Archive for the ‘Strategic Sourcing’ Category

A timely repost! Contrarian, or just hipster?

Monday, March 30th, 2020

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

It’s popular these days to be contrarian, thanks largely in part to the disruptive entrepreneurs of silicon valley that have become just as well known for the products they create as any A-list celebrity. Reading business articles on the topic makes it sound like being contrarian is never a bad thing. However, while “contrarian” can mean just someone who goes against popular opinion, doing so just for the sake of being contrarian can be very dangerous. While there is some merit to the notion that doing something which everyone else thinks is crazy might just seem that way because it’s a hugely innovative idea, there are far more people who do crazy things that simply are monumentally bad ideas[1]. The way tech and investment entrepreneur Peter Thiel puts it, what matters is being “contrarian and right[2]. Being contrarian just for the sake of being contrarian makes you a hipster[3], being contrarian and right makes you innovative.

The common thread that runs through these instances of unpopular opinion is the need to have the skills to identify a good idea. For some reason, business journalists repeatedly fail to see the obvious when they praise a business leader’s being different as the means to the success, without realizing that it was the business leader’s ability to find truths that lead them in a non-conventional direction that led to their success. The obvious danger here is that you can just as easily think differently from popular thinking, and be wrong. So how do we avoid falling into the trap of believing that thinking different is always a good thing, without missing the possible opportunities of truly innovative thinking?

    •  Slow the conversation: Contrarians thrive on rapid fire dialog, with the intention of getting your buy-in of their first point, by moving on to several other points before you’ve had a chance to think of reasons why their first idea might be a bad idea. Don’t allow anyone to gain your tacit approval by not giving you time to object.
    • Don’t fall for “mood bullying”: At times, a contrarian thinker will push to get their idea accepted not based on its merit, but by making it uncomfortable for anyone else to reject it. Don’t fall for bad ideas just because you don’t want to deal with the drama that will ensue for questioning someone’s ideas.
    • Contrarian and argumentative: A telltale sign that someone is being contrarian just to be hip rather than for the merit of an idea, is to observe how argumentative they are. If someone will argue against every idea that isn’t theirs, and perhaps even argue against their own previously mentioned ideas, there’s a good chance they aren’t trying to bring value to your organization, but to their own ego.
    • Fail quickly: If you come across an idea that goes against conventional wisdom, but the reasoning behind it is solid, iterate its implementation. Today it’s easier than ever to create prototypes quickly. Commit a small project to an innovative idea, and let it prove itself by succeeding or failing quickly and in a low risk environment.
    • Evaluate the foundation/first principles: When Pokemon Go™ exploded onto the scene; investors saw the trend and invested heavily into Nintendo™. However, in this case the contrarians were right to go against the flow: Nintendo™ didn’t actually create the Pokemon Go™ game, and once it became obvious, Nintendo™ stocks plummeted[4]. However, having the skill to identify underlying principles that lead to a market bubble for instance is a contrarian skill based on an understanding of economics that can be objectively evaluated.

Contrarianism should be a byproduct, not a goal. Innovation entails thinking differently about something because there is an assumed truth being bought into that is wrong, or an underlying truth that by and large everyone else has missed. There were contrarians in the 90’s after all, who thought the internet was a fad, and whose businesses were destroyed by other contrarians that understood the fundamentally exponential potential of network externalities and brought us internet connected devices of every shape and size. The act of understanding more deeply, having a wider breadth of knowledge, and learning a wider toolset of logical and critical thinking skills will result in having views that differ from others in ways that add value without even trying.

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.

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[1] “A Painful Year for Contrarian Trades – A Wealth of Common Sense.” 2016. 15 Aug. 2016 <http://awealthofcommonsense.com/2015/12/contrarian/>

[2] “E525: Peter Thiel (Founders Fund, PayPal, Palantir, Facebook) on …” 2015. 14 Aug. 2016 <http://thisweekinstartups.com/peter-thiel-launch-festival/>

[3] “http://www.bullbearings.co.uk/ 2014-12-18 monthly 0.5 http://www …” 2011. 14 Aug. 2016 <http://www.bullbearings.co.uk/sitemap.xml>

[4] “Nintendo shares plummet after investors realize it doesn’t … – The Verge.” 2016. 15 Aug. 2016 <http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/25/12269466/nintendo-stock-plunge-pokemon-go>

REMINDER! CIO Applications Magazine Honors SafeSourcing

Friday, March 13th, 2020

 

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.

 

Musings on Making Mistakes and why we have E&O Insurance!

