Archive for the ‘Sourcing Strategy’ Category

How much is your time worth as a procurement professional?

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Today’s blog is by Alex Borbely, Director of Sales at SafeSourcing

How much is your time worth as a procurement professional? It’s probably at least $40 an hour, likely as much as $60 an hour, and could be as high as $100 or more per hour. Significant savings are rarely achieved by picking at minuscule price variations. Procurement leadership will agree that the practice of spending $100 to save $50 needs to stop so you can start spending your time on implementing strategic changes and improvements that will drive larger savings, such as conducting a spend analysis project or automating or implementing a full service e-procurement strategy, where the work is handled outside of your expensive procurement team and only those individuals become involved for approvals. A full service e-procurement partner consistently provides negotiations of better terms and pricing with suppliers. SafeSourcing consistently provides our clients with 10X ROI. With SafeSourcing, it is not uncommon to have on average of six or more suppliers/vendors participate in a sourcing event. The leg work is done by SafeSourcing and the results are superior to in-house procurement results. As soon as you stop wasting time to find minuscule savings and start to utilize a full-service provider to do the heavy procurement lifting, you’ve already cut costs. Our clients will agree that, additionally, every hour of your time you are able to put towards higher value activities is an investment of the company’s budget that will produce bigger results and a positive return.

The use of the right tools, specifically the right full-service procurement service that allows you to readily have spend analysis reports, can help you identify which suppliers, categories, and commodities are receiving the majority of your spend dollars. These are the areas where investing time to achieve pricing reductions will be most lucrative. Additionally, the right full service provider for e-procurement will give you the ability to drive user spending to preferred suppliers and contracts, which results in longer-term savings and value. Finally, utilizing SafeSourcing’s 10-year plus catalogue of strong suppliers will allow you to not only compile supplier data, but also score and rate their performance as your vendor. This will support your efforts to ensure you have the optimum supplier base for your business. SafeSourcing Inc. is a pivotal part of the full service procurement industry. We provide innovative e-procurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers, as well as provide superior value for all stakeholders. In addition to providing information, tools, and services, SafeSourcing proactively supports consumer safety and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain management process.

Have a call with our sales team at SafeSourcing to learn more about how we can fully manage your services, goods, and projects. We can handle your sourcing needs. We enjoy bringing this blog to you 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 Pilot program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We have an entire team ready to assist you today. No savings, then no charge!

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Where to Start in Re-Evaluating Your Purchasing Habits

Thursday, October 11th, 2018



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

Do you own one business or are you a corporation with thousands of locations? How do you look at your purchasing needs for internal business or goods for resell? Do you rely on the sales person to tell you they have the best product and can get you the best price? Do you research your suppliers? Finally, how do you know you are getting the best product at the best price?

The process in re-evaluating your purchasing habits are the same, regardless of the size of your business, and it applies for goods as well as services. With a careful focus in following areas you can redefine your purchasing habits; you can use this list as a guideline or create your own:

  1. Lower costs
  2. Consistent and improved quality
  3. Products that guarantee safety for your consumers
  4. Smooth transition to new supplier relationships
  5. Quality product specifications
  6. Unlimited new sources of supply
  7. Well thought out internal and external collaboration and aggregation
  8. Support for environmentally focused products
  9. Support of corporate social responsibilityinitiatives
  10. Evaluation of low cost technology solutions
  11. Joining and collaborating with a share group
  12. Review of incumbent suppliers
  13. E-Sourcing or e-procurement training.
  14. Existing procurement tool evaluation
  15. Existing contracts evaluation
  16. Spend evaluation
  17. Alternative geography sourcing
  18. Sourcing and supply chain knowledge transfer
  19. For resale sustainable practices review
  20. Perfecting the expense category

As you brainstorm the above list, think of other ways you can do a process improvement for your purchasing habits and create your own list. Prioritize and elimination sessions will help you focus on the areas that are more important to your business needs.  Please use the list above as your guideline and make your goals simple and achievable.

