Archive for May, 2014

Seeking Approval for E-Procurement Tools

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Today?s guest post is by our good friend Eugene Duynstee President and CEO of KPM Enterprises??

Pity the purchasing manager who wants to go to his/her boss and ask for approval on an e-procurement program to support the work they are doing. Typically understaffed and over worked, many senior executives fail to see the potential value of e-procurement. They expect the manager to source goods and services in the usual way and get the best price. How hard can that be? What else could be needed for this?

Naturally the manager would go through the usual process, and when asked, he/she can say that they talked to several suppliers, negotiated the best price, and here it is. So everyone believes they have done their job and secured the best price available.

But in actual fact, if you truly want to go after the best cost for the level of quality and service you need then it does take a different approach and new technology. The purchasing team has the potential to contribute substantially more value to the organization, but only if equipped with the right tools and right process.

This is where e-procurement comes in, and delivers:

? ? State of the art e-auction software that encourages vendors through a reverse auction process to present their actual best price. Interesting that in most cases the incumbent comes in lower than their stated best price and in many cases by a substantial amount.? Studies have shown that this cannot be achieved through the traditional RFP process. With an average savings of 24%, it is hard to justify not using e-procurement.

? ? Better and faster RFPs ? the traditional process is a huge effort ranging from document creation, sourcing vendors, response assessments, recommendations, and award of business. E-procurement can deliver 3-5 times more RFPs than the traditional process in the same amount of time.

? ? Process documentation ? all the activity throughout the process is captured electronically providing not only access anytime, anywhere, but also providing a complete audit trail.

So in fact, e-procurement should be an easy sell. You certainly don?t want your competitors getting that cost advantage while you lose out on it. And when you see so many companies and government organizations (the US is well ahead of Canada on this) adopting the e-procurement process, getting on board only makes sense.

If you?d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing or KPM can help you with your procurement needs, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Teamwork within a Moment of Crisis or Emergency

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Today’s post is written by Heather Powell, Manager of the COE Department & Project Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
― Phil Jackson

While these guideline were created for management roles, it is important to note that in a team environment that these suggestions apply to ALL members of the team:


Many of us in businesses are ill-prepared to handle the traumatic events- death of immediate family members, natural disasters, accidents, etc., and yet these events can and do occur in our workplaces. They are events, for which preparation helps.

Let all employees know that you are concerned and doing all you can to help them. You represent the organization to your employees, and your caring presence can mean a great deal in helping them feel supported. You don’t have to say anything profound; just be there, do your best to manage, and let your employees know you are concerned about them. Be visible to your team, and take time to ask them how they are doing.

Let people know, in whatever way is natural for you, that you are feeling fear, grief, shock, anger, or whatever your natural reaction to the situation may be. This shows your employees you care about them. Since you also can function rationally in spite of your strong feelings, they know that they can do likewise.

Share information with your employees as soon as you have it available. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Particularly in the first few hours after a tragedy, information will be scarce and much in demand. If you can be an advocate in obtaining it, you will show your employees you care and help lessen anxiety.

Encourage employees to talk about their painful experiences. This is hard to do, but eases healing as people express their painful thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, and come to realize that their reactions are normal and shared by others. Your team may prefer to discuss the situation among themselves. Don’t be afraid to participate, and to set a positive example by discussing your own feelings openly. Your example says more than your words.

Build on the strengths of the group. Encourage employees to take care of one another through such simple measures as listening to those in distress, offering practical help, visiting the hospitalized, or going with an employee on the first visit to a feared site. The more you have done to build a cohesive work group, and to foster self-confidence in your employees, the better your staff can help one another in a crisis.

Build on your work group’s prior planning. If you have talked together about how you, as a group, would handle a hypothetical crisis, it will help prepare all employees, mentally and practically, to deal with a real one. Knowing employees’ strengths and experience, having an established plan for communication in emergencies, and procedures can help you “hit the ground running” when a crisis actually strikes.

