Archive for March, 2017


Wednesday, March 29th, 2017


Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Salesmanship, you see it every day, almost everywhere you go. To better understand how important this skill is, we must first look at the definition of Salesmanship according to the business dictionary. “Practice of investigating and satisfying customer needs through a process that is efficient, fair, sincere, mutually beneficial, and aimed at long-term productive relationship.” What this means, in simple terms, is that it is the employee’s job to discover what exactly the needs and wants are of the customer. After we discover what the customer needs and wants, it is then time to discover a process to fulfill those needs and wants of the customer. We must perform this process as fast and efficiently as possible. However, we must also find a way that our company does not lose out on the deal; this is where the “mutually beneficial” aspect comes into to play. A mutually beneficial agreement is an agreed upon term that benefits both parties of the deal. This is crucial to insure both parties are happy and leave the potential to start a long-term and happy relationship with the customer. All this starts with the employees of a workplace. It is key for all employees to go into the workplace with a salesman attitude. You never know who you will be meeting with or talking to at any point of the day, no matter the area you work in. Salesmanship should be practiced by all employees of a company. After all, you won’t have a successful company without customers. Just remember one bad conversation could end a great relationship, as one conversation could introduce a new customer.

Here at SafeSourcing we like to practice salesmanship in all areas of our work. It does not matter if we are talking to a current customer, a potential customer, or even a vendor. We believe we should conduct ourselves in a professional manner at all time, but also have fun while doing so. If you were to give SafeSourcing a call I can guarantee you will find yourself in a conversation with someone here with a great personality. So I challenge you to give it a try and call today and see how we can potential give a 10X or more ROI.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process 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 Salesmanship? Definition and Meaning.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.


How well do you know your Vendors?

Friday, March 24th, 2017


Today’s post is by Robert Rice is an Account Manager at SafeSourcing

By nurturing good vendor relations may lead to positive pricing, generous terms, improved availability, and even the occasional buyback. With these kinds of opportunities at stake, it can be very important to nurture relationships with key manufacturers and distributors.

7  Tips for Good Supplier Relationships

  1.  Pay on Time :  This is an obvious one, pay on time as you promised. So many companies work on thin margins, so their cash flow is as important as their business. This is even more critical for smaller companies. By paying on time as promised every time gains them trust and respect by the customer. Some companies track vendor payment history through vendor management software and have the ability to create a scorecard, which can lead to additional credit or discounts.
  2. Set Clear and Reachable Goals:  Some vendors will want to have estimates of how many products a buyer expects to sell in a given period so that those sellers may in turn provide feedback to producers or, in the case of distributors, better understand how many line items they should order themselves.
  3. Know that they have other Customers:  Small and medium sized companies have a lot of competitors, and sellers that may be serving both your business and nearest competition.To improve the vendor relationship, be patient. Understand that from time-to-time your vendor will be occupied.
  4. Educate yourself on what they need:  Since vendors do have many customers and a number of relationships to maintain, it can be helpful to educate yourself on what they desire from you.
  5. Don’t Blame Them:  There are going to be issues with suppliers and vendors. Blaming the representative on the end of the telephone or complaining via email will not help solve the problem.
  6. Nurture a Friendship:  There are 2 good reasons to try and make friends with a vendor. The first, we would rather do business with people we like. This can eliminate formalities and cut to the chase (savings). Also, people are more likely to do more for a friend than someone they just met. Developed relationships can provide access to products with low availability or even earn better prices.
  7. Get them to Buy into the Process:  Once you have a reputation of paying on time, providing orders in the proper format, and being nice with the vendor’s representatives, you can start to train the vendor on exactly what your client needs.

See how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.

Nuclear Incentive

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017


Today’s post is by Mike Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing

This is a continuation of the blog “Nuclear Negotiation”. I’m setting out to answer the most important questions about nukes by listing facts I deem important by two measures: How severe the effect on human beings could be, and 2. The number of lives it could affect. Then I will conclude with discussing the human factors at play, and how they affect our daily lives.