Are you overwhelmed and need assistance? 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.

We look forward to your comments.




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Sourcing Project Fingerprints

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018


Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

The day we are born we all get a set of identifying marks that make us unique; our fingerprints. Not one us have the same set of fingerprints and so they have become one of the things that identify who we are to the rest of the world.

In much the same way our physical fingerprints identify us, how we approach and handle tasks in our everyday lives have characteristics similar to our fingerprints that identify us as the ones involved with those tasks; how we write; how we speak; how we lead; how we organize; how we communicate. Each of us puts fingerprints on our work that identify us as being involved with a project. Let’s look at a few areas to help you determine what fingerprints you are leaving behind.

Research: Every sourcing project begins with the research. Research includes understanding what you are buying, how much you are buying, who you are currently buying that product from and who else sells that product that you could buy it from. The diligence you show in digging up the documents, emails, contracts, potential new vendors leaves your fingerprint on a project a major way.

Tool use: Tools range from pencil & paper to Excel spreadsheets to fullblown eSourcing solutions that intelligently help you organize the procurement process. Knowing what tools you have at your disposal and how to use them can mark a project with your involvement. Also, knowing when the tools you have aren’t sufficient is equally important.

Organization: Knowing all of the details does no good unless the organization of a project is done well. Great procurement professionals can assess a project; determine who needs to be involved; determine what each phase of the project should be and who should be brought in to assist with each step of the process. Knowing what to expect and organizing appropriately can be the difference between a successful project and one that fails to meet expectations.

Communication: Communication is tightly connected with organization. Without effective communication among all parties involved in the organized project, including what the expectations of each member are, many projects fail before they ever begin.

Desire: The wild card to the fingerprint you leave on a project is desire. Desire can originate from many different sources but the goal is always the same; completing a successful project in the time it was expected to happen. Among each of the five components mentioned here, desire will mark projects as yours and will many times be the difference-maker in a project being completed correctly and in a timely manner. When you strongly care about a project being successful, the majority of the time it will be.

For more information on SafeSourcing or how you can leave better fingerprints on your sourcing projects, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

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Fall is falling and you should already be planning for 2019!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018


Now that fall is here and the holidays are right around the corner, how are you planning for 2019?

Today?s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

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 2019? 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 first or second week in November.? 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 2014 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.

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Zero Waste Initiative

Monday, October 1st, 2018


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

Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery store chain, recently announced that it will begin phasing out plastic bag use and expects to be plastic bag free in all of its 2,800 stores by the year 2025.  This shift is part of Kroger’s ‘Zero Hunger / Zero Waste’ initiative in response to the growing concerns of customers and the community, and is a reflection of their commitment to “live our purpose through social impact”, according to Kroger’s chief operating officer, Mike Donnelley.

The transition from single-use to reusable bags will ultimately eliminate 123 million pounds of garbage annually sent to landfills. That would quadruple the amount of plastic the retailer currently recycles. Kroger will ramp up the availability of their reusable bags which costs $1 each, and customers will still have the option of asking for paper bags.  Future plans also include a phase out of plastic bags for produce and meat.

Other major U.S. corporations have joined the shift to reduce waste, which include Disney, Starbucks, Marriott, and McDonald’s.  These companies have all committed to getting rid of plastic straws.  Dunkin’ Donuts will be phasing out polystyrene foam cups, and Ikea has plans to eliminate single-use plastic products by 2020.

In a previous blog, I covered the many benefits of recycling.  Although there has been a growing awareness of environmental conservation which dates back to long before the first Earth Day in April of 1970, we are still a long way away from being a totally waste conscious society.  Only 30% of recyclable materials actually get recycled. The move to produce less waste is a step in the right direction in the quest for a zero waste solution.

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.




