Archive for May, 2015

Toilet Paper…Who needs it?

Friday, May 29th, 2015


Today’s post is by Alyson Usserman, Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

Usable Paper Products can result in a massive spend category, does this sound like your company?

Usable paper products can be a company’s highest spend category because it typically goes unmonitored. If you are a retailer with public bathrooms, you could be paying hundreds of thousands  of dollars a year  to maintain the usable products within the bathrooms.

When sourcing usable bathroom products and toilet paper, the specification can be pretty standard depending  if you utilize coreless toilet paper rolls or not. Sourcing bathroom products can still be complex depending on the nature of the spend. Are you currently using more than one supplier? Can your janitorial staff couple this with their supplies and lower the cost of their services? Do you have space to store the additional cases.

These questions become vital when sourcing usable products like toilet paper. Are you over paying?

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.

Why is the cost of Beef so high this year?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015


Today’s post is by Gayl M. Southard, Administrative Consultant for SafeSourcing.

In today’s blog, Gayl discusses the reason for the high cost of beef this year.

With summer fast approaching, barbecuing is on lot of families’ minds.  Because of the drought of 2012 in the Midwest, backyard cooks can blame the increase price of beef this grilling season.  The average price of sirloin is up 20 percent from last year.  An 8-ounce filet mignon is approximately $15 more at some Kansas City area stores.  Two pounds of lean ground beef may cost a few dollars more than a year ago.  Although beef is pricier, it’s hard to resist the smell of beef on the grill!

Many cattle farmers decreased their herds two or three years ago when the grasslands dried due to drought conditions.  Cattle, unlike fast growing chicken and pigs, require three years from breed to slaughter.  The gestation for a cow is nine months to deliver a calf.  We are about a year and half away from the price of beef to show a reduction.  This is good news to the cattle farmers, as they can reap the rewards of the higher price of beef now.

According to Tampa Bay Times, dated May 13, 2013, “’A year ago last November, for 350-pound calves I paid $1.80 a pound,’” Mc Intosh said.  “’Today, I might pay $3 to $3.50” a pound’”.  Cattle farmers have been trying to satisfy pickier consumers since the 1980’s when the shift from beef to poultry shifted.

Fortunately, if you prefer pork or chicken, those prices have barely increased, in fact bacon, on average, is cheaper.

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.

Most of the time the devil is in the detail

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


Today?s post is from our?from our ?SafeSourcing?archive.

When you are planning out purchases, whether it?s for a business or a personal purchase,? for most people and companies it is planned out as part of a budget.? Just looking at the price tag can give you a false sense of security as to what you are going to pay and ultimately blow your budget if you don?t plan for it properly. There are any variety of adders that you will have to take into account in order to fully set and adhere to your budget for any purchase.

Let?s take Van Trailers for example. The mandatory taxes that you have to pay vary state by state, and also vary by your company. For trailers, in the state of Ohio, manufacturers have to pay a 12% Federal Excess Tax upfront in order to sell a trailer to anyone in the State of Ohio and include that in their price.? You also have to know what your sales tax will be for the purchase. If you are using the trailer as a transportation company, sales tax will not apply to you.

At SafeSourcing we know what to ask and what to include in your scope of spend. We understand the tax issues and other types of duties mandated by the federal and state governments for specific industries.? For more information as to 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.

Do you need a home warranty?

Friday, May 22nd, 2015


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

Do you own a home or are looking to buy one?  If so, you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty.  A home warranty covers numerous items around the house with a small service fee.  When you have an issue, you call the company and they will send out one of their approved service providers to diagnose the problem.  If the item can be fixed, the service provider will fix the item and if it cannot be fixed, then it will be submitted to the warranty company for replacement.  If this was a major component, such as a heating and air conditioning unit, having the warranty could save you thousands of dollars.  Below are a few items that may be covered by a warranty.

• Heating and Air Conditioning
• Water Heater
• Plumbing
• Electrical
• Appliances
• Garage Doors / Garage Openers

There are many companies out there that offer warranties, so be sure to read the contracts carefully and that you understand what items are covered and which are excluded.  If you would like some help finding the best warranty for your home, Safesourcing can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which option 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.

We look forward to your comments.

Procurement and you didn’t even know it!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015


Even if you aren’t familiar with procurement, there is a good chance you are already doing it.

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

Recently, I had to make a trip to a large retail store – one of the large ones where it’s almost impossible to find what you need. With overcrowded aisles, long checkout lines, and no help if needed, I dreaded going there, even though this store consistently had the lowest prices on every item. But as much as I disliked going there, I had to go there because it was the only place that carried a particular item that I needed.

Now, there are several large chain retailers near me, ranging from clothing, to household goods, to groceries. Typically, I learn which stores are the best to purchase the particular items I need. I may go one place for dog food and Coca-Cola, and another place for dog bones and milk. I would make it to every store on some occasions, just to get the best deal on the items I required. Ultimately, I wanted to get the best value for my money. This is what procurement basically is.

