet on the path of your procurement journey

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing archives

As the final film installment of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is released, an interesting quote from the previous movie series, The Lord of the Rings, comes to mind.  “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  The question becomes, how do you keep your feet?  How do you avoid getting swept off?   In today’s blog we are going to look at a few of the ways companies “lose their feet.”

Don’t focus on the path behind – Taking a journey, like life, is all about moving forward.  The path may not always be straight and clear but the process is about moving forward and this is almost impossible to do when you are focused on where you just came from.  Focusing on the mistakes or the past successes for too long will get you off track to where you are going next.   In every day terms this translates into running the next project as successfully as possible without bringing too much of the past into the picture.  Be careful not to assume that a successful strategy on the last project will work on this one, or that a strategy that didn’t work as else well on a project 3 months ago won’t work better for the one you have coming up next month.  As with any journey, there will be plenty of time to stop and reflect on your progress and the things learned, and there should be for projects as well.  Semi-annual reviews and project post-mortem review sessions are helpful activities; they just shouldn’t be th
e focus as the next project begins.

Don’t look down, look ahead…. – When I walk I tend to look down a lot near my feet.  This had led me to find some really cool things (like money) that other people miss, but more often than not, it prevents me from seeing things up ahead of me that would allow me to deal with them before they occur.  Approaching the sourcing process is very similar.  If you focus only on what is going on now you will make decisions based on facts that can and will change and lock those decisions into contracts you must be accountable for.  Looking ahead may uncover an upcoming environmental change that would speak to a shorter deal with a supplier now, with the intention of renegotiating in 9 months when that change comes and puts the company in a better position to negotiate.   Keeping a view of what’s ahead can save you from making costly mistakes that will last the life of an agreement.

…but not too far ahead – What can sometimes happen when you start looking ahead, however, is that it goes too far.  When companies spend so much time worrying about what’s down the road, they can ignore the current climate of their organization.  In these cases they frequently find that they never even get to that spot up ahead they are worrying about because the current situation demanded them to leave the current path and go someplace else.  Sometimes this “someplace else” is out of business.  Balancing the view of what’s coming without losing touch with what is going on today is critical and the companies that do it well can achieve great results that bring extra value to their organization.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you with your projects and these sourcing strategy discussions, 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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Procurement and you didn’t even know it!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

 

Even if you aren’t familiar with procurement, there is a good chance you are already doing it.

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

Recently, I had to make a trip to a large retail store – one of the large ones where it’s almost impossible to find what you need. With overcrowded aisles, long checkout lines, and no help if needed, I dreaded going there, even though this store consistently had the lowest prices on every item. But as much as I disliked going there, I had to go there because it was the only place that carried a particular item that I needed.

Now, there are several large chain retailers near me, ranging from clothing, to household goods, to groceries. Typically, I learn which stores are the best to purchase the particular items I need. I may go one place for dog food and Coca-Cola, and another place for dog bones and milk. I would make it to every store on some occasions, just to get the best deal on the items I required. Ultimately, I wanted to get the best value for my money. This is what procurement basically is.

But if the one chain store has the lowest price on everything I need, why don’t I get everything there?

This is where SafeSourcing procurement can help.  Just like I do, SafeSourcing procurement looks at more than just price; they look at overall value. Many like myself would spend a little bit extra to shop in a place that is comfortable, where there is help if needed, and that provides an enjoyable shopping experience, rather than a place where one feels lost and herded around like cattle. Businesses, too, would prefer to pay a little more for a better quality of service.

But there are cases like above, where only one place carries an item I need. This situation happens in business as well.  If the item I needed was available at any of these other stores, I would have gone there, even if it meant spending more money. Because this one store has a corner on the market, I must go there, but visits there are short, to the point, avoided when possible, and happen only when necessary. This company could potentially be getting all of my business, but they lack that little extra of customer service and get less business directly because of that. Quality customer services give businesses an edge over their competition, and this is where SafeSourcing excels.

For more information on how SafeSourcing raises the industry standard for customer service, how they can help you procure quality suppliers, or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

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I could not believe the question, but it was asked in a category manager meeting.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Google or Bing certainly might help here, but in the old days we needed to know this stuff. So let me give you an old fashioned answer.

Typically this author thinks of this process in the six steps that follow

   1. When buying a product or a service a decision is required to do so.
   2. Once the decision has been made, analysis of what you are currently  buying in what volumes for use in what locations that will continue to satisfy your needs to be completed.
   3. Your purchase offer is submitted to a supplier or suppliers in order to collect pricing and other information such as the Terms and Conditions required in making your decision.
   4. A contract is signed for the product or service that outlines the responsibilities of the involved parties as well as remedies if contract terms and conditions or volumes are not met.
   5. A purchase order is issued with the appropriate approvals that match to the specifics as outlined in the contract in order to properly manage the contract.
   6. Payment is generated based on the purchase order submitted against the contract.

Sometimes there is a steep where an LOI or letter of intent is issued between step 3 and step 4 in order to take advantage of contract terms earlier in the cycle.

So now what happens if you don’t have a contract management system or a purchase order management system? Generally it’s referred to as leakage. In about 12 months you will be very familiar with it.

Contact SafeSourcing and let’s see if we can help you out with our procure to pay solutions.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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How many times does someone ask you what does procurement mean?

Monday, January 31st, 2011

It really is a curious question; pretty much along the same line as what is spend management. Well my answer might create more questions, but all of the following job areas within your company are probably involved or impacted by procurement or e-procurement?

1. Finance
2. Purchasing
3. Logistics
4. Manufacturing
5. Warehousing
6. Materials Management
7. Inventory Management
8. Supply Chain
9. Distribution
10. Transportation

There are certainly many more areas of a company that have procurement or  e-procurement connections, but the above probably give you a pretty good idea of the breadth of involvement within any company. In fact, I can’t think of a job that is not impacted by procurement. Maybe I should just say we save every department in your company money every day.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Where does the retail spend data you need for procurement reside?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The problem today is that there is so much retail data available that buyers and category managers could easily suffer business paralysis by data analysis.

Below is just a partial list of systems and places where data resides that is meaningful if not critical to sourcing professionals. Most of you can probably add to this list pretty easily. The unfortunate issue that confronts  retail procurement professionals daily is that most of this data is not integrated in any way and even at very large companies,  to much critical data is sitting on local employee desktops or even worse in their heads. And that is not what we mean by a neural network.

1. ERP systems
2. Enterprise Data Warehouse systems
3. Replenishment systems
4. Financial reporting systems
5. Demand Planning systems
6. Purchase Order management systems
7. Distribution and Logistics systems
8. Merchandise management systems
9. Retail Planning systems
10. Local employee desktops
11. Contract management systems

Number two from above the enterprise data warehouse is probably the most logical place to bring all of these data sources or elements together within one logical data model that drives the master data source integrated with a s business reporting and  busyness intelligence front end. Small companies may never make it to this level, but if they can find a business partner that offers these solutions in a SaaS format it will be much better than the current; Hey  Joe, how many of these did we order last year?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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