Archive for December, 2012

What are your e-procurement goals for the 2013?

Monday, December 31st, 2012

As your organization enters another year what are your procurement goals and or resolutions for 2013. Below are some high level thoughts that you might use as a source of inspiration.

1.?Drive lower costs.
2.?Drive improved quality.
3.?Insure that products are guaranteed safe.
4.?Build and maintain and update high quality product specifications.
5.?Find a source for vetting of unlimited new sources of supply.
6.?Collaborate internally and aggregate your purchases.
7.?Look at ways to use newer low cost cloud based solutions.
8.?Make procurement education and training a priority.
9.?Review all of your existing suppliers.
10.?Collaborate with other businesses to increase savings.

Writing is a psycho, muscular, neurological process. So remember that simple goals written down are the most achievable.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Remembrances and Reflections

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing and this post has nothing to do with Supply Chain, procurement, sourcing or really business of any kind.  However, please Enjoy and reflect!

As we head into what will undoubtedly be a week of joy and celebration for peoples all over the world it causes me to pause and to think about the lives of the people, not only in Connecticut, but everywhere; whose lives have been turned upside down by events that were completely beyond their control.

2012 has been an especially challenging year as regards a variety of tragedies yet it seems that no matter where you lived, that tragedy didn’t miss leaving its mark on you in some way or another.

I’d like to use this post to encourage each and every one of you to take some time, give hugs and appreciate the lives of the people who are still with us, and remember and reflect upon those who are not.

I will be honest in that this time of year has always been a special one for me and I have never usually had a problem getting into the Holiday spirit.   This year has been a struggle to stay positive in the midst of all the chaos; I honestly believe that I am not alone in this feeling.  However, I am also aware that with struggle comes the potential for hope and with hope comes change and change can lead to a view of the world that isn’t quite so dark as the one many of us face at this moment in time.

And so I cling to hope that in the midst of struggle and I encourage you and your family to do the same as we embrace this Holiday Season for what it truly represents.

We continue to wish you the Happiest of Holidays and a Bright and Hopeful New Year!

Merry Christmas From SafeSourcing

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Think about Santa’s Logistical Challenges.

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Approximately 33% of the world population is Christian and although only sixteen countries officially declare it as their state religion, dozens and dozens have percentages of their population as practitioners. Talk about a logistical nightmare.

Now if geographical challenges were not enough, we have to also consider that the Christian population of the world is about two billion people. That’s a whole lot of zeros even if Santa Clause (aka – St. Nicholas, Sinter Class, Father Christmas, Babbo Natale, Papa Noel etc.) were to eliminate 10% as naughty. So just how does one man and one sleigh and eight tiny reindeer deliver all of those presents in one night across multiple time zones when the primary fuel used is hay Green Fuel Too)? That’s a good question, so we checked with both Federal Express and UPS, and collectively they ship about 4.4 million packages per day with 3.4 million of those going through Federal Express alone. That means they handle about 80% annually of what jolly old Saint Nick and his eight tiny reindeer handle in just one night

So to answer the question of just how does one man and one sleigh and eight tiny reindeer deliver all of those presents in one night? Personally this author believes it has to be a little faith and a whole lot of magic. The same type of faith used to convince Virginia O’Hanlon that there is indeed a Santa Claus in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun when her friends had told her that he did not exist.

In these times of economic upheaval, global political unrest and unconscionable acts of violence that surrounds us all, don’t we all need a little faith and maybe a little magic too?

So from the famous poem Twas the Night before Christmas written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore. “Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! , on Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”Here’s hoping all of your holidays are filled with magic.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Companies Still Focusing on Green Initiatives

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing. Mark asks “With green initiatives expected to continue being a focus for companies in the years to come, how is your company achieving its goals for a better environment?”

Over the past few years so many blogs and articles have been written about green initiatives, their definitions and ways to implement them. Today we will be looking at three companies who have recently announced some of the new ideas and ways they are committing themselves to get “greener.”

US Foods – In a recent ProgressiveGrocer Article, US Foods announced the work they are doing in their Albuquerque, N.M. Division. The announcement highlights the 430 kilowatt solar power system they have implemented which will supply almost 25% of the power needs of the distribution center’s power needs. In addition to a cost savings, the solar panels will offset the division’s 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years. This commitment coupled with green landscaping, “green” lighting changes put a focus on US Foods as a leader in their space for their commitment to environmentally friendly focus. Their changes are ones that so many companies will begin to look at for their own companies in the coming years.

