Archive for the ‘Sourcing Strategy’ Category

Apple’s New Release

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

 

 

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

There is a new apple that was released on December 1st, and it’s not a tech device. The Cosmic Crisp apple, also known as WA 38, is a new apple bred by Washington State University horticulturist Bruce Barritt, with the backing of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. The Cosmic Crisp is a hybrid of the Honeycrisp and the Enterprise apple, which is supposed to be a large and very juicy, with a longer shelf life than the average apple. It is the first apple to be bred in Washington.

The first plantings for commercial use were in spring 2017 and are initially only available to Washington-based growers and will remain limited to them for ten years. The trees take three years to produce a crop, and the plan was to start with 300,000 trees, but growers requested 4 million. This led to a lottery to distribute the first trees and due to demand, have planted 12 million saplings in the first three years. These plants are licensed and limited by WSU which owns the Cosmic Crisp patent, known as WA 38, so authorized growers need a license to purchase the seedlings and have a to pay a royalty on sales of the apples.

Apples are a $2.5 billion a year business in Washington, which grows about 60% of the nation’s supply, or nearly 140 million boxes. The top varieties are Gala (23%), Red Delicious (20%) and Fuji (13%). My personal favorite is the Gala, and the Red Delicious has been losing its appeal for a long time (pun intended).

Twenty-two years from cross-pollination to launch, the Cosmic Crisp is backed by a massive consumer launch and a huge publicity campaign which has a $10.5 million marketing budget. By 2020, more than 2 million boxes will be available.

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

We look forward to your comments.

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part IV of IV!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

 

 

This week’s blog series has been our archives at  SafeSourcing.

During Part III of this post we discussed organizing your data and looking at amenities offerings and programs that when supported by your corporate travel policies drive value and assist in establishing the goals for your event.

Ok, amenities are one thing, but how data relative to individual locations, chain or corporate discounts and rebate programs interact is key to making sure that what looks like value really is.

Today we will be exploring the importance of these additional data elements.

1. Location Rates
2. Chain Discounts
3. Rebate Programs

The Location rate – The most ideal scenario in any accommodations eProcurement process is to negotiate the rate at individual properties based on a spend estimate (usually more than 100 nights a year).  Regardless of what the goal of the project eventually ends up being, being able to focus on the top 8-10 locations where you have significant recurring use  to reduce your rates is something that should be considered as long as you have the estimates to provide the properties; which is not always the case. There are ways to extrapolate this data if it is not yet consolidated that a solutions provider should be able to help you with.

The Chain or Corporate Discount – In many cases, company’s lack the visibility into their accommodation spend to be able to let vendors know much more than the overall amount they spend each year.   There are times in these cases, when a company is beginning to establish its travel policy and tracking mechanism that trying to get a chain discount across all properties may be a good place to start.  Selecting 2 or 3 preferred chains will help you get a good discount and will provide you with partners who can begin helping you track the activity from their side as well.

The Rebate Program – Unfortunately when you can’t provide the level of detail you want to the vendors on the portion of business they stand to gain while at the same time you may even be starting a new travel policy program internally; getting everyone to commit to the project can be difficult.  The vendors don’t want to go out on a limb because they don’t know how much business they are really going to get and the employees may not follow the process because they see no reason to do so.

Establishing an annual cash rebate program with the vendors based on volumes can address both of these issues.  Vendors have the opportunity to commit to additional savings when they get the volume of spend they are seeking and since tracking volume becomes the means by which this rebate is achieved, the employees and company have a strong reason to maintain use of the new processes.

If you do have good consolidated information, there are ways to leverage all three of these data elements in order to optimize your savings opportunities and reward your frequent travelers and traveling vendors at the same time.

Hopefully this four part blog series points out that there are a number of variables (data) to consider when sourcing Hotel Accommodations, individually they all can add value and potentially reduce costs or mitigate increases, combined as a complete strategy where each element is leveraged there is significant potential  for your company.

If you’ve enjoyed this four part post on sourcing accommodations, please pass it on to others that may have interest. If you like more information about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations; please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part III of IV!

Monday, November 18th, 2019

 

This week’s blog series is from our Archives at SafeSourcing.

In todays part III we will be exploring the following data elements.

1. The Data
2. Amenities & Features

The Data – After you have established your goals for your events it’s time to review the data you have available to you in order to get your project off the ground. Don’t be disturbed if there isn’t much.  Having no visibility into how many nights you stay at a specific location can certainly make negotiating rates with that location more difficult but not impossible.  In many cases companies have rates established with properties and do not even realize it.  Simply making some phone calls to the hotels near your offices is a simple way to start. You might be surprised with what you have in place currently with these properties.  At the very least a picture of what your accommodation spends as a whole is needed so that the chains and properties know how to provide you with something that is valuable for you and worth their investment. Between these phone calls, some internal surveys and some expense statement reviews, extrapolating your spend is entirely possible.

The Amenities & Features – You may not have a policy that details the amenities a specific property or brand needs in place in order to be a “preferred” site but gathering those details is critical so that you can sort out your true cost profile once the project has been completed.  One property in Phoenix, AZ may provide lower rates than another but may charge for internet access and is not able to provide the free continental breakfast another property with higher rack rates does.  It  may be preferable to conduct an RFI as a precursor to any pricing work that is done so that  your company can understand which properties will fit the criteria you require of a preferred location.

During tomorrow’s final post in this series we’ll be discuss Location Rates, Chain Discounts, Rebate Programs and how to leverage them to your best advantage during your event.

If you can’t wait for tomorrows Part IV or this IV part post and need more information sooner about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part II of IV!

Friday, November 15th, 2019

 

This weeks post Sourcing Travel Accommodations part II  of IV  is from our Archives at  SafeSourcing.

In yesterdays  post we discussed the types of data required to effectively negotiate Hotel Stays on behalf of  your company?

Today we will be exploring the following data elements.

1. The  Corporate Travel Policy
2. The goal of your sourcing effort

The Policy – Before anything gets done with a travel related category it may be an appropriate time to revisit the company’s entire corporate travel policy in order to determine if any updates are required.  If you do not have a formal travel policy that covers the entire company, establishing one should the be the first step in this sourcing endeavor.  Details that should be included in this document become the  foundation for the Terms & Conditions that drive as well as the contracts that ensure your results and will also determine how best to set the next step of the process: The Goal.

The Goal – There are generally two kinds of hotel accommodations that companies should gather data for during the eProcurement process. They depend on the structure of your company.  The first is to gain the best rates you can for company associates that travel as part of doing business for your company. These can location specific if used frequently enough or they may be in the form of a program that gets established for all locations within a specific hotel brand. The variety of stay should be dictated by the corporate policy.  The second goal is to secure the best rates and service for a company’s locations or location for their associates as well as vendors and customers visiting your offices.  These two goals can happen independent of each other or as part of the same process.

During tomorrow’s post we’ll discuss additional data elements such as amenities, features and services.

If you can’t wait for tomorrows Part III or this IV part post and need more information sooner about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing Travel Accommodations part I of IV

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

 

Todays post is from our Archives at SafeSourcing.

Negotiating hotel accommodations for your company can be a tricky business because many vendors will want to understand your goals and your projected spend with them before they will seriously consider awarding you aggressive discounts.  Couple this with the fact that many franchise properties like to negotiate their own rates independent of their national brand and you have what appears to be a complex low return category. When In fact, this not the case.

Over the next several days we will be taking a look at some of the data companies require before they will seriously consider awarding you aggressive discounts.

Over the course of this post series we will be exploring the following data elements.

1. The  Corporate Travel Policy
2. The goal of your sourcing effort
3. The Data
4. Amenities & Features
5. Location Rates
6. Chain Discounts
7. Rebate Programs

If you can’t wait for tomorrows Part II or this IV part post and need more information sooner about sourcing travel related categories like hotel accommodations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Fall is falling – You should already be deep into your procurement planning for 2020!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

 

Today’s post is from the archives at SafeSourcing.

Procurement professionals our success is dependent on how well we are continuing to think forward to the coming months so that we are prepared when the business is ready to go out and make spend decisions.  This usually can’t be done in just a few weeks, it requires looking months in advance at new projects, new spends and existing contracts and reviews of the market for the best offering.

Typically this type of planning involves sitting down with your department heads to understand what their budgets, spends, and plans for the business are in the future so that you can get ahead of what is coming.

With fall just beginning and the holiday season right around the corner, now is the time to begin scheduling those sessions with the departments and looking at the contracts that are due to expire in the first and second quarter in 2020.  Coordinating these meetings can take time and the larger your company, the more lead time you are likely to need to get on the appropriate peoples’ schedules.

Waiting until after the first of the year to do this when budgets have officially been set may be too late to get this done, as people are generally coming back from the holidays and catching up on the other items that have been awaiting their attention.  It can be the end of January or early February before you get your meetings scheduled which will likely mean you will lose an opportunity to help them source some items in the first quarter.

Get your meetings scheduled by the end of November at the latest.  Using a three step approach like the one followed by SafeSourcing Managers, look for those departments which have a higher number of easy, high opportunity categories.  This includes spends with fast approaching contract deadlines.  Also look at those departments that have more complex projects but with high dollar spends followed by the departments involving the most complex spends but with high opportunity.  This last group can generally take more time to gather information and strategize so make sure you include time with these departments to get ahead of the projects.

Going through the projects these departments have planned for 2020 is a great exercise in understanding how the procurement department can help them select the right products and services for your company providing better overall value.

For more information on scheduling your internal department head planning sessions or for templates you can use during those sessions to help collect the data you need, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

CIO Applications Magazine Honors SafeSourcing

Wednesday, November 6th, 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.

 

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.

 

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.