  •  Global Nuclear war would not end all life on earth: The US and Russia each have detonated thousands of nuclear weapons tests, and these did great harm to the environment, but it did not trigger an extinction level event (though most were in the ocean, to prevent debris fallout that an actual war would not). A war detonating anything above 100-megatons of total yield seems to be the estimate for what it would take to end “modern” humanity, in terms of causing global collapse of infrastructure (Turco et al. 1983) due to its environmental and radiological effects. Most experts seem to agree that some remnant of human life would continue to exist, even if it took thousands of years to recover, though of course there is no guarantee it ever would return to our current level of modernity.
  • The system will only work/stay out of nuclear war for as long as all players behave predictably. Mutually Assured Destruction (or MAD as it’s referred to) is the concept that for as long as it is assured that an attacking company would be destroyed for destroying its intended country, it won’t make the attack in the first place out of its own interest of self-preservation. The problem though of course, is that MAD assumes a. all participants are rational, and b. that no unpredictable cause, such as an accident/malfunction or terrorist nuclear incident, would occur and throw the delicate system out of order.
  • The British philosopher Bertrand Russell called this balance a walk on a tightrope, however: “You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years.” There are bills being considered with the aim of limiting the US President’s ability to launch a nuclear strike (Lockie 2017) in an attempt to create a safety net below this “tightrope”. However, this in and of itself could cause nuclear war, by removing the “Assured” part of Mutually Assured Destruction for any would-be attacking nation.
  • Reducing Risk  If you’ve wondered why there has been so much pressure over the years to reduce all nations’ nuclear arsenals, this is it. The assumption is that there needs to be a balance where our weapons of mass destruction are present enough to de-incentivize war, but that there are few enough of these weapons around that we don’t destroy our species over a misunderstanding inept leader. Afterall, the leaders we are trusting not to push that nuclear button are subject to all of the same weaknesses you and I are, and to expect that to go on indefinitely without disaster is to not understand human nature.

Why has MAD worked for the past 70-some years? Because of game theory: Player A makes a move, that forces player B to make a move to get to an optimum point, and both players keep making moves until there is no new move that will improve either player’s condition (equilibrium). In procurement, this means a buyer will switch suppliers that provide better products, pricing, logistics, etc. And conversely, a supplier will adjust pricing in order to retain (or gain new) business, up until the point where any more moves will not gain more benefit/would incur a negative outcome. Sound familiar? It’s the force that drives basically all human activity: Businesses change suppliers, people change relationships, nations create weapons of mass destruction, and the changes continue until all actors have reached a point where change would be less good than the current arrangement, and so equilibrium is reached.

But have you ever seen someone make a decision/change that took them out of equilibrium, to the point that they incurred a loss? Someone destroys a positive personal relationship? Sells product at a loss? Makes an irrational decision? It’s an irrational but very human thing to do. We do have the ability to learn and the capacity to be rational, and avoid making this mistakes in our professional lives. But maybe the most important thing we can do, is ensure our leaders the world over are unflappably rational, by knowing how to be rational ourselves. It’s literally the only thing allowing us to deal with our opponents effectively, in politics and in business.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process 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.


Mills, Michael J., Owen B. Toon, Julia Lee‐Taylor, and Alan Robock. 2014. “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” Earth’s Future 2 (4). Wiley Periodicals, Inc.: 161–76.

“[No Title].” 2017a. Accessed March 12.

———. 2017b. Accessed March 12.

“Nuclear Arsenals | ICAN.” 2017. Accessed March 12.

Turco, R. P., O. B. Toon, T. P. Ackerman, J. B. Pollack, and Carl Sagan. 1983. “Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multple Nuclear Explosions.” Science 222 (4630). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 1283–92.


The Importance of Good Leadership in the Workplace

Friday, March 17th, 2017


Today’s post is by Jericia Stevens, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

Good leadership is a direct correlation to the success of a company, because of this good leadership cannot be overlooked or over emphasized. Leadership is the substance that makes all other elements come together. Great leaders know the importance of being in tune with the needs and issues concerning the business as well as his/or employees.

