Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What Tools Do You Use?

Friday, March 27th, 2020

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Director 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.

 

Is it too Late?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

 

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

If you read my last blog post titled,Are you too comfortable?” and realized I was describing your organization then read on. Actually, please keep reading anyway.

When I wrote a month ago and posed that question, I honestly had no idea that the markets were about to tumble, schools would close down, businesses would send their employees home, sporting events would be cancelled, and more. While I was aware and even concerned about Coronavirus (COVID-19), that’s not what I was referring to. That said, this terrible pandemic has, in fact, already started challenging US businesses and this looks likely to continue. The question now is, whether or not it is too late to take actions that will help your company survive the pandemic.

In all likelihood we can still help. There is still time to take steps. Even if you are already a responsible steward of your company’s expenses, there is still likely room for improvement and any areas where you can reduce costs in a market like this are absolutely worth the effort. If you’re curious about how well you are doing with your strategic sourcing, then this blog I posted a while back will help you get a sense. Look, we save our customers greater than 24% on average across all of their spend categories. I don’t have to ask if that would be helpful. I know that would help any organization.

But, it’s not just cost reductions. Concerns are steadily growing about the stability of organizations’ supply chains and now is not the time to have all of your eggs in one vendors’ basket. If you’ve been following SafeSourcing, you probably know that we have a supplier database consisting of over 457,000 global suppliers of any good or service you might need to run your business. Even if all you need is to supplement your current supply chain with additional sources of supply or alternate service providers, we can help with that too.

Just don’t wait too long. If there’s anything that I’m sure of as this awful situation caused by Coronavirus continues to unfold across the globe, it’s that the only wrong way to prepare is to do nothing.

Stay safe and don’t be shy if you need assistance. We’re all in this together.

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.

 

 

He Who Has the Gold

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

 

 

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

Most people are familiar with the phrase, “He who has the gold, makes the rules”, believed to be coined by the writers of the comic strip “The Wizard of Id” originally published in “The Dallas Morning News” in 1964 and later became syndicated. The phrase has been commonly used in reference to oil, one of our most lucrative resources. Currently the oil of the digital era is data. Data rules the world and technology is changing our economies, societies and daily lives.

Our personal data is constantly being collected by retailers and service providers that we utilize every day. Initially this practice was designed as an effort to discover the customers’ likes, dislikes, preferences, needs, and goals and then use that information to shift gears to better meet their needs in the future. Also this assists the supplier in retaining customers by creating incentives for repeat purchases. Our data is valuable and we give it freely in exchange for access, or for discount offers and select promotions.

In some cases, it simply gets taken from us by use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) software such as Facial Recognition Systems and Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA). Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant are at the forefront, so it’s no surprise that the current giants that “deal in data”, are Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Amazon has been systematically collecting data from its customers since its inception as a book reseller in the mid ‘90s and now runs a cloud service and it’s the most powerful cloud service in North America. The global intelligent virtual assistants market size is expected to reach USD 25.63 billion by 2025.

Information from marketing campaigns, customer service inquiries, and purchase histories are encoded and used to run predictive analytics, and projections. The data utilized must be based on complete and correct data. If the data is not complete and correct then projections will have limited value. We all create and utilize data daily. Creating quality data the first time saves time and money in the long run.

Although data is an essential tool, it is only as valuable as its quality. Remember the garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) concept, the quality of output is determined by the quality of the input. As Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business 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.

We look forward to your comments.

 

Chocolate Industry

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

 

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

 It seems with nearly every holiday, there is usually a common chocolate treat associated with it. Whether it is chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day, chocolate bunnies for Easter, or hot chocolate for Christmas, chocolate has become not just common, but a standard for many of our holidays. Not only that, but chocolate is something many of us eat often without the holiday celebration, from chocolate chip cookies and granola bars to a candy bar at your local gas station.

 So where does all this chocolate come from? While most of us can find chocolate in nearly every store you might visit, we first we need to find out who makes all this chocolate. Globally, the top chocolate companies are Mars Inc., Ferrero Group, Mondelez International, Meiji Co. Ltd., Hershey Co., and Nestle. These companies have remained the top in the industry for numerous years and account for approximately 60 billion dollars in sales. That’s a lot of chocolate!

 While chocolate is a sweet treat many of us enjoy, there has recently been some bitter discussion on where chocolate comes from. This has led to some investigative reports looking into the chocolate industry and the source of their cocoa. An estimated 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast which are both West African countries and are known to not only have vast government corruption, but also known to use child labor as well as slavery in their cocoa farms. This claim is difficult to verify, however, because journalists and reporters are often barred from visiting these farms or highly supervised while there, being only allowed to show the area in a positive way.

 There has recently been a change in the chocolate industry, though. There are many chocolate companies that ethically source their cocoa. No matter where you live, there are likely a number of chocolatiers near you that use cocoa from farms that provide humane conditions for their workers and that is something extra sweet to think about.

