Archive for March, 2011

What can you do to lower your risk from BPA?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I was reading USA TODAY this morning and there was an article by Wendy Koch titled Study: Eating fresh food lowers BPA in systems. The article actually addresses BPA and DEHP and the impact that a fresh diet has on their levels within a person system.

Although I love my vegetables, I’m not sure I can move to a completely fresh diet, but the Silent Spring Institute that conducted the study does offer the following six steps that individuals can take to limit their risk.

1. Fresh is best
2. Eat in
3. Store it safe
4. Don’t microwave in plastic
5. Brew the old-fashioned way
6. Take action

For more detail on each of these items, visit the following Silent Springs link.

We look forward to and appreciate your opinions.

Standard e-procurement objections.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Most of the time when we present our solutions, the majority of objections come from buyers and category managers. This author has long held that this is not the correct audience for a first presentation to a company of any size. The correct audience is the CEO or CFO, or both. Procurement when looked at properly has the largest single impact on a company’s financial performance of any area of the company. CEO’s and CFO’s primary areas of focus are the financial performance of the company.

Here are the bullets I normally speak to at the beginning of a presentation as to what leaders will here from their teams relative to the use of these tools. All have very detailed rebuttals that cover the gamut of the procure to pay life cycle.

1. We already get the best cost
2. We’ve done business with this supplier for years
3. We don’t have product specifications
4. We don’t have time for this
5. Our switching costs will be to high
6. We can’t insure the same quality
7. We need to adhere to certain standards
Here are a couple of hints as to how to nip these objections in the bud. Get the CEO and CFO     involved early, and keep them involved throughout the process. If savings and cost avoidance are delivered as promised, you won’t have any problem keep their interest.

We look forward to and appreciate your interest.

Here are Forty-five (45) good reasons why all buyers’ jobs are the most important job in the country.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

How many products are recalled annually by various agencies after they have had a negative impact on the consumer? Here are the March 2011 Recalls and Product Safety News from the Consumer Product Safety Council (CPSC)