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

 

Today’s post is from our archives at  SafeSourcing.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ― Albert Einstein

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Mistakes are inevitable, we all make them. In fact, life would be incomplete without them; and yet many of us waste valuable time and energy covering them up or even denying their existence. Making a mistake is not the worst thing we can do. I believe it is how we react to and reflect upon our mistakes that can make all the difference. In my opinion, our mistakes are some of the most well informed references in the library of our life’s experience. Once we are willing to embrace them for the lessons that they provide, we are able to learn that they contain a wealth of data about how best to conduct our lives moving forward. If only we could spend more time and energy extracting the gifts of wisdom from our mistakes and less time regretting them, we might also be more likely to extend that same forgiveness and compassion to others, thus contributing to an overall kinder and gentler world. Where’s the mistake in that?

And speaking of mistakes, here are just a few of my favorite mistaken song lyrics:

Hold me closer Tony Danza… Count the head lice on the highway – Elton John

I’ve got two chickens to paralyze – Eddie Money

This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus – the 5th Dimension

There’s a bathroom on the right – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Donuts make my brown eyes blue – Crystal Gayle

Do you like bean enchiladas and getting caught in the rain? – Rupert Holmes

The sheep don’t like it… Rock the catbox! Rock the catbox! – the Clash

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact SafeSourcing. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

There are 7 steps of the strategic procurement process!

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Inc Archives.

Only being with Safe Sourcing for a few days and knowing absolutely nothing about the company prior to my hire, I have learned a great deal of information in a very short amount of time. In order to fully understand what it is we do I have been doing a little research out side of work. According to sources, no pun intended, there are 7 steps of strategic procurement process.

Step 1: Conducting an internal need of analysis

To start you need to identify exactly what the needs are of your client. You need data including but not limited to, current performance, resources used, costs and potential growth.

Step 2: Collect Information

It is extremely important for you to collect as much information as possible, so you are able to help your client as best as possible. Look for specific requirements that are needed and see exactly what their goal is and how you can help them achieve that goal.

Step 3: Collect Supplier Information

Not only do you need information from your client, you also need to get information form your suppliers. You need to select suppliers carefully. You should only pick certain suppliers that are going to benefit your clients needs. It would also be helpful to learn a little bit about their company.

Step 4: Develop a Sourcing/Outsourcing Strategy

After all, 3 steps are complete you are in need of your Request for Proposal (RFP) or a Request for Quote (RFQ) to all the selected suppliers. You will also need to get your agreement and documents finalized and sent to your suppliers. Getting your business strategy in order will keep you organized.

Step 5: Implement the Sourcing Strategy

Having an Expression of Interest (EOI), a prepared RFP or a RFQ and solicit bids from identified potential suppliers as part of the bidding process is very important at this stage. The RFP should include:

  • Detailed material
  • Product or service specifications
  • Delivery and service requirements
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Pricing structure
  • Financial terms

Step 6: Negotiate with Suppliers and Select Winning Bid

Your procurement team will then evaluate the received proposals, quotes or bids, and use the criteria and a process to shortlist the bidders to provide detailed proposals and give reports to your client. After the evaluation process is complete, your procurement team will then enter contract negotiations with the first selected bidder.

Step 7: Implement a Transition Plan

Winning suppliers should be invited to participate in implementing improvements. A communication plan is a must when developing a system for measuring and evaluating performance.

These are a few things I have learned in the few days working for this great company and I feel that if you follow these few steps you and your team can develop and implement a strategic procurement plan.

Please contact a SafeSourcing customer Services team member about our risk free trial

We look forward to your comments

 

 

 

2019 SafeSourcing Top 10 List

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

 

 

Todays post is from Dave Wenig, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing Inc.

It’s the end of the year and that means many of your favorite entertainment and news sources are publishing their top 10 lists for the year. In that same spirit, I’ve pulled together a list of my Top 10 SafeSourcing moments in 2019. Let’s get right into the top 10.

10. SafeSourceIt™ Event View now features a graph view. Using this view, SafeSourcing customers have a powerful way to monitor their RFQ Events in real time at a high level that delivers valuable insights.

9. Bottled Water RFQ Events. SafeSourcing customers hosted many RFQ Events for bottled water savings between 16% and 23%. This represents an increase in category savings versus 2018.

8. Waste Removal continues its streak. Waste Removal has historically been a wildly successful category for SafeSourcing customer and that held true in 2019 with the average savings holding steady at about 35%.