As a leader of an organization or business, it is also important to stay abreast of new developments in leadership theories and methods in order to maximize effectiveness.

Rebecca Hourston stated it best, “The substance of what you do—the result you deliver—is pretty fundamental in today’s economy. But working on the way that you do it is what will launch you into a different sphere of success altogether—even if you already count yourself as pretty successful.”

An effective leader trains others to become leaders. A good indicator of your ability to lead is how well the company operates in the mist of his/her absence. A company should not falter in the absence of its leader; it should operate business as usual.

An important thing to remember is leaders and leadership styles may need to change at times to accommodate the changes within the business or organization. For example, when new people are hired and join your team; when a leader is promoted or moved to another department.

Leadership also effects productivity.  A good leader knows the strength of their team and knows how to delegate task efficiently, resulting in increase in work productivity.

Also, good leadership can improve employee morale and make workers more loyal to the company.

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.


Hourston, R. (Ed.). (2014, June 09). 7 Steps To A Truly Effective Leadership Style. Retrieved March 15, 2017, from


What’s in a Blog?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017


Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Manager of HR and Administrtion at SafeSourcing.

If you have ever wanted to write about something, but struggle having enough content for a book, then maybe you should consider writing a blog. According to Google, blogs are defined as “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

In the past ten years or so, blogs have been growing in popularity, and after exploring a few, it isn’t hard to see why. Blogs tend to be written casually, as if you were talking to a friend or acquaintance, and because of this, they can be fun and easy to understand. By using your own humor and language, whatever topic you write about tends to resonate with readers.

On top of the informal style, then length of blogs appeals to many readers. Often, people don’t spend much time strictly reading one thing, but rather browse a variety of topics and read a bit on each. Blogs are the perfect medium for casual readers like this. They are short and to the point.

One of the best aspects of blogs, though, is how available it is to public. Since blogs are published online, and often on specific blog sites, a blog can reach hundreds of thousands of people in a short amount of time. Because blogs are so easily accessible and well liked, the popularity in writing and reading them is continually growing. With niches available for almost any topic, there is bound to be a place to read, learn, and share your thoughts on any subject.

For more information on SafeSourcing blogs or how to begin writing your own, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.



Time versus Effort

Monday, March 13th, 2017


Today’s post is by Rob Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.

This may not seem to be a big deal, but I’ve been told on many occasions and in different scenarios, “make sure you have the right tool for the right job.” Believe it or not, but on Ace Hardware’s website, there are 57 choices of hammers and that’s just from the Ace line.

My point is there are a lot of choices out there when deciding how you will purchase goods and services for your company. It is not as simple as one might think. For example; you need a cleaning crew for your office. Simple enough, google cleaning crews, call 3 or 4 of them and compare prices and go with the most economical, right…..not so fast. Did you take in account if they are bonded, green conscience, the type of chemicals they use, did they conduct background checks on the workers, what type of reputation do they have and can they provide references? These are some of the questions you need to have answered. Now here’s the big question, do you have the time?

Time is the real monster that rears its ugly head. How much time and effort are you willing to commit to ensure you get the quality of service and supply that will meet, if not exceed the standards set by your CEO? In my experience, one “simple” procurement can consume a day or days which caused me to fall behind on more serious issues, projects or other purchasing needs. This can lead to frustration and a huge waste of valuable time. Unfortunately, you may skip some or all of the vetting process and just hope it all works out. 

If you don’t have the time, that means either two things; hire more people, or find a company with the expertise, technology and dedicated staff to assist you with your purchasing needs. E-procurement tools can assist and enhance the way you do purchasing all the while saving money and time. SafeSourcing is just that company, an e-procurement company offering a complete procure-to-play suite of applications, a dedicated staff and access to over 450K global suppliers.

It boils down to, how much time you can afford versus getting the supply and/or service in a timely fashion and under budget. 

Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.  

