Archive for the ‘Strategic Sourcing’ Category

What is a price or commodity index and how is it used?

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

 

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

SafeSourcing uses a number of  indices in our sourcing events every day and the same question always comes up from buyers when we do. While this is an older post from our archives I believe you will still find it useful today.

This author has heard a lot lately about prices indexes or indices. Every time we source something we are asked what index should we use. Although there are times when an index is helpful in sourcing in order to manage contracted pricing once a baseline has been determined versus the rise or fall of an index, that is not always the case for every product.

I was reading our local paper today “The Arizona Republic”. In their MARKET TIP on page 3 of the business section they had a nice synopsis of the Consumer Price Index or CPI relative to measuring inflation. It was brief and holds true in terms of how indices are used to measure the rise or drop in prices over time. In your annual contracts you may wish to review them quarterly and have escalator language that locks in price increases or decreases versus a specific index to protect you from volatile commodity markets like the oil market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI is used as an economic indicator, a deflator of other economic series and as a means of adjusting dollar values. The CPI affects nearly all Americans because of the many ways it is used.

To learn more about how the CPI index is used please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

If you’d like to learn more about the variety of indices and how they impact the many products that you buy for reuse as well as resale or if you are not in the business of prognostication, please contact a SafeSourcing  customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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There are 7 steps of the strategic procurement process!

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

 

Today’s post is by Ashley Riviello , Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

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

 

 

 

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The Pitfalls of IT contracts

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

 

Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives.

IT contracts are difficult. 

Now that we have that out on the table let’s follow that up with a second statement:

IT Contracts are usually in the top 5 categories of spend of every company on the world.

When it comes to executing IT contracts the main problem boils down to having a service, software license or piece of hardware requiring a contract the details of which a legal team doesn’t always understand from a technical standpoint and which has legal elements an IT staff does not always push hard enough to improve.  Some companies have developed strong Legal IT staffs to handle this issue but most are letting the IT department review and approve contracts that meet the technical needs without attempting to improve the business or legal elements.   Today we will look at some of the elements which the legal and IT team should be working together on ensuring meet the standards needed by their company.

Technical Aspects  – Obviously the most important first step is to ensure that the service or product meets the technical requirements of the business.  This is accomplished by having a well-defined Statement of Work which clearly defines the roles of both parties and what will be delivered during the course of the contract.  For hardware and software this defines how much each party is responsible for the installation and configuration of the project and the support of the project moving forward.  This includes testing, specifications of what the solution needs to deliver, the timeline for delivery, and what is covered by warranty or maintenance and support agreement.

Legal Aspects – Once the technical requirements are met then the legal team needs ensure that all of the language surrounding the engagement and contract are also met and to the satisfaction of the company’s best interest.  One of the first sets of details must surround protection in case the relationship is not executed according to the agreed upon terms.  It is the job of the business to foster a productive and beneficial relationship with the vendors and the legal team’s responsibility to plan for the protection in case that does not occur.  Defining the governing laws and jurisdiction of a potential disagreement, precedence of documents attached to the agreement,   as well as details surrounding the termination of the agreement by either party are all things which must be examined so that the business can be protected from every angle.

Business Aspects – Several aspects affect the business portion, but most of them boil down to two areas; ownership details and pricing details.  Understanding the details of who owns the product is extremely important not only for various accounting reasons but also from a liability standpoint.  If anything happens to the product, who owns it and when will determine who takes on the cost to repair or replace that product.  Having this defined in advance will influence testing, evaluation, timelines and acceptance of the installation efforts.  Pricing is also very important and should be examined closely to ensure the company has the best terms in the way of payment schedule, rebates, discounts and other factors that will result in the best possible pricing and what has historically been ultra-high margin goods and services.

SafeSourcing routinely works with our customers’ IT departments on procurement projects to ensure many of these details are laid out and agreed upon before an award decision is even made.  For more information on how we can help your team with IT projects 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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Twelve areas to consider in your spend analysis if you don’t want to lose your hard earned savings.

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

 

Todays post is a favorite from the SafeSourcing Archive

This 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.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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What exactly is spend analysis? And at what cost?

