Archive for the ‘Retail Supply Chain’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend 2018 from SafeSourcing. Who were the Pilgrims?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

 

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.

Retail collective buyer organizations and consortiums are evolving in order to compete with mega retailers.

Friday, June 15th, 2018

 

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge e-negotiation and eProcurement tools. Their retailer members are also benefiting from their use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs in many different ways

These types of organization can go by many different names such as wholesaler, collective buyer, consortium, cooperative, share groups and more. They all have one thing in common. They consolidate purchasing volumes for a wide array of groups that may have very similar business structures, but for the savvy consortium can also be wildly different.

In the retail vertical, companies may actually belong to several different buying groups because their primary group does not offer expertise in a certain area.

Consortiums are also evolving and beginning to focus mixed markets where it makes sense. In general consortiums tend to be vertically focused such as a drug industry consortium with the members generally representing the drug industry only. However some consortiums are beginning to market them selves outside of their vertical to retailers or other companies who want to take advantage of learned expertise that the consortium possesses in the categories that are common across more than their own vertical and offer increased volumes. An example might be drug stores sourcing very similar products that health care organizations like hospitals source. Although this may seem like a stretch fro most, it is now very common within retail for non vertical specific players to work together.

Today?s advanced e-negotiation or e-procurement tools make it much easier to accomplish collective buying and aggregating outside of a consortiums initial area of expertise. Large and small retailers alike now have the capability of viewing a much broader universe of suppliers and other companies while also coordinating and participating in collaborative events from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Suppliers now have an opportunity to earn business they could never compete for in the past.

Retailers should ask their collective buyers how they plan to make the use of these types of tools and what they have to offer in terms of introductions to other companies for increased volume.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What is a Third Party Logistics Provider or 3PL and how do retailers use them?

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

 

If you are having difficulty with your current? distribution model, compress your spend using eProcurement tools and then source a reputable 3PL.

According to Wikipedia a third-party logistics provider (abbreviated 3PL) is a firm that provides outsourced or “third party” logistics services to companies for part, or sometimes all of their supply chain management functions. Third party logistics providers typically specialize in integrated operation, warehousing and transportation services that can be scaled and customized to customer?s needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for their products and materials.

As such, there are a number of types of 3PL?s within retail that may in fact service a single retailer as well as smaller buying groups of small retailers. All might fall under this umbrella including wholesalers such as SUPERVALU, collective buyers such as TOPCO or even a retailer collaborative that may in fact just coordinate aggregated purchases and in fact pick other 3PL?s to provide warehousing, picking and packing and distribution. Each of these providers may in fact provide some or all of the same services. The later or collaborative of multiple retailers might even be looked at as a non asset based 3PL.

In all categories of third party logistics providers however it is still the end user or retailer regardless of size that determines what products they buy and accept delivery of in their stores. As such, it should be no more difficult for smaller retailers to run e-negotiation events?? There will need to be discussions as to costs that are purely associated with the warehousing, slotting, picking and distribution of products by a 3PL once an e-negotiation event has been planned, but these items should be easy to break out for bid or add to the final pricing prior to award of business as a flat fee. This is a practice that all 3PL?s should be familiar with already. Retailers should anticipate that their existing 3PL depending on services offered would rather not have you conduct these types of events as it negatively impacts their volumes with manufacturers and other providers and as such their company?s margins.

Understanding your options and the flexibility that 3PL?s can provide may actually make it easier for all retailers to use e-negotiation tools to impact their bottom line.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Part I of II. Are reverse auctions a good tool to use in the retail distribution cost plus arena?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

A lot of distributors have told this author that reverse auctions don’t apply to them because they use the cost plus model and as such they just add their price or profit margin on top of the contract price with their source to drive their distributed price.

The fallacy in this thinking is that it may make buyers and category managers lazy in their approach to driving margin within the categories that they manage. This results in a higher price to the retailers they distribute to and ultimately to the consumer or their customers customer. A worst case scenario is that the consumer stops shopping at their customer’s store which reduces overall volume and further increases prices by not meeting volume incentives. It’s a slipper slope.

