Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In One Year

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

 

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

It was this time last year that widespread lockdowns began at the rising rate of coronavirus infections. It is hard to believe a whole year has passed. It is also hard to believe it has been only a year, because so much has happened. Instead of going into the details about the bizarre, incredible, and unbelievable things that have happened in the last twelve months, this blog will go into detail about all the things that can be done in the next twelve months.

There are lots of things that can be done in a year, so the following list is of things that people have been able to accomplish in one year. While these things are extraordinary, they can be inspiration for yourself or just ideas for potential goals.

  1. Read one book every day: This is something quite extraordinary, not just because of the time needed to accomplish, but because one could grow weary and physically tired of reading so much. This was not the case for Nina Sankovitch, who was able to do this partly in remembrance of her sister who had died of cancer. While we may not all be able to accomplish this, we can still challenge ourselves and read more. Whether you prefer memoirs, historical fiction, or mystery, there are many books out there that can take you away any day or every day.
  2. Plant a forest: This may be a tricky one because many of us probably do not have the space to plant an entire forest. However, when an entire country comes together and every person plants one tree, hundreds of millions of trees can be planted. This is exactly what happened in Ethiopia in 2019. Millions of people participated and 353 million new trees were planted in a single day! Perhaps this is inspiration for you to plant a new sapling in your garden this spring.
  3. Run the country: This doesn’t mean you could become president in such a short amount of time, but rather that you can physically run the distance of the continental United States in this amount of time. While many of us would need to train and prepare, one individual was able to accomplish this feat in far less than one year. In fact, Louis Michael Figueroa ran from New Brunswick, NJ to San Francisco in 60 days at the age of 16 as part of a promise made to a friend battling cancer. He is actually part of the inspiration for the character Forrest Gump. Perhaps this can help motivate you to go the extra distance in your life.
  4. Reduce expenses: This is probably something we all strive to do, but sometimes do not exactly know how. While cutting coupons and shopping around helps, how do you cut expenses in your business? This is where SafeSourcing can reduce the costs of your goods without reducing quality, and it can happen in far less than a year. By using a procurement partner like SafeSourcing, you can cut expenses in several categories that you are likely overspending and have a much better financial outlook this time next year.

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 RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Don’t Upset the Apple Cart

Friday, March 19th, 2021

 

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

The foodservice industry plays an integral part of our nourishment, our culture, and our economy.  This connection has been highlighted during our current battle with a pandemic. Foodservice is challenging in normal times, and when you upset the proverbial apple cart with the added challenge of supply chain interruptions caused by national and international demands and market increases due to trade restrictions, the entire industry is forced to make some critical decisions.

In order for the foodservice industry to provide the apples, they also have to include the cost of the cart, because the packaging of our food is a necessary consideration, especially since we immediately pivoted to a contactless environment. Instead of the cart, it is the paper and the plastic containers in which we receive our take-out orders, as well as our grocery supplies that has gone through the roof.  Whether the food is coming from the field or the factory, domestic or import, it has to be placed in a container in order to travel to your table.

Our three major trade partners are China, Mexico, and Canada, and imports decreased about 20 percent during the second quarter of 2020. Wisconsin is best known for being a dairy state but they are the biggest manufacturer of paper in the United States and sell more paper, employ more people, and have more paper mills than any other state. Paper mills were already struggling prior to the onset of the pandemic due to decline in print media, but most mills were not equipped or it was too expensive to retool for transition to food paper production, and have had to shut down production. Food wrapping paper is a significant chunk of business for Wisconsin paper manufacturers and converters, ranging from paper sleeves between slices of cheese or deli meat, to grease-resistant papers, baking papers and more.

From medical supplies to food packaging, plastics are essential in the effort to stop the spread of corona virus. Plastics have become more and more vital to help keep our families healthy and our food protected, both in the medical and the food industry.  Plastics materials and plastics are in high demand and some of the top sources of plastics imports, such as China and Vietnam have imposed temporary trade restrictions. This has also created a strain on demand from our domestic plastic manufacturers.

Increased demand and fewer resources have led to the climbing cost of safely doing business. In retail, margin management is key to profit retention and category management has become increasingly difficult in these times.  Let SafeSourcing assist you with lowering your cost for the apple as well as the cart.

