Don’t just say thanks to active military or veterans today. Do it every day!

May 27th, 2019

As have many family's, our family has also been proud to serve our country for generations as far back as the revolutionary war. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY 2019!

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Happy Memorial Day!

 

 

Memorial Day Observance

May 25th, 2019

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service.

 

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

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

memorialday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The article below is sited from: http://www.cute-calendar.com/event/memorial-day/5719-usa.html

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2015). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I.

Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries.

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies in the days leading up to Memorial Day; the poppy’s significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem “In Flanders Fields.”

In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a time for picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, and sporting events. One of the longest-standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, an auto race which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. The Coca-Cola 600 has been held later the same day since 1961. (From: Wikipedia, license: CCA-SA)

Whether you are observing Memorial Day by volunteering your time placing flags on the graves of soldiers, volunteering your time to spend with wounded soldiers, or are just spending family quality time together, we at SafeSourcing wish you a safe and memory making Memorial Day.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help with your business needs,  or information on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

Procuring Your Proprietary Product- Part 3

May 24th, 2019

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.

A proprietary process is like grandma’s secret lasagna recipe. Lots of people make lasagna, but nobody does it quite like grandma. In fact, you don’t even like other lasagnas; because grandma’s is so much better that it makes all the others seems cheap and terrible!

You might be currently selling grandma’s lasagna but want to expand your customer base, or you are looking to take the recipe to a manufacture to create your own private label lasagna to be sold by distributors. How do you protect your recipe? How do you maintain ownership of the recipe if you want others to mass produce it?

To be clear, there are a lot of confusing technical terms that need clarification of how to protect your recipe:

Patents: Patents protect new, useful, and non-obvious inventions (ideas!). An invention can be a device, a structure, process, machinery, etc. A patent for a composition of matter, including a food recipe, allows you as a small-business owner sole right to prepare your product for sale to consumers and profit from those sales for a period of years. A United States patent has strict filing requirements, and the approval process can take months to years to complete. You must describe the shape, look and ingredients that go into making your product in great detail. Your product must also meet the “nonobvious” requirement, meaning your recipe must not be easily discernible to a professional with food training or the everyday consumer. A patent for a recipe usually covers either mass market products or those designed to perform specific functions within existing products. In seeking your patent, you must decide how you intend to use your product in the market. For example, if you’re designing a product to increase the shelf-life of existing products, you must name that as your product’s purpose in your patent application. You probably won’t win patent approval if you have no intended use for your product or concrete business plan.1

An inventor’s patent will expire after 20 years, and in any case, require the inventor to publish every step of his or her creation. In essence, filing a patent for a recipe requires the chef to let the cat out of the bag.3

Trademarks: Trademarks protect source identifications, usually for brands, slogans, logos, or designs (sometimes even scents or colors). A trademark protection may extend perpetually.

A trademark allows you as a business owner to protect a word, design, symbol or phrase used in connection with your company’s proprietary products. Many companies large and small choose to trademark brand names for products and business logos to ensure each company’s products and business logos remain easily recognizable to consumers. This helps companies maintain brand recognition over time. You have the right to enforce your trademark in court by suing for damages if another company attempts to use your company’s product symbols or business logo.1

Copyrights: Copyrights protect original textual works and visual or artistic expressions.

Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.2

Trade Secrets: Trade secrets protect valuable secret information like ideas that must be kept confidential. Others to whom they are disclosed to must also keep them confidential. Similar to trademarks, trade secret protection may extend perpetually.

Unlike trademarks, which protect recognizable designs, trade secrets protect information such as formulas, drawings, patterns, customer lists, programs, devices, methods, techniques or processes. A recipe may be either a “formula,” “method,” or “process” and can be legally protected as a trade secret so long as (1) the owner takes reasonable steps to keep the information secret, and (2) some independent economic value is derived from the information.4

How to Keep Your Trade Secret Top Secret?

Treating your signature product as a “trade secret” is the easiest and cheapest way to protect your culinary assets, unlike the legal hoops required in filing a patent or trademark.

  • Keep your recipe under lock and key. Make sure only your top team members are in your “circle of trust,” such as an executive chef or manager. Word of caution: not every recipe on your menu can be a trade secret, but only those that have a unique feature that sets it apart from competitors’ offerings, like the recipe behind Thomas’ English Muffins’ “nooks and crannies,” may be a trade secret.
  • Quantify the dollar value of your recipe. Keep track of the sales generated specifically by your signature product.
  • Make sure the keepers of the recipe actually know it’s a secret. Include a confidentiality agreement in your manager’s employment contract. Also, remind these employees regularly during training and at staff meetings of their legal duty to not disclose your restaurant’s signature recipes.4

In part four of this series, the author will provide the clarification of a confidentiality agreement and non-disclosure agreement. Meanwhile, SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your proprietary product 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.