We look forward to your comments.  



Taking the proper time to prepare for your sourcing projects. The story of Ray and John!

Thursday, March 9th, 2017


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

This blog series details the story or Ray and John.  Ray and John are both procurement professionals who work for multi-billion dollar food manufacturers.  Both Ray and John have corrugated containerboard contracts that are about to expire and with a predicted rise in the pulp market, both professionals are looking to renegotiate their contracts in order to lock in the hopefully current lower prices.  Ray and John, however, took different paths in order to get this category sourced and, as expected, their results reflected their differing preparation time.

Over the course of this week we will be looking at five areas that Ray and John approached differently and how those decisions and time investment affected their final results.  These areas are:

•  Understanding the market

•  Understanding the suppliers

•  Understanding their own company

•  Understanding their goals

•  Understanding and interpreting the results

When Ray and John began reviewing the containerboard project each began with a similar set of information.  They knew how much they were spending and the locations the containerboard was being shipped to.  They had each received some feedback from the field relative to the quality and customer service of the incumbent vendors (of which each had multiple) and they had some part number information from the past invoices.

Ray jumped right in and began to reach out to the suppliers to coordinate meetings on renegotiating the upcoming contract pricing structure.  Ray had seen in one of his trade journals that the pulp index was on the rise and knew enough to know that he wanted to lock in prices before those increases started taking effect.  Outside of that information Ray really did not take any additional time  in order to research the market in order to try and understand what experts were saying about the trend over the next few years and any changes that were happening with technology or safety that may affect his company.

John had already been keeping up with the market for the past year and had been speaking to professionals about their opinion of where the industry was headed.  He had attended two online webinars and at the last industry trade show he made sure to make appointments with two different containerboard companies he had spoken with who were also going to be at the show.  Through his efforts he had learned of a new technology that was coming that was going to drastically affect the costs of production of containerboard.  While the technology was new it was a key point he would be discussing with his incumbents relative to their understanding of it and their plans to potentially implement it within their facilities.

John also found out that there were three leading experts that felt that the increases that were coming in early 2013 would hold there for a while and be the last ones expected for a while.  This was great information because John now knew that when it came time to negotiate his new contracts that he would structure the language surrounding Index related price changes slightly differently because of that.

John’s process involved an intentional commitment to category education throughout the year and some additional time for research up front than Ray’s approach. As such John started his project fully prepared with an understanding of the status of the market before ever reaching out to a supplier.

Stay tuned the rest of the week as the story of Ray and John unfolds.  You may be like Ray but desperately want to operate like John but without the staff or the time to dedicate at that level.

At SafeSourcing we understand Ray’s frustration and that is why our customer services team works with you to achieve great results while removing much of the work from your plate.  For more information on how we can help you with your sourcing projects, 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.

Multi-tasking, or just task switching?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017


Today’s blog is a repost is from Michael Figueroa, Assistant Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

“Switching Costs” is a familiar term in the world of business economics, but now the term is being applied to personal tasking and efficiency. In almost any office environment, the ability to multi-task is seen as a standard requirement for any job, but the term itself is misleading. The way we perform activities is much more akin to task-switching than to performing multiple tasks simultaneously.

Most of us are incapable of talking on the phone while writing an email on a completely different topic at all, and those of us who can do both simultaneously will experience an extreme decrease in quality of performance in both tasks. What we really do when we “multi-task” is switch from one activity to another in rapid succession.  Just like we incur switching costs in efficiency when we switch our production parameters or a miscellaneous service provider, the brain will lose some of our processing capacity as it switches gears to deal with each new interruption.  A recent study done at Carnegie Mellon University tested the performance of participants completing manual computer related tasks when they were switching from one activity to another. In every case, the performance of the participants decreased with every unexpected change of task. The best performing participants however, were the ones that expected to be interrupted and were not, outperforming even the control group. But how can we use this idiosyncrasy of the brain to our advantage?