Off course this argument is relatively easy to overcome when we get around to discussing capital goods and expense related products and services area. These areas have an impact on the distributor’s net profit. And I’m sure that many of you will agree that just because one says they are a cost plus provider does not necessarily mean it’s true in the most pure sense of the definition.

Check back tomorrow and we’ll review what the real definition of cost plus is in part II.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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.

A simple supplier scoring system may provide key performance indicators for the future.

Monday, August 7th, 2017

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Having a large international supplier database to drive sustainable results in e-procurement events such as ant e-RFX function is critical to that events success. Maybe even more critical is making sure that the suppliers once selected for participation in an event are of the highest quality, professional, responsive and have your best interests at heart. There are several areas in the early strategy stages of a  an e-RFX process which if properly monitored can be leading key performance indicators as to future performance. These KPI’s are; the initial supplier response and supplier training schedule adherence. If suppliers are not interested enough during these early stages, this may be an indicator of future performance in other more critical areas such as on time delivery, back order management, documentation and audit compliance.

A reasonable process for measuring these KPI’s would be to measure the number of days between the project start date or initial supplier contact and the event start date, where the supplier has been sent an invitation but has not responded either positively, negatively or given a reason  for their response. Maintaining an active status of response dates could be scored based on the number of days it takes invited suppliers to respond. The longer it takes a invitee to respond the lower KPI score that supplier would receive.  Another possible KPI measurement or filter once the invitation has been accepted would be the number of days between the date accepted and the event start date, where the supplier has accepted an invitation but has not completed their automated training.

These are not intended to be punitive measures. In most cases suppliers will perform beyond your expectations. Sustainability and quality require measurements regardless of how simple.

If you’d like to learn more about The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

The Geographical Significance of Vendor Selection

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

 

Today’s post is the SafeSourcing  BLOG Archives.

Many National companies are faced with the dilemma of trying to control the sourcing of products and services across their company in a way that consolidates what they purchase and helps them control who they are working with.   Many times our customers will tell us that they are only interested in speaking with companies who can handle their entire company; only National providers will be considered.  The SafeSourcing recommendation frequently will be to expand that vision in order to create an opportunity for greater overall value, and possibly better savings.

Today we will be looking at the advantages of each of the three geographical levels that companies can employ when setting up their projects and why a good mix of all three can create greater opportunities for success for your company.

National suppliers – There are some obvious advantages for selecting National providers to be involved with sourcing projects.  As you grow they will have the infrastructure in place to support you and your business.  In many cases they have a support system and reporting system that can assist you with tracking what you are spending and where those products and services are being delivered to.  National suppliers have the size to be able to reduce the overall costs of the items you purchase but they also have the overhead and internal expenses that it takes to maintain a National company.   National companies tend to have larger market share and recognition so their aggressiveness in competing for your business may not always be in line with that of the regional and local suppliers who are looking for any way to get some of your business.

Regional suppliers – Regional suppliers tend to cover 20 to 40% of the country and focus on a specific area such as the Northeast, Southeast, West Coast, etc.  The advantages of the regional supplier are that they are large enough to be aggressive in price and to offer great value-add services but they are focused enough to know the area they are servicing.  Regional suppliers have typically mastered the logistics of their shipping lanes and many times know the culture and the people in the area better than a National supplier does.  While having multiple suppliers loses some of the advantages of having a National program, the services and prices may indicate a 2 or 3 supplier award makes the most sense for the company.

Local suppliers – Local suppliers who handle either a city or an entire state, are typically brought into a procurement event for one of two reasons.   They either are an incumbent of one the locations currently or they are being reviewed for a rural area that is not supported well by a national or regional supplier.  Local suppliers have the flexibility to be aggressive in pricing (especially for services) and they can usually support rural areas better than larger companies.  Having local companies involved gives incumbents a chance to fight for the business they have previously had and possibly win new business and it provides great options for locations that need special attention.   Local suppliers will also ensure that the regional and national suppliers are staying competitive in the service levels, terms and pricing they are offering you across the company.

The mix of suppliers you invite to your sourcing projects are every bit as important as the history and specifications you supply those suppliers and developing a strategy of the right mix will be important to how successful your projects end up.  While you may intend on finding one National provider, the value offered may demand you consider a 2-3 company award at the end and having options at the local level for special situations and emergencies is something every company should have a contingency plan for.

