Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

 

Share This Post

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.

blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

——————————————————–

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

 

Share This Post

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!

 

Share This Post

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.
IMG00094

Share This Post

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.

Share This Post

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.

—————————————————————–

Executive Insight, Omar Hosari, 12/15/15

 

Share This Post

China’s New Face(book)

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

 

Today’s post was written by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

Facebook and social media have had quite a checkered past in China. After being widely available for several years, Facebook was blocked following a series of riots that took place in northwest China in 2009. The government suspected that the activists were using Facebook as part of their communications network, (and they probably were). Apparently the Chinese government is still highly sensitive to any internet application that might be used to organize China’s masses beyond the reaches of their authority. As such, they also blocked access to YouTube after soldiers were filmed beating Tibetan monks, and to Twitter. In 2010 the ubiquitous search engine Google was also pushed outside the Great FireWall for refusing to allow the Chinese government to censor its search results. All this is of particular interest to me now because my brother boarded an Airbus A330 last Friday morning to begin a new chapter in China. He’ll be teaching US and World History at Beijing No. 4 High School International; and although I couldn’t be happier for him, I cannot imagine being unable to communicate with him regularly. He is one of my best friends. To that end, I am now exploring alternate ways for us to connect.

WeChat to the rescue! Since its inception four years ago, WeChat has become the dominant instant messaging service in China with nearly 700 million monthly active users to date. WeChat enables users to call, text, and send pictures. However unlike Facebook Messenger it’s not simply a messaging platform. Once inside the main WeChat app, you can check current events, manage and pay bills, book a reservation at a favorite restaurant, hail a taxi, or even schedule a doctor’s appointment. In fact, WeChat contains several million third party apps. From retail stores to brands to celebrities to start ups, almost any group or association can have their own account – each account acting like its own web page – turning WeChat into a kind of mobile web browser. If WeChat is as simple to use as it looks, my brother and I will be sharing stories again in no time. I can’t wait for his next update!

Would you like to learn how SafeSourcing could help your company communicate more effectively? Interested in a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact SafeSourcing. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

 

Share This Post

Do Your Thing Well

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

 

 

Today’s post is by Dave Wenig, Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing

Ralph Waldo Emerson has a point. While nothing in life is ever so cut and dry, this author can definitely relate. There certainly is satisfaction in a job well done. Personally, I know that every time our team does a thing well, our customers reap the reward which means they did well too.

So, how do you measure whether or not you’ve done a thing well? Perhaps, you measure the savings from a successfully negotiated decrease in the cost of a contract. Maybe you prefer the reward of hitting your goals.

We can all use a little help along the way to do a thing well. Our customers appreciate that they can leverage our e-Procurement solutions to improve the outcomes of their negotiations and or that they can rely on our Customer Services teams as a partner to help deliver against their goals. We know the importance of getting a job done right and have the experience to step in at any point in the Source-to-Pay process.

Dave Wenig is a Regional Sales Manager at SafeSourcing and is a devoted champion of saving money. Dave or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you do your thing well. For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing representative. 

 

We look forward to your comments.

 

Share This Post

Global Food Risks

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

 

Today’s post is by Michael Figueroa, Project Manager at SafeSourcing

Last  year  California farmers are predicted to lose $3 billion due to persistent drought[1].  Avian Flu has cost nearly $3.3 billion nationwide in the US[2], while the resultant egg shortage continues to wreak havoc with the market by doubling egg prices[3]. Yields in North Korea are feared to come in as low as 50% below normal due to drought, which could pose huge humanitarian needs and market risks[4]. The average amount of arable land needed to support an American standard of living is approximately 10 acres per capita[5], though as of 2012 there were only between 0.49-0.6 acres of arable land on earth per capita[6]. The UN has stated that food production must double by 2050 in order to meet demand[7] due to rising population as well as rising global affluence. As the world population continues to increase the number of hungry mouths on the globe, it becomes ever more vital to have a strategy for dealing with disruption in food production markets.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges to this problem is understanding what all of the potential risks are. As unpredictable weather patterns emerge, we are warned to expect the unexpected by the scientific community due to global warming, and political disruptions are equally unpredictable. Though there are recommended steps for discovering the unknown variables, and managing what is known.

Identify the risks: Does your organization have a risk mitigation department? One that focuses on proactive measures to ensure continued production in a crisis, not just financial hedging?

Coordinated risk management: Form alliances with national and international producers and brokers establishing protocols for responding to shortages that protect the most vulnerable populations from food shortages.

Identify the weaknesses in your supply chains: An example would be diversification of farm location can mitigate drought risk confined by geographical location.

Move to non-biofuel energy production: Using energy sources such as nuclear, solar, and wind allow farming capacity to be used for food instead of bio-fuels, which some studies have shown to be a net-energy loss product[8].