Monday, January 8th, 2018

 

For as many simple yes answers that I get, I can also give you a handful of tools that do a lot of analysis and at the end of the day that is what you have. Simply put, spend analysis is designed to provide companies detailed information about the entire companies purchasing data. The cost to get at that data is astronomical.

At the surface this seems to be pretty simple. In fact it is anything but. If we just look at the retail space, spend analysis relies on data from a number of disparate systems. Most retail organizations to this day do not have a single source of information or an enterprise data warehouse where data is available in one location for use by many applications. In mid tier retailers this is almost universal.

In fact in many retail organizations the following systems would require access in order to gain all spend data necessary for analysis by advanced real time analytics and workflow management systems.

  1. Retail ERPS Systems
  2. Retail Planning Systems
  3. Merchandise Management Systems
  4. Supply Chain Management and Execution Systems
  5. Store Operation Systems
  6. Corporate Administration systems
  7. Many New Advanced Analytic Tools and Systems
  8. Spend Cubes

Certainly, if access to this data is available benefits such as instant access to information and better decision making are certain benefits that can be derived from these types of solutions.

The question for most however is how much time is required to conduct this integration. Would retailers be required to create another data repository and is a data mart of this sort really required to drive savings to the bottom line the shortest amount of time?

For many organizations, there are e-negotiation solution providers that offer these same analytics in the form of a professional service that is embedded in their event pricing. This may result in a more expeditious time to market and savings that can impact the organizations bottom line in the present reporting period.

All solutions do not fit all industries and there are generally alternatives worth exploring that may fit your needs more closely at a more economical price point.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments

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Happy New Year 2017. This year’s strategic sourcing plan should already be in place

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

 

What specific short term tactics will you deploy that support your plan and drive immediate and measureable results.

One example of the above might be to augment the manual processes that many  sourcing professionals use today in order to find new sources of supply interested in bidding for their business rather than continuing to live with the same small, known group of suppliers they have used for years. Historically this has been a very time consuming practice that results in few if any new sources of supply. This represents a great opportunity to deploy a tactic that can have an immediate impact for an organization without the need for the implementation of a complete new sourcing strategy.

There is a specific process to follow that will encourage new sources of supply to want to bid for a companies business beyond just being invited. Simply having your buyer assigned the task of picking up the phone and calling new sources of supply will not result in new suppliers agreeing to bid for your business. There are specific objections to overcome and questions to answer that require a specific skill set.  This is a perfect opportunity for Software as a Service providers that offer supplier research. Skilled providers in this area can provide companies with as many as a half dozen or more willing new sources of supply in as little as thirty minutes  that may in fact reside within a companies existing marketing  area.

Sourcing tactics can be isolated procurement related actions or events that take advantage of opportunities offered by the gaps within strategic plans such as lack of new sources of supply mentioned above.  So our tactic here would be to find additional sources of supply that we can invite to compete for a companies business in a variety of categories. The fact is that additional sources of supply competing for a companies business results in compressed pricing and often better quality products.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

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The SafeSourcing Way

Friday, December 29th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

In a rapidly evolving world, are we losing the art of welcoming someone into a new situation? Is our culture too casual in the way we conduct business or form meaningful relationships? Have we taken for granted the meaningful notes and thoughtful extras that gives life meaning?

As of today, I’ve officially been employed at SafeSourcing for two weeks. As I reflect on the things that I learned over the last two weeks, it is only befitting to reflect on the warm welcome I felt on my first day; week. I walked into the office suite to notice a sign that read, “Welcome to SafeSourcing Inc. Jericia Stevens” sitting on the front desk.

SafeSourcing knows the value of a Welcome. We want to ensure that our customers feel welcomed while we manage their procurement needs.

Our procurement team works diligently to provide our customers with quality training and customer service. Our flexible service offerings and suite of e- procurement tools deliver the savings that can be referenced that are greater than 10 times the cost of our services.

We work closely together and make sure that we all have a role in providing our customers with the best value for their product and services.

I am glad to be a part of a company that knows the value of a welcome. Partner with us and experience The SafeSourcing Way. Let SafeSourcing manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. For more information on how we can help you with your procurement needs or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

 

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You can procure anything, including Candy Canes Part IV!