7. Reruns won big. SafeSourcing customers that held rerun RFQs at the end of their contract terms beat expectations significantly. Typical expectations for rerun RFQs is about 50% of the savings from the initial RFQ Event.

6. Snow Removal and Landscaping. 2019 was a big year for customers hosting Snow Removal and Landscaping RFQ Events. Often overlooked as a competitive category, SafeSourcing’s customers saw between 16% and 42% savings. Wow.

5. Mobile Phones and Broadband were big. We noticed a huge increase in customers eager to explore their options for mobile service plans and broadband. Good for them, because each of them was very successful.

4. Flyer Distribution (Retailers). Nearly all of our larger retail customers throughout North America sourced their flyer distribution and uncovered savings. In some markets, customers often consider this impossible to source competitively and see it as a monopoly. We disagree and so do our customers who benefited from our assistance.

3. Incumbent margins. 2019 was a year full of focus on incumbent margins. We noticed a fantastic trend where incumbent vendors were awarded business after RFQs at a higher rate than is expected. This is a win for the incumbent who gets to keep their business at rates more in line with the market, and a win for the customer who gets the best pricing available and does not have to go through the process of changing vendors.

2. SafeSourcing in the Top 10. SafeSourcing was recognized as one of the world’s top auction application companies by CIO magazine. Link here.

1. Our customers and partners. We’re truly lucky to have some of the best customers and partners that any business could ask for. 2019 has been a fantastic year of working closely together with all of you. We’ve enjoyed the time spend and our visits and it has been our pleasure to work with you. If you’ve worked with us on a category named on this list, I’m sure you would agree on its inclusion. I look forward to working with all of our current customers and partners and can’t wait to make new connections in 2020. Thank you for an excellent 2019 and see you in 2020.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my picks for the Top 10 list. I’d be interested to hear what I missed and whether you agree with my ranking.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

 

 

How SafeSourcing Saved Christmas…

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

 

 

Today’s Christmas Eve post is from our  SafeSourcing, Inc Archives

As with most children being curious, my 7  year old niece and I were baking cookies last weekend when she said, “Aunt Heather, what do you do for a living? Mommy is a nurse and Daddy is a policeman. What do you do?”

Well, I said, thinking quickly of how to explain what a project manager does in the e-procurement world at SafeSourcing, “I help Santa with getting toys for presents and delivering them to all the children around the world.”
She said, “Aunt Heather, you’re silly! Santa has elves that make the presents, and Santa has reindeer help his pull the sleigh to deliver the presents!”

“Oh Alli, I have to tell you a secret, but you have to promise not to tell a soul what I tell you, ok?” She agrees.

Santa needs help lots and lots of help. Yes, his elves make the homemade toys, but toys like Furbies and Barbie’s have to be made somewhere else and delivered to the North Pole to be wrapped.

With big eyes, she says, “ooohhhh. That makes sense. Elves are mostly boys and boys don’t know anything about Barbies!”

So then I tell her, that Santa comes to me with his list of toys and how many he needs, and it is my job to make sure he buys them all much cheaper than what he can buy them for at the store. In fact, it is my job to make sure all the companies that make and sell the toys compete against each other to make sure Santa gets the best price for them.

“Wow!!” she said, you have an important job helping Santa!

I said yes, but that isn’t all I do for Santa. She said really??? I said, yes, I help him deliver the presents too. She said, how???

I said that Santa does use his sleigh and reindeer for most of the night, but the reindeer do get tired. So we help Santa by hiring a charter jet to cross the ocean with the presents and reindeer. Saving him money by having the airlines compete against each other to get lower pricing for Santa. This way the reindeer get to rest and Santa can get to the other side of the world much faster.

Also Santa pre-ships the presents to parts of the world to keep the weight down on the sleigh. So we help him with semi-trucks picking up the presents and taking them to all areas of the globe waiting for Santa to pick them up to deliver them to all the boys and girls. I explain to her that this is called transportation logistics. I told her that, like the people who make and sell toys, we ask the trucking companies to compete against each other lowering their prices for gas (fuel rates was too hard to explain to her), and mileage.

My, oh so smart niece, says, “Santa really has a big job to do in one night. He is so lucky he has you to help him!!”

So I ask her, do you understand what I do now?

She said,” yes, you help Santa buy toys and you help him fly across the ocean in an air plane, and you help him ship presents across the world to be picked up and delivered all in one night, AND you save him lots of money!”

So if SafeSourcing can help save Christmas, what can you do to help save you money in your business?

If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can help energize your self-service program, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate 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