1. Kingsman Fireplaces Recalls Gas Fireplaces Due to Laceration Hazard
2. Lasko Recalls Box Fans Due To Fire Hazard
3. CPSC Warns: As Button Battery Use Increases, So Do Battery-Related Injuries and Deaths
4. Gerber Legendary Blades Recalls Combo Axe Due to Laceration Hazard
5. Ocean Technology Systems Recalls Guardian Full-Face Diving Masks Due to Drowning Hazard
6. Second Infant Death Prompts Re-Announcement of Delta Enterprise “Safety Peg” Drop-Side Crib Recall to Repair
7. Scotch Corporation Recalls Instant Power Toilet Bowl Restorer
8. Government Investigation Raises Concerns About Pool and Spa Drain Cover Testing and Entrapment Risks
9. CPSC and HUD Issue Updated Remediation Protocol for Homes with Problem Drywall
10. Maruyama U.S. Recalls Backpack Blowers and Mister Dusters Due to Fire Hazard
11. Kawasaki Motor Recalls Backpack Blowers Due to Fire Hazard
12. Girls’ Jeans for Toddlers Recalled by Parigi Due to Choking Hazard
13. Pogo Sticks Recalled by Bravo Sports Due to Risk of Serious Injury
14. Matilda Jane Recalls Girl’s Chelsa Dress Due to Choking Hazard
15. American Suzuki Motor Corp. Recalls QuadSport ATVs Due to Crash Hazard
16. 8th Grader from Hawaii Wins Grand Prize in CPSC’s Carbon Monoxide Poster Contest
17. CPSC Urges Consumers to Spring Forward with Safety in Mind; Replace Smoke & CO Alarm Batteries This Sunday for Daylight Saving Time
18. CPSC Launches New Consumer Product Safety Information Database Today; database delivered on time, on budget for the public
19. American Suzuki Motor Corp. Recalls KingQuad ATVs Due to Fire Hazard
20. Atico International USA Recalls Holiday Rattle Baby Slippers Due to Choking Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Walgreens
21. Rocky Mountain Bicycles Recalled by Procycle Due to Fall Injury Hazard
22. Kid O Products Recalls Wooden Puzzles Due to Choking Hazard
23. “Camp Nod” Lantern Nightlights Recalled Due to Shock and Fire Hazard; Sold Exclusively at The Land of Nod
24. Wall Mount Fireplaces Recalled by Southern Enterprises Due to Fire and Fall Hazards; Sold Exclusively by Home Shopping Network
25. Children’s Hooded Sweatshirts with Drawstrings Recalled by Sunsations Due to Strangulation Hazard
26. Ms. Bubbles Agrees to Pay $40,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Drawstrings on Children’s Jackets
27. Stanley Security Solutions Announces Recall of Door Locksets; Failure of Latches Could Lead to Entrapment in an Emergency
28. Global Industrial Recalls Workbench Components Due To Electrical Shock Hazard
29. Sunbeam Products Recalls Wine Openers Due to Laceration Hazard; Sold by QVC
30. Fun World Recalls Little Pet Vet and Dr. Littles Halloween Costumes with Toy Stethoscopes Due to Choking Hazard
31. Baja Motorsports Recalls Dirt Bikes Sold Exclusively at Pep Boys Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
32. Sanus Elements Surge Protectors Recalled by Milestone AV Technologies Due to Shock Hazard
33. Sunjoy Industries Recalls Outdoor Wood Burning Fireplaces Sold Exclusively at Lowe’s Stores Due to Fire Hazard
34. Manhattan Group Recalls Parents Wooden Activity Toys Due to Choking Hazard
35. AOSOM Recalls Wooden Playpens Due to Choking and Laceration Hazards
36. IKEA Recalls Coffee/Tea Makers Due to Burn and Laceration Hazards
37. Liebherr Recalls Built-In Refrigerators Due to Injury Hazard; Door Can Detach
38. CPSC Chairman To Honor Consumer Product Safety Leaders
39. Rattles Recalled by Rhino Toys Due to Choking Hazard
40. Burlington Coat Factory Recalls Slow Cookers Due to Fire Hazard
41. Lennox Hearth Products Recalls Natural Gas Log Set Burner Assemblies Due to Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
42. Dick’s Sporting Goods Recalls Fitness Resistance Tubes Due to Contusion and Laceration Hazards
43. Tommy Bahama Recalls Mini-Tin Candle Travel Sets Due to Burn Hazards
44. FAB/Starpoint Recalls Circo Beaded Door Curtains Due to Risk of Strangulation; Sold Exclusively at Target
45. Baby Jogger LLC Recalls Baby Jogger Jump Seats Due to Fall Hazard

This comes down to buyers asking the right questions of their incumbent and prospective suppliers relative to products and related issues and how suppliers address them, report them and test to make sure they do not happen in the first place. If that is not an indicator of a buyer’s importance in the supply chain, what is?

We look forward to and appreciate you input.

Choosing the Right Vendor to Reflect Your Company

Monday, March 28th, 2011

In a recent retail headline, Safeway, a California-based grocer with over 1,700 stores, announced their plan to have a channel of fresh and frozen seafood product that is sustainable and traceable, or in a process to reach that goal, by 2015.

It begs the question, “What are your vendors doing to better the planet in a way that goes beyond the products they deliver?  Are their values and Mission Statements mirroring what your business believes?”

In Safeway’s case, they had a strong company belief in sourcing product that came from sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without negatively affecting the environment with which it is coming from.  They also had a strong desire to be able to trace that product back to its source for safety reasons.  These values led them to select a partner who is helping them assure all of the companies they do business with also have these values and practice them in their business.

They are one of the first retailers to make a commitment of this magnitude with more expected to follow.

In order to ensure this same type of synergy between your company its sources, you should ask yourself:

• How much do I know about the core values of the companies I do business with?
• Do my vendors know anything about my company’s core values or Mission statement?
• Are my suppliers doing everything they can to provide safe and green products?
• Are there other suppliers I could be using that are making strides in this area that mirror the things my company wants to do?
• Are my RFI/RFP processes collecting this kind of information from the vendors?