 For more information on how you can ethically source chocolate, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

References:

  1.  http://safesourcing.com/ContactUs/tabid/60/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  2. https://www.candyindustry.com/2020/global-top-100-candy-companies
  3. https://foodispower.org/human-labor-slavery/slavery-chocolate/
  4. Ethically sourced chocolate: http://www.slavefreechocolate.org/ethical-chocolate-companies

 

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

 

 Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Assistant at SafeSourcing.

“You learn something new everyday” is a phrase often used after a person learns a lesson by accident. You simply are learning by circumstance rather than acquiring a new skill set or learning new information or facts.

Harvey MacKay has always been an advocate of lifelong learning or intentional learning. Getting the right information and putting this into practice whether it be to improve his golf swing or learning a new language. Technology today makes things easier than ever before. There are online classes, TEDtalks, YouTube, and instructional videos to name a few. If you are hooked up to WiFi, knowledge is unlimited and is available to fit your schedule.

“Alvin Toffler, author of ‘Future Shock,’ who said, the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. In today’s world you need to know how to navigate social relationships, keep up with new technology, be informed about politics, be aware of your finances, make intelligent career decisions, choose a healthy diet along with a million other skills in order to thrive in this world.

Learning something the wrong way can have permanent consequences. Some questions you may ask before taking on new learning are:

  •     Why am I learning this information and how will I use it?
  •     What level of understanding do I need?
  •     How can this information be broken down?
  •     What are the most important things to learn based on my personal goals?

Many times knowing a little on a topic can be a conversation starter or could even lead to a sale. You might not commit to learning something everyday , but once a week or month could be a good start. MacKay’s Moral is use it or lose it!

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help 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.

References:

Harvey MacKay, AZCentral, 1/13/2020

 

Are you too Comfortable?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

 

 

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

There is no shortage of news stories that are designed to induce fear in the reader. Surely, it’s up to the reader to decide whether the articles are correct or just more clickbait. While a lot of what we see today falls into the clickbait category, there are still real risks that need to be monitored and managed.

One such headline that affects us all is a question that has gotten plenty of attention in the media recently. Will we see a recession in 2020 or not? I’m not even going to speculate. It’s not my place to do so. Instead, I’ll do my part to make sure that my customers are prepared for a recession or any other potentially devastating situation.

Are you too comfortable?

One of the biggest mistakes I see our prospects and a few customers making is allowing themselves to become too comfortable with their situation. Perhaps a strong economy has been good to them for some amount of time and they have shifted their focus away from cost reductions. Whether they did this intentionally or through negligence, they’ve made a critical mistake. Focusing solely on revenue is an incomplete strategy. It’s like keeping your car perfectly clean and shiny and skipping the maintenance like oil changes. At some point, you’re going to be in trouble.

I’ll admit that this seems dramatic, but the fact is I have personally seen this play out within some of the organizations that SafeSourcing has worked with over the years. I’ve watched companies embrace strategic sourcing, regardless of how weak or strong their sales are at the time, which thrive when the market is strong and survive when it is not. On the other hand, I’ve watched former customers and prospects go through layoffs, having their stock values crash, and shut their doors. At some point, it’s too late to cut costs. The time to be a steward of your organization’s expenses is before it is too late.

Don’t let yourself get too comfortable and caught off guard. Split your focus in a way that still allows for strategic sourcing to be an initiative and make sure the organization understands that this has executive sponsorship. Or don’t. I’ll keep my eye on the news and hope I don’t see more familiar company names in these saddening headlines.

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.

 

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

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

 

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.

What’s in a name?

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

 

 

Today’s Post is by Eli Razov, Senior Account Manager at SafeSourcing, Inc.

Cheese is a dairy product derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. During production, the milk is usually acidified, and by adding the enzyme rennet, causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Some cheeses have mold on the rind, the outer layer, or throughout. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.

A lot of cheeses are named after their points of origin—Cheddar, Roquefort, and Colby are named after places in England, France, and Wisconsin, respectively. Other cheese names are a bit more complicated. Below are some of the more commonly known cheeses and their “origin stories”.

COTTAGE CHEESE

It’s the most familiar and commonly consumed form of cheese curds (at least in the United States). What are curds? Coagulated chunks of milk proteins that came together due to the addition or presence of an acid, such as rennet (which naturally occurs in sheep stomachs) or vinegar. Curd based cheeses date back to ancient times, but cottage cheese as we know it, in name and form, originates in 1830s England, when dairy farmers made curd cheese in their homes, or cottages, with dairy waste left over from making other products elsewhere on the farm, such as butter.

