Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Are you saving time with application shortcuts?

Friday, July 28th, 2017

 

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

If you spend a lot of time creating or editing Microsoft Word documents, you could save some time and be more efficient by learning some of the built in shortcuts.  The shortcuts can be accessed by key strokes or utilizing the mouse.  The keyboard shortcuts are used by clicking a key or a combination of keys and mouse shortcuts can be accessed by certain types of clicks using the left mouse button.  The most common used shortcuts by users today are the “Ctrl+C” and “Ctrl+V”.  These two shortcuts allow you to copy and paste selected text within a document or other open documents.  Although these are the most common there are many more powerful shortcuts available.  For example, if you have multiple Word documents to open you can press “Ctrl+F6” to cycle through all of your open Word documents.  To cycle through the open documents, press and hold the “Ctrl” key and press and release the “F6” key.When the desired document is reached, release the “Ctrl” key to select the document.  Memorizing the available keyboard shortcuts will make you more efficient because you don’t have to remove your hand from the keyboard to use the mouse.  Below are some other shortcuts that I often use.

KeyBoard

➢ Ctrl+A – Selects all contents of the document

➢ Ctrl+B – Bolds highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+F – Opens the find box

➢ Ctrl+I – Italicize highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+P – Opens Print window

➢ Ctrl+S – Saves current document

➢ Ctrl+U – Underlines highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+X – Cuts the highlighted selection

➢ Ctrl+Z – Undo last action

➢ Ctrl+End – Moves cursor to the end of the document

➢ Ctrl+Home – Moves cursor to the beginning of the document

➢ Shift+F7 – Runs a Thesaurus check on the selected word

➢ Shift+Alt+D – Insert Current Date

➢ Shift+Alt+T – Insert Current Time

Mouse

➢ Click, hold and drag – Selects all of the text from the start to the point you let go

➢ Double Click – Double clicking on a word will highlight the entire word

➢ Triple Click – Triple clicking on a word will highlight the entire paragraph

➢ Ctrl+Mouse Wheel – Zooms in and out of the document

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 a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

 

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Fact vs Rhetoric

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

Rhetoric:

  •  The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Though we have a basic definition of rhetoric, we need to break it down a little further to understand how it’s used. The end goal of rhetoric is persuasion, to get others to come around to your way of thinking. Rhetorical appeals are most commonly known to manifest themselves in three modes of persuasion:

  •  Logos: The appeal to logic, a means of persuading an audience through reason (though this can use fallacious logic, and not necessarily validreasoning).
  • Pathos: The appeal to emotion and imagination, a means of convincing an audience by eliciting an emotional response.
  • Ethos: The appeal to the ethics or credibility of the party doing the persuading (though again this is a mode/tool of persuasion, but credibility can be built using well-told lies also).

Now that we have a basic understanding of rhetoric, you may already be able to think of both how useful and dangerous it can be. To a degree, it could be said that we never stop using rhetoric. Statements like “in my opinion” are used almost ubiquitously, but could be said to be using rhetoric to give the appearance of humility in order to elicit a softer response than you might receive if you started your claim with “I’m right about this, so here’s how it is…”

On the other hand, leading someone’s thinking with anything other than fact, is to lead them to a conclusion that may not fully align with reality, and that always has the potential for disaster. For example, if you need to motivate someone to action and use “guilt” as an appeal to emotion to accomplish this, your audience may recognize your attempt at manipulation, see use as untrustworthy and illogical (undermining Logos and Pathos), and be motivated in the opposite direction you intended.

Another example would be to persuade someone to think the way you do using credibility, rather than fact. You could pull out a long list of examples where you did well in a certain capacity or point to your college degrees on the wall, but at the end of the day, if you’re operating with a mindset of “how can I get someone to do this” instead of critically evaluating the facts with all parties, you aren’t working with the right criteria for success.

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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The Power of Teamwork

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

 

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

Summer is no doubt the time for vacations, relaxation, and enjoying some sun and surf on a beautiful day. Recently, I read an article about some vacationers in Panama City Beach, FL who were trying to do just that. The problem, though, was there was a strong and large riptide at the beach that particular day.