To help you with answers to these questions or to provide you with a deeper pool of environmentally responsible companies with which to work with, please contact a SafeSourcing customer service representative today.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

So you want to source from foreign countries?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The idea is that you hope this will allow you to compete with larger companies that have been sourcing lower cost products from these regions for years. So how can you catch up in a much shorter period of time?

If you’re dead set on moving forward and adding this strategy to your tool kit, the first and maybe most important step is to make sure you are working with a quality e-procurement solutions provider that should already have relationships in place with agents, 3PL’s and other companies that can manage much of this process for you and at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself.

The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America can put you in touch with customs brokers and freight forwarders who can help you import your goods. Many of them offer informational websites that contain what is required in order to find the right customs broker or freight forwarder for your shipments. Your e-procurement solutions provider can also help you manage this process with third party logistics providers or 3PL’s in areas like ocean bound freight and national and local delivery and distribution that you may not have any experience in.

Companies can also visit the following website  (American Association of Port Authorities) for assistance with the technical aspects of the logistics industry including directories of custom brokers and freight forwarders.

This process is fraught with risk, but for growing companies that plan properly and use the right resources, there is profit to be made.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

Food Safety requires a community effort.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

There is so much to food safety that I thought this time of year would be a great time to update everyone on the risk associated with food borne illness. During these holidays, we are exposed to so much more food than any other time of the year making it even more difficult than ever to trace outbreaks beyond historical one forward one back tracking.

So here goes, foodborne illness which can also be called food poisoning is any illness that results from eating contaminated food regardless of how it was contaminated. Harmful bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning, but other causes include viruses, parasites, toxins and contaminants. The bacteria and viruses most frequently associated with food poisoning cases in the United States are Salmonella, Botulism, Norovirus,Vibrio Infections, Listeria, Hepatitis A, B.cereus, E.coli and Campylobacter.

A couple of great places to keep track of alerts and other up to date information is  and USFOODSAFETY.COM. You can also visit the SafeSourcing wiki and our website where alerts are covered from over a dozen organizations including other types of product safety. All of the above can be followed on Twitter.

 President Obama said it best “There are certain things only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat are safe and do not cause us harm.”

With a community of help we can all make the government’s job easier.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Supply Chain Disruptions Come Without Warning

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Most of my customers know that I recommend Sourcing Innovation very highly as a world class source of supply chain and sourcing information.

 The following post titled Supply Chain Disruptions Come Without Warning that focuses on the multitude of issues that can have an immediate impact on our supply chain. Enjoy.

Everyone is still talking about the recent Japan earthquake and the ramifications it will have on your supply chain for weeks, months, and years to come. No one is talking about the fact that, thanks to global warming, forest fire season is now upon as and that more than 30 wildfires raged through Oklahoma last weekend (Source) and that it only takes one fire to destroy a plant or distribution centre.

But it doesn’t take a natural disaster or a political uprising (such as the recent ones in Egypt and Libya) to instantly shut down your supply chain. A simple regulatory decision can have ripple effects through your supply chain. On March 10, the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) issued an emergency amendment to security measures that would take effect immediately that required freight forwarders with air cargo operations at non US locations to request additional information for all shipments on each master airwaybill (MAWB). As a result, Air Canada had to embargo all cargo flown to the US until further notice until they could be sure they were in compliance. (Source) Now, this embargo only lasted a day, but it could have lasted a week had the regulatory change been more onerous. But like a natural disaster, this disruption came without warning to shippers who relied on Air Canada to deliver their goods to the US.

That’s why you need contingency plans drawn up and ready to go, because you never know when you will need them.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Going Green with eReceipt Technology!

Monday, March 21st, 2011

There are two issues which constantly face the business world and the retailing world in particular; becoming more environmentally friendly and acquiring product that is tied directly to commodities such lead, oil, paper, etc.. 

