Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vehicle Subscription

Friday, August 17th, 2018

 

 

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

Did you know that there is a fairly new option when it comes to procuring a vehicle?  We all know that buying and leasing are available options, but now there are also vehicle subscription services.  With these services you basically pay a monthly fee that gives you access to different models of vehicles.  The fee includes all the major expenses such as insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance.  During the subscription period you can switch out vehicles so you’re not always driving the same type of vehicle.  Maybe you want a sedan as primary car for your day-to-day driving and decide you want to swap it out for an SUV for a family vacation.  The subscription services are utilized via an app on your smartphone. When you want to swap a vehicle connect using the app, choose the vehicle and a concierge service will deliver the vehicle to you.  Unlike buying and leasing a subscription may be cancelled or reinstated at any time with no additional fees.  As of now, there are only a handful of manufacturers offering the new option and it will cost you more than leasing and buying.  However, there are other manufactures that will be making subscriptions an option later this year and in 2019.  Below are some of the benefits of using the new subscription services.

  • Flexible payment plans
  • Use of different vehicles
  • Vehicles are delivered via concierge service
  • Roadside service included
  • Insurance is included
  • Maintenance included
  • Easy cancellation

If you would like some help finding the right solution, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which device will meet 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.

We look forward to your comments.

 

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Nuclear Negotiation

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

 

Today’s repost is from our  SafeSourcing Archives.

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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What Tools Do You Use?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

 

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

We all use tools in our day to day lives, but how many tools we really use might surprise you. Smartphones may be one of the most used tools in many of our lives, giving us access to directions, weather, news, a camera, or just the ability to connect with others. So, what makes a tool useful and practical or not? Whether it is your vehicle, Google home or Alexa, or even your gym, we use tools to accomplish more in less time and to make things easier.

No matter what business you are in, tools likely play an essential role in your success. Construction crews may need bulldozers, hammers, nail guns, safety equipment and more while office workers may need computers, charts, projectors, telephones and more. There are tools that can help both these industries as well as many others – e-Procurement tools. So, what are some e-Procurement tools?

First, having an e-Procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, can function as a tool your organization can use. With ready and knowledgeable staff, they can take a spark of an idea from you and turn it into something real with savings the whole organization could benefit from.

In addition to people, another tool SafeSourcing offers is our library. SafeSourcing has a vast library that can be used to educate, research, and streamline your process. Our Wiki library is available to everyone and can help you understand many industry specific terms. Our electronic newsletter provides useful news and information that can provide a better understanding of what is happening in your industry as well as around the world. To streamline your processes, SafeSourcing also has a template library that can help you with specifications, terms and conditions, and any RFx goals you might have.

Even more than already mentioned, there are more tools available from SafeSourcing. SafeSourceIt can help you get the supplies or services you need at the best price and easily compare vendors all in one location. SafeSpendAnalysis can help you understand where your organization is spending its money and where it can potentially save the most. SafeDocument is a safe and reliable location to store all your organizations documents, and with version retention and access from anywhere it can provide what you need when you need it. SafeContract is another tool that allows you to safely store your contracts and provides alerts when a contract is nearing its expiration, allowing you to be more prepared.

All of these tools can be highly useful for any organization. All of them being easy to use and in one location make them that much more useful and practical, which is exactly what we seek from a tool.

For more information on SafeSourcing tools or helping in your procurement efforts, 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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Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

The Land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE! We should never ever take it for granted.

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My thoughts on the use of e-procurement tools by retail collective buying organizations.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

 

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

I originally wrote this post 10 years ago. While a lot has changed, a lot has not. Many collective buyer organizations are understaffed and lack the category expertise to serve their constituency adequately.

Many of these structures believe that they speak on behalf of their retail members for anything and everything that they source. Unfortunately many of their members do not agree. These are independent business people. If they have an opportunity to reduce their cost of goods, expenses and capital spend it is their right to do so. Are they all getting the best pricing today. don’t believe it for a minute.

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge e- procurement tools, but many have not. Do their retailers also benefit from their use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs? I’ve been in the supply chain since 1970 and the answer is NO!

This author remembers being a young salesperson over 30 years ago (ouch!). I convinced a customer to buy some new point of sale equipment. I was really excited when I took the contract to the customer for signature. Once there, the retailer told me I had to get a purchase order from Cressy Dockham who was their wholesaler and they would tell me how much discount the retailer was to receive. Cressy Dockham is no longer in business today. They were located in Americus Georgia. I worked in Boston. Thus began a long relationship with collective buyers across all segments of the industry. Explanation of fees was always a part of the discussion.

These types of organization can go by a lot of different names such wholesaler, collective buyer, consortium, cooperative, share groups and more. They all have one thing in common. They consolidate purchasing volumes for a wide array of groups that may have very similar business structures, but can also be wildly different. Some retailers may actually belong to several different buying groups because their primary group does not offer expertise in a certain area.