Be aware of the healing value of work. Getting back to the daily routine can be a comforting experience, and most people can work productively while still dealing with grief and trauma. However, the process of getting a staff back to work is one which must be approached with great care and sensitivity. In particular, if anyone has died or been seriously injured, the process must be handled in a way that shows appropriate respect for them.


While we, the team at SafeSourcing, are no stranger to moments of emergency or crisis, we pull together as one team and one family ensuring that our customers and suppliers are taken care throughout our crisis. We take pride in offering the best customer service in the industry and will do whatever it takes to ensure that it remains our top priority and invisible to the outside world. 

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.

Fuel Cells In The Warehouse!

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

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

Hydrogen fuel cells are one of the hottest new technologies on the market today.  This technology captures the electrical energy from a chemical reaction such as hydrogen and while it was introduced in 1838, the practical application is just beginning to pique with major retailers and manufacturers planning on increasing their use over the next few decades.  Today’s blog will look at a few of the current applications corporations are looking to so that they can leverage the advantages of fuel cells.

Warehouse Equipment – Warehouse equipment that has been configured to be powered by fuel cells instead of traditional batteries is growing.  Companies like Wal-Mart, Procter and Gamble and Mercedes are all committing to long term use of fuel cell technology with agreements to purchase new technology that will reduce costs and increase overall power at their disposal.   A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory stated that Total Cost of Ownership even with current technology costs can be reduced from 5-10% and that will increase as the cost of this technology gets cheaper and cheaper to manufacture.

Backup Power – Backup power grids can be critical for hospitals, businesses and retailers and even more so in areas of the country prone to hurricanes, snowstorms and tornados.  Traditional supplementary sources can be effective but since they are powered by fuel that can also be difficult to obtain in a natural disaster, more and more organizations are looking to fuel cell technology to augment or replace their current backup power grid.  Originally designed for NASA equipment for remote application, the development of closed loop fuel cells can use air and solar power to provide a backup “off-the grid” power solution that does not depend on outside fuels.

Employee Vehicles – It seems like the next big thing in the auto industry is the emergence of Electric Vehicles, however all news reports state that major manufacturers are moving away from Electric Vehicles towards hydrogen fuel based on cost and based on newly 0% emissions and on a solution that has more long range power and efficiency.  Currently Toyota is leading this charge but manufacturers like Honda and Hyundai are also committing long term to hydrogen fuel cell development.  The potential to develop a closed loop vehicle with little to no need of fossil fuel is the eventual goal and one which would clearly change the landscape of business and logistics across the world.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring fuel cell 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.

How Hydrogen Peroxide Manufacturers use Indexes to adjust their products price.

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Today’s Blog is by Ryan Melowic Vice President of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

For manufacturers who use industrial grade Hydrogen Peroxide in their production process, it is important that they have a thorough understanding of what indexes can affect its price.  In this category some manufacturers use a shared risk – shared reward model that follows the variations in both Natural Gas and Diesel fuel pricing.

Some manufacturers are using the Nymex Henry Hub Natural Gas Index.  They figure surcharges by calculating an average monthly settlement price and then compare it against a set base line.  If the Nymex average price is greater than the baseline, they will subtract the current monthly average settlement price from the baseline and then multiply it by a fixed number that is dictated by thresholds based off of the average monthly settlement price.  With a fifty cent change in the Nymex Henry Hub Natural Gas Index price it isn’t uncommon to see a 2% increase on the cost of Hydrogen Peroxide.

In addition, a fuel surcharge that changes on a monthly basis is used by some hydrogen peroxide manufacturers.  They define additional surcharges for pricing thresholds and compare it to the current cost of diesel on websites like the Department of Energy.  From there, they set surcharges for delivery based on the price of diesel.  Pricing for diesel in the mid four dollar range can add around 2% to hydrogen peroxide costs.

With ranges in costs hinged on indexes, Hydrogen Peroxide prices can change 4 to 10 percent depending on the current market.  This makes it difficult for manufacturers to hold their pricing for the finished product.  However, most manufacturers are expected to lock the pricing of their finished goods for at least a year.  How is this fair for the manufacturers of the finished goods?