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Finding the Right Contractor

Friday, September 28th, 2018



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

When it comes to remodeling, there are a lot of things that need to be considered.  One of the biggest decisions is finding the right contractor for the job.  A contractor is the person that you will hire to provide the labor and materials to complete your project; but before you start looking for a contractor, you must plan what needs to be done and the scope of work that will need to be completed.  It’s very important to know exactly what needs to be done so that the contractor can give you a quote that is accurate and will not rise in cost because of unexpected work.  Spend a lot of time up front thinking about what it is you want to accomplish and exactly how you want the end project to look.  This would include all amenities that will need to be installed as well.

Once you have the scope of work defined, it’s time to look for the right contractor.  During this process you want to get bids from several contractors.  I would suggest around 6 to 9 bids because this will give you a better picture of how much the project should cost and how long the project should take to complete.  Once you have met with the contractors, it is recommended that you perform background checks.  Even if someone was recommended to you by a friend or a family member, it will let you know if they have any past or pending complaints.  Along with background checks, there are other things that should be taken into consideration before hiring a contractor.

  • Get everything in writing
  • Make sure they offer a signed contract
  • Ask for references
  • Verify insurance and license
  • How long have they worked with subcontractors
  • Payment schedule

If you are planning to start a new project and would like help finding a contractor, 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.


We look forward to your comments.




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Positive Change

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018


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

Recently in the news, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, a well-known health insurance provider, will no longer cover the cost of prescriptions for OxyContin. OxyContin is a strong pain reliever that is available by prescription only and has a history of abuse and addiction. Many people even speculate that addiction to this pain reliever has caused a rise in the number of heroin and other opioid users, as OxyContin is much more expensive to obtain illegally without a prescription than the highly addictive and deadly, but cheaper, heroin. While this move may raise further questions for Blue Cross, the change is generally received as a positive step toward preventing more addition and drug abuse in the future.

In another recently announced change, Kroger has said it will phase out its use of plastic bags by 2025. While plastic grocery bags are fairly cheap and are convenient for many customers, there have been growing concerns about the number of plastic bags and their impact on the environment, as they end up collecting in waterways and oceans and hurting wildlife. Kroger plans to begin implementing a more environmentally sustainable option, like reusable bags.

No matter what positive change a company makes, the company must still implement their new plan. These new plans often require sourcing new products or services. This is where a company like SafeSourcing can help. We can help your organization not only research what options are available, but also help implement the entire plan. We work directly with your own team to obtain the data and information needed to source your solution and implement a positive change.

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


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Ingredients for a successful RFQ.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018


Today’s Post is by Eli Razov, SafeSourcing  Account Manager.

What do you need to run a successful RFQ? This is a question I am asked a lot. I would have to say it starts with data. Good data can make or break what can be considered a “successful RFQ”. So what do I mean by good data? It helps to do some market research to see where it stands at the time. Knowing this will help you understand if there will be an increase in price or if this is the right time to take this to market. The first step is to know what it is you are looking to procure.  Full specifications, annual quantities, how often you order, and any manufacturer SKU’s is good information to have on hand. The second most important piece of data is current pricing, any recent invoices or quotes are best and the more recent the better. By knowing a current price of a good or service will show you true savings. Once you know what it is you need, how many you need, and how much it currently costs, the next step is finding out who you can get it from. This is personally one of my favorite steps, vendor research! The internet is a great source of information on this. Using a search browser, simply typing the good or service you need, will give you a list of companies in whichever area you are looking for. Sometimes this step can be difficult for specialty products or services. A good trick to use, if you know only one supplier or vendor name, is to use that name and type “competitor” after it. You will be given a list of companies that are in the same market. Be sure to contact these companies and “vet” them to know they truly provide what you are looking for. Once you know what you need, and who to get it from, now it is time to run that RFQ. Typically you contact the vendors, send in a request via fax or email, wait for them to reply with any questions or modifications. Once all the questions are answered, they will give you a price based on their margins and send it back to you. From there you must decide if you need to order samples or decide purely off of price. Of course this is just a simplified version of the process; there are many more working parts behind the scenes. Once all of these steps are complete, you should have found a new low price for what you need. But what would you do if I were to tell you there is a simpler way of doing this? By using SafeSourcing, we do all of the leg work for you! From gathering data and building specification documents, to our vast list of vendors and suppliers, we ensure you get the best price for your needs without having to stress and spend your time on it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Representative, we have an entire team waiting to assist you today.


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What is a Salespersons? Role Part I of II

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018



Today’s post is by Alex Borbely, Director of Sales at SafeSourcing

As a 30 year sales veteran, I am happy to be back with SafeSourcing for the second time in my career. A salespersons role in any organization is to sell the company’s products and support the clients. Challenge number one in selling is always to find the ROI in the product you are representing and being able to demonstrate that ROI to the buyer in a timely manner where investment doesn’t exceed return. I have represented many offerings both SW and HW during my career and that ROI is sometimes not an easy task to find or to explain to a buyer. Many times the ROI is spread over a 12 to 18 month period or longer with dribs and drabs coming in monthly or even annually. I am pleased to have rejoined SafeSourcing and representing a robust procurement full service offering. The ROI is a certainty apparent to the prospect and easily able to demonstrate to a prospect that is looking for a procurement solution with an end goal of reducing cost of goods and services. Who wouldn’t be interested in a 10X ROI?? That is what the SafeSourcing offering will do.? The full service team will help product buyers save considerably on costs by providing tools that enhance the ability to do business in a better, safer, smarter, more streamlined and cost effective way. SafeSourcing Services Team is one of the best in the industry at complimenting existing procurement teams to help structure and develop projects in less time for better results. The flexible service offerings and suite of e-procurement tools deliver savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of the service.

In review until tomorrows Part II, it is great to be back at SafeSourcing and visiting retailers with such a feature rich offering that provides a low cost of usage and an instant return on investment. I look forward to meeting many retailers representing this exciting full service offering and assisting procurement professionals with striving to bring additional dollars to their bottom line.


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 today.


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Effective Problem Solving

Friday, August 31st, 2018


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

When first seeing a complex problem our intuition is to try to take it all in at once, but this often leads to feeling overwhelmed by the size and complexity of the information and not knowing where to begin. It?s easy to get so focused on the substance of a problem, that we pay inadequate attention to the analytical process. The instinctive reaction to problem solving is to start going in a direction, any direction because we just want to get started, and see what turns up.

Starting an analysis without an appropriate analytical structure in mind can lead to a critical failure in your conclusions by:

??Using processes where data is corrupted by incorrect manipulation
??Allowing bias into your analysis by looking for data that supports your assumed conclusion
??Answering questions that were the wrong questions to begin with
??Missing clues in the information that could have informed your process early on

Below we offer a basic outline to approaching a problem that involves a large data set. Keep in mind, this is just a starting point, but one that may help prevent you from going too far down a wrong path:

1.?? Identify the goal: This helps us identify our angle of attack, our strategy for how to break down the data. Not to be confused with identifying the answer. The goal may be ?to identify the spend in X category?, but cannot assume what the results will be until the data speaks for itself.
2.?? Identify the constraints: Not all data sets will contain the information required to perform an analysis. Some problems require some back and forth from your source before you will have all of the variables needed to solve. Does the data contain relevant information to our goal?
3.?? Identify the correct method for attacking the problem: The methodology chosen must be appropriate to the puzzle you are trying to solve. Do transactions need to be re-categorized? Do we need to prove the data is inclusive of all fees attached to each PO? Does it need consolidated and normalized?
4.?? Break down the problem into its constituent parts: The more complex the problem, the smaller ?chunks? you will want to break the problem into and solve individually before regrouping and piecing any broad conclusions.
5.?? Tell the story: Once you have problem broken down into manageable chunks, establish patterns that tell the story behind the data with as specific of information and numbers as possible.

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.

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