Archive for the ‘Strategic Sourcing’ Category

We Wear the Masks

Monday, September 20th, 2021

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

We have gotten used to regular mask wearing while in an enclosed space with others, and it appears that we will be wearing them for a while longer than expected. I believe we have all heard numerous conflicting facts regarding mask wearing and their various levels of protection.

Most of us have been used to wearing a cloth mask, which is intended to trap respiratory droplets that are released when we talk, cough or sneeze, and provides a barrier to protect us from inhaling droplets released by others.  The most effective cloths masks are made of multiple layers of tightly woven fabric like cotton. A mask with layers will stop more droplets from getting through your mask or escaping from it.

The more commonly available surgical face masks are generally graded through ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), but not all masks are graded. You need to make sure that you are purchasing a mask that is graded by the ASTM and it is from a reputable manufacturer. It will have the ASTM level printed on the box and are rated numerically.

  • Level One: Low barrier protection. Only for general use, not used for aerosols, spray or fluids.
  • Level Two: Moderate barrier protection. Use for low to moderate levels of aerosols, spray and/or fluids.
  • Level Three: Maximum barrier protection. Use for high risk of fluid, spray and/or fluids.

Masks are tested to five key performance criteria, bacterial filtration, particulate filtration, fluid resistance, breathability, and flammability. The more resistance it provides, the higher the grade. Surgical masks are loose fitting and do not provide a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles and is not considered respiratory protection because leakage can occur around the edges of the mask.

A respirator mask is designed to reduce the risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles, gases, or vapors. These are graded by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The most commonly used respirator is the surgical N95, which has been tested to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles, and must be fit-tested for each individual to ensure proper protection.

Although the availability of surgical and respirator masks have improved, there is still a limited supply.  Let SafeSourcing help you source the right masks from a reputable manufacturer.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Fail Quickly!

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

 

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.

Winter Parking Lot Maintenance

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

 

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.

 

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

Monday, July 26th, 2021

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)
25.Logistics

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Procurement As A Service (PaaS)

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

 

Today’s re-post is by Dave Wenig, Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing.

In the past, we’ve talked repeatedly about how SafeSourcing delivers our services in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. As a refresher, here is a post from 2014 that details our SaaS software suite. We also often talk about how we treat our SaaS offering as full-service and have done so for a long, long time. Here’s another quick read from 2017 talking about our full-service approach. The way we combine our tools with our expertise and the way we actually deliver the services to achieve our customers’ goals have pretty well always been what you might describe as procurement as a service (PaaS).

I mention this because it seems to me that I am hearing more and more about PaaS recently as if that is a new or emerging trend and it surprises me greatly. SafeSourcing has always operated as an extension of our customers’ own procurement capabilities in order to allow them to outsource much or all of their needs to us. We’re comfortable delivering against this model and we rarely operate outside of it.

The entire procurement process can be managed by SafeSourcing beginning with spend analysis. In all reality, the process never really ends because procurement is truly cyclical. There are other buzzwords as well and just like with PaaS, there will be a marketing campaign that will rise to the occasion. As a term like PaaS gains momentum, more and more companies will roll out their offering. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it can make it harder to identify which companies are actually experienced in delivering a PaaS offering.

Anyone interested in offloading more of their procurement function should be careful to find a partner that can truly take on the load in a SaaS model. Many lack the expertise needed in their services teams to truly deliver on the wide variety of categories that need to be addressed. SafeSourcing has this expertise and delivers strongly in the as a service model. To be effective you really need a partner that has the people, the intellectual property, and the software to drive savings in an efficient outsourced model.

Procurement as a service isn’t a new concept and we like to think we’ve been doing this all along. Personally, I would be leery about choosing any provider that talks about PaaS like it’s a new concept. 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.

 

 

 

 

Sourcing Team​

Friday, July 16th, 2021

 

 

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

Wherever you spend majority of your time and effort, whether it is at home, school, or work, there are prevailing themes that you may notice. The biggest and arguably the most necessary is teamwork. Within a family, teamwork could mean a number of things, from sharing in the chores and housework, chipping in on bills and expenses, or simply working together to make things interesting and fun. Schools often use teamwork, not only in sports, but also through collaborative classwork or group projects. This type of teamwork is an important learned skill because it will ultimately affect every person later in life, especially at work.

Work environments rely heavily on teamwork in different, yet equally important, ways. Teamwork allows employers to play to the strengths of their team. For instance, if one person is great at organizing and finding files, they may help other employees filing tasks so they can focus on work that align with their strengths. In addition to utilizing stronger areas, employees can share workload when a task becomes more daunting. For instance, if a project suddenly becomes more complex than initially thought, others on the team can help to either get the larger task done or work on the smaller tasks, allowing for more focus on the larger tasks.