For further information how SafeSourcing can help your company lock in competitive hydrogen peroxide pricing for a longer duration than monthly, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.


21 Years

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Today’s Post is by Alyson Usserman, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

21 years ago business was conducted in a completely different manner than it is today. 1993 was a great year, the United States government came up with a new plan to erase the deficit, the “home computer” was in the works behind the scenes, and the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed to allow businesses to expand outside of the United States. Business was conducted in person or over the phone, which meant that opportunities were extremely limited compared to 2014. Now, we have smart phones in our pockets, we are always “plugged in,” one way or another, whether it’s sitting behind a computer at a desk or walking around the grocery store replying to emails.

Technology, business practices, and people are all in a constant evolution. There is always something “better” or higher end that is coming out. If a company doesn’t keep up with the evolution of the market place, technology, or its employees then it will be left behind.  Since the business world is constantly changing, so are the people that work within the markets, companies, and the most recent college graduates. These new college graduates are taught the most modern business practices and technologies.

All of these factors change procurement completely. Today, we have the capabilities to find suppliers globally, just from a Google search. We have the ability to capture hundreds of quotes in minutes, literally. SafeSourcing can help your company and make sure that your procurement needs are up to date, If you’d like more information, Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.

We look forward to  and appreciate your comments.


Gray Market Products!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Today’s post is by Shelly Hayre; Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

Gray market is a collective system of unauthorized sales channels for a specific product or brand. The gray market is the middle grounds for white market, legally sold goods, and black market, illegally sold goods. The products in the gray market are not illegal to sell, however the channel is not an authorized distributor of these products.

When you are buying IT equipment sometimes buying used is the most cost-effective way for your company. If you avoid the gray market you will be buying directly from an authorized dealer of this brand. The product price will be determined by the manufacturer and is typically a percentage of the original new price. Since technology changes so often and IT equipment seems to depreciate quickly, you could find yourself paying high dollar for a used piece of equipment that is in the white market.

So what if you go through the gray market to obtain that piece of equipment? The supplier is not an authorized re-seller of the brand, but most suppliers are selling good quality and tested equipment. Some suppliers have stricter guidelines to testing used equipment than the manufacturer. The price tag will be the biggest difference with gray market products. The ironic piece to this is that some manufacturers sell their used equipment to the unauthorized sales channels due to overstock.

Difference? The main difference is who tests and handles the used equipment first, oh and of course the price tag. SafeSourcing has many authorized and unauthorized resellers of manufacturers’ equipment in our database. SafeSourcing’s supplier database includes reputable suppliers that can fit your needs as a company.

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.

It’s Cookout Time!

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Today’s post is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.

The weather is warmer, Baseball season has started, and the scent of burgers and hotdogs fill the air. It can only mean one thing. Summer has arrived and so have the cookouts!

Before any good cookout, you need to get supplies from the store. Recently, I was at my local grocery store picking out some bratwurst and beef patties for my own cookout. I was in luck too, because beef patties were on sale. As I looked though, I noticed one brand was cheaper than the rest, but it didn’t say much on the front except “Beef Patties”. I was expecting some sort of grade or percentage of fat content. This struck me as odd, so I turned to the back and I was shocked that it had a list of ingredients! Beef was not the first or even second one listed. I decided to get a different kind of beef for my cookout and wound up spending a little bit more, but this one had only one ingredient – beef!

So, how aware are you of what is going into the products you buy? Do you know where your food is coming from and what it has in it? At SafeSourcing, we research the products you buy and will not settle for less than the quality you expect. You may see prices advertised as much lower, but that product may very well be beef patties that don’t really have much beef in them.

If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you find the products you need at the right price without sacrificing quality or 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.

