Archive for September, 2020

Where do you find potential new sources of supply for your business?

Friday, September 25th, 2020


Today’s post is from Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

In order to achieve maximum savings when using an e-procurement event, you need numerous suppliers aggressively vying for your business. Not just those old standbys that have been around for years, but some newer players, many of whom you have not even heard of yet. Over the course of a work week, the amount of time devoted to researching new suppliers would be daunting.

The great news is that help is here. SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, an innovative supplier database that boasts over 430,000 Global suppliers of everything from soup to nuts. Searchable by region, state, province, zip code, and proximity to a specific location, etc., SafeSourceIt™ takes an exhaustive look at each individual supplier, so you don’t have to.

SafeSourcing works with buyers to help them significantly reduce costs by providing procurement tools in the form Software as a Service or SaaS partnered with knowledgeable customer white glove services. We are so certain that our solution will reduce your company’s costs that we are offering a full, risk free trial of our RFQ solution including a reverse auction event.

If you’d like more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.



Sourcing in Times of Disaster!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020


Today’s post is  a refresh that still applies today from our SafeSourcing, Inc Archives.

Our country has never seen a year like 2020. We certainly have no shortage of disasters what  with COIVID -19, Hurricanes, Wild Fires and  the resulting Economic Impact.  We’ve seen thousands of homes and businesses destroyed, evacuees seeking refuge in emergency shelters and government under extreme stress as a result. We’ve actually  never seen  anything like this in nay of our lifetimes.

As I read about these tragedies, I’m constantly thinking about how our customers and businesses  might recover from the ongoing  devastation? This brought to mind a previous white paper written by our CEO, Ron Southard, entitled, 4 Tips and 3 Pitfalls to Avoid when Sourcing Professional Services, A Little Planning can Save Companies Millions.” In it Ron listed poplar services targeted for new procurement projects: The professional services that could be useful for homes and businesses in Gatlinburg are: Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup), Environmental Services, Construction Services, Temporary Labor, and Waste Management Services. Yes, Gatlinburg will be great again and sourcing professional services during this tragic disaster can help.

SafeSourcing, Inc. can assist you in times of disaster, and today may be a better time to source most categories than many buyers have seen in their lifetime. SafeSourcing provides innovative eProcurement tools that can increase efficiency and improve profitability for our customers, and provide superior value for all stakeholders. In addition to providing information, tools and services, SafeSourcing proactively supports consumer safety and environmental standards throughout the global supply chain management process. To learn more, visit

Let SafeSourcing manage your sourcing projects so that you can continue to focus on other recovery related issues. We enjoy bringing this blog to you daily 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.


Watching the RFQ – Part I

Monday, September 21st, 2020


Todays post is from Dave Wenig, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing Inc.

In this post, which will be the first of several, we’re going to take a close look at the online Request for Quote (RFQ) from a different perspective. Rather than focus on measuring the value delivered as savings, let’s examine when that value is created and consider the vendor behaviors that went into that moment. If you need a primer on what an RFQ is, click here.

I honestly don’t know how many of these I’ve watched live over the years, but I suspect the number is in the thousands. Having done that, I’ve picked up on some trends. More recently, SafeSourcing introduced our Graphical View which has brought some of the trends I’ve noticed into focus visually.

Let’s start at the beginning of an RFQ. For years, I have said that many vendors will sit on the sidelines and wait a while before entering their bids. Many other vendors will begin with a higher price to start with. Others choose to start with a very low starting price and try to put their best foot forward. I respect all bidding strategies and it’s important that each vendor has a plan in place when they start. It’s all part of the RFQ process. In the image below, you’ll see a recent RFQ for receipt paper event that illustrates this starting point and the various strategies that the vendors are using in the first 5 or so minutes of an RFQ.












In this example, we can clearly see each of these vendor strategies beginning to play out. Each of the participating vendors were trained by SafeSourcing and knew in advance that this RFQ was scheduled to last 20 minutes plus extensions. As a result, most of them went with a strategy that allowded them to start with somewhat higher price than where they intended to begin. The vendor in green decided to enter in very aggressively low pricing from the start which set them apart. More on that later.

Consider these strategies and what you might take away from watching this unfold. As SafeSourcing’s customer, you would eventually wind up doing business with at least one of these vendors. How would it be helpful to know how they went about arriving at their final price? Does the vendor’s pricing strategy and behavior impact the way you will continue to work with them beyond the RFQ?

In the next installment, we’ll take a close look at the middle of the RFQ and then we’ll move on to the end of the RFQ and see how it all played out.

For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.




Project Skills

Thursday, September 17th, 2020


Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Director of HR and Administration at SafeSourcing.

Have you ever wanted to know how to do a specific task? As an example, maybe you want to change the faucet in your kitchen sink, but do not have the knowledge or experience to do it. You could try guessing at how to do it, but the results may not be the best. You could ask friends, but perhaps none of them have done this either. Or you could look to the internet for instructions, guides, tools lists, and how-to videos.

