Archive for the ‘Strategic Sourcing’ Category

Viewing our Industries Up stream and Down Stream and around the world.

Monday, March 27th, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

When I travel whether it is for business or pleasure, I have always checked in on customers and suppliers to watch them in action and to learn.

As an example, for 20 years, I drove across the country at least twice per year. If you own a #c-store and it’s on the highway or off an exit in a large or small town, I have been in it. I have an impression of the operation that includes your associates, cleanliness, service levels, rest room quality and quality of service. I can also tell you if you were open on the four corners of an intersection, who might do the best in attracting business.

I am currently in Europe and have watched with amazement how our supply chain works and how companies use the various modalities. Even with all of the technology available today it is still surprising just how important the people are. I watch a barge get loaded today via chain gang where forklifts, dollies etc. would not really work. This included the boat captain including a chef and the driver of the truck as well as a dozen others. It was a get it done and done right attitude that I still applaud, and we don’t talk enough about, our people. How we hire them, train them, and use them is so important.

















SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite . These include but are not limited to SafeContract™, SafePO™, SafeDocument™ and our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers.

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.



Knowing Who Your Suppliers Are – Onsite Visits – Part II of II

Friday, March 24th, 2023


Yesterday we posted  about the importance of onsite visits with your suppliers, how to prepare, what to look for, and the value of performing these visits.  This week we will be taking a look at some of the additional things that you need to think about when visiting a supplier in another country.

Visits to international sites will need to encompass the same types of information gathering as a domestic one such as reviewing the cleanliness of the facilities, observing production, logistic and storage processes, but there 3 important areas that must be considered in addition to these that may determine the success or failure of the visit.

Language – Assuming you are visiting a supplier that is not located in a predominantly English-speaking country, the capability to communicate onsite is an important one that should be addressed well in advance of the visit.  Many times the supplier will have staff that is fluent in more than language and can act as an interpreter, however procuring your own interpreter is also a suggestion and possibility. Also, some basic considerations of your own communication style would be to speak more slowly than usual and pause in between sentences to be understood more easily.

Culture – This is an important area to prepare for because in some countries seemingly minor things can create a tense atmosphere.  Determining whether to bow and the details surrounding when and how, if the country shakes hands when they greet and which hand they shake with are all important items in some countries and should be learned prior to your visit.  On the other hand, it is equally important to note the things that are normally unaccepted behaviors in the U.S. which many times are not viewed the same way in other countries.  Americans would generally never answer a phone call in a meeting or show up to an appointment late, but in other countries these behaviors are far less important and frequently occur during the course of doing business.

Capturing the details – Visits to international suppliers generally come with a price tag that is not insignificant to your company, so capturing as much data as possible is important on these visits.  Wherever you go during your visit take a notepad and camera with you to record what you see and hear while on the visit.  Many manufacturers will allow you to take occasional pictures as long as you ask in advance and have it cleared.  Some may not allow it and others may allow it as long as no employees are included in the pictures.  Capturing these details will be very useful to you and your team in the future and can potentially save trips for other employees in the future.

Onsite visits to your suppliers are incredibly valuable and important to your organization and are a terrific tool for knowing who your suppliers are and how they do business.  They are also important forums to gather details necessary for later contract negotiations.

If you are interested in locating potential new sources of supply, please contact SafeSourcing.  The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database contains 457,000 globally.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

How functional is your procurement team?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

I was reading an article by Kearney titled The future of procurement, with a subtitle of Where procurement is going and how it will get there. It’s a great short read. One quote that caught my attention was credited to an Enterprise leader who said, “Our procurement process is complicated, unclear and slow”. “All it does is create frustration and the illusion of control”. WOW. Whoever said this should be proud of themself because there is mor of this out there than there are exceptional procurement teams.

Sometimes we just try to do too much. We invest in enterprise software without a real awareness of what that means. Are you staffed to use all of the feature functionality? Does someone need to be trained? Has someone else taken over their old role? If you don’t think these issues through, you may just default to old practices with a new tool.  If you bought a sourcing solution, did you also buy a supplier database or are you just using your AP file of the vendors that you already do business with.  Maybe it’s time to look at a company that can do most of the work for you so that you are in the decision mode instead of the doing the work mode. Just a thought.

The article is pretty good so enjoy a quick read. The future of procurement,

If you’d really like to avoid frustration and begin saving money please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite. These include but are not limited to SafeContract™, SafePO™, SafeDocument™ and our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers.


eRFX Strategies for Success a Refresher!

Friday, March 3rd, 2023


Todays post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc. This post also includes input from the many talented teammates I work with every day and my Whitepaper by the same title.

Every sourcing project is different, from the data you start with to the results you hope to achieve and how to get there in a way that delivers great results and great participation. Knowing where to start and the path to travel is key to achieving both of these goals.

The world of procurement is continually changing, and this includes the world of eProcurement when it comes to the request for information, a proposal, or a quote.  The differences between the three requests, what expectations are when receiving the requests back, and how to make a sound business decision with what has been submitted are what separate each stage in giving procurement professionals the blueprint as to where to begin in the process.

While technology continues to evolve and have significant impact on the procurement space, is it bringing better results than the tried and true processes that have evolved but are seldom followed in their entirety. These processes have been in place for years. What are they, how to do them correctly and maximize your results, that is the real trick? If you cannot do them on your own, it may make sense to look to companies that can deliver them consistently in the form of white glove software as a service.

Tune back in tomorrow when we will explore the Request for Information or RFI?

If you’d like to learn more and can’t wait for the series conclusion, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services associate, they’d be thrilled to hear from you.



