Archive for the ‘Strategic Sourcing’ Category

Winter Parking Lot Maintenance

Friday, September 29th, 2017

 

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

It’s hard to believe but winter is just around the corner and with it comes the harsh conditions that can deteriorate your parking lot and driveways.  All of the harsh conditions such as rain, snow, ice and the chemical used to melt these conditions can take a toll on a poorly maintained area.  Make sure to keep the area clean.  This means removing any materials such as leaves, planting materials, rocks and gravel.  These types of materials can hold in moisture and may help cause early corrosion.  If there are any areas that contain chemicals such as oil, gas, or other liquids, make sure and use the proper cleaner to remove the stains.  Leaving these types of petroleum stains can damage the area even if they are seal coated.  Once the seal coating is damaged, water may be able to seep in through small cracks which will weaken the area and allow larger cracks to form.  If you do find that you already have small cracks while cleaning, then repair the cracks before further damage occurs.  Not repairing cracks will eventually lead to the development of pot holes which will be lead to more costly problems.  Once cleaned and repaired make sure that it is seal coated.  This should be done about every two to three years to help protect the asphalt from surface water, sun and harsh chemicals.  Below are some tips for keeping your parking lot well maintained.

➢ Routinely Inspect

➢ Keep it Clean

➢ Keep it Sealed

➢ Remove all Chemical Stains

➢ Look for Bad Drainage Areas

➢ Fill Cracks and Pot Holes

If you need help finding a licensed maintenance company to maintain your parking lot, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company 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.

 

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RETAILERS! Clean out those back rooms and move your overstock items using a forward auction.

Monday, September 11th, 2017

 

Todays post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Why is it that we never hear of retailers running forward auctions? There are dozens of sources waiting to buy your overstock which all retailers know will reduce shrink and improve bottom line profitability.

If you go to any internet search engine and type in the term overstock, the data returned is in the millions of pages. Many of these links are locations  for Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) companies that will gladly agree to participate in e-negotiation events in the form of a forward auction to purchase your overstock or liquidated products for resale through their on line offerings.

Online forward auctions are an ideal way to get the best price for capital equipment, materials, overstock and services you may want to sell, such as when you need to liquidate excess inventory.

There are two basic types of forward auctions. The first is a liquidation auction where sellers are reducing inventory from overstock or liquidation and buyers are seeking to obtain the lowest price for items they have an interest in for resale and other purposes. The second type is more of a marketing auction where sellers are trying to sell unique items and buyers wish to obtain unique items. This is typical of an eBay type of offering.

Much of retail shrink happens in the back room or receiving area of retail stores. It just so happens that this is also the location of much of the overstock in the retail community. Much of this product sits there month after month resulting in significant margin hits to quarterly and annual earnings and as such to a company’s stock price.

Ask your e-negotiation solution provider how they can help reduce your overstock and shrink with forward auction tools, and who they would invite as buyers. You company stakeholders will applaud your efforts.

For immediate help, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.
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Here is some Lasik for retail e-procurement professionals in order to create better focus.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

 

Here’s and old post that continues to have merit with a link to another resource from FitSmallBusiness.com

Very often this author gets the question as to where to start in the e-procurement process. Too often I read that one needs to do a detailed discovery. The question is of what and how to get to the right place the quickest. So here is some Lasik for you that will help you see a little more clearly.

Using another idiom, and with renewed focus we hope to make it possible to see the forest for the trees by not focusing on excessive detail that is not needed yet.

There are four areas where you should begin your search for an e-procurement starting point and they are pretty simple.

1. Gross Sales
2. Cost of Goods Sold
3. Gross Margin
4. EBITDA.

This is really to say that if you take a look at your top line or Gross Sales and your bottom line or EBITDA and they are out of whack relative to your plan or industry averages you need to look at the above the gross margin line or Cost of Goods Sold or below the gross margin line which is expense related items for as an e-procurement focal point..

As such a couple of terms whose definitions you should be aware of are as follows.

According to two separate sources, Wikipedia and FitSmallBusiness.com  Cost of Goods Sold or COGS is a financial accounting  term which includes the direct costs attributable to the production or procurement of the goods sold by a company. This amount  can include the materials cost used in creating the goods along with the direct labor costs used to produce the m. It excludes indirect expenses such as distribution costs and sales force costs. COGS appear on the income statement and can be deducted from revenue to calculate a company’s gross margin.

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization or EBITDA which is an approximate measure of a company’s operating cash flow based on data from the company’s income statement. EBITDA is calculated by looking at earnings before the deduction of interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Based on the above a lot is determined by who built you annual plan and how realistic it was to begin with.

Tomorrow we will review what underperforming these measure means and how it should point you in the direction as to where to begin your e-procurement focus.

We look forward to and appreciate you comments.

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What is rPET?

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

RPET is recycled polyethylene terephthalate. When consumers recycle plastic bottles and packaging it can be cleaned and made into a federally approved material suitable for direct food contact applications. Below is a list of examples for reusing the material:

1. Beverage Bottles

2. Clam Shell Containers

3. Trays

The rPET is fully compatible with virgin PET and can be used for up to 100% rPET content.  There are numerous advantages for these second-life products listed below:

1. rPET bottles reduce the amount of waste taken to a landfill

2. rPET has a more stable price than virgin PET because it is not tied to the oil market

3. rPET improves society’s carbon footprint

The three advantages above give enough data to support the effort to change to rPET. Now, what do you need to know when sourcing these products? SafeSourcing is experienced in sourcing rPET packaging. Whether you are looking for private label spring water in six sizes or a clam shell container, we can help; we can work with your company to define your needs. In addition, we know which vendors are in the market and their offerings.

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.

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Joe, Dirt, Java, Brew, Cuppa, Go Juice, Jitter Juice, Bean Juice, Brain Juice, etc.

Friday, April 21st, 2017

 

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

There are many names for coffee, with people making up their own pet names for the beloved brew. With the warmer weather approaching, iced coffee becomes very popular with the coffee-drinking crowd.  But why is iced coffee more expensive than hot coffee?  Depending upon where you buy your coffee, iced coffee can be as much as 60% higher than hot coffee.  A Starbucks grande cup of Nitro Cold Brew averages $3.60, much more than the company’s regular cold brew, which cost $3.25, and over a dollar more than a hot drip coffee of the same size.

Cold brew coffee is brewed with cold or room temperature water instead of hot water. The lower temperatures mean the extraction is slow and take hours to make – often half the day.  It also requires more coffee.  A standard water to coffee ratio might be 17:1.  For cold brew, it might be 4.5:1.  This coffee, labor and time simply make it a more expensive process.  What is left after this process is a concentrate that is cut down with water.  Other things to consider when ordering a cold brew is that plastic cups cost more than paper cups – also factor in the straws.  Ice is also very expensive.  “Ice is a fortune, Michael Pollack of Brooklyn Roasting company told Gothamist last year.  If you think we go through coffee fast, double that for ice.  We actually store ten gallon refrigerator boxes of ice because our needs are so tremendous.”1

SafeSourcing has a lot of experience sourcing coffee and coffee products. It is a category that is sourced regularly.  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,

Resources:

[1] Ethan Wolff-Mann, Money, 5/31/2016

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Why should I schedule a HVAC maintenance appointment?

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.
Spring is here and the temperature will soon be rising.  That means we will be turning on our air conditioners for the first time in a few months.  One thing to consider before it gets too warm is scheduling your annual HVAC system maintenance.  This will ensure that your system is running efficiently, help prevent costly breakdowns, and give you piece of mind during the warm season ahead.  During the inspection the technician will inspect the unit and make sure that everything is clean and running correctly.

There are many benefits for maintaining your HVAC units, such as lower energy bills.  Just because the unit is cooling and heating does not mean that all is well.  A system that is not well maintained slowly loses its ability to keep the same temperatures at the same efficiency it once did, therefore leading to slightly more expensive energy bills over time.  Regular maintenance will also prolong the life of the unit.  Units that are not maintained will become dirty which makes some of the parts work harder and shorten the lifespan of those parts.  Below are some benefits of a having a well maintained HVAC unit.

➢ Increased Energy Efficiency

➢ Extended Lifespan

➢ Decrease in Repairs

➢ Early Warning of Worn Parts

➢ Improved Air Quality

➢ Better Humidity Levels

➢ Safer Operation

If you need help finding a trained HVAC technician, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company 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.

 

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How are you spending your hours?

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

There are just not enough hours in the day! Everyone has heard or said this phrase at least once in their life. Sometimes this phase is true and there is simply not enough time to complete a project in one day. However, more often than not, it is a product of poor time management. I am going to give just a couple of tips to better help with your time management.

First, we must understand what time management is.  Dictionary.com defines time management as “the analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workplace.” An easy way of defining time management is to simply say, “How to utilize the 24 hours that a day provides you?” Simple right? Not so much.  It is very easy to get carried away with a project and to put something else on the back burner. To ensure you are utilizing your 24 hours properly, simply stop and perform a few of these tricks:

1) Write down the task you would like to see accomplished in one week.

2) Prioritize those tasks by importance.

3) Write down the task you should be able to complete in one day.

4) Order your daily task by importance.

5) Put an estimated time limit you expect each task to be completed.

6) Schedule your day according to your task.

7) Buckle down and complete the task on your list.

8) If unable to complete a task, make it your top priority for the next day.

I truly believe that if you follow the above task list you will find yourself getting more accomplished in a single day than you thought was possible. This is why at SafeSourcing we have a daily morning meeting where we prioritize the tasks we must complete in a day. Give us a call so you can witness firsthand how quickly we can get an event complete and start saving you money.

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.

Source:

“time management”. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 17 Apr. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/time-management>.

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Tactical and Strategic Sourcing

Monday, April 10th, 2017

 

Today’s post is written by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Let’s define each one then note the differences. This will aid in better understanding how procurement professionals justify adopting one sourcing method or the other.

Strategic Sourcing

Strategic sourcing is a precise, long term approach to acquire supplies and or services for an organizations current need at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and the lowest risk to the supply chain. This process creates a relationship between the customer and vendor that will ensure continuous improvement in quality, delivery, cost and service while providing the means to attain ideal proficiencies with both parties. There are three key components of strategic sourcing; spend analysis, market research and supplier evaluation and relationship management. These steps require a specifically trained staff using a specific software tool to achieve desired outcomes.

Tactical Sourcing

Tactical sourcing is a short term, transactional activity practiced in small to medium companies. This approach to purchasing goods and services uses quick quote and order processing to support the company’s production or needs. This approach does require management within the company to ensure the right material is purchased at the right price and at the right time. Unlike strategic sourcing, companies are not concerned with the vendor’s core capabilities or creating a long-term relationship.

So based on the two sourcing methods one might think that the strategic approach makes for best practices compared with the tactical method. So why do many companies choose the latter of the two.

Consider a small to medium sized company where purchasing has the ability to use just about any supplier that fits their need. Typically, buyers will use their own best judgement to find the right supply that meets both their pricing and best shipping dates. This is very common in companies that don’t have the luxury of time or technology to assist them from shifting form tactical to strategic purchasing. Their biggest concern is to keep things moving while keeping an eye on costs, hence why tactical sourcing makes the most sense.

Now compared this to a larger company where they could have a suite of ERP technology and a dedicated team of purchasers. They have the time and resources to properly vet suppliers, develop reports, perform a spend analysis, and conduct market research. With these capabilities, procurement can negotiate lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), taking into consideration, quality, price, delivery and lead times. These buyers will have a deeper understanding of the company’s overall needs and requirements. Taking a strategic sourcing approach makes the most sense in these cases.

Finding the best sourcing method for any size company should be a priority, yet time and time again, companies fail to implement any thoughtful process or policy costing them time and money. SafeSourcing, with its dedicated staff and E-procurement suite of tools could do just that. Lower your risk and increase savings without hiring additional staff or buying expensive software. It’s a win-win!

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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Time versus Effort

Monday, March 13th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Rob Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

This may not seem to be a big deal, but I’ve been told on many occasions and in different scenarios, “make sure you have the right tool for the right job.” Believe it or not, but on Ace Hardware’s website, there are 57 choices of hammers and that’s just from the Ace line.

My point is there are a lot of choices out there when deciding how you will purchase goods and services for your company. It is not as simple as one might think. For example; you need a cleaning crew for your office. Simple enough, google cleaning crews, call 3 or 4 of them and compare prices and go with the most economical, right…..not so fast. Did you take in account if they are bonded, green conscience, the type of chemicals they use, did they conduct background checks on the workers, what type of reputation do they have and can they provide references? These are some of the questions you need to have answered. Now here’s the big question, do you have the time?

Time is the real monster that rears its ugly head. How much time and effort are you willing to commit to ensure you get the quality of service and supply that will meet, if not exceed the standards set by your CEO? In my experience, one “simple” procurement can consume a day or days which caused me to fall behind on more serious issues, projects or other purchasing needs. This can lead to frustration and a huge waste of valuable time. Unfortunately, you may skip some or all of the vetting process and just hope it all works out. 

If you don’t have the time, that means either two things; hire more people, or find a company with the expertise, technology and dedicated staff to assist you with your purchasing needs. E-procurement tools can assist and enhance the way you do purchasing all the while saving money and time. SafeSourcing is just that company, an e-procurement company offering a complete procure-to-play suite of applications, a dedicated staff and access to over 450K global suppliers.

It boils down to, how much time you can afford versus getting the supply and/or service in a timely fashion and under budget. 

Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

We look forward to your comments.  

 

 

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Taking the proper time to prepare for your sourcing projects. The story of Ray and John!

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

This blog series details the story or Ray and John.  Ray and John are both procurement professionals who work for multi-billion dollar food manufacturers.  Both Ray and John have corrugated containerboard contracts that are about to expire and with a predicted rise in the pulp market, both professionals are looking to renegotiate their contracts in order to lock in the hopefully current lower prices.  Ray and John, however, took different paths in order to get this category sourced and, as expected, their results reflected their differing preparation time.

Over the course of this week we will be looking at five areas that Ray and John approached differently and how those decisions and time investment affected their final results.  These areas are:

•  Understanding the market

•  Understanding the suppliers

•  Understanding their own company

•  Understanding their goals

•  Understanding and interpreting the results

When Ray and John began reviewing the containerboard project each began with a similar set of information.  They knew how much they were spending and the locations the containerboard was being shipped to.  They had each received some feedback from the field relative to the quality and customer service of the incumbent vendors (of which each had multiple) and they had some part number information from the past invoices.

Ray jumped right in and began to reach out to the suppliers to coordinate meetings on renegotiating the upcoming contract pricing structure.  Ray had seen in one of his trade journals that the pulp index was on the rise and knew enough to know that he wanted to lock in prices before those increases started taking effect.  Outside of that information Ray really did not take any additional time  in order to research the market in order to try and understand what experts were saying about the trend over the next few years and any changes that were happening with technology or safety that may affect his company.

John had already been keeping up with the market for the past year and had been speaking to professionals about their opinion of where the industry was headed.  He had attended two online webinars and at the last industry trade show he made sure to make appointments with two different containerboard companies he had spoken with who were also going to be at the show.  Through his efforts he had learned of a new technology that was coming that was going to drastically affect the costs of production of containerboard.  While the technology was new it was a key point he would be discussing with his incumbents relative to their understanding of it and their plans to potentially implement it within their facilities.

John also found out that there were three leading experts that felt that the increases that were coming in early 2013 would hold there for a while and be the last ones expected for a while.  This was great information because John now knew that when it came time to negotiate his new contracts that he would structure the language surrounding Index related price changes slightly differently because of that.

John’s process involved an intentional commitment to category education throughout the year and some additional time for research up front than Ray’s approach. As such John started his project fully prepared with an understanding of the status of the market before ever reaching out to a supplier.

Stay tuned the rest of the week as the story of Ray and John unfolds.  You may be like Ray but desperately want to operate like John but without the staff or the time to dedicate at that level.

At SafeSourcing we understand Ray’s frustration and that is why our customer services team works with you to achieve great results while removing much of the work from your plate.  For more information on how we can help you with your sourcing projects, 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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