If you aren’t aware, a riptide or rip currant is “a strong, offshore current that is caused by the tide pulling water through an inlet along a barrier beach.” In other words, stepping into a riptide can be very bad and it can pull you far out into the ocean. The currants are so strong that even the strongest swimmers struggle and often are lost because of exhaustion.

Unfortunately on this particular day in Florida, there were no lifeguards on duty at the beach, but very fortunately, there were a lot of people there and they were all willing to help. It began with a few people being pulled out far away from the shore and others trying to swim out and rescue them, unsuccessfully, and being stranded themselves. At one point, there were 12 people stranded in the rip currant, desperately needing help. This is where teamwork, camaraderie, and strength in working together are truly realized. Beachgoers on the shore, lacking any kind of rescue equipment, began forming a human chain. Dozens of them, with arms and legs locked together, created a chain long and strong enough to reach and rescue all of the stranded swimmers. These brave people who worked together to save the swimmers did not know each other and had very limited time to act. Those actions worked and lives were saved. If total strangers can come together in such an amazing way, with very little time and without all the tools they would want, imagine what the teamwork your organization is capable of. While great feats like this do not happen as often as we all could hope, we should realize that it is possible for a group to come together and accomplish great things.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can come together and help each other, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

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Nuclear Negotiation

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

 

Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing

How much blood, sweat, tears and treasure have you spent building your career, business, home, and family? If it’s true that all of it can be taken away from you and every other person on earth in the blink of an eye by a handful of people who control the world’s nuclear arsenal, what topic could be more important to understand the inner workings of?

Every time the presidential office changes leadership, there’s a lot of talk about their command of the nuclear arsenal. This typically accompanies rhetoric about World War II, and the end of the human species. “Enough nukes to destroy the surface of the earth 5 times over” is the line I’ve seen repeated many times. But is it true? Would a nuclear war necessarily escalate globally? Would it “just” set us back to the stone age, or literally eradicate the earth of all life? Who is in charge of these weapons, and what incentives have kept us from destroying ourselves for the 70+ years we’ve had them? I’m setting out to answer the most important questions about nukes by listing facts I deem important by two measures: How severe the effect on human beings could be, and 2. The number of lives it could affect. Then I will conclude with discussing the human factors at play, and how they affect our daily lives.

There are 9 countries that collectively maintain around 15,000 nukes(“Nuclear Arsenals | ICAN” 2017):

  • United States               6,800 warheads
  • Russia                           7,000 warheads
  • United Kingdom           215 warheads
  • France                             300 warheads
  • China                               260 warheads
  • India                                110–120 warheads
  • Pakistan                          120–130 warheads
  • Israel                                80 warheads
  • North Korea                 <10 warheads
  • Total                            14,900 warheads

There are also 23 nations that either don’t have nukes, that have treaties with nations who do, or that “host” nuclear weapons from other nations. This also means that if they were attacked with nuclear weapons, their partner nation would be under extreme pressure to respond to the aggressor in kind. Each of the nations that have dismantled parts of their nuclear arsenal (designated as “Inactive Reserve”) have these components in storage, and they could be reactivated/reconstructed. Data on these components is classified and difficult to find, but estimates are that there exist close to 20,000 additional warheads globally that could be readied for deployment in a matter of months.

  •  The authority to launch a nuclear strike rests largely with the 9 individuals that head their state: In the United states, the authority to launch a nuclear strike sits with the president, and no one has the authority to prevent it. Most of the 9 nuclear countries have a similar structure set up, and it has to be this way for the weapons to be effective: If country A knows it would take days for country B to decide whether or not to retaliate against an attack, then country A could nuke country B out of existence with impunity. For nuclear deterrence to work, nuclear countries have to believe they themselves will be attacked with nuclear weapons if they are to have reason not to attack each other. Time delays of more than mere minutes in a country’s ability to retaliate would eliminate the incentive of another nation not to attack. Because of the necessity of short timeframes, the world is always literally only minutes away from global nuclear war, should an event spark a nuclear attack from any of the 9 nations.

