Archive for the ‘Sourcing Strategy’ Category

Information about Cybersecurity Part I

Monday, February 18th, 2019

 

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

According to Forbes.com, there were 2,216 data breaches and more than 53,000 cybersecurity incidents reported in 65 countries in the 12 months ending in March 2018. People have been forced to increase their security and find new ways to keep our personal information safe. Just within the last 2 years we started using the chip process in our debit and credit cards. I think we all remember the data breach that happened March of 2018 where Facebook allowed to 87 million records to be breached. Millions of people had their personal information and other sensitive matter exposed for the public to see.

Hysolate is a company whose mission is to create a future-ready endpoint platform that provides the highest levels of both security and productivity. Led by experts in security and infrastructure, Hysolate is shifting the work environment into a new era. According to the CEO Tal Zamir of Hysolate,, “In 2019, the two main targets for cyber-attackers will be the cloud and user devices. Operating systems on user devices provide more functionality than ever before, making them more vulnerable and an easy target for attackers. At the same time, users will expect more flexibility and the ability to work with any OS, any application, and on any device. As organizations look to provide security, privacy, and productivity, they will have to shift to a new, ‘zero trust’ device architecture”. I honestly cannot think of a person that does not use cloud on their computer or their phone.

We as a society have become so accustom to completely relying on our devices for every aspect of our lives. Ordering food, using GPS, posting on Facebook, googling and many more other activities we do on a daily basis. With that, whether we like it or not, all of our information is everywhere. We put in our credit cards to buy stuff online, and we post every little thing we do on social media. So we rely on companies like Hysolate and other security companies that specialize in keeping our information safe.

Transunion stated that cyber security doesn’t involve just businesses and the government. Your computer, tablet and cellphone probably contain information that hackers and other criminals would love to have, like other people’s email addresses, names and birthdates. Suppose, for example, a hacker had access to your contact information. He could then send an email or text message to everyone you know, using your name, encouraging them to click on a link containing malware, like “Hey Jane, I thought you’d love this! Click here.” I know in the last month I have received multiple emails and text messages of this kind. So educate yourself, make yourself aware of these issues and keep your self-protected.

“When you are aware of the risks, it may be much easier to protect yourself from hackers, viruses and malware.” Transunion.com.  In my next blog I want to go over the 3 principles of cyber-security and what we can do to help protect ourselves. Stay tuned…

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.

References………………………………………

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ 2019
  2. https://www.transunion.com/blog/identity-protection/why-is-cyber-security-important 2019

 

The Final Countdown

Friday, February 15th, 2019

 

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

While many organizations have already completed multiple procurement processes and have begun saving already this year, it’s not too late to start saving too. If you haven’t already, now is the time to begin your procurement processes. Beginning now can help you see those savings in Q1 instead of waiting and not realizing those same savings until Q2 or later.

As a hypothetical example, let’s say two retail stores have been competing for years, both with equal amounts of success. Now, one store began its procurement processes at the beginning of the year sourcing goods that they already purchase, like their bathroom supplies of paper towels, soap, toilet paper, etc. They realized 20% savings on an annual $200,000 spend, meaning they are already savings $40,000. They can now use those savings in any other areas where it might be needed and begin working on their next event to save more. Those savings add up, too. The store that sourced their products through the procurement process was able to begin using their new price right away and the store that has not yet begun is essentially losing out on over $3000 worth of savings each month they delay their efforts.

While it is better to start your procurement processes early, it’s not too late to start seeing savings this quarter, but you must begin soon. A procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can help you understand the process involved, what is needed, what can be expected, and help your organization every step of the way. They can help you get savings on things you already purchase and help your organization get the best cost savings available.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Fulfillment

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

If you aren’t familiar with print fulfillment standard practices, it can be surprising to see how complicated the program can get. In retail, for example, printing can be segmented by uses such as signage, labeling, circulars, mailers, flyers, banners, and promotions. Each of these segments is usually kitted by the print fulfillment provider, who also stores and distributes the final product. However, the whole process is further complicated by the fact that each store in a retail chain will have different needs that may require specific promotions, store address prints, quantities relative to store size, quantities relative to market, or differing departments between stores such as deli, floral, or pharmacy. Therefore, the whole process is typically outlined in complex spreadsheets that breakdown stores, campaigns, print files, costs, logistics, and lead times. Managing this process is a delicate dance between all parties involved, and can seem impossible to negotiate better pricing. However, we routinely see double digit savings in this category from companies who take their programs to market.