One area that is tied to both of these issues and that has been getting a lot of recent attention is in the area of printed receipts.  Retailers spend millions of dollars a year on receipt paper and printers that produces a result that frequently ends up being thrown away.  This waste has developed into is a movement into the world of eReceipts; receipts that are emailed to the customer’s email account and that can be scanned at the store using the customer’s SmartPhone.

While this movement is just starting out, organizations like the National Retail Federation have predicted that as much as 60% of retailers will be paperless within 5 years.  So what does that mean for the procurement professional?

It means that for many of you, paper is not going to be gone tomorrow so keeping competitive contracts with current suppliers is still very important.  What it also means is that now may be the time as a company, to begin to explore the possibility of eReceipts and the huge savings it could represent to your company in paper, printers and ink, as well as the time spent making the paper receipts work.

One way to prepare for this move is to speak with your current partners and see what plans they have for this shift in retail operations.  Many POS, printer and paper companies have already seen this shift coming and have begun preparing the way with new products for this service.

You can also deal directly with 3rd party companies that specialize in this service.  If this is a move you anticipate making in the next 18-24 months it may be a good idea to think about conducting on RFI for this service with your IT and operations team.  RFIs that tie right into an online RFQ tool are a quick and easy way to get prepared for making a move into a new technology space that will not only encourage your company’s “green” initiatives but will likely save the company a great deal of money.

Feel free to reach out to a SafeSourcing account representative today to schedule a conversation about how to do this.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

When world events impact your sources of supply, what can you do?

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Many of you may be aware of the often used quote “Think Globally, Act Locally” which was reportedly coined by David Brower, founder of FOE or Friends of the Earth. Others have attributed it to Rene Dubos an advisor to the United Nations Conference of the Human Environment. Regardless of who said it, there are varieties of reasons to reconsider sourcing more of your products locally…

When oil prices hit their apex of over $150 per bbl, many companies began to consider sourcing more locally due to the increase in transportation costs. Some companies went as far as having their containers recycled and melted down because the cost of shipping them back to the Far East was just too expensive. What many do not realize is that carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are double those of aviation and increasing at an alarming rate which will have a serious impact on global warming according to research by the industry and European academics.
One international company’s study indicated that their carbon footprint came from four main areas. The second largest area was ocean freight at 23 percent. Additionally researchers at the Institute for Physics and Atmosphere in Wessling, Germany reveal that annual emissions from shipping range between 600 and 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide, or up to 5% of the global total. This is nearly double Britain’s total emissions and more than all African countries combined.

To be sure, most countries have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol which establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of six greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, hydro fluorocarbons and others and are working with international companies to insure reductions. However, beyond the benefit of better pricing, the emissions issues associated with ocean freight shipping should provide additional incentive to North American based retailers to look within the NAFTA trade area for product alternatives to those sourced from areas that require ocean bound freight.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Part II. A significant storm hit retail procurement years ago?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

As we discussed in yesterdays post, from a procurement perspective we have had a nor’easter circling for years. Companies have gone out of business that did not need to. So what can you do now that we are in the storm? Where is your information source?

There are a variety of ports to play on a word (portals), search engines and website home pages that may or may not contain what you are looking for in order to mitigate your risk to stormy conditions. The question you should be asking; is there one location that contains all or most of what I need and does not cost a nickel to access. If there were, it would need to include the following.

1. A central repository and launch point for industry alerts
2. A central source for procurement information
3. A central collaboration point for all procurement professionals to hold open forum conversations.
4. A central location where one can find specifications on thousands of products.
5. A central database of new global and local sources of supply
6. A central location that tracks suppliers environmental practices
7. A central location that tracks suppliers product safety practices
8. A daily educational commentary that can be reviewed and shared with others in the procurement space for mutual discussion and review.
9. A central location for your team to hold private forum conversations and share private documents.
10. A central location where companies can trace beyond one forward and one back if necessary after they have bought products or services.

During stormy times, the best offense is a good defense. When a storm approaches having the right tools to insulate you from the storm surge are critical. There is only one tool in the procurement space that can answer yes to providing all 10 points listed above.

SafeSourcing. If you don’t believe us ask our customers 

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.