Anyone familiar with Parkinson’s Law understands the theory that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. However, what if the inverse was true? What if the less time we thought we had to complete our work, the smaller an increment we would use to complete it?

Slice up your tasks into manageable segments instead of dealing with every interruption immediately. For instance, don’t stop what you are doing immediately for every new email that arrives. Instead, set up an alert so that you only immediately respond to emergency messages, and set aside a ½ hour twice a day or however often is needed for only responding to emails. Minimize the number of times you have to task-switch during the day so that you can give your undivided attention and best performance to one activity at a time. Schedule your activities with flexibility for emergencies and your workday surprises will fit into your expectations of the day, where your brain will already have the framework in mind to deal with it.

At SafeSourcing we understand how many inputs you receive in your daily procurement related activities. Let us simplify the process by segmenting the flood of information you receive every day and help you find the best strategic fit for your sourcing needs.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

How to Determine the Best Bid

Monday, March 6th, 2017

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

After six years, our house needed to be repainted. This can be an overwhelming process.  Picking the right painting crew, the type of paint to be used, the prep process, and warranty are all important aspects to be considered.

There is really no difference in sourcing and evaluating vendors to paint your home than there is for a business. However the percentage of your income that is spent on this task may be much higher than it is for a public or private company. All the more reason to ask the correct questions the 1st time around so that everything is covered in your vendor’s proposal.

The following information should be helpful and get you off to a good start.

  1.  Why do some five-year old paint jobs peel and flake while others look like they were applied last week. The simple answer is quality paint and a properly prepped surface. Consumers have a wide range of paint to choose from -nationally known paint to locally produced paint.
  2. Oil paint versus water-based paint?       Water-based paint wins hands down for exterior paint jobs. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Product Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, showed water-based paints expand and contract with siding.       They also allow water vapor generated inside the house to pass through the paint film. Oil-based paint dries to an inflexible coating that blocks moisture. Also, water-based paint is gentler to the environment because they are lower in volatile organic compounds.
  3. Because the cost to paint the exterior of your home is primarily labor, it makes sense to go with premium paint that offer a longer warranty.
  4. The proper prep process is important. Only prime if the paint has cracked or flaked. If you need to scrape to bare wood, then prime that area.
  5. Clean up. Your property needs to be cleaned up after it is painted. All tarps, taping material, and compounds used to fill in cracks needs to be removed from your property.
  6. Make sure you walk your property with your contractor to make sure you are both satisfied with the job. I used a painting company from a national referral company. The contractor is motivated to do a good job, as a survey is completed after the job is done. A bad review can seriously damage a contractor’s reputation.

When sourcing goods and/or services, SafeSourcing can provide you with all the information necessary to make a decision on a vendor. 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 a entire customer services team waiting to assist you.

DO You Have a winning or Super Bowl Level Team?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017


Today’s post is by Steven Belvin, Account Manager at SafeSourcing

Teamwork – The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is often necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance. Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.

I believe the New England Patriots displayed the perfect example of how teamwork should be carried out and an example of how far it can take you if done properly. The now 5-time Super Bowl champions had the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Great news for New England fans, however, how did they do it? That answer is easy, teamwork. They were a team that was down by more than 21 points by half time. However, their determination, desire, and of course teamwork brought them back to win the game in overtime. It was amazing to watch the Patriots firing away on all cylinders and looking like a well-oiled machine.  Do you have a Super bowl team?

It is truly a great thing when you have a team that can function like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows their part and others can pick up the slack when someone is behind. Teamwork is truly a great thing. This is why at SafeSourcing we consider ourselves a team. We strive to always be on the same page and to also provide our customer with the best market value. Our expert knowledge of the market and suppliers helps us find you the best person for the job/supplies needed for your company. Once we get word of an event it is like watching a 4X100m track race, each member of the team completing a step until we reach the finish line. Every handoff is as smooth as possible and we all move as fast and precise as possible; again, like a well-oiled machine, all to bring you the best total market value and the potential to provide you with at least with 10X ROI.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team with this process 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 Teamwork?” N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.