Archive for the ‘Product Procurement’ Category

This is Part II of an III part post series titled ?Technology Drives E.Procurement Acceptance? focuses on Getting Started!

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Getting Started

First and foremost in getting the e-procurement process right is to select a solution provider or partner that knows what they are doing and is willing to work closely with you during the early part of the process. The e-procurement plan for each company will be somewhat different in order to meet the specific needs of the company. There is however a general order to things that will provide the best opportunity for success.

To realize the most benefit from your e-procurement process, you will need to:
? Develop your strategy
? Complete a detailed discovery
? Learn to understand how to set up your procurement events, even if handled by your provider.
? Use a provider with a high quality process and an extensive database for sourcing suppliers
? Clearly communicate how events will be run or executed to all involved parties ? Review the process for sustainability and adjust as necessary
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As mentioned earlier, it is incumbent upon your e-procurement solutions provider to be able to assist you in completing these tasks in a reasonable period of time. You should be checking the background of the team and the leadership that will be assisting you to ensure their understanding of your industry such as operations, technology, procurement, warehouse management, logistics, transportation, loss prevention, store management and other functional areas of your business that will be sourcing products and services. It is all about detail because knowledgeable attention to detail will improve quality, reduce costs and ensure the success of your company?s new e-procurement process.

Please join us for part III of this post series on Monday titled Reasons to Use E-Procurement.

To download the 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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What is the retail procurement lifecycle of a product or service?

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

This author generally begins discussing this subject with our customers and prospects during the discovery phase of our engagements. It helps to get us all on the same page and as such we get a lot of different definitions. Quite frankly we get almost as many as the number of people we discuss the subject with. Surprisingly the process which is quite simple as a definition is not any different from when I first learned it over 40 years ago in the U.S. Air Force other than its automation provided by modern procurement tools.

Typically procurement consists of seven (7) steps. Where the confusion generally enters is that each step can have a process of its own or be interrelated with another step in the process. An example would be the contract lifecycle that easily fits within the negotiation cycle and the renewal cycle. Another might be that information gathering which is the generally accepted first step in the process can apply to multiple issues such as information gathering for the related product or services such as specifications as well as the information gathering of prospective supplier data.

As such, the simple steps to the procurement lifecycle that most individuals generally agree upon are as follows.

1.?Information gathering
2.?Supplier contact
3.?Background review
4.?Negotiation
5.?Fulfillment
6.?Consumption
7.?Renewal

Most times keeping this simple model in mind will allow? retail procurement professionals to answer the question where are we in the process when a project gets stalled or off track.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Safesourcing Inc. completes a successful year two.

Friday, May 7th, 2010

It hardly seems possible that we launched our company two years ago. At the time there were indicators for those paying attention of trouble in the global economy but know one had any idea just how bad it was going to get. In hindsight what a time to launch a company. When customers and business partners asked me why, my response was if you are doing what you believe in and the results you promise are true, then there really is no bad time to launch a business.

Our promise has been the same from day one, to reduce the cost of goods and services regardless of a company?s size or the size of the category being sourced. And, while doing so improve quality, safety and environmental focus. Today, two years later our customers will attest to the fact that we have held true to that promise.

Following is a short list of accomplishments that we are very proud of.

1.?Over 700 educational blog posts relative to e-procurement issues of importance.
2.?Over 1500 useful procurement related wiki terms and definitions.
3.?Added an average of more than one new customer for every month in business.
4.?Grew our supplier data base to greater than 380,000 retail suppliers
5.?Sourced 100?s of categories from commodities to finished goods and services.
6.?Sourced categories as small as $5K with savings > 30%.
7.?Sourced categories as high as $80M.
8.?Never held an e-negotiation event that did not result in savings.
9.?Conducted every process in e-procurement including RFI, RFP and RFQ.
10.?Installed our product in Asia in a multi lingual implementation.
11.?Averaged over 24% savings over two years.
12.?Developed a unique process for sourcing small spends for the retail mid market.
13.?Grew our database to over a terabyte of data.
14.?Helped companies source with environmental and social consciousness
15.?Today released SafeContract? a fully featured hosted Contract Management System.

To our customers thank you for your support. We endeavor to earn your business every day. To our business partners thank you for your guidance during a tough economic period. To the retail industry our goal is to be your best vehicle for reducing costs and improving earnings with an increased focus on corporate social responsibility.

Thank You.

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Retail e-procurement savings. How many times have we heard we can do it better ourselves?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

And for those very large retail companies that have very expensive internal tools that were sold to you by the largest players in the space. Ask yourself why your event savings are much less than those reported by companies who have outsourced this functionality? If you want to drive the greatest possible savings across the broadest range of categories in the shortest amount of time; and have a sustainable process moving forward keep reading..

The question one needs to ask is; what type of event services does my e-procurement provider offer? If your company is deciding to try self service, which is to be 100% self-sufficient, you need to know if your provider offers readily available classroom education that can be conducted on-site in order to train your team in all the nuances of event support. These skills are the foundation that allows e-procurement providers to support large volumes of events in a full service mode, which drive greater savings over the long term. Knowledge transfer in this area is one thing; the passion, skill and headcount to carry out these practices on a day by day basis are what drive results.

