Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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!

 

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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Veterans Day; Never Forget!

Friday, November 11th, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO of SafeSourcing and a US Air Force Vietnam Era Veteran.

What an appropriate sentiment for today November 11, 2016 Veterans Day. That quote which has been paraphrased a lot is actually “Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting”. This author believes it may be attributed to William Buckley. At least the first time I heard it.

Today is a day that we don’t expect those that have given so much to have to remember. It is up to those of us that have received their gifts to remember them and pay those gifts forward. Our veterans have provided a gift of service in order to defend the principles that guided our founding fathers almost 250 years ago. Many gave their lives. We will remember them and their families on this day and it is appropriate that we should.

Let the mottos of our branches of the US Military help you remember what guided all of those that gave in the name of Freedom.

1.  US Air ForceIntegrity First,, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do
2.  US Coast Guard “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready)”
3.  US Marines“Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful)”
4.  US Navy“Honor, Courage, Commitment”
5.  US Army“This We’ll Defend”

SafeSourcing looks forward to and appreciates your comments

 

Show your support for our Veterans and create jobs by hiring them.

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

 

Todays post is by Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Veterans Day is tomorrow 11/11/2016

Little did I know that what I am doing today would be directly based on my military education of forty years ago?

When I was in Massachusetts on business a few  years ago I visited my home town in eastern Massachusetts, where much of my family including my parents still lived. Recently our home town dedicated a memorial to veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars. I had no idea this was taking place, until a friend and fellow veteran sent me a picture of the wall with my name inscribed on it.

Our family has a history of military service, many of my uncles served during WWII, and two if my brothers and I also enlisted as soon as we were old enough. I enlisted in the US Air Force in late 1970 while the war in Viet Nam was still being conducted. I ended up with an AFSC of 645X0 or Inventory Management Specialist. I had no way of knowing at the time that my job today in the procurement space would be so closely correlated to the education I received at that time. My younger brothers followed me into service of our country, and subsequently by youngest brothers oldest son enlisted and served and was injured in Iraq. Simply, we love our country as do all of those that served and continue to serve today.

I had the opportunity while I was in town to take my dad who was 83 at the time to visit the memorial. He had no idea that his sons and grandsons names were on the wall. I pointed out the names to him and then we went for a quiet walk in the park and he said to me there are three of us on there. I said, Dad not only are there three of us on there, we will still be on there 100 years from now and it is a legacy that you started. I have to tell you that this is one of the best memories of time with my dad and one I will carry with me forever.

What continues to amaze me is the responsibility that military personnel are given at such a young age. The inventory I was responsible for which included everything from cans of oil to very sophisticated war readiness materials. With that responsibility also came significant accountability. I was accountable to understand or develop product specifications, demand forecasting, requisitioning, logistics and much more. I was 18.

Today’s military personnel and recent veterans are responsible for some of the most sophisticated technology in the world and many are only recent high school graduates. Many are put in harms way and also in the position to make decisions that can impact the lives of others while their high school counterparts are still in college.

Support your veterans that work so hard to protect our freedoms. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help to create jobs for our veterans, please go to http://www.hireveterans.com/. If you can’t, please donate to the Wounded Warrior Project as a way of saying thanks.

Please contact SafeSourcing for all of your procurement needs.

Thanks and Happy Veterans Day.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

What Motivates Employees?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

 

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

Traditional methods of motivating employees is all very familiar within organizations: good compensation and bonuses for targets achieved, praising teams’ performances, encouraging joint decision  making, and leading by example are all second nature to many business people.  As time and business evolve so must the ways we try to get the best from employees.  Listed below are five ways to motivate employees.

    1. Help Employees Understand the “Why”. When a new employee is added to your organization, make sure they are aware their role is vital. Explain exactly why they are doing their job and what they are out to achieve in making clients and customers’ lives easier. Give employees a purpose. A self-motivated employee is more personally accountable for their objective.
    2. Acknowledge all Progress Made. It is imperative for employees to feel like they are accomplishing something and their work makes a difference. Make sure to acknowledge progress is being made rather than a target not being hit. It is demotivating if a specific target has not been hit and giving up at that point is detrimental to future success. If employees receive recognition for whatever they do in the right direction, it will inspire them to work harder to exceed their objectives.
    3. Provide Career Development.Encourage employees to develop their skills, as well as the role within the organization. Opening job vacancies to existing staff will increase motivation and entice them to invest more in the organization.
    4. Encourage Work-Life Balance. Modern workplace puts emphasis on the importance of a balanced work-life. A happy employee is a motivated employee – develop fun and leisure activities in your organizations, such as celebrating birthdays, graduations, first-home purchases, as well as other significant milestones.
    5. Know Employees as Individuals. It is wise for Directors and team leaders to invest time in developing a good rapport with their employees. Every individual – even when doing the same job has a unique skill set and work style. Having an open-door policy so people feel you are accessible and open to their views makes them feel appreciated.

Safesourcing is motivated to help you achieve your business goals! 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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Executive Insight, Omar Hosari, 12/15/15