You Are Essential!

June 18th, 2020

We are currently in a rapidly evolving time, battling with an unseen enemy..

 

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

We are currently in a rapidly evolving time, battling with an unseen enemy, with no real answers on how or when this will end. At the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses had to make immediate decisions on how to keep safe while still maintaining their business. The same was true for schools, service organizations, and restaurants. Although all of these have a valuable role in our communities, some were deemed “essential” and others were forced into an abrupt shut-down. This has caused much debate over what is considered essential.

Of course there are vital operations which are clearly necessary for sustaining life and safety, such as hospitals, first responders, and food supply. Others may not be as clear-cut, but are just as important in maintaining our society. Truckers are essential to keeping the supply chain going and waste management and sanitation operations cannot be halted.

Fortunately, we have been able to take advantage of some products and services that were already in existence, but that have now become essential in allowing us to function and maneuver. Drive-thru restaurants, instore pick-up, and food delivery services have allowed us access to food. Current technology such as, VOIP telephony, personal computers and hand-held devices, combined with the internet, has kept us connected. Business and individuals alike are relying on services like Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Connect, Skype, and FaceTime in order to stay virtually connected. The types of payment methods have increased significantly in just the past decade, creating a cashless society which allows us the ability to make purchases, move funds, and complete financial transactions without ever having to come in direct contact with a single person.

The impact of COVID-19 has caused a limited supply of essential goods and services due to increased demand, leaving companies to scramble for suppliers to meet their needs. Some manufacturers have pivoted to producing some of the much needed supplies necessary to meet the demand and to keep their business relevant. SafeSourcing, Inc. has been successful in procuring products and services to meet these essential needs.

If this pandemic had hit us 30 years ago, it would have been extremely crippling to our society and we would not have been able to continue many of the functions that we are appreciating right now. We need to be in a perpetual state of evolution, and we must be flexible so that we do not break. What we have learned is that we are all connected and therefore ALL are essential.

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.

 

 

Procurement As A Service (PaaS)

June 16th, 2020

Procurement as a service isn’t new, but it is getting some attention.

 

 

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

In the past, we’ve talked repeatedly about how SafeSourcing delivers our services in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. As a refresher, here is a post from 2014 that details our SaaS software suite. We also often talk about how we treat our SaaS offering as full-service and have done so for a long, long time. Here’s another quick read from 2017 talking about our full-service approach. The way we combine our tools with our expertise and the way we actually deliver the services to achieve our customers’ goals have pretty well always been what you might describe as procurement as a service (PaaS).

I mention this because it seems to me that I am hearing more and more about PaaS recently as if that is a new or emerging trend and it surprises me greatly. SafeSourcing has always operated as an extension of our customers’ own procurement capabilities in order to allow them to outsource much or all of their needs to us. We’re comfortable delivering against this model and we rarely operate outside of it.

The entire procurement process can be managed by SafeSourcing beginning with spend analysis. In all reality, the process never really ends because procurement is truly cyclical. There are other buzzwords as well and just like with PaaS, there will be a marketing campaign that will rise to the occasion. As a term like PaaS gains momentum, more and more companies will roll out their offering. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it can make it harder to identify which companies are actually experienced in delivering a PaaS offering.

Anyone interested in offloading more of their procurement function should be careful to find a partner that can truly take on the load in a SaaS model. Many lack the expertise needed in their services teams to truly deliver on the wide variety of categories that need to be addressed. SafeSourcing has this expertise and delivers strongly in the as a service model. To be effective you really need a partner that has the people, the intellectual property, and the software to drive savings in an efficient outsourced model.

Procurement as a service isn’t a new concept and we like to think we’ve been doing this all along. Personally, I would be leery about choosing any provider that talks about PaaS like it’s a new concept. 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.

 

 

 

 

Bags and Boxes and Bailers Oh My!

June 12th, 2020

How best to manage a plastic bag and cardboard box baling program.

 

How best to manage a plastic bag and cardboard box baling program with only one baler at a store.

Today’s post is from our archives at  SafeSourcing.