The latter is what many of us do when faced with small tasks that we do not have prior experience in. If you want to pick up a new skill or begin some kind of project, you likely will look into it before you begin. This will help you in a number of ways.

First, researching a new project can give you an idea of the timeline. Will this project take an hour, two days, or three weeks? Knowing how long you will need can help you better prepare, like knitting. For instance, you can better prepare by knowing that a hat can be knitted in a few hours or that a sweater will likely take days.

Second, you may find out that you do not have all the tools you need. With many home repair projects, there may be large, specialized tools needed to complete all or a portion of a task, like needing a posthole digger to put in a fence. Often these specialized or high priced tools can be leased or rented to you for a fairly low price from your local home improvement store.

Third, you may research your project and find out you will need certain skills. Watching videos and reading explanations can help you understand what is needed and help you work to gain the skills needed. For instance, you may want to build a table, but may need to freshen up on your fractions and math skills before you begin cutting your wood.

There are some projects that, even after doing your research, you find that you will still need help. For example, you may need to hire an electrician to move your wall outlet across the room. Here, the risk of injury or damage is high and is likely better left to a professional. This is where SafeSourcing comes in. While we are not electricians, we are experts in our field and can help you or your organization in your procurement or supply needs. We have not only the tools needed to get the project completed with the best results, but also the experience to help you get through it on the appropriate timeline.

For more information on ways we can with your procurement goals or projects, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.


Plexiglass and Tents

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020



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

Plexiglass has become a popular back-to-school item along with the standard notebooks and pencils this year.  Schools and colleges are purchasing protective products in large quantities as they attempt to stop the spread of Coronavirus, as well as to calm the nerves of teachers, students, and parents.  The average school district will spend $400,000 on products related to the pandemic, according to the Association of School Business Officials International.  Through the Cares Act, $30.8 billion in funding was afforded to schools and colleges. Plexiglass manufacturers normally do not rely on the education sector as customers, but the pandemic has manufactures straining to meet the current demand. Manufacturers of plexiglass say it’s easier to provide plexiglass for retailers than it for schools districts across the state.  Every school district has a different criteria, government regulations, and building code issues.

The manufacturers of tents for wedding venues and other special events are struggling to hire enough employees to keep up with the current demand.  Schools and colleges are buying tents to use as outside classrooms.  As an example,  Pocantico Hills Central School District has installed two 30×30 foot tents as additional classrooms at its campus in New York’s Westchester County.  Extra desks have been purchased in order to eliminate tables.  Ventilation systems have been installed in each classroom.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help your procurement efforts, or on our Risk

Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service RepresentativeWe have an entire team ready to assist you today.


Amber Burton, WSJ, 9/4/2020





Let’s play supplier poker if you dare!

Monday, September 14th, 2020


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

Let’s play supplier poker! Then we’ll find out how good your current supplier data is.

If this were a real poker game, I’d raise our big supplier data versus your existing supplier data.

Locating, managing and updating supplier information that companies choose to do business with has never been more difficult. How many companies that you used to do business with 4-5 years ago are no longer in business? How many new companies have taken their place? I already know the answer you are going to give me. It’s I don’t know.

We keep hearing about big data. With new regulatory requirements emerging daily, economies failing, the supply chain shrinking in some places and expanding in others,  changing  safety factors and  environmental factors ( think LEEDS), detailed supplier information and traceability are but a few of the issues that require regular maintenance in order to mitigate a company’s risk.

Solution Providers like SafeSourcing that provide supplier databases (SafeSourceIt™) that are part of automating the procurement process, need to step up and make sure that their data support these changes on a regular basis to the greatest extent possible by providing tools that interacts with both regulatory agencies and suppliers to insure consumer safety and environmental impact as more new sources of supply and new products enter the supply chain on a daily basis.

Actions that solution providers can take should include but are not limited to:

1. Monitor daily alert data as to product recalls and safety warnings.
2. Trace warnings back to the original source of supply automatically and maintain history.
3. Require that suppliers meet certain safety certifications in order to participate in their database.
4. Require that suppliers meet required environmental certifications or programs in order to participate in their database
5. Provide a regular purge of suppliers that do not comply with necessary standards.
6. Validate the entire database regularly for companies no longer in business
7. Adhere to a strict RFI process for new suppliers requesting participation in their database.
8. Provide a rating system for suppliers that are offered to companies as new sources of supply.
9. Monitor regulatory agencies such as ISO for new standards and include them as further requirements in supplier databases.
10.Conduct on going category research for evolving sources of supply.
11.Compare your best customers GL to your database for additions deletions.

Ask your solution provider what their process is to grow manage and maintain their supplier database for your benefit.

If you’d like more information on the SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database of over 427,000 cleansed global sources of supply, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

The SafeSourcing Collaborative Aggregation Philosophy: 

Friday, September 11th, 2020


Today’s post is from Ron Southard CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.