Monday, December 11th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. Archives

What does it take to make a candy cane, package it, market it, and distribution? All of these involve procurement. Today, the candy cane makes up a significant amount of the $1.4 billion Christmas candy market. In fact, billions of candy canes are made and consumed each year.

We have learned the history of the candy cane in part 1 and what ingredients are needed to make candy canes and how to procure the raw ingredients in part 2, and yesterday we learned how to make a candy cane and package it. Today we will cover how to market your product and how SafeSourcing can help you.

How to market your candy canes?

There are multiple companies out there who will help you in your areas of packaging, production and marketing. These companies can handle all of these areas in house for you or you can hire each area out individually. As with purchasing or procuring anything it is best to do your research.

Typically using a company who serves all your needs in house will be the most cost effective, however it is still worth running a request for proposal to find out who they are, who their current clients are, areas of service they can provide, examples of product they have created, a prototype of an idea for your product, their solution on how to market your product, and a pricing model. Even with this helpful tool, it is still beneficial to interview the company.

An in house company should be able to provide at a minimum:

Brand management:
o Data Management
o Project Management
Printer
Color Lab
Artwork
Proofing
Prepress
Brand Protection

In addition to having the best product, best packaging, and best marketing you need to have the basic business 101 logic to selling your product according toan article in entrepreneur.com

Get the correct buyer: One of your biggest challenges is finding the right buyer within a large organization, so do your homework. If you’re experiencing roadblocks, consider hiring a distributor or manufacturer’s rep who already has established relationships in your industry.
Be prepared: Develop a presentation and have professional-looking sell sheets ready. Your product should also have packaging that’s ready to go.
Know your target: Understand what products they already carry and how yours will fit in. Don’t waste your time pitching to a retailer who’s unlikely to carry your product.
Take advantage of special programs: Some mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart, have local purchase programs that give managers authority to try local items. And other retailers may have different initiatives, such as minority business programs.
Be patient: It can take up to a year or longer before you see your product on store shelves, so don’t get frustrated. And if the final answer is no, try to turn it into a learning experience.

Finally, remember there are other sales channels besides the traditional brick-and-mortar retail store. Catalogs, TV shopping networks and online stores can also be excellent methods to enable you to learn how to market a product online.

SafeSourcing, Inc. can help you source your packaging, production, and prepress services, create and run a Request for Proposal and compress the suppliers pricing by running a Request for Quote. 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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You can procure anything, including Candy Canes Part III!

Friday, December 8th, 2017

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Inc. Archives

What does it take to make a candy cane, package it, market it, and distribution? All of these involve procurement. Today, the candy cane makes up a significant amount of the $1.4 billion Christmas candy market. In fact, billions of candy canes are made and consumed each year.

We have learned the history of the candy cane in part 1 and what ingredients are needed to make candy canes and how to procure the raw ingredients. Today we learn how to make a candy cane and package it.

How are candy canes manufactured and packaged from madehow.com

1. The first step of production involves blending the ingredients together in a large vessel. Typically, a stainless steel kettle is used that is equipped with automatic mixers. Ingredients can be poured or pumped into the batch by workers known as compounders. At this step, the water, sugar, corn syrup, and other processing ingredients are combined. They are then heated to over 300°F (141.5°C) and allowed to cook until they form amber liquid.
2. While it is still hot, the sugar mixture is poured on water-cooled tables. The candy cools slightly and is sent to the working machines. These devices are equipped with arms that stretch the candy repeatedly until it looks silky white.
3. While the candy is being stretched, a line worker adds the proper amount of flavoring. Also, coloring may be added at this point.
4. Another worker then takes a large portion (95 lb [43 kg]) of the warm candy and forms it into a loaf. Part of the loaf is put off to the side, dyed, and cut into strips. For the traditional candy cane, this portion is dyed red. It will become the red stripes in the final product. The 4 in-long (10 cm) red strips are then pressed at set intervals into the white loaf.
5. The loaf can then be sent to the extruder machines to convert it into a candy cane. The loaf passes through the extruder and comes out the other side on a conveyor as a long strand of candy. The strand runs under cutters that slice it at set intervals to produce individual candies. They are then passed through a device that bends the candy. Since the candy is still slightly warm it can still be shaped as desired. Some extruders can handle over 2,000 lb (907 kg) of candy an hour.
6. After the candy cane is formed, it is put into its packaging. Some manufacturers wrap the candy cane in a clear plastic. This is done right as it is exiting the extruder. The plastic is then wrapped around the candy cane and sealed by a heat sealer.
7. In most instances, a set amount of candy canes are collected and boxed in secondary packaging. These boxes are passed through a shrink-wrap machine and sealed. This extra layer of packaging ensures that no moisture damages the product. The boxes are then put into shipping containers, put on pallets, loaded on trucks, and delivered to stores around the country.

