Don’t let decision maker fatigue ruin your sourcing project!

April 4th, 2019

What to do when the decision power changes hands mid-project.

 

Today’s post is from our extensive blog archives at  SafeSourcing:

As a procurement professional operating under other managers or engaging vendor executives, Having the decision making power change hands in the middle of a procurement project can be disruptive, but you can still keep things on track if you can keep a few key points in mind:

  1. Keep a running history of how the project got to its current stage, so that you can get the new manager up to speed quickly. If you can show your reasoning through the process to make sense, they will be more likely to get on board.
  2. Gauge his/her buy-in and be ready to head off objections before they’re even brought up. Show authoritatively that you know the project intimately to instill confidence in its handling, but give the manager the sense that they are in charge, and that they will get the big win out of the project.
  3. Avoid discussing legacy decisions. If the new manager’s predecessor made poor decisions the new manager could use that as an excuse to scrap a legitimate project, or worse, they could be looking for a scapegoat to blame past failures on.
  4. Find out the new manager’s goals (and potential hidden agendas). Let the new manager drop clues about his knowledge of the projects history. You may find out about some of what lead to the previous managers departure that can help you avoid future pitfalls.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with your procurement projects 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

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

April 3rd, 2019

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge e- procurement tools. Do their retailers also benefit from their use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs?

 

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

I originally wrote this post 10 years ago. While a lot has changed, a lot has not. Many collective buyer organizations, share groups and even some GPO’s  are understaffed and lack the category expertise to serve their constituency adequately on a total spend basis particularly in the retail space.

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

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

This author remembers being a young salesperson over 40 years ago (ouch!). I convinced a customer to buy some new point of sale equipment. I was really excited when I took the contract to the customer for signature. Once there, the retailer told me I had to get a purchase order from Cressy Dockham who was their wholesaler and they would tell me how much discount the retailer was to receive. Cressy Dockham is no longer in business today. They were located in Americus Georgia. I worked in Boston. Thus began a long relationship with collective buyers across all segments of the industry. Explanation of fees was always a part of the discussion.

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to your comments.

Super-chickens are bad leaders

April 2nd, 2019

Avoiding pecking-order pitfalls

 

Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing Archives

In 2013, William Muir published a study on the social behavior of chickens[1] and measuring their productivity based on how the groups were configured. They thought that if they bred selecting for all the most productive chickens, putting those chickens into one group should only scale up that productivity into one “super-chicken” flock. To their surprise, they found that the “average” chicken flocks repeatedly out-produced the super-chicken flocks, because the latter group had pecked many of the other birds to death. The parallels in experiences between human and chicken team-building became immediately obvious, and so MIT started experimenting to try to understand how collective intelligence works, and can be optimized in humans[2].

Experiments were performed where individuals of varying intelligence profiles were put together in groups, and given an assortment of problems to solve as a group. What the researchers found was that individual intelligence or productivity was not the leading indicator of team success. The three traits associated with the best group performance were:

  • High ability to read other people’s emotions
  • Giving everyone a chance to talk, and
  • High number of women in the group

What they found with the groups of “super-stars” was that while intelligent/productive individuals may do well solving problems on their own, if they don’t have the social intelligence to interact with others well they will only bring the group performance down. This should be obvious for anyone who has had to work with team members that may look good on paper or to external management, but then internal to the group, is a terrible leader. Intelligence and raw talent are great attributes, but putting together the high-producers that don’t play nice with others can end up creating a team that pecks itself to death. There are online tests that measure your ability to read people’s facial expressions[3], and some experimental tests for measuring a team’s collective intelligence. But at the moment, the most effective and inexpensive test is seeing how teams perform together, and of course simply asking the team who they would follow, and who they feel “pecked” by. For all the experimental procedures with chickens confirming what we already intuitively know about human nature, it’s usually pretty easy to spot who inspires cooperation, and who inspires in-fighting just by asking around.

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] Grandin, Temple, and Mark J Deesing. Genetics and the behavior of domestic animals. Temple Grandin & Mark J Deesing. Academic press, 2013.

[2] “Measuring Collective Intelligence – MIT Center for Collective …” 2014. 15 Feb. 2016 <http://cci.mit.edu/mciresearchpage.html>

[3] “Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test – Question Writer Tracker.” 2013. 15 Feb. 2016 <https://www.questionwritertracker.com/quiz/61/Z4MK3TKB.html>

How is your Supply Chain Management?

March 29th, 2019

Supply chain management has a big impact on business.

 

 

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

Supply chain management (SCM) has a big impact on business. The right product and quantity must be delivered in a timely manner to appease both producers and distributors. Customers want to be able to know the location where they must go to obtain the goods that they want. Customers also expect fantastic customer support. SCM also has a huge impact on the bottom line of a company. A good SCM can improve the efficiency of plants, warehouses, and transportation vehicles. Cash flow is directly increased because the delivery of a product is in a timely manner, and consumers can purchase their goods.