Typically event services falls into two broad categories:

1. Event management
2. Event monitoring and support.

Event management provides end to end e-sourcing support that begins with a companies overall strategy and ends with the actual execution of the e-procurement event. This is a true cross category effort that includes a rather lengthy list of services that may include buyer training, supplier selection, category discovery, supplier communication, the strategy for taking a category to market, training and overall supplier expectation management.

Event monitoring and support is actually the tactical implementation of the over all e-procurement event management process. This may include all communications with suppliers on the day of an event including making sure they have access to the system, get logged in properly, don?t have problems placing quotes, monitoring supplier and buyer system communications techniques during an event such as notes and texting and being available post event for questions as needed.

These services are normally provided by people behind the scenes with a very specific skill set. If you plan to do self service it would be very wise to make sure you have them covered at the same quality level.

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Procurement Professionals can aid in product safety adherence.

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

An article in today?s Arizona Republic attributed to the associate press was titled 1.5 million strollers recalled. The reason for the recall was canopy hinges causing fingertip amputations.? The article went on to mention that this was the 2nd major recall of strollers in recent months. In November of 2009 about one million strollers were recalled for fingertip amputation by the hinge mechanism from another manufacturer.

This author is aware that we can control the substances that go into these products from raw materials perspective but how do we in fact make sure they are safe for the children riding in them or the people pushing them.

The first thing we can do is ensure that the products are tested by Consumer Product Safety Commission or other groups with authority for that product. Last year the CPSC? announced that they would be expanding and modernizing the agency?s testing facilities with a new facility, located off the ?I-270 Technology Corridor? in Rockville, Md. One of the roles of the new facility is to provide additional space for CPSC?s Laboratory and Engineering Sciences Teams to test and evaluate consumer products.

You may be able to locate information about the products you procure at the Consumer Product Safety Commission?s website area for regulations and laws, but it will take some digging if you have never been there before. The product may have a FEDERAL HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES ACT to support it as do a number of baby and children products.

What appears to be common sense to this author is in addition to holding companies accountable to regulations is also to simply ask what type of testing a product has gone through and where it was manufactured? Most companies have great intentions for the products they manufacture and sell. We may be able to keep our children safer by simply asking some logical questions.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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What is Fair Trade Certification?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Fair Trade Certification Overview:

The Fair Trade Certified? label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product. Fair Trade Certification is currently available in the U.S. for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, and vanilla. TransFair USA licenses companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label on products that meet strict international Fair Trade standards.
Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Fair Trade principles include:
??Fair prices:
?? Fair labor conditions:
?? Direct trade:
??Democratic and transparent organizations:
??Community development:
??Environmental sustainability

If you are a supplier, do the right thing and get certified.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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SafeSourcing Website experiences significant traffic growth.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

During the last ninety day period the SafeSourcing website www.safesourcing.com has experienced significant growth globally. According to a number of rating services including Alexa and Google Analytics our website has had visitors from thirty seven (37) countries. Our reach which is a percentage measure of global internet users has grown 130%. Our traffic rank has increased 168% and our page views have increased 150%.

This growth places us amongst the top websites in the procurement space. Spend Matters and Sourcing Innovation continue to be the ranking leaders in our space. Both are required daily reading for this author.

We are very proud of our growth as it indicates that SafeSourcing is providing valuable content to regular visitors as well as registered members. We are also enjoying a good mix of both returning and new users. In reviewing these data the entire website is being explored on a regular basis including the following areas.

1. Sourcebook our professional social network for procurement professionals.
2. The SafeSourcing Wiki
3. The SafeSourcing daily Blog
4. SafeSourcing environment and safety alerts
5. SafeSourcing specifications template library
6. The SafeSourceIt? Supplier Database
7. The SafeSourcing Query tool
8. SafeSourcing Product Information Sheets
9. SafeSourcing White Papers
10. SafeSourcing Press Releases.

Thank you to those of you that have allowed us to achieve this growth.

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Try using a little wizardry or sorcery in your retail procurement practices.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

From a purely systematic or technological perspective, a wizard is a computer user interface that leads a user through dialog steps in order to accomplish something easily or for the sake of appearances magically. So to begin with if you are not using technology in your retail procurement practices this would be a good place to start. You can never tell improved profits may simply be as easy as abracadabra.

Magic which is practiced by wizards is the act of performing, entertaining or enlightening an audience by creating illusions of seemingly impossible feats, using purely natural means. As an example; maybe finding new sources of supply in order to compress a retailers pricing is as simple as having access to a supplier database (hidden knowledge) that can conjure up new sources of supply through an easy to use interface (wizard). Since most retailers do not know that such a database exits, a novice supply chain team member or apprentice (audience participant) could conjure up a query on their PDA (magic wand) that searches this database (universe) by major category, country, postal code, sub-category, safety certifications or other incantations, and in less than 15 seconds produce a result set of 200 suppliers seemingly from thin air. This act of prestidigitation to most retailers would appear as magic. To his or her boss (lord or lady) this novice or apprentice team member would be looked at as a wizard, magician or seer.

Call your solution provider and see what type of sorcery they can share with you. If they can?t, call SafeSourcing the sorcerers of sourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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