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 RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

A Sourcing Diatribe you should read and share with your finance team!

Monday, March 8th, 2021

 

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Here’s the diatribe from two years ago that still applies today and they still tell you why they don’t.

Example: Your finance department in reviewing current costs looks at your waste management costs and discovers that they have gone up significantly over the last two years. They call your Category Manager (if you have one) in order to ask why? The answer they get back is that in discussions with your current vendor, their costs have gone up significantly. Your finance department representative asks for examples. The answer he/she gets, is as follows, “I don’t know, but I’ll reach out and ask”.

Alternative Example: Your finance department in reviewing current costs looks at your waste management costs and discovers that they have gone up significantly over the past two years. They call your Sourcing provider SafeSourcing Inc. (if they are) in order to ask why? The answer they get back is that in discussions with your current vendor, their costs have gone up significantly. Your finance department representative asks SafeSourcing for examples. The answer he/she receives is as follows.

There are several reasons. The first is that 2 years ago the Chinese were the largest importers of recycled materials, specifically plastics and papers. At the time they were importing approximately 15M metric tons. Today they are importing approximately 7M metric tons. This has gone from a revenue producing opportunity for suppliers to a cost. Additionally, there is a shortfall of drivers in the US that has caused demand for their skills to increase accordingly. As a result, all freight hauling focused companies have experienced a shortfall of drivers and an increase in costs for the drivers that they do hire.

Additionally, diesel prices in 2017 were lower than they are today. While these prices have eroded somewhat (about 6%) between 2018 to 2019, they are still not at the low levels they were in 2017. There are additional areas to also consider like new equipment that are also higher based on demand. Now can I provide you with a strategy as to how we (SafeSourcing) can mitigate these costs going forward and maybe even rain them in some?

I know all executives have had these types of frustrating conversations internally as well as with your suppliers. I also know that SafeSourcing regularly provides these types of answers and reviews across hundreds of categories for our customers. It is the precise reason that our average savings across all categories during the last 2 years is greater than 24%.

While the above is a specific example, what can you tell me about your freight costs, supplies costs, commodity costs, construction costs, equipment costs, items for resale costs etc. Probably not as much as SafeSourcing can tell you. Give us a call and find out.

For more information regarding SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing, or regarding our Risk Free Trial Programplease contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative, you’ll be glad you did! We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The Ability of the Market to Bring Buyers and Sellers Together in an Open Environment

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

 

Today’s is our archives at SafeSourcing, Inc.

Recent advances in electronics and internet technologies have had major impacts on supply chain management and on sourcing strategies and practices. One such development that has attracted the attention of many companies and gained popularity is the reverse auction, also referred to as on-line reverse bidding. Over the past few years, many companies in a variety of industries have started using reverse auctions. The list includes GE, Boeing, Sun Microsystems, HP, P&G, Dow Chemical, Staples, US Foods and many more.

In speaking recently with a CFO of a leading company in their vertical who believes in using reverse auction technology and has used this procurement method in past organizations that he was also the CFO, he stated “If you really believe in what you do with procurement and reverse bidding, which is more measurable directly to the P&L than any solution I have ever deployed, then reverse bidding is surely the best procurement strategy that a company can deploy. Not only in-direct spends but also capitol and direct spends. It can save jobs as well.” This CFO can effectively argued that nothing they (procurement departments) are working on can have a larger impact on their company and employees. Not new stores, not new branding or new products. Nothing.

The most obvious benefit from reverse auctions is in purchasing cost savings to the buyer. As any dollar saved in purchasing cost adds a dollar to the bottom line. Reduction of procurement costs has always been a high priority for top management. Reverse auctions/on-line bidding can have significant impact on reducing purchasing costs.

SafeSourcing eProcurement, particularly reverse auctions, are a relatively new way to increase your bottom-line using e-Procurement tools to enhance the spend process. Utilizing new technologies as mentioned will add profit dollars without selling one new customer buying your products or services. The savings are traditionally 10X your investment in e-Procurement tools. You’re just accepting a different way to solicit bids/pricing even with your incumbent vendors that you currently work with.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in your procurement efforts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative

 

 

Would You Rather Barter?