 

  •  Any one of the 9 aforementioned people has the power to kick-off a global nuclear war: The united states has treaties in effect preventing Japan from producing nukes, because we’ve promised to protect them militarily. In total, there are 67 countries the US is obligated to defend militarily if they are under threat (“Status of World Nuclear Forces” 2017a) that we know of, and the other nuclear powers have similar obligations. Therefore, if China nuked Japan, we’d be obligated to nuke China, which might provoke other nations, and we would have a global nuclear war on our hands within minutes.

 

Similar threats are of great concern where it involves terrorism. A terrorist with a “dirty nuke” could bomb a city, make it look like an attack from one of the 9 nuclear powers, who would retaliate with their own nukes, and global nuclear war would be inevitable.

  •  Nuclear weapons may be the only reason we haven’t had several more world wars: The period from 1945 to now has been dubbed “the long peace”, not because it’s been peaceful, but because it hasn’t seen world-war. Conventional war is complex, and “negatable” enough that it can be engaged in a way that one side may only incur minimal losses, while the other side incurs complete loss or surrender. When nuclear war was invented, it became clear quickly, that both sides of a two-sided war would both incur complete loss. Because of this fact, the nuclear powers have limited themselves to localized engagements and “proxy wars”. This is why there was a “cold” war with Russia, and why we’ve seen wars fought where large countries will arm smaller countries to fight for the larger countries interest, but the large countries will never directly engage each other. They all perform a complicated dance where they all know they are at war with each other, but take great pains to avoid admitting it or battling directly. And the reason for this is that they also know if they were to war overtly/directly with each other, it would lead to global nuclear war where no side would achieve what it wants. This concept in effect, means that it will only hold up for as long as the leaders of each of the 9 countries are all rational, capable of understanding the cost of direct war, and the incentives that force each other to either avoid or nuke each other.

 

  •  A global nuclear war might not completely eradicate all life on earth, nor the human species: One study concluded that a war where just 100 15-kiloton nuclear weapons were exploded on land would lead to decades of famine, radiation poisoning, increased UV radiation from ozone loss, and 1000 years of flux in average global temperatures before the earth returned to “normal”(Mills et al. 2014). 15-kilotons is the size of the nuclear weapon used on Hiroshima during World War II, and was of considerably smaller yields than “modern” nuclear weapons. The most powerful US nuclear bomb (the Mk-17) has a yield of 25 megatons, or about 1,666 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

 

The number is always changing, but the total nuclear megatonnage in play globally seems to be around 2200-megatons (Inc 2017), but that count varies from source to source.

What is to prevent a nuclear attack, or even accidental nuclear war from starting? What are the political forces at play and incentives driving the actions of the leaders of the 9 nuclear powers? We will explore this further in part 2.

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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Inc, Agence 3cinq. 2017. “Status of World Nuclear Forces | Nuclear Darkness & Nuclear Famine.” Accessed March 12. http://www.nucleardarkness.org/globalnucleararsenal/statusofworldnuclearforces/.

Lockie, Alex. 2017. “Democrats Introduce Bill to Curb Trump’s Ability to Launch a Nuclear Strike.” Business Insider. January 24. http://www.businessinsider.com/democrats-introduce-bill-to-curb-trumps-ability-to-launch-a-nuclear-strike-2017-1.

Mills, Michael J., Owen B. Toon, Julia Lee‐Taylor, and Alan Robock. 2014. “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” Earth’s Future 2 (4). Wiley Periodicals, Inc.: 161–76.

 

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Do You Know How Knowledge Management Framework Can Help Your Business?

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

 

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”—Dalai Lama

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Customer Services & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

A Knowledge Management framework is a complete system of People, Process, Technology and governance, which ensures that Knowledge management is applied systematically and effectively to improve business results.1.