The importance of Supply Chain Management is:

  • Decreases Purchasing Cost – Organizations generally prefer quick distributions of costly products and raw materials to avoid expensive inventory
  • Decrease Production Cost – Reliable supply chains delivers materials to assembly plants and avoids any costs that may occur due to delays.
  • Right quantity and quality – Customer expects delivery of right quantity and quality of products.
  • On-time delivery – Customers expect to receive the correct product mix and quantity to be delivered on time. A reliable supply chain can help with in any bottlenecks and ensure customers get their products in the promised time frame
  • Services – After sales service is one of the important aspects in any business. If any kind of problem occurs in the product, customers expect it to be fixed quickly. A right supply chain ensures that customers get the service they want.

SCM streamlines everything from product flow to unexpected natural disasters. With an effective SCM, companies can diagnose problems and errors correctly. SCM plays an important role in moving items quickly and efficiently to their destinations. At SafeSourcing we have helped countless clients with their SCM and Wholesalers by reducing costs and consolidating where applicable. Let us help you today!

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.

 

 

Why is Exercise Important?

March 28th, 2019

We all hear that exercise is important, but do you really know why?

 

 

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

We all hear that exercise is important, but do you really know why?  Exercising has a lot of benefits and is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  It can help prevent health problems, reduce stress, increase energy and build strength.  You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise, just taking time to walk around your neighborhood can have a lot of benefit.  It is recommended that we take at least 10,000 steps a day.  This would translate into walking approximately 5 miles.  To make sure you are getting the maximum benefits from the steps, you should make sure that you are walking at fast pace or a light jog.  You may also consider carrying weights on your walk.  Carrying the weights and swinging your arms as you walk can help you burn 10 to 20 percent more calories.  If you are looking to add more muscle to help burn fat then you would want to add some type of weight training at least three times a week. This can be done by purchasing equipment for your home or joining a local gym.  Below are some other benefits that you can receive from exercising:

  • Decrease risk of illness
  • Increases energy level
  • Lowers feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Help maintain healthy weight
  • Great for heart health
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers Type 2 diabetes risk
  • Reduces body fat
  • Improves breathing
  • Reduces risk of arthritis
  • Improves sleep
  • Lowers risk of dementia

If you are looking to improve your health and would like help finding some exercise equipment, 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.

 

 

“To Make Change in Some Different Way”

March 27th, 2019

With the advent of every new management tool comes a painfully predictable wave of human resistance......

 

 

Today’s post is from Alex Borbely, Vice President of Sales at SafeSourcing, Inc.

With the advent of every new management tool comes a painfully predictable wave of human resistance. The reasons people resist new tools and processes are as varied as the number of humans that have been asked to change.  Some employees strongly resist change because the effects are unpredictable.  Other peers view changes in their quality processes as risky and they fight it only on principle. It’s almost natural that people wait for others to embrace change before they accept anything new.  When late adopters don’t embrace change, the resulting lack of shared vision and inconsistent implementation confuses and eventually kills any change effort.  As wide-ranging as the reasons are for resisting change, the various forms of reluctance share one common trait.  The people fighting change are rational. This is true when it comes to procurement,  meaning the art of buying goods and services.  Over the years, procurement pros have become responsible for larger budgets and interestingly from both 10 years ago and today not much has changed with some aspects of the procurement process.  Then, as now, procurement professionals say their biggest challenges are having accurate forecasts and having to do more with fewer people. More automation or use of technology can only help improve the profession.

SafeSourcing eProcurement tools, in particular the reverse auction process, is a fairly new way to increase your bottom line utilizing SafeSourcing’s full service offerings to enhance the spend process.  Using new technologies as described will put additional profit dollars directly on your bottom line where the savings are traditionally 10X your investment utilizing eProcurement tools.  You’re just accepting a different way to facilitate the bids/pricing process many times with your incumbent vendors.

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. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

ER Evolution

March 26th, 2019

A visit to the emergency room is never a pleasant experience for anyone

 

 

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

A visit to the emergency room is never a pleasant experience for anyone, but for the elderly it can be downright dangerous, chaotic, and confusing.  I had never given it much thought until my 85-year old mother-in-law was in town for an extended visit and had to be taken to the ER after experiencing chest pains.

Maneuvering in an ER facility can be quite frustrating for someone with diminished vision, hearing, and mobility. The medical staff is busy taking vitals, and inquiring about the current multiple medications, all of which is taking place under bright harsh lighting along with the “normal” commotion of the medical facility. Fortunately, in my mother-in-law’s case, there was a family member there to assist with answering questions and providing information.

A recent initiative by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to accredit geriatric emergency departments, is encouraging EDs to better address the needs of older patients and is providing guidance on which EDs are best able to care of such patients. This new voluntary accreditation requires doctors and nurses to have specialized geriatric training and facilities which include mobility aids and easy access to water. Some geriatric EDs include services of a transitional care nurse to coordinate older adults’ transition from the ED to home, which helps to avoid inpatient admission, as well as unnecessary patient risks and costs. Properly caring for elderly patients requires structural design and compliance with guidelines for care coordination services to optimize visits and provide cost-effective care.  In 2016, the U.S. spent 17.8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on medical spending according to study results. In comparison, other countries spent 9.6 percent to 12.4 percent of GDP on healthcare.

