Archive for the ‘Sourcing Safe Products’ Category

Great Companies use standards to support their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and drive towards Triple Bottom Line (TBL) accounting.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

 

Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

I originally wrote this post eight years ago. However when earnings calls take place or some  recent factor like trade with China impact our markets, it is all that anyone reports on. I listen to lots of earnings calls. It is not very often that an analyst asks about progress in these areas. What are your TBL results and how do you report them?

Contributions to the welfare of society can come in many forms such as supporting the arts, further education, give to social welfare agencies, supporting community-building initiatives, reducing pollution, and the other charitable causes. Businesses that adopt socially responsible directives help to allow government agencies to minimize their involvement with the corporation. Reporting on these advances as well as their financial progress is TBL in its most pure form.

One way that  companies can add  to their  social consciousness is to try and use Certified Reference Materials or (CRM’s) which are ‘controls’ or standards used to check the quality and traceability of products. Requiring these standards prior to purchasing products indicates a lot about companies commitment to its stakeholders which includes its consumers and those associated with them. It also mitigates risk should recalls occur as a result of harm.

As an example, a reference standard for a unit of measurement is an artifact that embodies the quantity of interest in a way that ties its value to the reference base. At the highest level, a primary reference standard is assigned a value by direct comparison with the reference base.

A primary standard is usually under jurisdiction of a national standards body such as the ISO or The International Organization for Standardization which is an international standard -setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Relative to an example of a primary standard, you might refer to the Future ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility published as Draft International Standard which ties very nicely to this post.

If you’d like to learn more about our SafeSoureIt™  Global Supplier Database with over 427,000  suppliers and the certifications they support, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Why is Exercise Important?

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.

We all hear that exercise is important, but do you really know why?  Exercising has a lot of benefits and is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  It can help prevent health problems, reduce stress, increase energy and build strength.  You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise, just taking time to walk around your neighborhood can have a lot of benefit.  It is recommended that we take at least 10,000 steps a day.  This would translate into walking approximately 5 miles.  To make sure you are getting the maximum benefits from the steps, you should make sure that you are walking at fast pace or a light jog.  You may also consider carrying weights on your walk.  Carrying the weights and swinging your arms as you walk can help you burn 10 to 20 percent more calories.  If you are looking to add more muscle to help burn fat then you would want to add some type of weight training at least three times a week. This can be done by purchasing equipment for your home or joining a local gym.  Below are some other benefits that you can receive from exercising:

  • Decrease risk of illness
  • Increases energy level
  • Lowers feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Help maintain healthy weight
  • Great for heart health
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers Type 2 diabetes risk
  • Reduces body fat
  • Improves breathing
  • Reduces risk of arthritis
  • Improves sleep
  • Lowers risk of dementia

If you are looking to improve your health and would like help finding some exercise equipment, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one meets your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Safe Health Security

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.

It is a well-known fact that the Healthcare industry has been slower to adopt Internet of Things technologies than other industries. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is poised to transform how we keep people safe and healthy, especially as the demand for solutions to lower healthcare costs increase in the coming years. This leads to concerns of whether regulations can keep up with the growing technology.  As the number of connected devices increases, IT systems will need to determine how to handle the data load securely.

The benefits of IoMT are vast and growing fast.  Due to the availability of wearable devices and the decreasing cost of sensor technology, most consumer mobile devices are equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, they can communicate with IT systems.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirms that the largest payer in the U.S. sees remote patient monitoring (RPM) as part of the future of care delivery. Beginning this year, CMS will begin incentivizing the use of connected technology to capture patient-generated health data. In 2017, a Pennsylvania based team, Final Frontier Medical Devices, won the first place prize for developing an artificial intelligence-based engine named DxtER, which learns to diagnose medical conditions by integrating learnings from clinical emergency medicine with data analysis from actual patients. DxtER includes a group of non-invasive sensors that are designed to collect data about vital signs, body chemistry, and biological functions which is then synthesized in the device’s diagnostic engine in order to make an accurate assessment.

All health product or service providers whose clients’ data is stored in the U.S. are a subject to a set of security regulations set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance laws. Any vendor offering services that are subject to the act must provide documentation as proof of their conformity.  It is important to check that a HIPAA certified provider is willing to make a Business Associate Agreement, which is the agreement between two parties planning to transmit, or receive personal health information (PHI). Also, a System and Organization Controls (SOC) audit report can be requested when contracting with a provider which will include the company’s certification of encryption levels, and physical security measures.

There are several ways to check if a provider follows standards and relevant regulations.  One way is to audit the potential provider using an independent party. Another way to determine whether the company is compliant is to assess the qualifications of its staff which are required to be educated on the most current standards and safeguards.

For a number of years, SafeSourcing has been sourcing healthcare related products and services to our clients. Between looking at services offered and price points, healthcare institutions also need to consider vendors’ HIPAA compliance readiness.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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.

References……………………

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/01/25/why-the-internet-of-medical-things-iomt-will-start-to-transform-healthcare-in-2018/#18ac23b94a3c
  2. http://www.basilleaftech.com/blog-1/2017/4/13/basil-leaf-technologies-takes-top-prize-of-the-qualcomm-tricorder-xprize-competition
  3. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/
  4. https://phoenixnap.com/blog/soc-2-audit-compliance

 

 

 

Understanding the Technology of Traceability!

Friday, September 14th, 2018

 

Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing?Archives

GS1, the global standards body, the FDA, and the USDA are just a few of the organizations that are striving to increase the safety of the food we eat with new standards, processes and regulations.? With recent scares in several food items in the past few years it is no wonder that people are becoming extremely focused? on how to trace our food back to its original source.? In today?s blog we will look at some of the technologies that are helping with this process.

Enterprise Software ? There are many enterprise systems out there for warehouse management and enterprise resource management that can maintain the necessary data needed to meet traceability and recall requirements but the key to these programs working for your business is whether or not they have the additional features necessary to track category/industry specific details such as those faced by seafood and meat retailers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers.? Companies such as JustFoodERP specialize in tracking meat and seafood by-products during the course of their life, tracking not only down to individual cases, but also providing capabilities such as the Recipe Management module to help track the by-products of the meat and seafood into other products they sell.? By managing catch-weights with a serial number tracking system, solutions like these can ensure best practices for traceability throughout their organization.

RFID ? Radio Frequency Identification is not a new technology but continued development of the technology for use in traceability improves daily.? Like a barcode it can contain a unique identifier that will trace the product back to its source.? Unlike a barcode, RFID tags can be secured to be difficult to tamper with or damage, they can be placed in packaging as opposed to outside the packaging like barcodes that must be able to be seen, and unlike barcodes they can be written to and updated as the product travels through the supply chain.? With one scan an RFID tag can provide the appropriate user pages worth of information without having to be connected to an enterprise solution which can be critical when a recall is being tracked.

DNA Sampling ? During the major meat recalls in the early 2000?s, DNA sampling began to take shape and developed as an alternative to typical tracing methods at that time.? With a global database of animal DNA it is possible to trace every product and byproduct back the farm or processing point of origin.? Taking DNA samples from the each carcass at the farm or packaging plant, a profile is created and stored in the database.? At any point a new sample can be taken to verify the contents and origin of the meet.? The process is virtually tamper-proof and would eliminate costly barcodes and documents and would also allow retailers and distributors to know exactly which shipments to recall, saving millions of dollars.

For more information about how we can assist you in looking into these technologies for your business, 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.

Data Commodity

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Director of HR and Administration at SafeSourcing.

Unfortunately, most of us have experienced this first hand. You may be looking for more information on a particular subject online and next thing you know you are giving that site your email address. In nearly no time, that company could have taken your information, categorized it, and sold it to other companies looking for leads. Your data just became a selling commodity.

The most surprising thing may be, however, that this selling of information has been going on for a long time and is perfectly legal. Even big internet sites, like Google and Facebook, allow your information to be shared, sold, or used by other companies. Luckily, much of the time, this sharing of information is strictly for target marketing, and won’t bog down your inbox. This kind of marketing can even be beneficial at times, like if you are researching local animal charities, you may suddenly see more animal charitable project ads pop up on the web pages you visit.  On the other hand, though, some sites do take all of your information and simply sell it to whoever will pay.

Before you worry too much about your information, keep in mind that the commonly used websites, like Facebook, take precautions so that your specific information isn’t just given to anyone. For example, they may share how many people like a particular restaurant without disclosing any specifics.