➢ People; knowledge management roles have to be established in the business, communities need to be set up to share and reuse tacit knowledge, behaviors such as seeking for and sharing knowledge need to be incentivized, and to become ‘the way we work’2

➢ KM Processes; there has to be a tried-and-tested process for capturing, distilling, validating, storing, applying and reusing knowledge, and also for innovating.

➢ KM Technologies; the people and the process need to be supported by enabling technology, which allows knowledge to be found and accessed wherever it resides (in databases, on the Intranet, in people’s heads). IT plays an important role in KM, by providing the technology to allow people to communicate.2

➢ KM Governance; without a governance system that promotes and recognizes sharing and the re-use of knowledge, any attempts to introduce KM are going to be a hard struggle. Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore more about Knowledge Management Framework.2

Why is this important in your business?

A strong KM framework is vital for the success of Knowledge Management; as follows 3

➢ With no accountabilities, it is nobody’s job.

➢ With no processes, nobody knows how.

➢ With no technology, nobody has the tools.

➢ With no governance, nobody sees the point.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we explore more about Knowledge Cycle.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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Resource: 

  1. http://www.knowledge-management-tools.net/different-types-of-knowledge.html
  2. http://www.knowledge-management-cafe.com/faq/what-knowledge-management-
  3. www.knoco.com/knowledg-management-framework-design.ht

 

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What’s in a Blog?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Manager of HR and Administrtion at SafeSourcing.

If you have ever wanted to write about something, but struggle having enough content for a book, then maybe you should consider writing a blog. According to Google, blogs are defined as “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

In the past ten years or so, blogs have been growing in popularity, and after exploring a few, it isn’t hard to see why. Blogs tend to be written casually, as if you were talking to a friend or acquaintance, and because of this, they can be fun and easy to understand. By using your own humor and language, whatever topic you write about tends to resonate with readers.

On top of the informal style, then length of blogs appeals to many readers. Often, people don’t spend much time strictly reading one thing, but rather browse a variety of topics and read a bit on each. Blogs are the perfect medium for casual readers like this. They are short and to the point.

One of the best aspects of blogs, though, is how available it is to public. Since blogs are published online, and often on specific blog sites, a blog can reach hundreds of thousands of people in a short amount of time. Because blogs are so easily accessible and well liked, the popularity in writing and reading them is continually growing. With niches available for almost any topic, there is bound to be a place to read, learn, and share your thoughts on any subject.

For more information on SafeSourcing blogs or how to begin writing your own, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

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The Importance of Keeping Your Heating/Cooling Systems Well-Maintained

Monday, January 16th, 2017

 

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

Climate control systems represent half of a home’s energy bill or more, according to Energy Star.gov. It is recommended inspections of the unit be done twice a year – one in the spring before the summer heat and again in the fall before cooler weather arrives.  Maintaining your heating and cooling system is much the same as keeping your car maintained properly.  There are five reasons a heating inspection is recommended this time of year.

  1. Warranty. Whether your system is currently under warranty that covers your HVAC system, your best assurance for coverage for a major repair is a receipt from a certified technician who has inspected your unit twice a year.
  2. Clean and Safe. An inspection twice a year will most likely reduce the buildup of soot in the burners. When valves are adjusted regularly, you can avoid potential system failure. Cleaning out dust and debris around the system, keeps the system running safely.
  3. Technician Tips. Heating and cooling inspections done regularly by a certified technician will provide homeowners with tips on how to save energy. Regular filter changes need to be done. Do not clutter items around the system. The unit needs room around it in order to run more efficiently.
  4. The Best Time of Year for Discounts. After the hot summer months when the system has been running continuously, you can save money on the “off season”. Many discounts are available after the summer months and before the cold weather hits.
  5. Six Key Factors to be Aware of When a System Replacement is Recommended.

Furnace age (12 years or older); energy costs keep rising; several repairs over the las few years, burner flame is yellow instead of blue; system makes strange noises; and you and your family members feel ill when the heat is running.