Staples Canada – Last month Staples Canada, the leader in office supplies in Canada, released information about the ways they are focusing on initiatives geared toward a focus on protecting the environment. Their focus on recycling technology focused byproducts is attacking the 8 million pounds of electronic waste that is disposed of each year. This focus led to their 2012 Ink cartridge challenge which hoped to collect 5 million ink cartridges for recycling by Earth Day 2014. Their commitment to collecting and recycling items connected to their business is one that many companies are looking to emulate in the next 5 years.

Ahold USA – At the beginning of November the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its top ranked retailers and companies in the area of green power purchases and had Ahold USA as the 8th best retailer and 29th best overall company. Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable resources, such as geothermal, wind and solar. The continued commitment to this type of energy leads to increased revenue and funding that will lead to wider adoption and a larger reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These types of initiatives are great first steps for companies wanting a stronger green policy that may not have the dedicated resources to make sweeping organizational changes right away.

These companies have found ways to begin affecting the way business is done in ways that will positively affect our planet. The results stemming from their commitment are varied but all moving toward a common goal. For assistance on helping you with your “green” strategies in 2013, or for information about how to find greener suppliers, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

Companies should think it through carefully before trying a do it yourself e-procurement program!

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

This author has met with many large companies that are using e-sourcing suites or tools provided by some of the largest names in the industry. After we have reviewed what we do and how we do it and then compare what they are accomplishing the following question always comes up. Why are you running more events and generating significantly higher savings than we are?

The answer is pretty simple in most cases. You have bought a suite of e-procurement software tools, been trained and rather than hiring the staff required to use them as designed you have defaulted to your old practices with the new tools. In addition neither continuous training nor access to new sources of supply and other data was included in your initial cost.

A full service solution provider should be able to create, execute and support all eRFX activity including but not limited to the following.

1.Assistance in category selection
2.Market analytics and insight
3.Category Strategy and timing
4.Identification of additional quality suppliers
5.Building on-line eRFX events
6.Conduct all Supplier contact and training
7.Execution of live eRFX events
8.Trouble shooting during live bids
9.Compiling and communicating reports within 24 hours
10.Award and Non-Award notifications to Suppliers
11.Post event supplier surveys
12.Providing ongoing customer support
13.Monitoring Supplier performance
14.Provide continuous improvement analysis of each eRFX

The above deliverables if not executed in a self-service program will result in less than maximum results and potentially failure of your program.

If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can help energize your self-service program, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Pallet Theft!

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Today’s post is by Debbie Wilcox, CPSM and Vice President of Sales & Marketing at SafeSourcing.

A recent NPR radio segment estimated the value of stolen recyclable plastic at $500 million per year. Items often targeted include plastic pallets, milk crates, bread racks and similar items.

Southern California is an area of the country highly affected by pallet theft however it can happen anywhere and it is a nationwide problem. Thieves target warehouse and grocery store loading docks, where pallets and milk crates are often found. They take the stolen items to local recyclers where the going rate is about fifteen cents per pound. The plastic is then used to make new pallets and crates.

In November of this year, a California dairy, Rockview Farms, estimates the cost of stolen milk crates has totaled up to $1.5 million per year. In 2010, Trader Joe’s announced that $2 million worth of plastic pallets had been stolen in an 18 month period. Albertsons and the US Postal Service have also acknowledged theft of plastic pallets.

So, what can you do to deter thieves from taking your recyclable plastic? You can add ownership markings or stamps onto the pallets and containers, institute inventory controls and safeguard items rather than leave them outside overnight. There is also a website that can be used to notify law enforcement and recyclers about missing items: is a free theft notification website that has been used by police to send detailed descriptions of stolen items to recycling centers and law enforcement within a 100 mile radius of the crime. Upon validation and review, alerts you post are broadcast by email to all subscribed users and remain active for 30 days. The system also facilitates communication by scrap recyclers to alert police when they are offered suspicious materials at a scrap yard.

If your business has experienced pallet and container theft, take steps to mitigate it. Report theft to authorities and consider using the network.

If you need assistance in purchasing new or replacement plastic pallets or crates, contact SafeSourcing to get the best price possible. What other steps have you used to reduce plastic container theft in your organization?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

2013 Looking to be Mobile focused again

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

A few months ago Gartner, a leading research firm, unveiled that once again mobile technology will lead the way for companies, from an IT perspective, as their focus in 2013. With so much emphasis on this area and the fact that new smart phones continue to be released with processing power that is catching up with corporate America’s laptops, we will focus today on how your company can begin to leverage this technology for returns that will hit your bottom-line.