But if the one chain store has the lowest price on everything I need, why don’t I get everything there?

This is where SafeSourcing procurement can help.  Just like I do, SafeSourcing procurement looks at more than just price; they look at overall value. Many like myself would spend a little bit extra to shop in a place that is comfortable, where there is help if needed, and that provides an enjoyable shopping experience, rather than a place where one feels lost and herded around like cattle. Businesses, too, would prefer to pay a little more for a better quality of service.

But there are cases like above, where only one place carries an item I need. This situation happens in business as well.  If the item I needed was available at any of these other stores, I would have gone there, even if it meant spending more money. Because this one store has a corner on the market, I must go there, but visits there are short, to the point, avoided when possible, and happen only when necessary. This company could potentially be getting all of my business, but they lack that little extra of customer service and get less business directly because of that. Quality customer services give businesses an edge over their competition, and this is where SafeSourcing excels.

For more information on how SafeSourcing raises the industry standard for customer service, how they can help you procure quality suppliers, 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 and appreciate your comments

CONEG Legislation

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015


Today’s blog has been written by Ryan Melowic Senior Director of Procurement Process Improvement at SafeSourcing.

SafeSourcing supports the proper recycling, recovery and handling of waste associated with packaging. Therefore, it is appropriate that we inform our readers about CONEG (Coalition of Northeastern Governors) LEGISLATION. CONEG laws have been around in some states for 20 years.

The law was originally developed by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors.  The legislation calls for a ban on the use of packaging that use any of the below specified heavy metals during manufacture or distribution.

According to the  pvctech-CONEG-web-summary-02.04.15.pdf, “On February 2015 ,The goal of this legislation is to reduce the sum concentration levels of four incidentally introduced heavy metals, namely lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent Chromium present in any package or packaging component to not exceed 100 parts per million by weight.”

A variation of enforcement instruments are available, including injunctive relief and civil penalties, but no doubt the potential disruption to product distribution is likely the harshest penalty of all.

SafeSourcing does the due diligence to ensure its supplier database is packed full of quality suppliers.  The CONEG Legislation is an example of one of the many requirements that SafeSourcing tracks.  For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you with insuring certified suppliers, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Is it part of a good strategy to allow suppliers to pre bid in a reverse auction?

Friday, May 15th, 2015


Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at  SafeSourcing

In the many industries, preliminary price quotes are normally used as part of a Request for Information (RFI) or Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The actual reverse auction event is normally the Request for Quote phase or RFQ and historically has been used for final price compression. However there are large events that may change this strategy.

In large retail events with hundreds of products such as a prescription drugs, retailers may allow early quoting just due to the magnitude of the information requiring entry by suppliers. There are however many other categories that might also benefit from this strategy. Transportation Lanes, Office Supplies (entire catalog), Safety Products, MRO and Waste Management come immediately to mind. This process can take place several weeks prior to the live reverse auction but in many cases today may actually happen within 48 hours of the actual compression event.

At times, this may also be a good practice when there are a large number of new suppliers participating in order to familiarize them with the use of the tool set beyond their normal training session. For a new supplier auction day can actually be a stressful.

There are many who don’t believe that there is a strategy to participating in a revere auction. Seasoned suppliers would argue that point. In fact, suppliers that use the SafeSourceIt™ eRFX system have a variety of ways to enter pricing including uploading spreadsheets and then downloading them immediately that contain low quote indicators. Suppliers can then focus on individual items, groups of items (lots and market baskets) and decile based category sets. In these large events, this allows suppliers to split the data entry amongst multiple analysts and enter pricing strategically.

Ultimately it’s the responsibility of the e-procurement providers to train all suppliers on the use of the tool set and its flexibility so that they can determine how they might strategically stage their input. That is of course if the solution provider has data entry flexibility as part of their toolset.

If you’d like to learn more about the SafeSourceIt™ family of creative sourcing tools, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services associate.

We look forward to your comments.

Are you getting ready to source bottled water?

Thursday, May 14th, 2015


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives.

Did you know there is a new technology that can produce clean drinking water out of humidity in the air? A new company, Quest Water, has successfully built and put in place the first system of this type in the South African country of Angola.

The system is called WEPS, Water Extraction and Purification Systems, and claims to be a pure source of water without exploiting current freshwater resources. It has a capacity to produce from 500 to 20,000 liters of water a day and does it without the use of chemicals or harmful by products. It uses solar-powered energy utilizing an array of photovoltaic solar panels along with purification and disinfection technologies.

Now I’m not suggesting that we will soon be seeing another type of bottled water on our grocery store shelves sitting beside spring water and purified tap water anytime soon, but I’m not ruling out the idea for some time in the future either. 

