Archive for October, 2016


Thursday, October 27th, 2016


Today’s post is by Tyler Walther; Account Manager at SafeSourcing. Tyler is adding to the SafeSourcing Wiki and defining ullage.

Doing research for my blog today I came across a word I did not know; ullage. What is ullage? It is the free space above a liquid or other content in a container and the “full” level. Envision the top of a bottle of wine.

Many liquids or chemicals will expand during storage. This becomes important particularly in shipping for two principal reasons. The expansion of the liquid or chemical requires pressure relief valves. With many pressurized tanks the load cannot be to capacity because the pressure relief valves will not work when in contact with liquids. In dry loads, such as grain, or liquid bulk cargo, ullage allows the load to shift as the ship kneels from one side to another. This allows for greater stability in the vessel in which a full capacity load would not.

Let SafeSourcing better manage your sourcing projects. We enjoy bringing this blog to you every week and hope you find value in it. 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.




Times, They Are A-Changing

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016


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

The coveted award has been around since 1901, with such famous winners as Jean-Paul Sartre, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway. However, this year’s award has been cited as “redefining boundaries of Literature” because this year’s win marks the first time the honor has been bestowed to a musician. Bob Dylan, a folk-rock singer and songwriter, released his first album over fifty years ago, continues to make music today, and was awarded the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

It’s been said, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” and this recent Nobel Prize winner demonstrates that. The appearance of Dylan and his music in the 1960s, during a time of great cultural changes, had a resonating effect on many people at the time. Not only did he poetically echo the feelings of many people going through such things as war, drugs, and civil rights movements, but he also was able to eloquently summarize cultural happenings in a way people understood, highlighting the wrongdoings of a society undergoing drastic change.

Today, once again, Bob Dylan is front and center during a time of change, from global to political to cultural. This honor should show that even if we do not fit into a traditional category of award, we can still make a widespread and lasting positive impact, and that each of us has the ability to change our world through any means, be it personal or through business. While many of us have goals a bit less ambitious, we can still use what Dylan has taught us, “There is nothing so stable as change,” and we at SafeSourcing can help your business through change.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your business, 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.



Your Suppliers Performance – Trick or Treat?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

Last week we took a look at the life of your purchased products once you have the contract signed and begin to place orders and how you can protect that inventory along the supply chain.  Today we take a look at the job your suppliers are doing while the contract is being executed.  What is the quality of their goods; timeliness of the shipments; pricing being billed versus the contract?   Are you getting “tricked” or “treated” by your suppliers?

Many retailers have looked at the process of developing supplier scorecards that measure how well their vendors are doing in the relationship with them.  If designed and executed well, these scorecards can be invaluable in later stages of negotiating new contracts or in evaluating new vendors against a standard you are used to receiving.  Let’s look at a few of the metrics to consider when creating a good supplier scorecard.

Invoice audits – Many companies work so hard to get a great deal, great prices; finish with a contract that works well for the company only to move forward without well-defined processes for auditing the new invoices to ensure the new pricing is being affected by the vendor.  One of the most important pieces of creating a good evaluation program for your vendors will be to determine how often and which invoices you are going to audit and then stick to that audit schedule.   The bigger your company the more important this will be.

Quality Control – Scoring the suppliers on quality comes in a few different forms.  The first thing to measure is the quality of the product itself: Are you getting the product you contracted and does it meet the specifications that were agreed upon?  Another area is in the packaging of the product when it arrives.  Many times it is how the product was packaged to ship that is the problem and frequently responsible for big losses.  How the items measure up to their warranty will also be another critical area to measure for quality.

Delivery–Even the best product at the best prices has value only if you can get the product in the timeframe that your company needs it.  Vendors should be measured on their ability to deliver within the window agreed upon in the contract but they should also be measured on how capable they are in delivering unscheduled product in emergency situations.  As in any business, circumstances occur that take you outside of the normal schedules and you need partners who can deliver when you need them most.