Expense Tracking – One of the biggest expenses a company can have is travel expenses because they hit at several different levels. There is the obvious level of the expense itself but there is also the expense that comes when there are not good controls in place and the process gets abused and there is also the expense required to manage the collection, submission and reporting of those expenses by your staff. That is why many companies have to turned to apps like Expensify which allow employees to track everything they do through electronic versions of receipts and statements or with the phone camera to take a .PDF before the employee ever gets back to the office. Companies like Runzheimer are also developing mobile apps for their customers that automatically track mileage using the GPS component of smart phones saving the employee time and improving the accuracy of what needs to be paid.

Virtual Office – There are so many times when meetings must be delayed due to a critical person not being in a place where they can use their laptop to join a webinar. These delays cost money and can lead to bigger issues down the road when milestones get missed. Cisco and other companies like them have created applications for smartphones that now allow companies to get the content of the webinar straight to their smartphone allowing them to participate wherever they are. Along the same lines, companies are using tools like Dropbox and Teamviewer to provide their employees remote access to their desktops and files from their phone allowing them to be more efficient and responsive.

Data Analysis – The first major thing most business smartphone users wanted once they had access to the rest of the internet was access to the data that is useful to them. Many companies are moving to provide their users with access to data that has been captured through their applications. Companies like Roambi are providing business intelligence overlay to data that produces reports, graphs and extra analysis for data their customers already own in a format that is easy to use from a smartphone. Having access to this data outside of the office can allow executives and other employees to make decisions quicker and react to data as it happens in real-time.

Custom Fit – The fourth area that companies will be looking at, is developing their own custom applications for their organization to be used internally and potentially by their own customers and vendors. Real-time order viewing, shipping status, and other updates are just some of the many ways companies will be looking to leverage the smartphone app explosion in 2013.

For assistance on helping you with your mobile app strategy or too learn more about the 2013 SafeSourcing mobile applications, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.

How does your organization verify the qualifications of your organization’s data destruction service providers?

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Today’s post is by Ryan Melowic; Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

NAID AAA Certification verifies regulatory compliance, policies, and security for Mobile Shredding Services, Plant-Based Shredding Services, Computer Recycling Services, and IT Asset Management Services in many countries around the world.  NAID AAA Certification’s foundation is their Security Specifications, which cover over 20 areas of operational and security requirements.  These specifications outline requirements for Particle Size, Transportation, Record Keeping, Access Control, Training, Employee Background Checks, and many more.

It is your organization’s responsibility to ensure that your data destruction providers follow required Policies and Procedures.  Some examples of the different policies and procedures are.

1.Red Flags Rule
2.Financial Service Modernization Act Safeguards Rule
3.FACTA Final Disposal Rule
5.Regulation S-P Privacy of Consumer Financial Information

If you like to learn more about the SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database and our list of supplier certifications, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Innovating up and down the supply chain

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Today’s post is from Steve Schwerin an account manager at SafeSourcing

It can be easy to focus on only innovations directly related to your company’s main line of business.  After all, isn’t that what you have most control over?  Without a doubt, the key to staying in business is focusing on what you add to the space you occupy in the supply chain.  Have you thought about how Negotiated Sourcing Strategies can open opportunities for savings that come from innovations in other locations along your supply chain?

What does this look like?  As is the case with your company, your suppliers have core competencies on which they are focusing; as with your company, they also have input costs.  Part of becoming better and better at their business is being able to do more with less leading to lower per-unit-costs.  At the same time, changes in their input prices can lead to the same result.  Both of these are the results of your suppliers working on their own profitability and/or benefiting from trends within a sector or even broader macro economic events.  Both of these can also result in lower input prices for your company.  Will they? 

The difficulty in getting these cost reductions passed on to your company is that it is in your suppliers’ interests to keep the cost reductions quiet.  While process improvements might be invisible to you on the outside, lower costs of your suppliers’ inputs, such as a drop in commodity prices, and are things you can keep tabs on through pricing indexes.  Here is where eSourcing can be of use.  Through eRFX strategies including reverse auctions, suppliers are motivated to reveal these price savings and pass them on to you.  While a drop in the level of a commodity index might be an indication of which products or areas to target, without the internet and innovations in sourcing itself savings in other parts of the supply chain would remain invisible.  As suppliers compete for your business, your costs decrease and your bottom line increases. 

staying with your current suppliers bring these savings into your company?  Why not be proactive?  Chances are that if there is pricing leeway within an industry, your suppliers are experiencing it along with their competitors.  Has one company discovered some as yet unknown competitive advantage?  Find out by inviting a basket of suppliers to compete for your business.  While suppliers might not volunteer to hand over some of the savings they are realizing, we all win when lower prices and increased quality are passed on to the end user. 

Let us help you.  For more information on how eRFX tools can help you access savings currently being realized in different areas of your supply chain, please contact your SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to your comments.