As you probably know, bottled water is big business. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), in conjunction with Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), released 2011 bottled water statistics showing total US bottled water consumption increased to 9.1 billion gallons, up from 8.75 billion gallons in 2010. The figure represents a 3.2% increase over 2010 which calculates to an average of 29.2 gallons of bottled water consumed for every person in America.

How do you maximize your profits from all of this bottled water success? Join other SafeSourcing customers who recently saved 20% on their name brand bottled water purchases. To find out more  please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager. 

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

Sourcing IT Contingent Labor!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015


Today’s post is our SafeSourcing Archives

Temporary staff has long filled gaps within the departments of companies all over the world and no place is this truer than in today’s IT departments where highly skilled technical staff are needed but generally not required on a continued basis.  Companies are beginning to realize that it is more cost effective to supplement their technical staffs with experienced temporary employees; reducing the long-term commitment but getting projects moving quickly.

This contingent labor force, which includes both independent contractors and temporary employees hired mostly through Temporary Labor agencies, is typically managed by a department head or by Human Resources directly.  In some cases, as with large companies, having a more organized model to manage this process becomes a necessity.  Today’s blog will touch on three of these.

Option  I – Internally managed

In this approach, the company manages the entire process of working with the different temporary agencies; including tracking their progress and the processes they are following for supplementing your workforce.  This approach is the most widely used for mid to smaller sized companies or for companies whose need for a contingent labor force is small.  The drawback to this approach is the lack of scalability as the company and the temporary labor force grows. 

Option II – Master Vendor

The Master Vendor model is popular for businesses because it allows the primary temporary labor agency to handle all of the details for the client.  The tracking, the screening, the hiring, the placement, the metrics of the Service Level Agreement are all items that the client lets the vendor handle so that the client can focus on running the business.  Generally any technology/software use is on the vendor side only and the client has little to no visibility into the day-to-day management of the placement process.  This works for many companies as a first step to begin leveraging the focus of their vendor to help them manage the process, but is lacking in the level of insight provided to the client.

Option III – Master Service Provider – Vendor Management System

The third, and increasingly popular, option is to employ technology in the way of a Vendor Management System (VMS) to help provide the visibility and control that many companies are wanting in this process without having to management every little detail of the placement process. 

VMS Software can either be obtained independently by the client or can be included in the contract with a Master Service Provider.  In either case, the Vendor Management System tool can help track requisitions, research candidates (whether from agency or independent contractor), monitor the status of placement as well as other day-to-day metrics, and manage the invoicing and payment.  The advantages of a quality VMS Tool is that it allows the flexibility to work with more than one contingent labor source while at the same time establishing a compliance to process across all of those sources.  With increased implementation, the efficiency will increase and costs will go down; making it a very popular choice of managing a temporary labor workforce

For more information about how begin to develop a contingent IT labor force model for your organization, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Project Manager.  

We look forward to your comments.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink!!!!!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015


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

?Everything but the kitchen sink?.? has its roots in the early 1900s and referred to situations involving the inclusion of almost everything someone can think of whether it was needed or not.? In procurement terms it means running sourcing projects that include several unrelated items and categories in order to try and maximize the efforts and cost of running the events.? The downside to taking this approach is that the focus becomes fractured among an eclectic mix of goods and services that prevents a project from being as successful as it could be.

Today we will be looking at a few reasons why this approach does not work for many procurement professionals.

Fractured Focus ? The first issue that arises with multi-category sourcing events is that is fractures the focus of the items.? Each category gets some attention but not all of it and so specifications tend to be incomplete, internal support for the event not as determined and interest from the suppliers that can deliver on more than one category gets divided among several items that usually are not given a priority by the customer.? With all of these factors it is difficult for suppliers to give their best proposals because they have to divide their attention and in some cases are unsure what items and services are the most important to the customer.

Suspicious Suppliers ? Another of the issues when including many categories in a sourcing event is that suppliers who know they can only bid on one or two items begin to get suspicious of the event due to their assumption that the customer will try to consolidate suppliers where they can and use the suppliers who can only bid on a few items to help drive pricing only.? While grouping multiple categories is not a recommendation of SafeSourcing, if a project is going to be run this way then it is recommended that a multi-supplier award be considered and the possibility communicated to the suppliers.

Missed Supplier Opportunities ? With so many types of suppliers needed to support a large multi-category event it is often unrealistic to bring in as many companies in each area as a customer would like.? Unfortunately this leads to some very qualified suppliers being left out if they specialize in just one or two categories because otherwise the event would become very difficult to manage.? These types of suppliers can bring great value to an event and because it is their specialty they can often bring additional expertise and in some cases better pricing to the customer.? These lost opportunities are hard to quantify but are a proven side effect of large multi-category projects.

Many companies still try to run events of this nature because of their fear of the cost associated with running multiple events.? At SafeSourcing we are constantly helping companies who want to try to source categories safer, smarter and easier.? For more information on how we can help you 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.