Monday, February 15th, 2021

 

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

Recently I learned that the old way of obtaining goods, bartering, which pre dates many currencies you can see around now, is still around and for a very good reason. Bartering is what many people used to obtain goods or services when they did not have money or currency to pay for a good or service. It involved offering a different good or service in exchange. For example, a bread maker may offer breads to a butcher in exchange for a supply of meat or perhaps someone would do some amount of farm work for someone in exchange for room and board. This barter system is still in place today in at least one industry and the reason behind it is an interesting one having to do with poaching and furs.

The Zoo industry is an often loved, but also controversial industry. While every day, many people visit zoos to see, explore, and learn more about the animals we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. And often these animals are obtained in a unique way. Many years ago, the fur trade and the zoo industry led to greater poaching and animal hunting, especially for endangered animals. Because people wanted zoos to preserve the lives of wild animals and discourage poaching and illegal captures and selling of animals, many countries agreed to only allow zoos to barter for their animals.

This barter system to zoos meant that they could not buy any of the animals that they house. This would directly affect those that were looking to profit from trapping rare and large animals by no longer allowing any cash payments. Instead, zoos could trade animals with other zoos. Ultimately, some animals are more easily obtained and so some animals have been used to help with the bartering. For example, one zoo in the United Kingdom primarily trades jellyfish for other animals within its zoo and aquarium.

While bartering may work for zoos and be a deterrent for those who wish to profit at the expense of animals, most of us would struggle doing business this way. Outside of the neighborhood gestures of trading baked goods or soup for help with shoveling snow or mowing a lawn, business must operate on a buy and sell agreement. If your organization falls into this category, which likely does if you aren’t a zoo, then you can use the tools and experience SafeSourcing offers to help you find the right organization to do business with, find the right product or service to fit your need, and know that you are getting a good and fair price for those goods and services.

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 RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

Teamwork in a Moment of Crisis or Emergency

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

 

 

Today’s post is an older repost but still relevant from our archives 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

 

Believe it or not it’s time to think about Landscaping 

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

 

Todays post is by Dave Wenig, Senior Vice President Sales and Services at SafeSourcing Inc.

As I write this blog, there is snow across much of North America and winter is in full swing. Even though it is hard to imagine now, it will be spring soon and your landscaping needs will have to be met.

While it might seem like a challenge, particularly if you have many locations across a broad geographic footprint, this process is actually pretty straightforward and SafeSourcing has helped our customers through it many, many times.

As is usually the case, cost savings is the number one reason why our customers decide to work with us to negotiate the cost of their landscaping services. The savings in this category can be very significant. In addition to the rates for services, we have also seen customers being charged unnecessary management fees of up to 20% as well. Recent savings in this category have ranged between 16% and 42%, which represents a very significant reduction.

There are other benefits as well. For many customers who work with us on landscaping services, we find one or both of the following circumstances. First, we find that the customer doesn’t have a well-defined set of requirements that their landscaping provider(s) will follow. These should indicate frequency, type, and quality of the services to be performed. Second, we also find that our customers may not have or may not enforce any requirements that should be in place to protect them such as a requirement that all landscaping service providers be properly insured. The RFx process ensures that vendors must comply with certain SLAs and meet the agreed upon criteria for doing business with our customers.

Don’t wait until the snow starts to begin preparing for spring. You may be very pleasantly surprised at how much overpayment you’ll avoid by hosting an online RFx event for your landscaping services. If you do this between now and the first-time lawn mowing is required, you can make any necessary changes without having to worry about any interruption in service.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

Lockdowns

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

 

 

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

Lockdowns have been on the rise again as Covid cases rise and many cities, provinces, states, or entire countries are implementing new rules to try and slow spread to help keep people safe. While there are vaccines coming, it will likely be a long time before there are enough doses for everyone and to get life pre-Covid back. So, while we must go about our days as they are now, there are some things to do to keep your lockdown life as normal and regular as possible.

Last spring different hobbies began trending and one of them was bread making. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the idea is similar. Find a new hobby or set aside time for an old hobby and keep it up. This can be any number of different things like cooking, crosswords, making videos, reading, woodwork, painting, or even redecorating. In fact, for some people a hobby you enjoy can even result in a little extra money if you want to sell you skill or finished product.