Whichever way your business team supports each other and finds success, there is another way to utilize teamwork and that is through a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing. SafeSourcing can help your team and assist in their procurement efforts or take them on entirely so your team can focus on what they do best. Procurement partners can help find the vendors you need, services you need, or the supplies you need and often at rates lower than expected.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

Balance the power in your negotiations

Friday, July 9th, 2021

 

 

Today’s re-post is by Dave Wenig, Sr. VP of Sales and Services at  SafeSourcing.

Dave considers how best to navigate a purchasing decision when external factors are the key drivers.

There are times when a purchaser may feel as though the balance of power in a negotiation is stacked in favor of the seller and factors such as limited sources of supply or external factors are strongly influencing the decision.

Let’s revisit a situation that retailers were facing a couple of years ago!

Retailers had been navigating through the process of implementing EMV solutions and were expected to have completed this process by October of 2015 for their in-store POS terminals. EMV, which is short for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, is a standard for payment cards that is meant to be a more secure replacement than the magnetic stripe cards that we’re used to; although these chip cards do still have the magnetic stripes.

Their next deadline for EMV compliance was to affect the forecourt. For gas station retailers, the deadline to implement EMV capabilities at the pump was October 2017. After the deadline, the liability for fraudulent transactions will shift to the retailer if the retailer is not leveraging EMV. What this means for the retailer is that they are faced with a significant purchase with what seem to be limited options for implementation based on their existing equipment and other factors.

When faced with a decision such as this, it’s helpful to have a partner with the tools and experience to help guide you through the decision process. This is particularly important when your options seem limited or controlled by external factors like the EMV deadlines. Experience provides the confidence and the competence to develop and execute your commercial negotiation strategy. Your partner’s tools provide the capability and the leverage to balance the power in the negotiation.

In the case above, many companies contacted SafeSourcing for assistance.

At SafeSourcing we are devoted champions of saving money on just about any category that you can come up with. In fact we probably source it more often than your buyers or category managers do. All of our team member at SafeSourcing, would be excited to discuss how adding e-Procurement to your sourcing projects can improve your negotiation process. For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing representative.

We look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

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

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

 

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!

The Slow Boat to China  

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

 

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

For individuals waiting for a delivery that is stuck in transit, it is a minor irritation.  If you are a manufacturer producing supplies for your customer, it is a nightmare! Higher shipping costs have tremendously impacted the supply chain.  In addition to the increased cost, there are longer wait times, due to the slower circulation of containers. This slowdown, driven by the pandemic, is crippling to the supply chain, and has reduced overall capacity.  All of which is driving up rates and creating massive delays that are expected to continue for weeks to come.

China has been requesting the return of their containers after unloading, so instead of the usual filling of the returned container with goods, they are going back empty. Other factors, including reduced labor productivity at warehouses and at marine terminals, are also contributing to this issue.

In “normal times”, the alternative of air freight would be an option to relieve the strain, but these are not normal times.  Freight rates from China to the U.S. have surged 300% and international flight volumes have plunged due to recent travel restrictions. Air freight companies typically use the extra capacity on the belly of a passenger plane to transport cargo. Hopefully, the recent increase in passenger travel will soon bring this option back into play.

While there are always factors that have negative impact on the supply chain, these instances usually occur and are most times expected.  The recent traffic jam on the Suez Canal did not help matters at all. Global trade has been disrupted and is affecting multiple industries simultaneously which is unprecedented. Economies around the globe are absorbing the ripple effects of the disruption and there is an expectation that this will last, though the end of this year.  We are back to quoting the frequently used phrase for 2020, “we’re all in this together”, and we will have to hold on and wait for our ship to come in!

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist

 

We look forward to your comments.

Business Education

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

 

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

While much of today’s workforce has had some sort of formal or higher education, many jobs do not necessarily require that particular education level but may require just some level of education. The reason for this is because that while specific disciplines may not be needed to perform a job, it does require the general education skills that come with most college or other higher degrees. For example, a job may need a person to be able to create and give power point presentations, which is something that is often taught in higher education. This idea is flawed, because of course people may know how to do certain tasks without a formal education and it is also true that some with a formal education may not know how to do certain tasks. This is where business education comes in.

Some workplaces require higher skills at some things rather than others. Perhaps one job requires great rapport and phone skills while another requires a focused and regular use of excel. Businesses can not only look for candidates that fit each role the best, but also can implement on the job training. This ensures that employees are provided the tools and ability to perform tasks to their greatest capability.

In addition to training employees on some of the skills they will need, general education about a particular industry can help an employee understand not only what they are doing, but also why they are doing that task. If employees understand the importance of a duty, they will likely proudly perform that task because they understand the impact it will have on the other employees and the company as a whole.

SafeSourcing utilizes training as a regular practice for clients and for employees. In addition, we provide to the public a free newsletter every month that contains useful information about businesses, the economy, markets, or trades. On top of that, SafeSourcing also has a free wiki with industry related terms and definitions so that everyone can have access to the knowledge needed to perform to their utmost best.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help with your understanding of business needs, explore products that are good to source, or on our Risk Free trial program, please Contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We have an a very educated and business savvy team ready to assist you today.