Service–This leads us to final scoring point for this blog; services.  Delivering unscheduled product within a window of time you need it is one thing but how your suppliers handle the relationship with you business in times of conflict or when issues arise is equally important.   Scoring this area can be slightly more subjective, however developing a strategy by which you can record these bumps in the road and how your suppliers react to them will be valuable in future negotiations.

For more information on scoring your suppliers or for assistance in reviewing or creating automated scorecards, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

It’s important to stay on top of your Smoke Detectors and Fire Safety Planning.

Thursday, October 6th, 2016


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

Ever hear that BEEP at 2 a.m.? Ever end up taking a smoke detector down to make it quiet?  Ever lose a good night’s sleep?  Ever stare up at the high ceiling wondering how you are going to replace the battery in that smoke detector without falling off a teetering ladder?  That’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago.  Because my husband was out of town and I was completely on my own, I decided I needed to be fully awake in order to get up on a ladder in the middle of the night.  I made a cup of coffee, drank it, and then got out my 8-foot ladder out of the garage.  I got up on the ladder, and removed the battery.  (Luckily, I had replacement batteries in the house…at lease I thought I was lucky).  It turns out my replacement batteries were old and the BEEPING continued. Because my smoke alarms are hard-wired into the electrical system, once the battery is removed, the BEEPING continues.  My poor dog was a wreck with the constant BEEPING and I was losing my mind!  I had to wait until 8 am for the drug store to open in order to buy new batteries.  Now armed with new batteries, I changed the battery and finally the house was silent.  I thought I was in luck when that whole scenario repeated the next night at midnight.  It sounded like the same alarm, but it turned out it was a guest room smoke detector that was BEEPING this time.   Do they talk to each other?  Who knows.  The following week I had a handyman at the house doing some odd jobs, so I had him change every smoke detector battery in the house.

Smoke detectors are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When a fire begins, smoke spreads quickly.  Working smoke detectors give you an early warning so you can get out quickly.  The following are some safety tips:

  1. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Put a smoke detector in every bedroom, as well as outside the sleeping areas. Install a smoke detector on every level of your house, as well as the basement. Smoke detectors should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  2. Larger homes need more smoke detectors.
  3. Test detectors monthly.
  4. There are two kinds of alarms, ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types in the home.
  5. Alarms should be on the ceiling or high on the wall. Keep alarms away from the kitchen in order to reduce false alarms.
  6. Replace alarms after 10 years.
  7. Plan your escape route.

Safesourcing can help you with all of your personal and business related fire, safety and inspection needs, whether it is for equipment, services or both. 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.


What Is a UPC Barcode?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016


Today’s post was written by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

A UPC, or Universal Product Code, is a unique 12-digit identification number that appears on most retail products for sale in the United States and Canada. UPC numbers are made up of two components: company prefix and product number. While the companies or their brands normally determine the product number, the company prefix is determined and assigned by GS1 US. GS1 US – formerly the Uniform Code Council (UCC) – is a nonprofit group responsible for regulating international commerce. They introduced the first barcode in 1974. As a business owner interested in establishing your own barcodes, you must first join GS1 US. Once a member, the organization will assign you your own unique identification number which will become the first part of your UPC.  GS1 US’s membership fees are based on your production capacity and start around $250 with annual renewal fees starting at $50. The fees vary depending on the number of unique products your company sells. Here are three simple steps to set you on your way to obtaining UPC barcodes for your company’s products:

  1. Join GS1 US and apply for company prefix – company prefix codes can be anywhere from 6 to 10 digits long depending on the number of products you’ll need identified. Smaller companies are typically assigned a higher number of digits.
  2. Create Your Unique Product Number – you’ll probably need a different UPC code for each type of product you sell. And depending on how many colors and sizes of each style you offer, the number of unique products can quickly add up.  Now simply add your product number to your company prefix and voila you have your UPC.
  3. Decide on print or digital barcodes – each UPC can be used to produce a specific barcode that is then either printed out and attached to products or incorporated into their design so that they can be easily scanned at the register.

Would you like to learn how SafeSourcing could help your company communicate more effectively? Interested in a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact SafeSourcing. Our team is ready and available to assist you!