While for many people the weather may not be ideal for walks or outdoor activities, there are other ways to get out of the house, even if it is just virtually. This is where the internet and the vast amounts of information can be a game changer. You can take virtual tours of many places across the globe. You can view art from museums, take a google maps stroll down your old road, or you can even take a virtual tour of downhill skiing!

In addition to finding things to do for fun, it is important to also keep connected to others. People are a social species and that need must be fulfilled. Set aside time every week to call a friend or family member, or you could event start with a pen pal and write letters to each other. Video calls have been excellent ways to not only talk to others, but also to see how people are doing. You can get your friends opinion on that new hair cut or keep up with how big the grandkids have gotten.

Whatever way you decide to keep a lockdown lifestyle as normal and rewarding as you can, we must all make sure business is taken care of too. This is where SafeSourcing can help. We can help your organization find goods or services that you need and help you to find the right supplier for it.

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 RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

 

Essential Service 

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

 

 

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

The word essential has seen so much more use in the past 10 months or so. Because of this, many of us have had a chance to stop and think whether we are an essential worker and what that really means. I mention this to help point out that the word can sometimes be subjective.

During the last 10 months, I have had a lot of really interesting conversations with people in all sorts of roles in their different organizations. I have heard a lot about their trials and the new and unforeseen challenges they have faced.

What I have come to see as an outside observer with a wider view of how people approach similar challenges is that it can be hard to see past the challenges that are right in front of us. Here are the top three challenges and why the SafeSourcing’s services are essential even in the face of them.

  1. New and ongoing challenges. While it sometimes feels like we have all settled into the changes we had to make to adjust to the pandemic, the reality is this is not behind us. Staffing issues and ongoing workplace safety concerns take too much attention. But that is actually a reason why you should be working with SafeSourcing. We stay focused on your procurement-related initiatives so you can focus on all the new challenges that you have to face. There is no reason to have to choose between the efforts.
  2. There just are not enough resources. For too many of our customers, they must do more with less. Between layoffs, furloughs, and absences, there is a pretty good chance we have all felt a strain. Here again, SafeSourcing is an extension of your own team. We can assist you, so you do not have to worry about spreading yourself too thin. You will reduce expenses and can use that savings to acquire more resources.
  3. My other responsibilities are higher priorities. Managing your costs directly relates to any of your other strategic responsibilities. Whether you are responsible for sales, HR, IT, or any other role, I guarantee your own goals are in line with managing costs. If you are responsible for growing your company’s revenue, you should also be concerned with improving your company’s gross margin. At the end of the day, everyone in the organization needs to be responsible stewards of its expenses. You keep your eye on your goals and bring us on to keep our eye on your costs.

The main takeaway is that if you can keep an open mind about the benefits of strategic sourcing, you will find that one of the biggest is that it can be a great solution to your challenges both now and in the future.

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 Buyer in All of Us VII Part Series Summary Regardless

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

 

Today’s post is assembled by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing based on data from our white papers and past blogs at SafeSourcing Inc.

Regardless of what type of personal buyer or corporate buyer you are, or even if you are a combination of any of the five, the goal should still be to prepare and create savings and value where you have the resources to do it. Some companies will have more time and resources to invest and others, due to circumstances, will make the time and resources to do it. There are ways to improve buying habits, not matter the type of buyer. Through better understanding of the types of buyers, the better equipped a company is when trying to make better decisions. By analyzing the kind of buyer, a company has now, the better the buying will be in the future, allowing for a more rounded and beneficial process. Paying close attention now to how and where money in a company is spent, the better prepared that company will be if it should ever need to make spending adjustments. The best way to prevent future problems is by being proactive and seeing where problems may lie in the future. Looking for potential problems now could potentially make the difference whether a company survives hard times or not. By noticing the kind of buyer your company has, the better a company can watch spend and know that the best possible process is in place. This is one big way a company can become more grounded, create better relationships, and know they are saving money in the best way they can.

If you are interested in the White Paper titled “The Buyer in All of Us” that was the basis of this series, please click the link and scroll down to download it with our compliments.

In order to learn more about SafeSourcing, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate and ask about our risk free trial program.