The first approach is the program that numerous large retail chains have adopted, which is known as creating “sandwich bales”. These bales are compiled of both cardboard and plastic.  Workers place 10 to 20 inches of cardboard into the baler first, then shrink wrap and plastic bags are loaded in, and another section of cardboard is placed on top.  The baler then presses the bale into a “sandwich” with 9 to 18 inches of recyclables plastic in the middle.  However, in the recycling world, when fiber and plastic are together as one, this is considered contamination.  Therefore, the bales must be picked up, taken to a local recycling center and broken apart and separated.  Then, the plastic is baled together and the cardboard is baled together.  At this point, these items can be effectively sold.

The second approach is where the store has enough space to stage the plastic bags until there is enough to complete a full bale. This requires the backroom of the retailer to be large enough to store 400-600 lbs. plastic.

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.

 

What is a CertiPur-US® Certification?

June 11th, 2020

CertiPUR-US is a voluntary testing, analysis and certification program

 

 

Todays post is from our Archives at  SafeSourcing.

According to the CertiPUR-US® website “the CertiPUR-US® program was developed to provide the comfort and confidence of knowing the flexible polyurethane foam meets standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Today, foam producers from all countries may participate in the program, as long as they meet our rigorous certification guidelines.

CeriPUR-US approved foams are:

  1. Low emissions (VOCs) for indoor air quality
  2. Made without ozone depleters
  3. Made without PBDEs
  4. Made without mercury, lead, and heavy metals
  5. Made without formaldehyde
  6. Made without prohibited phthalates

CertiPUR-US is a voluntary testing, analysis and certification program developed by the global flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) industry.”

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.

What Packaging Program is Best for Your Company?

June 10th, 2020

When it comes to packaging supplies, companies have multiple options...

 

Today’s post has is from our archives at  SafeSourcing.

When it comes to packaging supplies, companies have multiple options for managing their inventory. Below you will see the different options and what each model entails.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) – Vendor optimizes your company’s inventory by observing usage, floor stock and lead-time to define what model (dynamic historical model, min-max model, input forecasted model or combination of all three) will work best for your company. The vendor may also beresponsible for inventorying your packaging requirements and warehousing it.

Just in Time (JIT) – This program is designed for company’s who require numerous transactions on a regular basis and make best use of available floor space. The vendor conducts a detailed examination of the company’s packaging needs to create a solution that is custom.

Contract Packaging and Fulfillment – This program allows the customer to focus on their core competency by placing the full packaging function in the hands of packaging experts. Contract packaging creates fixed item costs for packaging regardless of production volume.

By utilizing any of the three types of programs, companies gain the following advantages.

  1. Freed up cash flow
  2. Maximized workspace for other core capabilities.

For more information on how we can help you with your packaging 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Vendors or Partners?

June 9th, 2020

Recently, it’s been easier than ever to tell who are vendors and who are partners.

 

 

Recently, it’s been easier than ever to tell who are vendors and who are partners.

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

Times are tough for many businesses. For many business the road to a full recovery is still long, even as some businesses boom and others find they haven’t been overly impacted. Regardless of how long or short your road to recovery is, I suspect you’ve had an opportunity to see how some of your vendors have behaved during this difficult time and have taken note.

We’re no different. Typically, the stories I share are those of our clients. In this case, we have been able to make observations both through our clients and in our own dealings with vendors.

We’ve seen some real partners out there. Even while their own business might have been struggling, they are still looking for ways to help their customer. Some are doing so an downright creative ways. One example would be offering up less expensive alternative products for consideration instead of the passing along outrageous price increases caused by increased demand for many supply items globally. Another example we’ve seen is partners considering and allowing changes in agreements to accept lower volume orders than had been agreed to previously.

Vendors taking steps like these are great partners. When the dust finally settles and we are all back to normal, the customer will remember that these great partners were there for them during their time of need.

We’ve also seen some vendors out there who have proven to be bad partners. In the face of adversity and when their customers needed them, they chose to take advantage or to refuse to provide any assistance. I previously talked about price gouging in another blog post. The sad reality is that this is also happening.