References:

  1. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/recipe-patent-vs-trademark-20893.html
  2. https://lizerbramlaw.com/2015/04/07/copyright-protect-recipes/
  3. https://www.tuckerlaw.com/2018/03/19/secret-recipe-still-secret-protect-restaurants-signature-recipes/
  4. https://www.tuckerlaw.com/2018/03/19/secret-recipe-still-secret-protect-restaurants-signature-recipes/

 

 

Retail Seesaw

May 23rd, 2019

Retail sales for 2019 have been on an up and down swing from January to April

 

 

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

Retail sales for 2019 have been on an up and down swing from January to April. Sales rose by .2% in January and went down .2% in February, followed by a big 1.7% jump in March, and now a .2% drop in April. Economists are not sure how to gauge the mood of consumers this year, as if they have ever.

The retail industry has had to constantly reinvent itself to keep up with the ever evolving market. Brand loyalty is not enough to keep customers engaged, in our extra competitive ecommerce environment. Whether online or in-store, retailers need to find ways to up their game in order to attract customers’ attention.

Most millennials are seeking a more engaging experience rather than merely shopping for products. Companies will have to consider the image their brand conveys to the world, and work to create retail experiences that match consumers’ changing values and world views. Many shoppers will research consumer reviews before ever making a purchase.

When it comes to fulfillment, customers are looking to get their products fast and free. I can recall 30 years ago when Sears didn’t have the product available in the local store, I could opt to order it from the catalog and patiently wait for it to arrive…about three to four weeks later. These days consumers are used to being able to order an item and have it delivered within a day or two. This can be a deal breaker for some, so cutting down on shipping time is a major consideration.

BigCommerce’s 2018 Omni-Channel Retail Report found that only 11.8% of Gen-Z shops on Facebook, while nearly 25% of Baby Boomers shop on the social platform. Millennials, meanwhile, prefer to buy products they discover on Instagram and Snapchat. Convenience, price, and free shipping were the top 3 reasons U.S. consumers across all generations chose to buy an item at a branded online store. Brand reputation and loyalty rewards were close 4th and 5th reasons.

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…………..

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/retail-sales

https://www.stellarising.com/blog/consumer-trends-2018-brands-inside-the-glass-box

The 2019 Omni-Channel Retail Report: Generational Consumer Shopping Behavior Comes Into Focus

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

May 22nd, 2019

Is Critical in Indicating the True Value of a Product or Service.

 

Today’s blog is by Alex Borbely, Vice President of Sales 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

 

 

Baseball Season and eProcurement Part 3

May 21st, 2019

Hitting a double and enjoying the savings!

 

 

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

This is the third entry in the Baseball Season and eProcurement series. In the previous posts in this series, we highlighted some examples of how SafeSourcing customers have achieved and enjoyed hitting a Single. At SafeSourcing a Single is achieved when a customer attains between 5% and 9.99% savings in their online Request for Quote (RFQ) Events.

Today’s blog post will similarly review some examples of when our customers have hit a Double. SafeSourcing defines a Double as between 10% and 14.99% savings. Hitting a Double is a very good outcome for any category. In future installments of this series, we’ll focus on Triples, Home Runs, and Grand Slams.

The first example we will review is for bottled water. One of SafeSourcing’s retail customers was due to source the bottled water that they sell in their stores. They had the impression that given the limited number of suppliers that they were aware of that could support their network of stores, that negotiating this category was not possible. While this category does only have a finite number of suppliers based on any given geography, there are plenty to be able to host a competitive RFQ Event. In this case, five suppliers quoted including their incumbent. Their incumbent is a large and well-known national brand. As a result of the competitive bidding process being paired with the vendors that SafeSourcing identified and brought into the live RFQ, the customer was able to achieve an impressive 13.84% savings. Best of all, this low quote savings came from their incumbent supplier which meant they would easily attain the savings beginning with their next shipments.

Our next example is from another retail customer that operates many pharmacy locations and sells a wide variety of items in their stores. One of the categories that we focused on with this customer was their propane tank exchange service. This has become a common category for RFQ as there are several suppliers that operate nationally and many more that operate regionally. The incumbent supplier is one of the largest national suppliers in this category. Again, SafeSourcing identified and brought in three additional suppliers that were qualified and capable of servicing this customer’s locations. The result was a 14.48% savings. It was nearly a Triple. Here again, the customer was able to lower the price substantially while retaining their current source of supply.