Early warning: Have mechanisms in place for capturing information regarding shortages and market disruptions.

Supplier resilience standards: If you are a purchaser, adopt requirements of your suppliers for managing risk that incentivizes food production resilience.

In the face of dealing with all of the food commodity disruptions in the market, and increasing pressure to shave already thin margins, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a major disruption doesn’t just mean loss of revenue, but can also mean loss of life within the markets of the most vulnerable consumers. For example, US food aid to foreign countries comes from US commodity surplus, but aid has decreased by 64% in the last decade due to reduced surplus[9]. This and many other examples are why it’s so extremely important for those of us working in the food procurement and production industries to build resilience into their long term strategies.

For additional insight on this topic I highly recommend the report by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience[10].

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.

____________________________________________________________

[1] “Drought May Cost California’s Farmers Almost $3 … – NPR.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/03/411802252/drought-may-cost-californias-farmers-almost-3-billion-in-2015>

[2] “Bird Flu Cost the US $3.3 Billion and Worse Could Be Coming.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/15/bird-flu-2/>

[3] “Egg prices in the US nearly double after outbreak of avian flu.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/16/egg-prices-in-the-us-nearly-double-after-outbreak-of-avian-flu>

[4] “North Korea fears famine as drought halves food production …” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/19/north-korea-fears-famine-as-drought-halves-food-production-says-un>

[5] “The State of World Population 2011 – UNFPA.” 2011. 19 Aug. 2015 <http://foweb.unfpa.org/SWP2011/reports/EN-SWOP2011-FINAL.pdf>

[6] “Arable land (hectares) | Data | Table – The World Bank.” 2010. 19 Aug. 2015 <http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.HA>

[7] “Food Production Must Double by 2050 to Meet Demand …” 2014. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.un.org/press/en/2009/gaef3242.doc.htm>

[8] “Economic Cost of Biodiesel and Corn Ethanol per Net BTU …” 19 Aug. 2015 <http://www.ag.auburn.edu/biopolicy/documents/Economic%20Cost%20of%20Biodiesel%20and%20Corn%20Ethanol%20per%20Net%20BTU%20of%20Energy%20Produced.pdf>

[9] “Food Aid Reform: Food For Peace By the Numbers … – usaid.” 2013. 19 Aug. 2015 <https://www.usaid.gov/foodaidreform/ffp-by-the-numbers>

[10] “Extreme weather and resilience of the global food system.” 2015. 18 Aug. 2015 <http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/extreme-weather-resilience-of-global-food-system.pdf>

Share This Post

Five Components of Emotional Intelligence and Your Business

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

 

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

In my first blog, “What is Emotional Intelligence? Why It Should Matter in Any Business?”, I identified what emotional intelligence (EQ) is and how it applies to any business. In my second blog, “Emotional Intelligence in Action”, I explain the What, How, and Why the competencies of EQ work.  In this third blog, I will give a quick explanation of the five components of emotional intelligence, and in the next series of blogs, I will present a more thorough breakdown of each and how they apply to businesses and procurement.

I must explain that the five components listed below were developed by Daniel Goleman, a science journalist who brought “emotional intelligence” on the bestseller list as an author of a number of books including “Emotional Intelligence”, “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships”, “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” and most recently “A Force for Good” The Dalai Lama Vision of Our World”.1

These are the five components of EQ and their most basic definitions. Also, I have identified the hallmarks of each; a hallmark is a sure sign.

1). Self-awareness. The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.2

a.) Hallmarks of self-awareness include self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humor. Self-awareness depends on one’s ability to monitor one’s own emotion state and to correctly identify and name one’s emotions.1

2). Self-regulation. The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting.1

a.) Hallmarks include trustworthiness and integrity; comfort with ambiguity; and openness to change.1

3). Internal motivation. A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status -which are external rewards, – such as an inner vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something, curiosity in learning, a flow that comes with being immersed in an activity. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence. 1,2

a.) Hallmarks include a strong drive to achieve, optimism even in the face of failure, and organizational commitment.1

4). Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.1

a.) Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers.1

5). Social skills. Identifying social cues to establish common ground manage relationships and build networks.2

a.) Hallmarks of social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams. Additional traits are Communication: Listening and responding appropriately, Influence and Leadership: The ability to guide and inspire others, and Conflict Management: The ability to diffuse difficult situations using persuasion and negotiation.1,2

By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, and help others to be more productive and successful too. The process and outcomes of Emotional Intelligence development also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.3

Please stay tuned for the next blog on how self-awareness can help you and your business.

We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. 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.

We look forward to your comments.

_______________________________________________________

References:

  1. https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/swijtink/teaching/philosophy_101/paper1/goleman.htm
  2. http://inspirebusinesssolutions.com/blog/5-main-components-of-emotional-intelligence
  3. http://www.businessballs.com/eq.htm

Share This Post