It’s NOT being braggadocios if you REALLY are better than your peers.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

We are not bragging or being mean spirited; we are that good. Ask our customers. According to them we are invaluable to their company. So why not to yours. Take me to task and I’ll prove it. You nor anyone else on your team sources many of your products and services as often as we do. If you source a category once every one to three years, you are not a category expert because too many changes happen that you can’t keep up with. We can help you!

At SafeSourcing, we help procurement teams save considerably on costs by providing tools and services that enhance the ability to do business in a better, safer, smarter, more streamlined, and cost-effective way.   Our Customer 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.

Our white-glove service offerings coupled with our suite of e-procurement tools deliver referenceable savings results that are greater than 10 times the cost of our services, improving Gross Margin and Earnings significantly.

So, give us a call.  And ask us about our e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services and our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database  that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers. We can get you better pricing on about any category of product or service.

To learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services associate.

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

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023


Todays post is a favorite by Ron Southard our CEO from our SafeSourcing Archives

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

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

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

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

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us any time!

Misconception: eProcurement cost reduction only works for commodities  

Thursday, February 16th, 2023


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

It’s too easy to be dismissive of a concept, especially when you have preconceived notions.

For years, conversations with prospective users and even some customers have often headed down a familiar path. At SafeSourcing, we’re talking about reducing spend and ending overpayment across all categories by an average of 24%. Then we learn that the contact is only hearing this in terms of some pre-defined set of categories. Usually that’s supply items or some other items the person deems are commodities.

What if I told you that the most impact in terms of raw dollars saved come from other categories? What if I were to say that the highest percentages of cost reduction often come from using eProcurement to source services and even custom items?

Some people would still not believe me or would still fall back on their misconceptions, even if I shared recent results like these.

  • Armored Car Services: 21.61%
  • Windows and Doors: 13.84%
  • Floor, Wall, Ceiling Tiles: 40.37% (incl. installation)
  • Cooler Glides and Shelves: 33.41%
  • Exhaust Hoods: 21.33%
  • Waste Removal: 24.04%
  • Employee Assistance Program: 55.19%
  • Common Area Maintenance (CAM): 15.97%
  • Promotional Signage: 33.34%

Here is a quick test:

  • When you think of eProcurement, what spend categories come to mind first?
  • Have you competitively sourced any of the categories in the list in the past 3 years?
    • If no, why not?

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.




Fail Quickly!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Those of us who are too afraid to fail, inherently play things safe. Those of us who play it safe, don’t set “unachievable” goals.  Those of us who don’t set “unachievable” goals, don’t rethink our mental models of what is possible for achieving success.

Of course, no one will say failure doesn’t hurt. However, it doesn’t have to be crippling, if we approach it correctly. In weightlifting we have to allow the uncomfortable microscopic tears in our muscle fibers to occur before those cells can rebuild bigger and stronger. In our personal lives, it we have to be challenged and tested, and shown where our blind spots are before our character can be improved. In business, sometimes we need to surpass our own expectations of what is possible, and test that with both success and failure, before we will know what we or our organization is truly capable of.

Nathan, my second youngest brother, is more of a risk taker than I am, and I suspect there’s a lot I could learn from him. He’s traveled extensively, goes sky diving, purposely seeks out random strangers in public to sit and have lunch with, and generally is always trying new things that I’d rather not.  But he has a method about it; If the only reason he doesn’t want to take a risk is apathy, he takes it anyway. However, if the risk is so great that failure would be unrecoverable, he doesn’t go through with it. He has a lower and upper threshold for the risks he takes, so that he’s never too inactive, but also never betting more that he can afford to lose.

The point of failing quickly is not to take on gargantuan risks. In other words, we don’t go out and bet the farm just to prove a point. There are foolish ways of taking on excessive risk of course.

The point of failing quickly is to expand our self-imposed limitations of what is possible within the proving grounds of activity that we can quickly recover from should the experiment be a failure.

Please contact SafeSourcing if you’d like to discuss how this strategy can help your sourcing projects.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Have you invested in EGGCoins yet? 

Friday, January 27th, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

EGGcoins or just plain old farm fresh eggs are outperforming Bitcoin and most other crypto assets.

However, you cannot hold them for quite as long because they spoil quickly, or even worse they hatch and turn into ChickenCoins that require physical housing versus a virtual wallet.

While bitcoin is up 38.92% YTD. Eggs are up over 60% in the last 12 months and headed higher yet. Maybe you can exchange EGGcoin with Bitcoin.  At least if the price drops sharply, you’d have something to eat. Or even have a pet (not suggested as my grandfather was a chicken farmer so I know things).

While I know you all like tongue in cheek posts, please remember that like everything, egg prices vary drastically based on type, size, color, and farming styles like free range versus caged.

If you really want to get your best price for this commodity, Contact SafeSourcing Inc. We buy more of all commodities more often than you do and know the levers to pull. Glad to share some recent examples when you reach out.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite. These include but are not limited to SafeContract™, SafePO™, SafeDocument™ and our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers.

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.



Logistics Service Provider

Friday, January 20th, 2023



Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Logistics outsourcing involves a relationship between a company and an LSP (Logistic Service Provider) which, compared with basic logistics services, has more customized offerings, encompasses a broad number of service activities, is characterized by a long-term orientation, and, thus, has a rather strategic nature.

An LSP is really what most people would see as a traditional 3PL provider offering a combination of warehousing and transportation services or one or the other. As global and multi-national providers enter the game, things have certainly changed, but the Logistics Service Provider at its core is fundamentally the same.

Third-Party Logistics Provider (3PL) involves using external organizations to execute logistics activities that have traditionally been performed within an organization itself. According to this definition, third-party logistics includes any form of outsourcing of logistics activities previously performed in-house. If, for example, a company with its own warehousing facilities decides to employ external transportation, this would be an example of third-party logistics. Logistics is an emerging business area in many countries.

If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can assist in managing your selection of a variety of logistics issues, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services associate.