If you have comments, advice, want to share your own experiences with information online, or to find out more about SafeSourcing, our policy to never share information, our Risk Free trial program, or any of our free informational tools, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

What’s in Your Water?

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974 to protect drinking water.  This act also protects rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells. There are approximately 54,000 public water systems that serve the same people year-round. Most residences, including homes, apartments, and condominiums in cities, small towns, and mobile home parks are serviced by Community Water Systems.  The safety of these water systems is detrimental to our health, and the health of our ecological environment.

Why should we be concerned with vehicle washwater?

Washwater from vehicle/equipment cleaning activities may contain significant quantities of oil and grease, suspended solids, heavy metals, and organics, as well as pollutants from detergents. These pollutants can be toxic and harmful to living organisms, including fish. The ingestion of the affected fish by people can also be harmful. Washwater from pressure washing and steam cleaning are likely to have more pollutants than cold, low-pressure water.

Oil and grease contain hydrocarbon compounds, some of which can injure or kill aquatic life even at low concentrations. Oil and grease can also coat fish gills and prevent oxygen from entering water, starving fish and other aquatic life.

Some detergents may contain metals such as arsenic. Low concentrations of dissolved metals can be toxic to living organisms. Detergents contain emulsifiers that break up oil particles. Emulsifiers can also cause harm to aquatic life. Many detergents also contain nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen. High nutrient levels in streams and lakes can harm water quality by stimulating excess weed and algae growth. This overgrowth causes unpleasant odors and scents, and depletes oxygen levels necessary to support fish life.

Washwater discharge options 

There are three options available for the disposal of vehicle washwater (one is not recommended).

■ Preferred option: Zero discharge, or closed-loop water recycling

■ Second option: Discharge to a municipal wastewater system

■ Third option (not recommended): Discharge to land or ground

Of these options, zero discharge, or the use of water recycling systems is the preferred option and is strongly encouraged. The second most preferred option is to discharge to a municipal wastewater system.  (Program Development Services Section, Revised November 2012).

The International Carwash Association has completed a two-year study that is designed to gather and analyze data regarding wastewater discharges, as well as contaminant levels in solid wastes. Professional car washing is unique in the fact that it has the capability of collecting both discharges of water and solid waste.  (Chris Brown, Water Conservation Consultant, 2002).

The SDWA sets up multiple barriers against pollution, but  the public is responsible for helping local water suppliers to set priorities, make decisions on funding and system improvements, and establish programs to protect drinking water sources. Water systems across the nation rely on citizen advisory committees, rate boards, volunteers, and civic leaders to actively protect this resource in every community in America.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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.

Works Cited —————————————————

Chris Brown, Water Conservation Consultant. (2002). Water Effluent and Solid Waste Characteristics in the Professional Car Wash Industry. Chicago: International Carwash Association. Retrieved from https://www.carwash.org/docs/default-document-library/water-effluent-amp-solid-waste-characteristics-in-the-professional-car-wash-industry.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Program Development Services Section. (Revised November 2012). Vehicle and Equipment Washwater Discharges/Best Management Practices Manual. Olympia: Washington State Department of Ecology. Retrieved from https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/95056.html

 

My App Needs What?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

 

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

In our ever evolving mobile age, apps are a must have on our devices. Whether you want to clip coupons, like through Target’s Cartwheel app, watch your favorite shows while you’re out (thank you Disney Junior!), or just have fun with photo filters and Face Swaps, our phones have become essential in the things we do every day, giving it equal everyday importance to that of wallets and keys.

Before we can enjoy the fun and helpfulness of new apps, it must first be downloaded. Part of that initial download, however, the app asks for permission to access portions of your phone. These permissions can vary from app to app, but generally include your identity, email, location, contacts, photos, camera, microphone, and messaging. So, why would an app need those?

This is where you must decide whether an app is something you need or not. Apps that have access to email, can access and use the information in your email, despite an email being private or confidential. Accessing your phone’s camera and microphone can be equally unsettling, because once an app has been downloaded, it can use your camera to take photos and your microphone to record audio, all of which no longer needs your permission. While it is unknown how often this actually happens and what app companies do with the information they gather, it is known that there are many companies that make profits selling consumer information.

There are, however, other reasons an app would need access to your phone, many of which are completely legitimate. For example, I would expect a Map app to need to access my phone location and Snapchat would need access to the camera and other media files.

While app permissions vary, it is ultimately up to you which ones you choose to download. If you ever question why an app might need specific permissions, an easy way to find out is to simply google whatever app it is plus the word “privacy”. You can then read what each app needs, why, and what they do with the information they receive.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help keep your information safe and source what you need, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

What do I need to keep in mind when purchasing an external storage device?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.

When looking for a backup solution, the most ideal solution for most people are external storage devices. The prices of these devices have dropped significantly over the past few years which make the option even more attractive.  When looking for an external storage device to keep your important documents and files on, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind such as storage, size and speed.  Storage is the amount of space that is available for saving information.  There are lots of options available, but for the most part 1 terabyte should be enough for most users.  Size is the physical size of the device.  If you are traveling or carrying the device with you, you may want to purchase a smaller device that can easily be stored in your laptop case.  Along with that you may want to look into purchasing one that is more durable.  For example there are manufacturers that make the devices with protective covers that can withstand shock, drops, dust and water.  Speed is not as important as an internal storage device because the device is usually used for backup purposes and not accessed on a regular basis like an internal drive.  If you will be accessing the drive regularly, then you may want to purchase a storage device that contains desktop based components.  Another factor to consider is the software packages that come with the device.  This is usually the main difference between the different manufacturers of the devices.  Some of the software packages offer the ability to do backups and automatically upload files to cloud offerings.  Below are some other things to consider when doing your research.

  • Connectivity
  • Price
  • Security
  • Warranty
  • Durability
  • Failure Rate

If you would like some help finding the right solution, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which device will meet your needs.  If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

 

EPA and Business

Monday, November 28th, 2016

 

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

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in December, 1970 in response to growing population concerns over heavy pollution. In the 50 years it has been around, the EPA, through research, monitoring, and enforcement activities, has accomplished numerous things, such as regulating clean drinking water, prohibiting hazardous toxic dumping, removing dangerous carcinogens from food and pesticides, removal of harmful lead from paint and gasoline, implementing recycling programs, and helping to reduce toxic air emissions. On top of that, the EPA helps with environmental cleanups, including natural disasters, oil spills, and brownfields. All of these things help to provide a safer and cleaner environment for people and animals.

With all the good the EPA does for our health, safety, and environment, they also make impacts on our daily lives and businesses. For example, over the last ten years there has been a rise in the number of Energy-Star appliances that use less water and other resources to perform household tasks, like heating, cooling, and washing. This in turn, can save residents hundred or even thousands off of their annual energy bill and help conserve resources.

The EPA has had tremendous impact on agriculture as well. By eliminating harmful pesticides, the food grown by farmers has become safer to eat. By eliminating industrial dumping, streams and rivers have been cleaner and safer to drink, allowing livestock to drink untainted water, thus living longer, healthier, and providing people with better, healthier, toxin-free milk and meat.

Possibly the biggest impact the EPA has made, however, is in the industrial sector, often with less than happy industry owners. For example, a factory has to spend significant amounts of money to prevent heart and lung disease-causing smog to be reduced, to safely contain and dispose of water-based industrial waste instead of dumping into fresh streams, lakes, and rivers, and using safe chemicals in products instead of cheaper, known carcinogens.

To help support environmental regulations, the EPA offers green awards to businesses that make positive change and steps toward healthier, greener business culture. Through education and green policies, the EPA has made huge positive impacts on the country over the past 50 years, helping not only the environment, but also the health and safety of wildlife, livestock, and every single person in this country.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your business stay green, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

What is a CertiPur-US® Certification?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

 

CertiPUR-US is a voluntary testing, analysis and certification program

Today post was written by Ryan Melowic, Vice President of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

According to the CertiPUR-US® website “the CertiPUR-US® program was developed to provide the comfort and confidence of knowing the flexible polyurethane foam meets standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Today, foam producers from all countries may participate in the program, as long as they meet our rigorous certification guidelines.

CeriPUR-US approved foams are:

  1. Low emissions (VOCs) for indoor air quality
  2. Made without ozone depleters
  3. Made without PBDEs
  4. Made without mercury, lead, and heavy metals
  5. Made without formaldehyde
  6. Made without prohibited phthalates

CertiPUR-US is a voluntary testing, analysis and certification program developed by the global flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) industry.”

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.