Vendors who prove through their actions that they are not your partner will also be remembered when this is all over. The reality is, your customers are not going to forget that you didn’t help them or that you decided to try to help yourself at their expense. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I can tell you what the future has in store for you if you fall into this category. Your customers will leave you as soon as they have the chance to do so.

Right now, SafeSourcing is helping customers replace some of their vendors with partners. Right now, our customers are saying no to price gouging. Right now, all vendors have the chance to show that they are great partners. 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.

 

How Fast Can You Change?

June 5th, 2020

Does intelligence = Adaptability?

 

 

Today’s post is our archives at  SafeSourcing.

Our CEO Ron Southard has decided to repost this message because if you are not changing you are falling behind. So, how fast can you change? It better be immediately if not faster. And it may be that every associate needs to think of themselves as the agent of change both personally, professionally and for their company. So get cracking because in the time it takes you to read this post you will have lost ground with your competition.

What is intelligence? Encarta defines it as “the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them, especially when this ability is highly developed.” Another definition, famously attributed to Albert Einstein, is “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” If we consider the attributes we typically assign to intelligence, we can easily see how they all involve change:

  • Learning requires memorizing new information, which requires a change in the structure of the brain.
  • Someone whose circumstances demand a change in behavior, is not considered intelligent if they never perform the needed change.
  • A business that adapts and reinvents itself in tandem with its changing environment is considered to be very well-led and innovative.
  • In any career, it’s the dynamic and adaptable people who fill top management. Those who are given new directives and take a long time to enact those changes typically don’t gain traction.

If the ability to change is directly correlated to intelligence, then can a lack of intelligence be defined as stagnation? An inability to adapt and change? In short, yes, Dr. Edward Miller, CEO of the hospital

at Johns Hopkins University, stated in a 2005 interview, “If you look at people after coronary-artery bypass grafting two years later, 90% of them have not changed their lifestyle.” It’s been well-established in the medical community that even when the threat is death, the majority of people will not change previously established bad habits. Similar findings have been well established in business management studies. The old-school way of thinking is to assume that everyone just needs more threats, pressure, and dire consequences to get moving. But a one size fits all approach has never worked well in managing human beings. The truth has always been that negative pressure leads to faking change in order to make the boss, the doctor, the spouse, etc, happy with what they’re seeing, even though the truth is performance is still severely lacking.

While some amount of negative pressure will always exist, and will always be essential, what creates long term change is consistent benefit incentives. For example, when people don’t have any hope for the future of their health, their jobs, relationships, etc, adding pressure that says “things are just going to get worse if you don’t change” just adds to the hopelessness of the individual, which they interpret as more reason not to change. However, when someone is given a compliment at work, starts seeing results from exercise, or getting praise from a spouse, they will often see it as a glimpse into something better that is proven to be attainable.

Once we have created the right environment for change, the hard work of implementation can begin. This implementation has to start with paying attention. When a new policy shows up on our desk, we have to take it seriously, read it, memorize as much as necessary, and then change our behavior accordingly. When we see something go wrong, and we don’t change, most people would call that unintelligent. However, when something goes wrong and change happens quickly, effectively, and long-term, we are certainly displaying intelligent behavior. In a world of constant change, the spoils go to the nimble.1

Please leave a comment or 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.

Referances——————————————————–

  1. https://hbr.org/2011/07/adaptability-the-new-competitive-advantage

 

 

Prices going up or cannot get enough Product to satisfy demand?

June 3rd, 2020

What is the benefit of a large global supplier database?

 

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

If used properly a large supplier database like SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database provides companies with   readily accessible data that supports growing their spend with e-procurement tools

Companies should have continuing success when running prior e-procurement events over again, one area of commonality that has historically made this difficult is a lack of new sources of supply.

There is a proper way to ensure the sustainability of your eSourcing events such as RFI’s RFP’s and RFQ’s or Reverse auctions going forward. Since you have already conducted or should have conducted a detailed discovery the 1st time around a robust supplier database like the SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database Query Tool with over 500,000 supplier companies will allow you to do the following based on up to date vetted data.