There are many results like these and there are interesting stories including great savings dollars behind each. In the next entry in this series, some examples of Triples will be shared.

If you’re interested in learning more about how RFQ Events can help your company advance the bases and achieve savings, please contact SafeSourcing.

Netflix’s New Audio Platform

May 17th, 2019

As a tech enthusiast I get excited when I hear technology news.

 

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

As a tech enthusiast I get excited when I hear technology news. I recently purchased a surround sound system for my family room that supports Dolby Atmos. For those of you who do not know what Dolby Atmos is, it’s basically an expansion of Dolby Digital 5.1 and 7.1 to include speakers that reside above which adds height to the sound. This technology allows for the sound to be played directly to certain speakers throughout the room. So, for example, when there is a scene of a plane flying overhead and to the left, the sound will start from behind you, then move overhead and then move to the left and fade away. When a scene contains rain, it will sound like the rain is coming from directly above. The reason I am bringing this up is because Netflix just announced earlier this month that they developed and launched high-quality audio. With this new technology they are able to improve the sound quality to “studio quality” audio that sounds closer to what the creators hear within the studio. This results in higher quality audio to all of their content without needing more bandwidth or buffering. If you are looking forward to utilizing this new platform you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • A Netflix Premium plan is required for the Dolby Atmos
  • Compatible Television or device such as Amazon Fire TV Cube
  • Sound System that supports 5.1/Dolby Atmos
  • Watch movies or shows with 5.1 or Dolby Atmnos support
  • Internet connection that supports 5 Mbps for HD and 25 Mbps for 4k/HDR

If you are interested in upgrading any of your electronic devices, 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.

 

 

 

 

Tariffs

May 16th, 2019

How do you prepare for uncertainty in the global market?

 

 

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

The global market is something we all rely on in a number of different ways. Whether for personal use or business use, we each rely on products that are bought and sold throughout the world. Part of the global market includes trade between different countries, which can be susceptible to tariffs. Tariffs are nothing new, so how should a business handle the looming tariff increases and what can we do to better prepare ourselves?

One thing many businesses do to avoid tariffs, specifically between two countries, is to simply move to another country. For example, if there are increased tariffs between American products going into China, many businesses may move their production from America to another country, like Mexico or Canada, and import those same products, but with those tariffs.

Another way businesses try to avoid paying extra tariffs is by simply minimizing the market they use. For example, if a company normally buys steel from overseas, they may now seek purchasing within the same country to avoid paying the extra tariffs, which can actually be less than they were spending initially.

No matter how a business handles changes in the global market, a procurement partner may be the best way for a company to obtain the products they need without sacrificing quality. A company like SafeSourcing can even help you obtain the same goods, but at an even lower price, helping your company’s spend and overall help your organization thrive in times of change.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

 

Should you join a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)?

May 15th, 2019

There are literally hundreds of Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO's) that support specific specialties, industries and products. So how should you choose one, or should you?

 

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

According to Wikipedia a Group Purchasing Organization (or GPO) is an entity that is created to leverage the purchasing power of a group of businesses to obtain discounts from vendors based on the collective buying power of the GPO members.

When is a company a GPO and when are they something else? Many organizations take on procurement functionality based on the spend of their members. They can be industry wholesalers, share groups, consortiums, distributors and a variety of other types of organizations. They may take on all procurement opportunities or specific opportunities like energy. GPO’s can be vertically focused or horizontally focused. They can also be horizontally focused within an industry vertical. An example might be a wholesale grocer that is focused on a retail industry vertical like supermarkets.

The question is should you join one or many? Maybe you shouldn’t join any. The only way to answer the question is to understand your own organization in terms of its strengths and weaknesses relative to the products or services categories you hope to source. As an example; if you are just buying from a wholesalers price book, it’s a good bet you are not getting the best price. It’s also a good bet that other members of the same wholesaler are getting a better price and they may be smaller than you. However you may also have a huge energy spend and this is something that your product wholesaler can’t help you with. As such, there may be a specific GPO for energy that can offer some expertise.

This author believes that your best bet is to focus on a procurement company that is horizontally focused with specific expertise in a number of verticals such as health care, retail, distribution, financial services etc. I have often seen these companies significantly out perform GPO’s by a significant amount as the overall overlap of expertise across multiple industries suggests a level of creativity that GPO’s may not have.

Ultimately understanding what your company’s limitations are as well as the opportunities that are available to you is a first and important step. After that, it’s who can do the most for you with the least disruption across the broadest area of spend.

SafeSourcing is such a company. Please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager  if you would like further information on how to improve your bottom line in the present quarter.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

May 8th, 2019

The fastest growing area in eProcurement is Services.

 

Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)
25.Logistics

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.