Obviously, these organizations are not in business to lose money. There are some non profit membership organizations that do return earnings to their members on a pre-planned basis such as quarterly or annually.

As a result of volume consolidation or aggregation, these organizations often qualify for much larger discounts from manufacturers and suppliers than do their independent retailer partners. In many cases the full discount is not passed on to retailers in order to cover the cost of administering the programs. Additionally, other service fees may also be added to invoices.

Today’s advanced e-procurement tools make it much easier to accomplish collective buying. Large and small retailers alike now have the capability of viewing a much broader universe of suppliers while also coordinating and participating in collaborative events from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Suppliers now have an opportunity to earn business they could never compete for in the past.

Retailers should ask their collective buyers how they plan to make the use of these tools available and how many suppliers they have to choose from by category.

I look forward to your comments.

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Retailers; are you managing your suppliers or are they managing you?

Friday, May 11th, 2018

 

In to many cases, for many companies the answer to the question above is who knows on both sides of the relationship. And unfortunately this will not change for many companies.

Historically the primary driver associated with the use of reverse auctions and other related e-RFX tools has been to reduce the cost of goods and services and reduce expense in large part, if a retail company saved money it was deemed to be a successful process for the retailer as well as the awarded vendor. What about the other suppliers? What makes it a positive for them?

Supply base management or the attempt at it is the newest focus area of many strategic sourcing suites. Many vendors do not offer this functionality today; in fact some have trouble describing what it is when asked. Although elements of this functionality exist within a variety of surround type service offerings, no one vendor offers complete functionality in this area today even though they may think they do. A significant reason for this is suppliers concern with the thought of being managed at all because it means giving up perceived control. Additionally, retailers, suppliers nor vendors have agreed as to what the correct Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should be or how to collect the data that would allow you to manage them. As these types of tools are developed, the most successful supply base management tools will be those that can manage the largest supplier database to the continual benefit of both retailers and suppliers that participate and compete for their business

This author believes that the most probable result of this process will be a set of automated robust supplier scorecards that monitor and report on supplier performance versus a range of KPI’S that are applied against well-known quality guidelines resulting in a continuous improvement procurement methodology.

If you’d like to know how SafeSourcing can help improve and measure improvement in your e-RFX process please contact us!

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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Selling to the CFO! For success in procurement this is an essential step for internal associates as well as external sales people.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

 

This author has had the great pleasure of teaching the following course “Selling to the CFO” to hundreds of sales people with a variety of industry focus areas ranging from Loss Prevention to Procurement.

I was reading Michael Lamoureux’s post at Sourcing Innovation the other day. At Sourcing innovation Michael is referred to as the “Doctor” for good reason. If you have the procurement blues or other procurement focused illnesses you might just find the cure or at least a roadmap to it at this site. The post I was reading was titled “Does Your CFO Think All You Deserve is a Kick in the Face”?

To procurement professionals this may sound scary, but does not need to be. Quite frankly, the focus of all sales people should be the CFO. It’s great to have C level relationships, including the CEO, CPO, CIO etc. At the end of the day the CFO controls the purse strings if your solution is not included in the present budget and as such you will need his or her support. The good news is that the focus of all CFO’s is to make companies more profitable. This may be housed in terms like managing regulatory compliance or the reduction of process costs and improving asset utilization. At the end of the day it all means trying to insure stakeholder equity which means improving net profitability and increasing share value.

The reason this is so important for sales people to understand is if your solution can accomplish this in the present accounting period or during the present accounting year in any measureable fashion you will have an interested audience in the CFO.

Once in the CFO’s office, you need to be prepared to present your office in a concise way that is meaningful to the CFO. This means no buzz words or other industry speak. This means understanding the CFO’s company in great detail and presenting your solution to documented problems that your procurement solution will solve in terms the CFO uses every day. That means terms like COGS, EBITDA, Net Profit, IRR, Gross Margin and how you’re offering will impact these areas in a positive fashion immediately.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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How Fast Can You Change?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

 

Does intelligence = Adaptability?

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

Our CEO Ron Southard has decided to repost this message because if you are not changing you are falling behind. So, how fast can you change? It better be immediately if not faster. And it may be that every associate needs to think of themselves as the agent of change both personally, professionally and for their company. So get cracking because in the time it takes you to read this post you will have lost ground with your competition.

What is intelligence? Encarta defines it as “the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them, especially when this ability is highly developed.” Another definition, famously attributed to Albert Einstein, is “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” If we consider the attributes we typically assign to intelligence, we can easily see how they all involve change:

  • Learning requires memorizing new information, which requires a change in the structure of the brain.
  • Someone whose circumstances demand a change in behavior, is not considered intelligent if they never perform the needed change.
  • A business that adapts and reinvents itself in tandem with its changing environment is considered to be very well-led and innovative.
  • In any career, it’s the dynamic and adaptable people who fill top management. Those who are given new directives and take a long time to enact those changes typically don’t gain traction.