SafeSourcing, Inc. has assisted our clients in sourcing providers of health resources to manage risk, while achieving their operating and performance goals in Interdisciplinary Care Plan, Post-Acute Care, and Utilization Management. 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.

References…………

  1. https://newsatjama.jama.com/2018/09/12/jama-forum-transforming-emergency-departments-to-better-care-for-elderly-patients/https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/practice-management/jama-us-spends-most-healthcare-and-imaging-reason-why

Information about Cyber Security Part II

March 22nd, 2019

The three main principles behind cyber security...……………………..

 

 

Today’s post is by Ashley Riviello, Account Manager at SafeSourcing, Inc.

To recap fairly quickly with some key points from my blog last month, I stressed the importance of cyber security. We probably hear something or read something about breaches happening every day. In this blog, I would like to focus on the three main principles of cyber security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Before I explain each principle, understanding the role of cyber security is very important. Per Transunion, anything that relies on the internet for communication, or is connected to a computer, or other smart device can be affected by a breach in security. This includes, but is not limited to, government databases like social security numbers, educational systems like grades and reports cards and transportation systems like traffic control and airplane navigation systems. Any of these can be hacked or breached.

Again the three main principles behind cyber security: confidentiality, integrity and availability. Per Transunion here are their explanations for all three:

  • Confidentiality involves any information that is sensitive and should only be shared with a limited number of people. If your credit card information, for example, was shared with a few criminals, your credit rating and your reputation could suffer very quickly.
  • Integrity involves keeping information from being altered. When malware hits a hospital’s computer systems, it can scramble patient records, lab results and can prevent staff from accessing a patient’s allergy or drug information.
  • Availability involves ensuring those who rely on accurate information are able to access it. Availability is often related to integrity, but can also involve things like a cyber attack preventing people from accessing specific computers, or from accessing the internet.

Here are some tips to help protect you from hackers, viruses and malware:

  • If you receive an email that you do not recognize, do not open it. Certain links can cause your computer to be infected with a virus.
  • When you receive warnings on your computer that are unfamiliar to you, do not click on these. They are known as scareware. They also can cause your computer to become infected with a virus. These can be sent through email or can be pop ups on in your browser windows.
  • Always make sure you have the most updated antivirus and anti-malware.
  • Never give out any personal information to anyone that you do not know or websites that are unfamiliar to you. People can use it to hack your personal information and steal your bank info or any other personal info that you have.

I hope this at least helps one person be more aware of the information you put out there. Here at SafeSourcing, we take this very seriously and never give out any data or personal information with any of our clients or vendors that we work with on a daily basis.

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. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

March 20th, 2019

In this series, the author will work to educate you on how you CAN take your proprietary product out to market.

 

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Director of Major Accounts and Special Projects at SafeSourcing Inc.

In this series, the author will work to educate you on how you CAN take your proprietary product out to market. While there are many confusing words associated with proprietary products; such as trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, trademarking, and many more, the author will break down the meanings and how many of them are in place to protect you and your product.

You may be thinking: why should I go to all this trouble? My product has been the same for years or decades without problems. How will this save me money? How will I know my product won’t change? This seems like a waste of time. Why would I rock the boat or ruin my current relationship with my incumbent?

While the process of procurement of proprietary products or items can be a long process, it does have multiple benefits. It identifies if you, or your current manufacturer, are making your product in the most cost effective way, using the best ingredients or materials to make the product, using the most cost effective and/or green packaging materials, and it opens the possibility for growth of your product.

Over the next few months, this author will provide examples of proprietary products being taken through the steps of procurement, covering the concerns that arose in the process, and how clients were successful in protecting their product and name in the process and obtaining savings and education along the way.

SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program for RFPs and RFQs, 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.

 

Baseball Season and eProcurement Part 1

March 19th, 2019

Baseball and eProcurement are interconnected at SafeSourcing

 

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

Any SafeSourcing customer know we measure eProcurement success using baseball terminology. It’s a fun way to monitor the level of savings achieved as our customers watch their online Request for Quote (RFQ) Events. Today’s blog post is the first in a series in which we will take a deep dive into the different levels of savings and highlight some of recent wins in each.

SafeSourcing tracks these savings levels in real time as our customers watch their live RFQ Event via an easy-to-understand baseball diamond.

  • Single– savings over 5%, but less than 10%
  • Double– savings over 10%, but less than 15%
  • Triple – savings over 15%, but less than 20%
  • Home Run – savings over 20%, but less than 25%
  • Grand Slam – savings over 25%

The typical SafeSourcing RFQ Events results in a Home Run as our average savings is 24.8% across all customers and categories. While the average savings is a Home Run, our actual results vary widely depending on the category. In the coming installments in this series, recent wins at each savings level will be highlighted. Our customers know that, while Home Runs and Grand Slams are incredible, it’s just as important to get a base hit as we work through all of their spend categories over time.

In the next installment in this series, we will highlight examples of how even a Single is impactful and worthwhile. We’ll discuss when you might expect a Single and why you should actually try for them just as you would a Grand Slam.

Contact SafeSourcing if you’re interested in learning more about how RFQ Events can help your company advance the bases and achieve savings.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.