MONTEREY JACK

This mild, semi-hard white cheese is only partially named after its birthplace. In the mid-19th century, Franciscan friars stationed in central coastal California (near the settlement of Monterey) created the bland cousin of Cheddar. That’s when Scottish immigrant and entrepreneur, David Jack, entered the picture. He came to California in the 1840s to work as a military contractor (among other things) and got so rich that he bought up most of the land in Monterey County, including the dairies that were by that time producing the friars’ Monterey cheese. He decided to nationally market the cheese with his own name attached, first as Jack’s Cheese, and then the classier sounding Monterey Jack.

MOZZARELLA

Mozzarella is as Italian as the thing to which it most often contributes: pizza. In the Neapolitan dialect (as in from Naples, where pizza has a rich history) of Italian, mozza means “to cut.” That reflects how mozzarella is made. Cheesemakers mozza, or rather cut, curds and shape them into balls, which is how traditional mozzarella is sold.

CHEEZ WHIZ

This shelf-stable (before opening) cheese-like brick is a famous example of processed cheese. When it was first mass-marketed, Kraft named the melty, queso necessity “Velveeta” to imply that it was smooth and silky…just like velvet (but with a far more pronounced cheesy taste).

With so many different styles and origins of cheeses there is bound to be one that fits your tastes. With SafeSourcing’s online RFx Tool, we can help you source the cheese(s) you want!

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact SafeSourcing  we have an entire team waiting to assist you today

Citation:

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

How can I reduce my chances of being hacked?”

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

 

 

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

Recently there was a news story about a hacker taking over someone’s home security camera and harassing them through the two-way talk functionality.   This is quite ironic considering we put cameras in place to help us feel a sense of security within our home or business. Although the odds of this happening to you are very slim, this type of hacking is something that can be done within minutes for an experienced hacker. There are numerous ways that a hacker can gain access to your camera. One of the most common ways hackers access the cameras is by connecting to the camera and trying the default username and password. When camera systems are shipped, they are commonly setup with a default username and password that should be changed during setup. A novice user setting up the camera system may not know the implications of not creating a new secure password for the default user, thereby leaving the system open to vulnerable attacks. Unfortunately it is very difficult to know if your system has been hacked, but one potential red flag could be sluggishness or degraded performance when using the system. If you are setting up a new camera system and want to protect the system from hacks, you can make it more difficult for a hacker by doing the following things:

  • Create strong password for all users – This can be done by making long passwords that        contain a mix of characters both upper and lowercase.
  • Secure your wireless network – This can be done by changing the default SSID, turning off guest networking and using encryption on the router.
  • Update the software – Software updates sometimes contain fixes and enhancements to help against vulnerabilities.
  • Close any unnecessary ports – The less ports available, the less vulnerable you are to attacks.
  • Test Your Security – You will want to test all of the setting changes and make sure that they have been saved correctly.

If you are looking to purchase new network devices and would like help researching available options, feel free to contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one 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 and look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Double Checking Your Work

Monday, January 6th, 2020

 

 

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

Recently I was in the market to replace my two front tires. I had been to the tire store a year prior and was advised to replace two tires and rotate the other two tires. I was told that the new tires that were to be replaced were the going to be the same tires that were on my car. The work was done and I never gave any thought to the tires that had been replaced. Well it turns out, my car had run-flat tires and the two tires that were replaced were not! All four tires are both made by the same manufacturer.

When the gentlemen came out to look at my tires, he asked to see my spare. I opened the trunk and realized I had no spare because they were run-flats and a spare is not needed. He told me he noticed right away I had run-flats on the front and regular tires on the back. Thankfully, I never had an incident with a flat or a blow out before discovering that the tire store put the wrong tires on my car. How can the front desk person and the actual installer not notice that the wrong tires were sold to me and installed? I elevated my concern to the store manager and was given a significant credit for the two tires that were put on in error. I told him my concern was that two of his employees signed off on these tires – the wrong tires!

What is a run-flat tire? A run-flat tire is a pneumatic vehicle tire that is designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured, and to enable the vehicle to continue to be driven at reduced speeds – under 56 mph – and for limited distances – generally between 10 mi to 50 mi, depending on the type of tire. Wikipedia

How would the average person be able to identify a run-flat tire? Identify run-flat tires by carefully inspecting the tires for specific markings. Turn on the flashlight. Scan the sidewall of the tire. Look for markings such as “ZP,” “RFT,” “SEAL” or an image of a flat tire with an arrow pointing away from it. Use the magnifying glass to pick out these indices, if necessary. Sounds pretty tricky if you ask me. I don’t think the average person would know to do this.

SafeSourcing strives to give excellent customer service. We check your specifications to insure accuracy and offer advice more carefully than your own team might.  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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The short answer: yes. Run-flat tires and regular tires that are the same numeric size will have the same physical dimensions, and can fit properly on the same wheels. … You should have some sort of roadside assistance that you can call if you have a larger puncture.Jul 29, 2014

 

 

SafeSourcing strives to give excellent customer service. 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.