If the ability to change is directly correlated to intelligence, then can a lack of intelligence be defined as stagnation? An inability to adapt and change? In short, yes, Dr. Edward Miller, CEO of the hospital

at Johns Hopkins University, stated in a 2005 interview, “If you look at people after coronary-artery bypass grafting two years later, 90% of them have not changed their lifestyle.” It’s been well-established in the medical community that even when the threat is death, the majority of people will not change previously established bad habits. Similar findings have been well established in business management studies. The old-school way of thinking is to assume that everyone just needs more threats, pressure, and dire consequences to get moving. But a one size fits all approach has never worked well in managing human beings. The truth has always been that negative pressure leads to faking change in order to make the boss, the doctor, the spouse, etc, happy with what they’re seeing, even though the truth is performance is still severely lacking.

While some amount of negative pressure will always exist, and will always be essential, what creates long term change is consistent benefit incentives. For example, when people don’t have any hope for the future of their health, their jobs, relationships, etc, adding pressure that says “things are just going to get worse if you don’t change” just adds to the hopelessness of the individual, which they interpret as more reason not to change. However, when someone is given a compliment at work, starts seeing results from exercise, or getting praise from a spouse, they will often see it as a glimpse into something better that is proven to be attainable.

Once we have created the right environment for change, the hard work of implementation can begin. This implementation has to start with paying attention. When a new policy shows up on our desk, we have to take it seriously, read it, memorize as much as necessary, and then change our behavior accordingly. When we see something go wrong, and we don’t change, most people would call that unintelligent. However, when something goes wrong and change happens quickly, effectively, and long-term, we are certainly displaying intelligent behavior. In a world of constant change, the spoils go to the nimble.1

Please leave a comment or 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.

Referances——————————————————–

  1. https://hbr.org/2011/07/adaptability-the-new-competitive-advantage

 

 

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Don’t lose your well-earned eRFX savings by delaying your Letter of Intent or Contract execution.

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

 

Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

In today’s post, we will be reviewing some of the issues that could occur when a Letter of Intent (LOI) or a new Contract, doesn’t get executed efficiently after a successful eSourcing RFX.

LOI or a Contract is delayed

When an LOI or a Contract is delayed, the savings identified in the RFX will not start accumulating until the first invoice from the new supplier or the incumbent supplier arrives post contract.  If a Contract is delayed, the RFX Host Company will have to pay the current contracts negotiated terms for products or supplies until the LOI and/or Contract is executed.  Depending on the volume of the items, it could equate to a lot of lost savings.

When RFXs aren’t awarded efficiently

One of SafeSourcing’s many service offerings is identifying historical categories to take to market.  Our goal is to create an RFX calendar that outlines future projects extending at least one year out. We then populate the calendar with past eRFXs that should be reruns due to previously negotiated contract expirations. We then identify upcoming potential spot purchases that are a result of our deep dive with our spend analysis tool into all category spending.  When RFXs aren’t awarded efficiently these rerun dates will change and as a result may cause future issues with the strategic selection of targeted dates for new RFXs. If you slip 5 months which we see way to often, and prices are headed up over 41% of your savings may be lost.

For more information on how we can help your business reduce spending and maintain savings 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 and appreciate your comments

 

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The Evolving Workforce

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

 

Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Temporary worker demand is rising. When Baby Boomers retire, organizations will lose a lot of talent. Retiring Boomers are going to be hard to replace because Generation X (born between 1965-1980) is small, and because Generation Y has a different concept of how they want to work.  Gen Y (born between 1981-2001) is more technologically and geographically mobile. They value flexibility, which project-based work allows.

Start-ups and small businesses would normally utilize freelance workers but increasingly, larger companies are using online freelancers, not to replace their core workforces, but to complement them usually for special project work. There are a rising number of freelance positions, which typically lack benefits and other protections that come with being a full-time employee. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru are just a few of the multiple online freelance marketplaces which benefit both the freelancers and the corporations hiring them.

Freelancers now make up over 35% of the U.S. workforce and companies are always looking to outsource and work with them to meet their business goals.  Freelance workforce growth is accelerating and has outpaced overall U.S. workforce growth by 3x since 2014, according to Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork.

The use of freelancing platforms could disrupt the way workforces are organized. For corporations, there are coordination costs and other challenges that come with managing both an internal workforce and interfacing with an external one. (Forbes)

The rise of temporary workers is a workforce trend that is here to stay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary workers make up 19 percent of all new jobs in the U.S.

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.

Resources—————————————————————————————

https://www.forbes.com/sites/elainepofeldt/2016/10/06/new-survey-freelance-economy-shows-rapid-growth/#7d454aa57c3f

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-loehr/these-four-workplace-tren_b_4937962.html

 

 

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