The first thing many companies will find when exploring the market for other print fulfillment providers is inconsistency. For example, you may find that you have previously priced a banner from a print company, and find that the fulfillment company you buy that banner through, marks up the cost of the same banner by 40% before freight. Another inconsistency you may find is that you are being charged two different price points for the exact same kind of print/material/color, just because they are in different kits, and you’re already being charged a kitting fee. If you have an agreement that allows you unlimited changes to the print file on any product that doesn’t require a re-tooling, the aforementioned price difference doesn’t make any sense. Now that you’ve found these inconsistencies in price for products with a common denominator, you can structure your RFQ appropriately.

If your program data is captured well within a table, you can use any number of programs to identify and consolidate your print types. For example, do you have the same 8.5 x 11/60lbs/4-color product being used in 8 different kits with multiple price points? Itemize that as ONE product, with the print file and kitting to be communicated post-bid in a master print schedule. Go through the same exercise with all of your activity, and you will find that the complexity of your program can have its volume summarized in a much reduced number of activities.

SafeSourcing has walked their clients through this exercise countless times, and then compressed the pricing through our e-suite of procurement tools. We do the heavy lifting, engage the vendors, and negotiate the pricing on your behalf. Utilizing our expertise, you’ll never have to be subject to costly pricing inconsistencies for your Print Fulfillment needs ever again.

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.

How do you know if your Waste Management Programs are effective?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

 

Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

On an old post that still has merit,  we presented a series of blogs about the Four R’s of Waste Management; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rebuy, which went through the basics of each and how your company can take steps to becoming greener.  Today we will be focusing on how to measure the results of your programs for both accounting and PR purposes.

Tons of waste diverted from the landfill – By reusing and recycling products within your organization you are contributing to the reduction of tons of waste which is sent to landfills.  Your recycling partners many times can help track this metric with you.

Amount of disposal costs saved – Every company pays for the disposal of waste.  The less waste produced by your company the less frequently your waste disposal company has to pick up that waste which means lower costs for your company and an accounting bottom-line expense reduction.

Amount of purchase costs saved – Companies that focus on reusing and rebuying product can save millions of dollars when they do not have to purchase new products from vendors.  This is an important metric many companies use to measure the effectiveness of their programs.

Value of materials donated – In some cases the value generated by your waste management programs will be in the manner of credits that directly affect the company’s taxable income.  This is another key measurement factor especially in the recycling focused programs.

Revenues earned – Many programs lead to products that can be sold off to 3rd parties as used inventory.  Revenues earned is a metric with high visibility and importance to many companies’ executive level.

Jobs created or retained – In an economy where the country’s unemployment rate has been a much-watched indicator, many companies have integrated the number of jobs added or saved due to waste management programs into their corporate reporting.  Many times this metric is tied closely with revenues earned.

Families/individuals/organizations assisted – By donating or recycling products, businesses have the capability to help thousands of schools, families and other organizations with products they would have normally thrown away.  This applies frequently to technical products that the company may have outgrown but that still have useful lives.

These are just a few of KPI’s or metrics that you might use in order to report how effective your Four R programs are doing, both internally and externally.  For more information on the Four R’s  or companies that can help you with processes or programs relating to the Four R’s, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

Third-Party Controls for Development

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

 

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

When developing software, third-party controls are often used to speed up the development process.  Third-party controls are reusable software components that are developed by software companies and can be redistributed with your software applications.  When purchased, most of the controls are usually free to re-distribute.  When purchasing controls, they usually come in a package and contain comprehensive out-of-the-box features that are commonly needed within an application.  A control can be something as simple as a text box that contains code to auto fill text, to something more complex such as an entire reporting engine.  Controls are not just visible objects such as a button or an editor, but can be code that performs processing such as PDF creation.  Utilizing third-party controls allows you to develop faster by re-using code and allowing you to focus on the business logic within your applications.  It also allows for faster testing times because the code within the controls has been thoroughly tested by the third-party company and your testing team can focus on other key areas within the applications.  Below are some examples of third-party controls that can be help speed up your development process.