For more information about how we can assist you with developing these supplier selection strategies, 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

Do you have the Right Signage at your Checkout Lane?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

 

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

Many grocery stores are relaxing check-out line limits by adding the word “about” to the check-out line sign. Kroger and Food Lion are two chains that have rolled out signs that now read “about 15 items” in order to bring some peace to the lanes that are intended to be the fastest lines.  There is some logic to this as well.  Supermarkets aim to increase how much customers buy during a shopping visit.  Before a shopper may have been careful to have 15 items or less before they decided to get in the express line.  According to the Food Marketing Institute of Arlington, Virginia, the average sale in a customer transaction is $29.90.  If a customer is limiting the items purchased in the express line to 15 items or less, it means that purchasing that 16th or 17th items is on purpose.  A supermarket’s goal is to sell you more.

The express lanes offer what is called “a perception of control” reports Emily Moscato, assistant professor of food marketing at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia. Customers believe it’s a faster line also limiting the shopper in front of you with the overflowing cart.  There are also changes being made to the self-checkout lane.  SpartanNash, a Michigan-based grocery chain, use to dictate a minimum number of items to use this self-checkout lane.   Now that limit is gone.  Although some grocery stores are relaxing their policy, larger grocery chains such as Safeway, prefer their traditional ways.

There are eight ways to speed through the supermarket checkout:

-Shop weekdays, not weekends.

-Shop during normal work hours.

-Use a manned checkout lane, cashiers are generally faster.

-Pick the line with people with fewer items in their basket.

-Don’t buy items that aren’t labeled with price look-up codes.

-Avoid buying frozen items as the scanner doesn’t read icy codes easily.

-Choose items that are flat with easy to read bar codes.

-Don’t try and guess which lines will be slow.  There is always that person that has a ton of – coupons, pay with a check, or look for exact change.

Whether it’s correct signage, new equipment, SafeSourcing can provide you with all your service needs.  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.

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Zlati Meyer, USA Today, 9/25/16

 

What is a chaebol?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Tyler Walther; Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Chaebols are large, family owned South Korean business conglomerates, such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. The word chaebol translates to “business family” or “monopoly” in Korean. Chaebols are multinational corporations, typically owning numerous international enterprises. Chaebol are owned and controlled by a family dynasty, generally that of the group’s patriarch.

Despite their economic dominance in South Korea and the belief that monopoly structures restrict smaller companies that compete against them, public opinion of chaebols in South Korea is generally supportive. Largely the public views the chaebols as the primary vehicle taking South Korea out of financial crisis.

Let SafeSourcing better manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. 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.

Why is the cost of Beef so high this year?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

 

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

In today’s blog, Gayl discusses the reason for the high cost of beef this year.

With summer fast approaching, barbecuing is on lot of families’ minds.  Because of the drought of 2012 in the Midwest, backyard cooks can blame the increase price of beef this grilling season.  The average price of sirloin is up 20 percent from last year.  An 8-ounce filet mignon is approximately $15 more at some Kansas City area stores.  Two pounds of lean ground beef may cost a few dollars more than a year ago.  Although beef is pricier, it’s hard to resist the smell of beef on the grill!

Many cattle farmers decreased their herds two or three years ago when the grasslands dried due to drought conditions.  Cattle, unlike fast growing chicken and pigs, require three years from breed to slaughter.  The gestation for a cow is nine months to deliver a calf.  We are about a year and half away from the price of beef to show a reduction.  This is good news to the cattle farmers, as they can reap the rewards of the higher price of beef now.

According to Tampa Bay Times, dated May 13, 2013, “’A year ago last November, for 350-pound calves I paid $1.80 a pound,’” Mc Intosh said.  “’Today, I might pay $3 to $3.50” a pound’”.  Cattle farmers have been trying to satisfy pickier consumers since the 1980’s when the shift from beef to poultry shifted.

Fortunately, if you prefer pork or chicken, those prices have barely increased, in fact bacon, on average, is cheaper.

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.