Quality control is an integral part of all candy production. The first phase of control begins with tests on the incoming ingredients. Prior to use, lab technicians test ingredients to ensure they meet company specifications. Sensory evaluations are done on characteristics such as appearance, color, odor, and flavor. Other physical and chemical characteristics may also be tested such as liquid viscosity, solid particle size, and moisture content. Manufacturers depend on these tests to ensure that the ingredients used will produce a consistent batch of candy canes.

The next phase of quality control is done on the candy cane paste. This includes pH, viscosity, appearance, and taste testing. During production, quality control technicians check physical aspects of the extruded candy. A comparison method is typically used. In this method, the newly made product is compared to an established standard. For example, the flavor of a randomly sampled candy cane may be compared to a standard candy cane produced at an early time. Some manufacturers employ professional sensory panelists. These people are specially trained to notice small differences in tactile, taste, and appearance properties. Instrumental tests that have been developed by the confectionery industry over the years may also be used.The process of making candy canes can be done on a much smaller level at home or in the instructions above on a large scale.

In the large scale, items to be purchased or procured would be the candy kettles, stainless steel tables, working machines, extruder, conveyors, cutters, plastic wrap machine, heat sealer, various types of cardboard, shipping containers, pallets and hand pallet jacks as well as fork lifts. In addition, you can procure hiring services of standard and seasonal workers, fork lift drivers and temporary delivery truck drivers, janitorial/sanitation workers, certified engineers and lab technicians and quality control supervisors.

SafeSourcing, Inc. can help you source your manufacturing goods and services, create and run a Request for Proposal and compress the suppliers pricing by running a Request for Quote. 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.

Tomorrow we will discuss how to market candy canes and how SafeSourcing can help in this area.

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The Price of Dye in China

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

 

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

What are Leuco Dyes and how are the affecting millions across the globe? Right now the world is seeing huge increases in the thermal paper market. Leuco  dyes are made of many different chemicals which can combine  to achieve the desired color. These dyes have a colorless leuco form when crystalline or when in a pH neutral environment, but become colored when dissolved in a melt and exposed to an acidic environment. Lueco dyes provide little color when melted unless they are melted with one or more organic acids. These are called developers. One example of organic acid is Bisphenol A (BPA). These developers and Leuco dyes often mix poorly upon melting. A third chemical called a sensitizer is often added to the imaging layer to increase the effect. So what does this mean?

These are the components used to make thermal paper. The same paper you see daily from receipts at the local grocery store to fast food chains. The world thermal paper market is about one million tons annually, with about 2/3 of that tonnage for receipt paper. But right now, there is a major shortage in Lueco Dyes. This shortage is due to a company in China named Connect Chemicals which is responsible for 35% – 40% of global dye demand for thermal coaters. In September of 2017 the Connect Chemicals was shut down due to environmental reasons and China’s new anti-pollution laws. This spells disaster for retailers especially Going into the holiday season, which is the busiest time of year. Thermal paper pricing has seen an increase of over 20%-45%. This is making the demand outgrow the supply in many cases. Many major distributors have been unable to supply their entire current customer base and are preventing them from acquiring new clients.

There is hope because this shortage is estimated to be only roughly 3 months while Connect Chemicals closes to conform to China’s new environmental laws. This will take months to recover losses and hopefully set the market normal again.

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.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

References —————————————————-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_paper

https://cohally.com/2017/10/05/largest-supplier-of-leuco-dye-shut-down-in-china-for-a-minimum-of-three-months/

 

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