  • DataGrids
  • PivotGrids
  • TreeLists
  • Calendars
  • Schedulers
  • AutoComplete Editors
  • DateTime Pickers
  • Charts
  • Gauges
  • Document Upload
  • Progress Bars
  • Menus
  • Toolbars
  • Media Players
  • Maps

If you are looking to speed up your development cycle and would like help researching third-party control 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 SafeSourcingCustomer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

Procurement of Potato Salad Part Two: Potatoes

Monday, January 28th, 2019

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Major Accounts and Special Projects at SafeSourcing Inc.

What potato makes the best potato salad? That is a difficult question to answer because everyone has a different opinion based on heritage, location, and preference of taste or texture.

How do you purchase potatoes? Again, this varies on how and what you plan to do with them. Manufactures of potato salad, or even French fries, may purchase by the pallet. Smaller manufacturers or restaurants may purchase by the 50-pound bag.  Some purchase raw potatoes while others purchase steam peeled pre-cooked potatoes.

Are you concerned about the price you purchase potatoes? How do you know if you are paying the best price? Are you concerned about the source of the potatoes? Are you aware of how many hands or transfers your potatoes have gone through? How long were your potatoes stored somewhere and what were the conditions in which they were stored before they arrived on your dock? How do you re-coop money if there is more than 5% of spoilage?

All of these questions are valid and SafeSourcing, Inc. can assist you through answering all of the questions through producers and brokerages. Your first step to knowledge is learning what the market index is doing and what season the growers are in currently. Have you tracked weather patterns to see if the crop is forecasted to be a high yield year or a low yield year?  The Producer Price Index can serve as a leading indicator of ultimate price changes at the consumer level, and of inflation if the trend in the PPI is higher. Low inflation is good for stimulating consumer spending, corporate profits and ultimately the stock market. Increased inflation can be a sign of an overheating economy and potentially higher interest rates.1

SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program for RFPs and RFQs, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

This author hopes that you find this series fun and educational. In part three of the Procurement of Potato Salad, this author will provide procurement details for “creamy” details of mayonnaise for potato salad.

We look forward to your comments.

 

References:

https://www.investopedia.com/university/releases/ppi.asp

 

Market for Propane

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

 

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

According to Trading Economics, propane was quoted at 0.68 USD/GAL on Thursday December 27, 2018. Propane reached an all-time high of 1.67 in February of 2014 and a record low of 0.33 in January of 2016. Propane is expected to trade at 0.71 USD/GAL by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations. Looking forward, we estimate it to trade at 0.66 in 12-months’ time.

I have been working on an RFQ for a few weeks. This RFQ was actually one that I did on my own since starting back with SafeSourcing, Inc. I obviously had to do my market research and found out that propane has declined. Prices are going down drastically.

I love grilling out! It is one of my favorite things to do. It’s also something that most households in the US enjoy doing as well. Many appliances run on propane also. Obviously, the most common propane appliance is an outdoor grill; however, households can run almost exclusively on propane…from dryers to space heating.

According to the website Propane Deal (a website dedicated to having access to not only statistics about propane usage, but also where to find propane dealers near you), 47million people in the US use propane for grills and 14.3 million households run on propane. This accounts for about 4.5% of the population. The Midwest region has the highest residential propane consumption (8% of all households); Michigan is the state with the most residential propane users (6.6% of all homes). On average, a US household consumes 464 gallons of propane every year. That is a lot of propane for one household. Approximately 47-million people in the US use propane in their everyday lives.

If you are reading this, and you have a huge demand for propane, now is the time to find the best deal. The market is going down, but the need for propane is rising. Let us save you money on things you need in your everyday life. We have the ability to save you 5-30% annually on your propane needs.

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.

References….………………………………………………………………………

  1. www.cdn.tradingeconomics.com/commodity/propane 2019
  2. www.propanedeal.com/basics/propane-usage 2018

What are supplemental documents?