Customer Feedback: When and How to Use it

Friday, May 9th, 2014


Today?s post is?from our?SafeSourcing?archives

Earlier this week a LinkedIn Post by Gregory Ciotti talked about how Steve Jobs didn?t listen to his customers.? The basis of the statement about Steve Jobs focused on creative and innovative approaches to new ideas that go beyond trying to deliver what customers wanted and onto figuring out what they wanted before they know it.? It wasn?t that Steve Jobs didn?t listen to his customers, he was just focused on the type of feedback we used from them.? Using this approach, Apple and dozens of cutting edge companies like them were able to continue delivering fresh and ground-breaking products to the market that customers couldn?t have talked about wanting in a feedback survey because they had no idea that something was even possible.? They only knew they liked it when they saw it.

Being able to develop new products in a vacuum may work for some companies like Apple, but the majority of companies can?t afford to ignore their customers? ideas and have customer bases that would resent even trying this approach.? That is why finding out what customers (both internal and external) want without directly asking them and then using that feedback to determine where the problems are without relying on them to tell how to resolve those issues is the key to effectively using customer feedback.

Discovering without asking ? The process of uncovering feedback without it being direct is key to getting effective information to improve procurement department?s processes.? When questions are asked that uncover how the customer felt during the process and what worked for them and did not work for them the basis of what the true issues are is developed without asking the customers to begin solving the problems.? Knowing that they were confused with where the priorities of the project fell is the beginning of understanding the issue.? Once the issue is know the procurement team can begin finding the solution to resolve it.

Seeking the issues not the solutions ? This piece goes hand in hand with the point above.? Focus on the details of what didn?t work not on the how to resolve them.? The danger with asking opened ended questions such as ?Did the process work for you??? or ?What can we do differently for you?? is that it instantly puts customers in a mode of trying to deliver a solution to you because their answers will usually be, ?Fix this.? Change this. If only it did this.?? These do not tell what the real issues are the way questions like ?How did you feel when we finished the pre-event kickoff call?? or ?What piece of information on the reporting was the most helpful?? Most confusing?? or even ?Did you understand the RFP result package to the point of having clear next steps???? Answers to these questions can then help the procurement team adjust the things to produce better results.

Prioritize the issues ? As with any process like this, not everyone will be satisfied and not every issue can be resolved immediately.? Coming up with a prioritized approach of dealing with the issues uncovered from customer feedback based on severity and frequency will allow the team to focus their attention on the areas that can make the most impact and show the greatest attention to the customer?s input.

For more information on how we can help you collect and use feedback from your internal and external customers to develop stronger sourcing processes and 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.

What e-procurement KPI’s are on your dashboard?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Todays post is by Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

At a minimum the following data fields; start date, event date, award date, letter of intent date, contract date, initial delivery date, total low company quotes, total all low quotes, award of business quotes are the basis for e-procurement KPI’s that will help to measure how your procurement department is performing and progressing over time and where opportunity for additional savings exist.

Wit the above data you can measure the following daily by department and associate assigned to that project. You should be able to actually click on any of the KPI’s to drill down for further analysis and causal data.

1. Opportunity lost cost results
2. Timeline analysis of a project launch to event, letter of intent and contract
3. Low quote company versus all low quotes or missed savings
4. Average days to complete event
5. Average days to complete award
6. Average days to complete LOI
7. Analysis of supplier count and line tem count versus where savings were maximized.
8. Number of events occurring above and below average.
9. Average or mean performance by KPI
10. Deviation or the best and worst events by KPI

If you had these KPI’s on your desktop of mobile dashboard, how much easier would it be for you to manage your business? If you don’t have this data please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager to find out just how easy it is to retrieve.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.


Thursday, May 8th, 2014

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

Wow does time fly when you are having a blast.

It seems like only  yesterday  that we launched  SafeSourcing on May 8th of 2008, but I guess it wasn’t. As such, we are both older and more experienced. That makes us better and that benefits our customers.

In 2014 we are doing business globally with a full procure to pay suite of applications that are multi-lingual and offered in a CLOUD based SaaS format. Our name is easily recognizable by the worlds largest companies.

To all of our customers, suppliers, associates, board of directors and other stakeholders past and present we offer our sincere THANKS and promise to offer even better quality and growth rates in the future. Without all of you we wouldn’t  be here .



If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can assist you in reducing costs and improving earnings, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments,