Archive for September, 2016

I’d Rather Eat Bark

Monday, September 26th, 2016


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

Most people know that being green is important at home and work. Not only does it provide energy savings, but also benefits the environment, making energy sources more sustainable. Early in school, most are taught about how plants work with our atmosphere, cleaning and providing the air we breathe. This should be reason enough to be green, but there are also numerous benefits to keeping trees around that many don’t even realize. Bark is just one part of the tree that has a multitude of uses that our lives would not be the same without.

First, an annual autumn favorite is anything Pumpkin Spice. So, what makes it so good? Pumpkin alone can be bland, so other spices are usually added, hence the name Pumpkin Spice. Nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are all added in small amounts, but mostly cinnamon is added. While ginger and cloves come from other plants, both nutmeg and cinnamon come from trees. The nutmeg spice is derived from the seeds of a few trees found in Indonesia. A significant ingredient in anything pumpkin flavored, cinnamon comes from dozens of trees found mostly in Indonesia and China, specifically from the inner bark of trees. So, if you have ever tried cinnamon, you have eaten bark. Without cinnamon, pumpkin spiced treats would not be the same, and one can only imagine a world without cinnamon rolls, cinnamon toast crunch, Big Red chewing gum, or even many liquors.

Second, a household staple, believed to be a life saver for many people, and originally came from bark is aspirin. Stemming back to ancient Egypt and even mentioned in works of Hippocrates, people with pain or inflammation would find a willow tree, scrape the bark off, and brew a tea. The willow bark contained a chemical called Salicin (which is metabolized into salicylic acid), which temporarily reduced fever and aches. In our modern society, the active ingredient has been isolated and synthetically manufactured under the name aspirin. The name “Aspirin” was originally a brand name coined by the Bayer Company, but has since become a generic term for the pain reliever. [i][ii]

The non-edible uses for tree bark could be compiled into a long list, many uses we may not even realize, like adhesives, cork, and natural latex. When sourcing any of these products, we at SafeSourcing do the research to find out as much as we can about a product, because sourcing a product is more than just finding someone who sells it. It involves digging in and doing the research. We all know that being green is important for a multitude of reasons, and the uses of tree bark is included.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help think or green, help researching your products, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.



To Procure or Not to Procure

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016


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

Have you ever considered implementing procurement solutions  into your business? Find out the pros and cons before you decide.

The smartest way to make a big decision about your business or organization is to do the research and know the ins and outs of what you are getting into beforehand. Often times, big decisions on how you spend your money come with other side effects, both good and bad.

The idea of whether or not to implement procurement into your business’ processes has been a common theme for much debate and numerous articles. Many of these debates and articles say much of the same thing as they are important aspects to consider. This blog will highlight some of the stronger points on both sides of the debate so you can know better make a decision for your business.

Cost – Typically with procurement efforts, a business or organization will reduce their costs of the services and supplies they are already getting, often significantly, without sacrificing any amount of quality. However, the best way to realize those savings is to use an e-procurement provider, which does cost the business some amount of money, but those are typically small compared to the savings achieved.

Technology – Modern procurement efforts are most efficiently realized through the use of technology, like reverse online auctions. This technology can make things both easier and harder in different ways. More suppliers can participate from any location, diversifying options and enlarging competitive bidding. However, preparing businesses to use electronic systems can be time consuming and always runs the risk of human error.

Service – This is one area that often requires finesse. Negotiations, technical assistance, reporting, training, and management of accounts all fall under customer services and ineffective teams can jeopardize relationships with suppliers, possibly affecting any savings found during the procurement efforts. On the other hand, an experienced customer service team can help strengthen relationships with suppliers and even see increased savings.

Although there are many other pros and cons to implementing procurement, the above areas tend to appear in most conversations on the topic. If you decide to integrate procurement into your organization, SafeSourcing can assist you the entire way. Complete with experienced customer services, modern technologies, and a risk free trial offer, SafeSourcing can exceed your needs.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you realize the benefits of procurement, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.


What are my headphone options with the iPhone 7?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016


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

This week is the release of the new Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. With this version they announced they are removing the standard mini-phone jack that is widely used by portable devices.  When I first heard this I was worried that I may have to buy new headphones or buy some sort of Apple adapter.  The good news is that the phone comes with a lightning to mini-phone adapter that will allow users to connect their iPhone to their current wired headphones.  The Phone also comes with lightning EarPods that connect using the lightning port.  Standard Bluetooth headphones will work with the iPhone 7 and will connect using the Bluetooth pairing functionality as before.

Along with the launch of the new phone apple released its new wireless headphones called AirPods that contain a new W1 wireless chip designed by Apple. This wireless chip allows the headphones to connect seamlessly to the phone without pairing and uses less power than standard wireless chips.  This will allow the wireless headphones to run for up to 5 hours of listening time before needing recharged.  The case has a built in charger that will allow for more than 24 hours of charging.  When the battery is low the case and headphones can be charged by connecting the case to the lighting cable.  A fifteen minute charge is equal to 3 hours of battery life.  If you are not a fan of the new Apple EarPods, there will also be 3 pairs of wireless Beats by Dre headphones containing the new W1 chip as well.

Below are some of the new features for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

iPhone 7

  • 12MP camera
  • 4.7” Retinal HD display with wide color gamut

iPhone 7 Plus

  • 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras
  • 5.5” Retina HD display with wide color gamut

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

  • Optical image stabilization
  • 7MP FaceTime HD Camera
  • New Home Button
  • Water and dust resistant ip67
  • Stereo speakers
  • A10 Fusion chip
  • LTE Advanced up to 450 Mbps
  • Longest battery life ever in an iPhone
  • iOS 10

Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial?  Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready and available to assist you!

The End of Antibacterial

Thursday, September 15th, 2016


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

In the past decade or so, the market has seemed to be flooded with antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, detergents, and other cleaning products, but recently the FDA has essentially banned those antibacterial products. Many of us are asking, why would they do such a thing?

In today’s world of keeping things extra clean and preventing the spread of bacteria and other causes of illness, many of us see antibacterial soaps as a step in the right direction to keep our surrounding areas clean and our families healthy. This ban on antibacterial comes as a shock to many people. The problem is, however, that the antibacterial soaps have not been found to be any better than classic soap, and the chemicals used in the “antibacterial” do not even kill bacterial, but rather expose the bacteria to low levels that help the bacteria breed into strong, highly antibacterial-resistant bacteria. To top it off, scientists have found that antibacterial soap chemicals actually do more harm to people, including, according to an article by NPR, a disruption in hormone cycles and muscle weakness.[i]

So is this the true end of “antibacterial”? Not quite. The ban of 19 different antibacterial chemicals in soaps haven’t been banned from hospitals and food service, but rather banned from household use. Many soap companies have already stopped use of the chemicals in question in their over the counter soaps and have begun using other chemicals thought to be antibacterial. In response, the FDA has set a limit of one year to show scientifically proven effectiveness before another ban takes place.

With the soap market changing dramatically, many businesses may find themselves needing new soap products. This opens up a whole new window of opportunity for new business and renegotiating for new products. SafeSourcing can help with both ends of this process through its procurement specialties.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help you source soap products, or are interested in our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.



The ABC’s (or MSPs, VMSs, SOWs) of Temporary Labor

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archives.

The landscape of temporary labor has changed drastically over the past 10 years.   New business strategic planning processes have created needs and opportunities to source help in ways not previously available before.  Companies are moving to defined stage-driven projects that have clear beginning and ending points that create the opportunity for hiring a contingent workforce driven by focused, definable parameters.  Instead of hiring a group of temporary workers to augment your staff and not knowing if you will really have work for them the entire time they are there, companies have projects with well-defined entry and exit points that can be easily staffed by a professional contingent workforce that optimizes their stay.   This style of contingent labor hiring has created new needs for companies for the management of this workforce and in today’s blog we will be covering some of these aspects.

SOW  – Statement of Work – This is a set of predefined criteria that combines timelines, deliverables, tasks and skillsets needed to complete a project or stage of a project for a company.  Often it will also contain details surrounding the safety, design or other legal terms and conditions which must be adhered to for completion.  The statement of work must clearly define the objective of the project along with expectations of the end result and the timeframe it needs to occur within.  For example a company may have a software project that is going to require 120 hours of development and 50 hours or testing.   To accomplish this they need 2 software developers, 1 database developer, 1 QA resource and a project manager to manage the project which needs to be completed in two weeks.  With an SOW, the need and expectations are clearly defined and contingent resources can then be easily added to accomplish the goal without carrying the burden of those resources long-term.

MSP – Managed Service Provider – With the embracing of SOWs to the contingent labor landscape came the need of partners to help manage the procurement and placement of the resources to make them happen.  While Managed Service Providers tend to be found mostly in the IT space, there are many other service and consulting areas that they can and do oversee.  MSPs may have their own contingent resources from which they can augment their clients’ staffs, but many times they are working with other temporary staffing agencies in order to manage the customer needs.  A good MSP will be able to handle a normal temporary labor staff augmentation as well as SOW needs as they arise.  They understand the needs of their customer and how to most efficiently use the contingent labor while they are onsite saving thousands of dollars in the process.

VMS – Vendor Management System – The tool that is used to manage this process of procuring, tracking and paying the contingent resources used, is typically an internet web-based application that allows a customer to submit a request for resources based on a staff augmentation need or statement of work need. This system will also handle the billing and reporting needed by a customer to track how and when they are spending their contingent labor dollars.  Managed Service Providers will either have an in-house VMS or have partnered with an external VMS provider for this solution.  This tool will help the customer streamline the interview and hiring process as well as act as the collection of time worked and approval system of payment.  Having a VMS makes the SOW process much more effective as it allows the customer to focus on finding resources to fill a specific need more efficiently, finding the right people, quickly, and delivering on-time results.

SafeSourcing has successfully helped dozens of companies evaluate and hire Managed Service Providers and Vendor Management Systems.  For more information on how we can help your team in its own search 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.

Making, Not Losing Money on Trash

Friday, September 2nd, 2016


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Every year businesses are moving waste out of their building that becomes part of the $18 billion dollar industry for other companies.   While they continue to pay millions of dollars to have their trash removed, other companies are reaping that unclaimed money and generating huge profits.  The problem is that most companies don’t realize the potential money they are losing and even fewer know the steps that could be taken to easily begin capturing some of this revenue for themselves.

Ask the experts  – The first thing most companies need to realize whether it is in IT, HR, operations, or Waste Removal, is that they do what they do well but they aren’t experts in everything.  Consulting with a 3rd party expert on how the company is structured and how it handles waste can lead to great solutions that can equal a revenue stream back to the company.  Many times these consultants will work for a small contingent percentage of what the company makes back by using their recommendations.  Many times they will offer to work with the employees at different locations to help educate them as well.  These consultants will be able to explain how to separate one category of trash from another and what affect that can have on a bottom line.

Understand the trash – Frequently businesses don’t develop strong recycling programs because they don’t understand their own trash and what makes some more valuable than other and how doing simple things like keeping certain recycled materials separated from other types can almost double the revenue the company can get back.  Comingled recycled material, even if it is two types that have high revenue potential attached to them (corrugated and stretch wrap material), pays much less than the same products if they are picked up already separated.  This is due to the cost the recyclers pass onto the company for having to manually sort what is picked up.   Understanding the business and its waste will help prioritize the rollout of any program based on the highest revenue potential.

Top down effort – No matter how a company plans to attack its waste for revenue potential, it must developed into an educational program that hits at every level from the CEO down.  Without the buy-in at the top, the people who will eventually be responsible for executing the plan will never treat the program seriously.  Many companies will even attach performance reviews and incentives to their employees/departments/divisions who return large revenue streams back to the company.  Working with an independent consultant or your normal waste removal company can help with this step.

Developing a strong recycling program can not only benefit a company financially but is also seen as a positive aspect of doing business with the company by potential partners and customers.   For more information on how we can help you understand the options for getting assistance with developing this type of program 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.