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Supplemental documents are information, such as charts, illustrations, brochures, and technical data, supplied by a bidder on request as part of a Request for Proposal. It will describe the items offered in greater detail. It may also show the characteristics or construction of a product and explain its operation to enable the purchaser to determine the acceptability of the item.

Many RFI’s, RFP’s, and RFQ’s will require supplemental documents, or supporting documents within their specific projects. Traditionally, this information acts as a backup and provides greater depth to agreed-upon or quoted items.

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.

 

Government Procurement: Bids and Contracts

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

 

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

If anyone has ever seen the movie War Dogs, it is a prime example of exactly how government procurement works, well at least how it worked back in the 90’s. In the movie, the government used procurement to buy weapons and ammunition on a large scale.

For anyone who doesn’t know what government procurement is, it is the procurement of goods, services and construction on behalf of a public authority, such as a government agency. With 10-20% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), government procurement accounts for a substantial part of the global economy. Per Wikipedia, to prevent fraud, waste, corruption, or local protectionism, the laws of most countries regulate government procurement to some extent. Laws usually require the procuring authority to issue public tenders if the value of the procurement exceeds a certain threshold. Government procurement is also the subject of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), a pluryilateral international treaty under the auspices of the WTO (World Trade Organization).

It has been amazing working at SafeSourcing and learning about all the different markets there are to take out to bid. However, it would be incredible to learn exactly what the government takes out to bid. The opportunity in Government Procurement is substantial. Government Procurement brings in about 7 trillion dollars annually.

The government buys many of the products and services it needs from suppliers who meet certain qualifications. The US federal, state and local governments apply standardized procedures by which to purchase goods and services.

For example, according to RFQ.com the federal government does not purchase items or services in the way an individual household might. Instead, government contracting officials use procedures that conform to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The FAR is a standardized set of regulations used by all federal agencies in making purchases. It provides procedures for every step in the procurement process, from the time someone in the government discovers a need for a product or service to the time the purchase is complete. When the government wants to purchase a certain product or service, it can use a variety of contracting methods. Key contract methodologies used to purchase products and services include:

  • Simplified acquisition procedures
  • Sealed bidding
  • Contracting by negotiation
  • Consolidated purchasing vehicles

There are problems, however, with procurement within the government, such as the possibility of corruption. Like in movie War Dogs, you had 2 Americans that ended up corrupting the procurement process and stealing millions of dollars from the government and overseas officials by using the procurement process to hold fake bids and then collect the money on weapons and ammo and then buying them from the black market. The movie is based on a true story that happened in 2007. David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli ended up proving how corrupt Government Procurement could become. Worth the read? Maybe an upcoming blog.

For more information on SafeSourcing, or on our Risk Free trial program,  please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you.

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2019. This year’s strategic sourcing plan should already be in place

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

 

What specific short term tactics will you deploy that support your plan and drive immediate and measureable results.

One example of the above might be to augment the manual processes that many  sourcing professionals use today in order to find new sources of supply interested in bidding for their business rather than continuing to live with the same small, known group of suppliers they have used for years. Historically this has been a very time consuming practice that results in few if any new sources of supply. This represents a great opportunity to deploy a tactic that can have an immediate impact for an organization without the need for the implementation of a complete new sourcing strategy.

There is a specific process to follow that will encourage new sources of supply to want to bid for a companies business beyond just being invited. Simply having your buyer assigned the task of picking up the phone and calling new sources of supply will not result in new suppliers agreeing to bid for your business. There are specific objections to overcome and questions to answer that require a specific skill set.  This is a perfect opportunity for Software as a Service providers that offer supplier research. Skilled providers in this area can provide companies with as many as a half dozen or more willing new sources of supply in as little as thirty minutes  that may in fact reside within a companies existing marketing  area.

Sourcing tactics can be isolated procurement related actions or events that take advantage of opportunities offered by the gaps within strategic plans such as lack of new sources of supply mentioned above.  So our tactic here would be to find additional sources of supply that we can invite to compete for a companies business in a variety of categories. The fact is that additional sources of supply competing for a companies business results in compressed pricing and often better quality products.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.