Archive for the ‘Sourcing Strategy’ Category

Are you using the right streaming device?

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

 

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

Amazon recently released its new 2nd generation Fire TV Cube. The Fire TV Cube is a powerful streaming device that is combined with the Amazon Echo. With the built in speaker and eight microphones, you can now control your television with your voice from any direction within the room. For example, you can view a list of movies by simply saying, “Alexa, show me 4K movies.” The device can also control other functionalities such as controlling the television’s power and volume.   The 2nd generation Cube also comes with the Alexa Voice Remote so that you can control your TV and device without talking as well. Using the Fire TV Cube allows you to enjoy streaming from Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ and many other streaming services. You can also access some of your favorite websites such as Facebook and Reddit using the browser apps available for download. You can also stream millions of songs and use the voice activation to request your favorite songs, artists and playlists and control playback through services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Spotify. Since the Fire TV Cube has Alexa built in, you can also control smart home devices, check the weather and all of the other features that Alexa has to offer. Below are some other features that are available with the new version of the Fire TV Cube.

  1. Hexa-Core Processor
  2. 2160p, 1080p and 720p up to 60 fps Video Output
  3. Dolby Atmos, 7.1 Surround Sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI Pass Through up to 5.1 Audio Support
  4.  16 GB Storage
  5. 2 GB Memory
  6. Bluetooth
  7. Wi-Fi Connectivity
  8. Ethernet Support
  9. Listen with compatible Bluetooth Headphones

If you are looking to purchase new streaming device and would like help researching available options, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplier Management

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is by Ashley Riviello, Account Manager at SafeSourcing, Inc.

The number one most important aspect in the procurement world is supplier research and vetting. If you want to run a successful RFQ, you have to vet the suppliers and make sure the suppliers you have involved can do exactly what you need them to. A good relationship with the right suppliers offers you products and services that improve your brand and deliver better user experiences. According to Softco, selecting first-rate suppliers and weeding out low-performing vendors is key to reaching your supplier relationship and compliance management goals. Here are some important questions that you and your team should consider before engaging potential suppliers during the supplier selection process.

  1. What are your clients supply requirements? The first thing you need to do is establish exactly what products or services your client is looking to source. The more specifications, the better the supplier research can be.
  2. Whom, within your company, will complete your supplier research? Use people within    your company that have the best knowledge on particular categories. Sometime those people can help narrow down the list better than someone with in the company that has never worked within that category.
  3. Do you need a local or regional supplier? You want to establish from the beginning if you are looking for local vendors or national vendors, or both. Sometimes you may even need to find overseas vendors, however, you want to make sure the shipping and/or freight is low enough to benefit your client’s needs.
  4. When is the lowest bidder not the correct supplier to choose? Sometimes the lowest bidder isn’t always the best fit. You need to request samples, if need be, and make sure the lowest bidder’s product or service meets the requirements. Sometimes sticking with your current supplier, but pay a little more than the lowest bidder, is worth keeping that relationship.
  5. When is a vendor visit necessary? When time allows, sometimes it is necessary to make a quick visit to suppliers and establish a customer relationship. During that visit, you and your team will want to take note of the supplier’s plant capacity, current volume of work, manufacturing processes, and work environment.

Even if you are not looking source a certain category, these are things you should always be asking vendors as you are looking to switch vendors or are searching for a better price. SafeSourcing specializes in this process.

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

 

CIO Applications Magazine Honors SafeSourcing

Monday, September 30th, 2019

 

SafeSourcing Inc., a leading eProcurement company offering a complete Procure to Pay suite of applications, has been recognized as one of the World‘s top auction application companies by CIO magazine.

CIO magazine has listed SafeSourcing, Inc. as one of the top ten auction platforms in its recent magazine edition. The article recognizes SafeSourcing as being a one-stop e-procurement and sourcing center, striking a balance of quality, affordability, product, and service.

“A strategic sourcing firm, SafeSourcing is at the forefront of offering a full suite of procure-to-pay tools under the SafeSourceIt™ banner which helps in reducing costs and improving efficiency” ~CIO magazine

CIO sat down with SafeSourcing CEO, Ronald D. Southard, to discuss the company’s value proposition, solutions, customer base, and future plans. In addition, the featured article elaborates on how SafeSourcing plays a role in e-procurement and how it accelerates efficiency and innovation.

SafeSourcing, Inc. provides cost effective tools under the SafeSourceIt™ product family that allows companies to dramatically reduce cost of goods, capital spending, and expenses in a timely manner while also reinforcing environmental and product safety programs. Focus is placed on a company’s entire spend for all products and services.

SafeSourcing’s early stage client engagement is specifically focused on cost reduction through the use of a white glove service based  on a detailed six step process using the SafeSourceIt™ e-RFX application suite.

Please visit www.safesourcing.com in order to  learn more.

 

Change Is Hard

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

 

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing, Inc.

At SafeSourcing, many of our customers are retailers or provide products and services to retailers. As a result, we stay abreast of the changes that are either happening now or are likely to happen in that industry. We’ve written in the past about the impact of plastic bags and other changes that affect so many including retailers. But how exactly does a retailer make a decision to switch a product and what are the consequences of doing so?

Just like everything in life, change is hard. That’s true if you’re making a personal decision as small as trying a new hairstyle or something as big as deciding to uproot your family and take a chance on a new career. It’s no different when you’re thinking about switching from plastic grocery bags to an alternative.

As a quick note, the following examples are meant to illustrate the challenges, not to endorse or criticize any specific product types.

Circling back to plastic bags, it’s been announced that New York and Connecticut both have bans on plastic bags that will affect many retailers. Sure there are paper bags as a readily available alternative, but it’s not that simple. The legislation there also allows for fees to be charged to retailers for the use of paper bags. So, the retailers have options. They could consider whether they switch to paper and hope that on top of the higher product cost that they don’t also wind up paying fees. They could switch to reusable bag options and hope that the consumers will bear some of the burden of the process change. They can find environmentally friendly compostable bag options. As mentioned, the decision is made much more complex by the end consumers’ varying interests and needs.

Another recent example of change is in foodservice supplies. Surely you’ve seen some foam and plastic containers being replaced by compostable alternatives. One great example is the bowls in which you might receive your burrito bowls. It’s great that we’re able to either divert some waste from the landfills or at least replace the traditional products with a compostable variety that will decompose in a short period of time. The challenge in this case is that there are also potentially negative consequences that we’ll have to accept when we switch from a plastic or foam-based product to a product made from seemingly more eco-conscious products like fiber. The reason is that there doesn’t seem to be a consensus about what the chemicals required to produce these products will do to our environment and our bodies. It turns out that, in order to use the fiber and allow it to hold its shape while wet, we have to use some chemicals which might have negative health and environmental effects. Understandably, this puts a challenge on our customers who are in the position of making these choices. On the one hand, most people seem to understand that certain products are bad for the planet and will stay in the landfills.

One commonality between these two examples is that no matter what we decide to do about the the eco-conscious challenges many companies face, there will be consequences. Some consequences will be good such as a reduction in waste in landfills and an increase in positive public perception. Some consequences will be bad like higher costs for supplies and yet unknown impact on the environment or consumer health. The decision falls to the retailer to make. So, how do they make the decisions?

The answer depends on the retailer. At SafeSourcing, we see our retail customers falling into two main buckets relative to their eco-conscious strategies.

  1. Proactively eco-conscious. These retailers are on the bleeding edge of the market and likely have a strategy to become more eco-conscious and are adapting this as part of their branding. These companies are changing over to products that will reduce their impact on the environment sometimes even before legislation requires them to do so and are often paying a premium in supply expenses to do so.
  2. Reactively eco-conscious. These retailers do not have a proactive strategy to use   environmentally friendly supply products. Instead, they will likely only change to an eco-conscious alternative if there are specific reasons to do so such as new legislation.

Regardless of which bucket the customer falls into, SafeSourcing has experience guiding the customer through the change. When on the bleeding edge of change, a Request for Proposal (RFP) might be in order to understand the types of products available in the market, the pros and cons or the different options, and the costs involved. That amount of information can help guide a decision where there is no legislation to rely upon and where there may be no references to call upon for review. If the customer is acting reactively, they are often able to rely more directly on SafeSourcing’s experience and leverage our specifications library to pick an alternative product specification that they would like to source. Of course, regardless of which bucket a customer is in or what type of product they need, a reverse auction or RFQ is always the best way to ensure that no matter what you buy, you’re getting it at the best possible price.

We have experience in dealing with all of these factors and approached and more. As time goes on, more and more of SafeSourcing’s customer base is either making the switch to eco-conscious products or considering whether and how they will. We work with both proactively eco-conscious and reactively eco-conscious customers, so no matter which bucket you fall in, we can help.

Contact SafeSourcing, Inc. if you need assistance on your own path to becoming eco-conscious. Change is hard, but it helps if you have someone to guide you.

Source:

Hines, Morgan. “‘Cancer-linked’ chemicals in Chipotle, Sweetgreen packaging? There’s more to know, experts say” USA Today. August, 13 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

A Sourcing Diatribe you should read!

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

 

 

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

Here’s the diatribe to tell you why they don’t.

Example: Your finance department in reviewing current costs looks at your waste management costs and discovers that they have gone up significantly over the last two years. They call your Category Manager (if you have one) in order to ask why? The answer they get back is that in discussions with your current vendor, their costs have gone up significantly. Your finance department representative asks for examples. The answer he/she gets, is as follows, “I don’t know, but I’ll reach out and ask”.

Alternative Example: Your finance department in reviewing current costs looks at your waste management costs and discovers that they have gone up significantly over the past two years. They call your Sourcing provider SafeSourcing Inc. (if they are) in order to ask why? The answer they get back is that in discussions with your current vendor, their costs have gone up significantly. Your finance department representative asks SafeSourcing for examples. The answer he/she receives is as follows.

There are several reasons. The first is that 2 years ago the Chinese were the largest importers of recycled materials, specifically plastics and papers. At the time they were importing approximately 15M metric tons. Today they are importing approximately 7M metric tons. This has gone from a revenue producing opportunity for suppliers to a cost. Additionally, there is a shortfall of drivers in the US that has caused demand for their skills to increase accordingly. As a result, all freight hauling focused companies have experienced a shortfall of drivers and an increase in costs for the drivers that they do hire.

Additionally, diesel prices in 2017 were lower than they are today. While these prices have eroded somewhat (about 6%) between 2018 to 2019, they are still not at the low levels they were in 2017. There are additional areas to also consider like new equipment that are also higher based on demand. Now can I provide you with a strategy as to how we (SafeSourcing) can mitigate these costs going forward and maybe even rain them in some?

I know all executives have had these types of frustrating conversations internally as well as with your suppliers. I also know that SafeSourcing regularly provides these types of answers and reviews across hundreds of categories for our customers. It is the precise reason that our average savings across all categories during the last 2 years is greater than 24%.

While the above is a specific example, what can you tell me about your freight costs, supplies costs, commodity costs, construction costs, equipment costs, items for resale costs etc. Probably not as much as SafeSourcing can tell you. Give us a call and find out.

For more information regarding SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing, or regarding our Risk Free Trial Programplease contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative, you’ll be glad you did! We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Overcoming Cognitive Dissonance in Purchasing

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

 

Today’s post is  from our Archives  at SafeSourcing

Cognitive Dissonance is the state of having a set of beliefs, attitudes, and ideas, and being faced with information that conflicts with those concepts. Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance theory holds that all people attempt to keep all of their beliefs, attitudes, and information in harmony. The problem that often comes up, however, is that we sometimes unconsciously suppress or modify correct information in order to avoid having that information conflict with what we already believe.

An example of this in purchasing would be when a procurement decision is made, and the project turns out badly. Often times the decision will be defended and even REPEATED, rather than the decision maker admitting fault. Why? Because most people automatically feel they need to defend their decisions in order to preserve what they believe about themselves. If you believe you are a great decision maker, you will look for information that supports that belief, and avoid information that conflicts with that belief. Here are a couple of ways to help avoid pitfalls on both sides of the purchase:

The Enthymeme

An Enthymeme is a truncated form of syllogism, where a premise or conclusion is left out of the argument. It is always easier to let someone convince themselves of something than it ever will be for you to, even if your audience’ belief is fallacious. When we pose a logical argument, but don’t explicitly state the conclusion, we allow our audience to extrapolate on their own instead of risking putting them on the defensive because we are demanding they believe what we are advocating. Example; “XYZ Company isn’t certified and the manufacturing process requires certification”. This type of statement can be much more effective than shooting straight for the conclusion “Don’t go with XYZ Company.”

The Ben Franklin Effect

When we do a favor for someone, we tend to justify our actions to ourselves that we did the favor BECAUSE we liked them. We naturally tend to avoid Cognitive Dissonance by changing other beliefs, in favor of holding onto beliefs we have about ourselves. Be on the lookout for people who would use this concept against you; how often have you heard a sales pitch that starts off by asking you for a small favor? It’s a commonly used tactic to use your beliefs against you in order to obtain something the sales-person wants.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team 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.

We look forward to your comments.

Twelve areas to consider in your spend analysis if you don’t want to lose your hard earned savings.

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

 

Todays post is a favorite from the SafeSourcing Archive

This is actually a great questions and a tough one to answer if in fact it has not been planned for during the strategy process. We all know that there are all sorts of saving figures quoted in the e-procurement industry for just about any product or service available.

Here are 12 areas of focus to consider when trying to figure out not only your ROI on these projects, but more importantly how much of the savings made their way to the bottom line and what is your leakage percentage.

1. How clean was your GL data?
2. How clean were your specifications?
3. How long did it take you to award the business?
4. How long did it take you to test samples?
5. How long did it take you to sign a contract?
6. How long did it take you to accept your first delivery?
7. Was the first invoice for the exact price you contracted for?
8. Was the shipping and handling exactly as bid?
9. Were there any SOW change requests that raised pricing?
10. What P&L period are you reporting against?
11. What was the budget for this product or service?
12. Can you trace the spend to a specific P&L line item?

It would not be too hard to add another dozen items to this list. The answer here is that proper planning helps eliminate savings leakage. Don’t plan and it will hurt or erode some or all of your potential savings.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Prickly Pear Cactus May Solve Plastic Problems

Monday, July 29th, 2019

 

 

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

The prickly pear is sometimes used as a novelty ingredient in margaritas, or in jelly for Arizona tourists. The microscopic barbs on the paddles can be very painful if you brush up against this cactus. Researchers at a university in Mexico have developed a way to turn the pulp from the paddles into a biodegradable plastic. This could not have come at a better time as plastic pollution has reached epic proportions. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (a floating mass of plastic) is now larger than Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico combined!

Plastic breaks down and eventually is consumed by marine life. An autopsy of a washed up whale in the Philippines revealed 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach. Humans also ingest roughly 50,000 microscopic pieces of plastic each year.

Prickly pear cactus paddles contain large amounts of sugars and gum, making them a good candidate to create “biopolymers”. Corn has been used for a long time in creating polymer products to make biodegradable spoons and cups. Corn, however, leaves a big carbon footprint when you consider the water, fertilizer, and energy used to grow and harvest it. The prickly pear cactus, however, requires very little water. More research has to be done in order to bring this to market.