SafeSourcing can provide you with all your service needs. 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

 

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Teamwork in a Moment of Crisis or Emergency

Friday, December 30th, 2016

 

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Customer Services & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

While these guidelines were created for management roles, it is important to note that in a team environment that these suggestions apply to ALL members of the team:

Many of us in businesses are ill-prepared to handle the traumatic events- death of immediate family members, natural disasters, accidents, etc., and yet these events can and do occur in our workplaces. They are events, for which preparation helps.

Let all employees know that you are concerned and doing all you can to help them. You represent the organization to your employees, and your caring presence can mean a great deal in helping them feel supported. You don’t have to say anything profound; just be there, do your best to manage, and let your employees know you are concerned about them. Be visible to your team, and take time to ask them how they are doing.

Let people know, in whatever way is natural for you, that you are feeling fear, grief, shock, anger, or whatever your natural reaction to the situation may be. This shows your employees you care about them. Since you also can function rationally in spite of your strong feelings, they know that they can do likewise.

Share information with your employees as soon as you have it available. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Particularly in the first few hours after a tragedy, information will be scarce and much in demand. If you can be an advocate in obtaining it, you will show your employees you care and help lessen anxiety.

Encourage employees to talk about their painful experiences. This is hard to do, but eases healing as people express their painful thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, and come to realize that their reactions are normal and shared by others. Your team may prefer to discuss the situation among them. Don’t be afraid to participate, and to set a positive example by discussing your own feelings openly. Your example says more than your words.

Build on the strengths of the group. Encourage employees to take care of one another through such simple measures as listening to those in distress, offering practical help, visiting the hospitalized, or going with an employee on the first visit to a feared site. The more you have done to build a cohesive work group, and to foster self-confidence in your employees, the better your staff can help one another in a crisis.

Build on your work group’s prior planning. If you have talked together about how you, as a group, would handle a hypothetical crisis, it will help prepare all employees, mentally and practically, to deal with a real one. Knowing employees’ strengths and experience, having an established plan for communication in emergencies, and procedures can help you “hit the ground running” when a crisis actually strikes.

Be aware of the healing value of work. Getting back to the daily routine can be a comforting experience, and most people can work productively while still dealing with grief and trauma. However, the process of getting a staff back to work is one which must be approached with great care and sensitivity. In particular, if anyone has died or been seriously injured, the process must be handled in a way that shows appropriate respect for them.

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While we, the team at SafeSourcing, are no stranger to moments of emergency or crisis, we pull together as one team and one family ensuring that our customers and suppliers are taken care throughout our crisis. We take pride in offering the best customer service in the industry and will do whatever it takes to ensure that it remains our top priority and invisible to the outside world.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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Resource: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/worklife/reference-materials/traumaticevents.pdf

 

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It’s Time to Plan Your Procurement

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

With the year coming to a close, many companies are focusing on the upcoming year and what changes they may have in store. Whether the change is increasing head count in the office, opening more locations, or even trying out a new product in your store, changes need to be planned out.

Typically, a business needs to plan for its year financially, budgeting money for labor and overhead and trying to plan for goods and services expenses, plus any changes they foresee in the upcoming year. Opening new locations, buying new products, and hiring more employees require financial planning.

With all the other planning at year end, what many companies overlook, though, is planning for procurement. If a company will need temporary labor in the next year, they should reach out to their procurement partner sooner rather than later to identify needs. A procurement partner can help get the right services for you at a competitive price. If, like many other businesses, a company needs to hire landscapers to maintain company property in the spring and snow removal companies in the winter, now is the time to begin the procurement process.

With proper planning and with help from your procurement team, your company can not only have the financial year planned, but also have vendors and suppliers in place ready to begin whatever work might need done. On top of that, many of those suppliers and vendors could be even less than you initially thought, all through the help of your procurement partner and tools like the ones offered by SafeSourcing. This could, in turn, lead to even more financial means to grow your company even more in the upcoming years.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help with your procurement needs, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments!

 

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We wish you all a very Merry Christmas 2016 and a continued hope for Peace on Earth.

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

If you can indentify these folks below?  We hope they grant you and yours all of your wishes.
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