  • Conduct a detailed supplier discovery
    • Rank the suppliers
    • By Size
    • By Experience
    • By References
    • By Environmental certifications
    • By Safety Certifications
    • By Location
  • Develop a three-year supplier game plan
    • Identify suppliers for each category over the sourcing horizon
    • Develop a three-year supplier rotation bidding schedule
  • Ask the following questions
    • What suppliers will I invite and why
    • Keep in mind the unique benefits of distributors vs. manufacturers
    • Discuss potential award of business strategies

If you don’t have a reliable new source of supplier information and only use the same suppliers that you originally used to conduct your category sourcing events, don’t expect continuing savings as you really don’t have the appropriate leverage points. If you don’t know where to access this type of data, please contact SafeSourcing.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

 

What precautions should we take when driving in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

June 2nd, 2020

If you are looking to purchase any protective personal equipment and would like help researching available options, contact SafeSourcing.

 

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

When you are out driving to work and running errands you might be thinking about what you should be doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within your vehicle. Should you be wearing gloves, maybe wearing a mask, or keep the widows rolled up to prevent the entry of the virus. Well according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you should be doing this one thing to protect yourself. Make sure that you crack the windows of the vehicle to ensure fresh air is entering the vehicles cabin. Because this is an airborne virus you would think that leaving the windows closed would help contaminated air from entering the vehicle. But according to the CDC it is just the opposite.   By improving the ventilation within your vehicle, it will help reduce the risk of transmission. Studies have found that closed environments are around 18 times greater than open air environments. So the more fresh air that you let in the better it will be for the enclosed environment because it will help prevent contaminated particles on the surfaces of your vehicle from entering your mouth, nose or eyes. When you keep the widows closed, the particles are trapped within the cabin and each time someone coughs the particles build up. By just cracking one window approximately 3 inches can keep the interior well ventilated. The CDC also says that it is safe to run the vehicle’s air conditioning as long as you set it to non-recirculation mode. When this setting is on, the system does not recirculate the interior air but pulls in air from outside of the vehicle. Below are some other precautions you can take to keep your vehicle safe.

  • Keep windows cracked or open between drives.
  • Be extra careful of what you are touching when filling up.
  • Wash or disinfect your hands before touching the interior.
  • Limit the number of passengers.
  • Disinfect high touch areas frequently.

If you are looking to purchase any protective personal equipment and would like help researching available options, 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.

 

 

 

When do Price Increases Become Price Gouging?

June 1st, 2020

Whether it is price gouging or not, price increases are an unwelcome trend right now.

 

 

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

At this point in time, we’re well into the pandemic. States are reopening and business are working hard to get back to normal, including deciding what normal means now. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, wide-reaching effects on the economy. Which brings me to price gouging. Rather than looking at this from a legal perspective which will vary, I would like to pose a question from a more personal perspective. At what point do you feel a price increase has become price gouging.

Just for reference, SafeSourcing’s own Wiki defines price gouging as follows. “Price gouging occurs when a business increases the cost of their offering by an unreasonable amount. While price increases can occur at any time without being considered price gouging, these should generally not exceed around 20%. State laws may dictate the amount of the increase and other considerations in determining whether a price increase constitutes price gouging. Excessive price increases aimed at taking advantage of an emergency situation during times of emergency may be deemed to be price gouging, especially if competitive prices are significantly lower.”

Recently, many of our customers are being handed price increases for mission critical supplies that they need to operate, especially during the current pandemic. Supplies like gloves and other safety supplies are prime targets for these price increases. Some price increases have been observed at nearly 400%. Do you think that is price gouging? I do.

If we use competitors’ prices as a test of whether price gouging has occurred, then it certainly has. Fortunately, SafeSourcing is able to do what many companies simply cannot do on their own. SafeSourcing can challenge price increases in real time via our online RFQ tools and our vast global supplier database. That means that if one of our customers receives a price increase that they suspect is unfair, we can leverage our tools and process to attempt to achieve cost avoidance and to put a stop to price gouging as it happens.

Price increases aren’t always price gouging. We need to be more diligent than ever in managing price increases to avoid being taken advantage of. Now is not the time for our supplier partners to reap enormous margins while so many businesses are struggling to stay open.

Have you seen large price increases, let’s talk about it. 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.