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.

References………………………………………………………

John D’Anna, AZ Central, 7/9/2019

Sourcing Music

Friday, July 26th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

There isn’t an organization on earth that doesn’t use music for its business in some capacity. Offices without any background music are awkward, phone lines without hold music makes customers think no one is actually holding for them, and video marketing is incomplete without song. Even though you may feel that the latest hit would be a perfect fit for your multimedia needs, without following the right procedures you could be on the hook for damages much larger than the actual licensing fees. But where do you start?

The rights to any musical composition’s distribution are typically managed by the publishing company under what are known as “mechanical licenses”. Sometimes the rights can be released directly by the copyright holder, but typically only under special circumstances such as when the request comes from a source with strong cross-promotional influence, or a friend of the artist themselves. The major Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. All commercial artists will be affiliated with one or the other organization. However, obtaining a license to use the music of one organization does not give you legal access to the libraries of all three PROs. There are, however, several third party companies who have licensing agreements with the PROs, and will grant access to specific works within their libraries for a fee. If you need to be able to customize how you use the creative work, such as by editing a song to fit within a TV commercial or radio jingle, obtaining licensing through a third party is usually the easiest way to go. However, if all you need is elevator music, obtaining licenses specific to your organization is probably unnecessary.

Typically, the best route for a company to take is to purchase systems with pre-existing music libraries already integrated. For example, many VOIP providers either have their own content created exclusively for their organization, or have purchased rights to creative works themselves. This places the burden of working through the licensing issues on the service provider you are using. However, if you want to make sure your service provider is compliant, you should ask for documentation proving compliance with current copyright laws identifying the corresponding PRO.

Please leave a comment or for more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement 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.

 

Creating our own limitations.

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

 

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Opportunities to learn are everywhere but can be used either to improve or damage your capabilities. For example, any married couple knows it’s not easy to have two flawed individuals share life together. However, even in less than ideal situations, there are opportunities to learn that you will never get anywhere else other than a situation where someone’s soul is borne to you in ways neither individual can hide from. There will be opportunities to learn how others think and operate, and to discover your own biases and shortcomings. However, there will also be opportunities to hide your insecurities, deny your flaws, blame shift, and stubbornly hold fast to your own LIMITATIONS. This is typically what people do when meeting viewpoints different from their own: We get defensive, myopic, and squander an opportunity to better ourselves.

Whether we like it or not, character traits like humility, and work ethic, will profoundly influence how well we perform our professional activities. No one promoted this fact more heavily than the author of. The 7 habits of highly effective people.

Stephen Covey proposed that maturity is a continuum from least to most mature by the steps of Dependence (reliance on others), to Independence (reliance on self), to Interdependence (Independently chosen reliance on others, to accomplish cooperatively what we cannot independently). This is counterintuitive because we typically think of Independence as being the most mature, in the form of the lone wolf leader, or the maverick who does things his/her way. But the truth is it’s far more difficult and beneficial to assume someone else might know something you don’t. By definition, this means you have to let other people make decisions out of their unique perspective and expertise that you WOULD NOT, or else you’ll always be LIMITED by your own understanding, and no organization will ever be all it can be without utilizing the collective expertise of the group.

Are your limits strictly determined by how hard you work? How fearless you are? How smart you are? What if you’re limiting yourself by making assumptions about how much value other individuals or organizations can contribute to your business? Do we have the strength of character to admit there are individuals or organizations that can perform certain tasks better than we can? Leaning on other’s expertise isn’t an insult to your capabilities; it’s a means of interdependent improvement.

There are variables in our lives we genuinely can’t control, and we shouldn’t want to, especially when it comes to learning through how we work and relate with other people. If we truly want to extend beyond our current limits, we have to allow external factors to force us to explore outside of our current paradigms, and deliberately chose to EXPAND, not LIMIT, our understanding through it.

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.

We look forward to your comments.