The SafeSourcing Inc Collaborative Aggregation Philosophy supports the thought that disparate buying groups can on occasion work together successfully as a loosely coupled purchasing organization in order to combine volumes for better pricing consideration by suppliers. Often the specifications for these events need to be very similar in nature such as office supplies or other similar categories. Separate shipping charges and other terms and conditions may apply to each participant. Participants must support single supplier award in order to ensure the success of collaborative aggregation events to ensure that suppliers honor their prices.

We have recently seen a lot of activity in this area with dramatic savings for spends of all different sizes. Some categories have even achieved savings of over 50%. We mapped these savings and are seeing some retailers with as few as 20 stores paying less than some very large customers who ran these categories during the last two years.

The markets are ripe! Maybe its time to contact SafeSourcing and inquire about our Risk Free Trial  Program.

We look forward to hearing from you!

SafeSourcing® eProcurement Tools A one-stop shopping center

Thursday, September 10th, 2020


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

In today’s world, sourcing and procuring the best product or service for your company has never been more challenging. Connecting with reliable suppliers is no easy task. Safety scares and product quality issues have made it more difficult than ever to obtain the peace of mind that you and your customer expect. What’s more, the universal demand to reduce our carbon footprint has skyrocketed in importance to individuals and businesses creating its own unique requirements and opportunities.

Accomplishing all of these important objectives at a price that’s right seems complicated, if not impossible. Combine that with increased time constraints and a workforce functioning with limited awareness of additional sources of supply and specifications for the products they are sourcing and you have a global procurement climate that can produce more than a few headaches, day in and day out.

An innovative alternative is SafeSourcing Inc. Our SafeSourceIt™ Procure to Pay family of solutions is loaded with efficient and comprehensive tools and programs that turn the procurement process into a highly productive endeavor. SafeSourcing is, literally, a one-stop shopping center.

Our clients have access to:

  • The entire SafeSourceIt™ Procure to Pay suite of solutions including our  popular  Reverse Auction Tools that can be used for all your sourcing needs including new contract purchases, spot buys, replenishment, aggregation, and collaboration with other buying organizations.
  • SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, an international 427,000 supplier database, which is specifically designed for ease-of-use. This unique database includes safety and eco controls and is one of the largest of its kind.

The SafeSourceIt Family of Procure to Pay Products and Services Includes:

  • SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite, SafeContract™, SafePO™, SafeCatalog™, SafeSurvey™, SafeDocument™ and SafeDashboard™.
  • Safety in Sourcing, a blog with daily updates and comments from your peers.
  • Sourcing WIKI, which includes thousands of procurement terms and definitions.
  • The SafeSourceIt™ Product and Services Specification Library
  • Daily Safety Alerts from the USDA, FDA, ISO, and other standards-creating agencies.

Our Goal is to keep the constant demands of your job at a minimum with our help.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing customers services professional and be sure to ask about our risk free trial.




Believe Me, You could be improving your profitability by up to 73%.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020


Today’s post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.

I wrote this post a number of years ago, and it is still true today. To many CEO’s believe they can have a huge impact in the sales area. Let’s rebrand and we can drive huge top line sales increases! BS. Yup BS. Many have tried and many have failed.

What they should be saying is let’s  MAKE MONEY. We are in business to MAKE MONEY. We can increase sales by focusing on sales. News flash, visit your stores  and  talk to your customers. Watch you associates. It will be come painfully clear what will improve sales.  You do not need to spend millions to rebrand. We can also keep more of those sales increases and reduce historical margins by focusing on reducing costs.

Read on if you want to learn something. Or go find an investor and delay the asset sale for a few more years.

I would  still be glad to personally discuss this premise with any Retail CEO or CFO that wants to challenge it! Let me do it for you. You’ll be surprised and be a hero and get a big bonus.

Let’s review exactly what a reverse auction is, how simple they are to use and the potential financial benefits?

Reverse auctions are web based  or Software as a Service (SaaS) tools that let retailers and other companies find the best suppliers for any resale or not for resale product or service they wish to source.  Using a web based reverse auction tool, retailers, other business or even large holding companies can locate and invite many more suppliers to take place in reverse auctions than they could possibly find or manage using traditional sourcing methodologies or even tools like BING or Google. During the reverse auction they can review on one screen all of the responses from suppliers, data about the suppliers, notes from the suppliers, product specifications and other necessary information in an instant. Upon auction conclusion which is typically less than 30 minutes including extensions host companies can review potential savings scenarios and award business right from their desktop. Sound simple? That’s because it is.

Now let’s get to the simple financial benefits. Let’s assume a $150M smaller Retail Company with industry average earnings of one percent or $1.5M. Additionally cost of goods for this company is 70 percent or $105M. Let’s also assume this company were to only source ten percent of their for resale goods spend or roughly $11M. With well below industry average savings of just ten percent, total savings generated would be $1.1M which is a direct impact to net profitability. If all other segments of the P&L perform to plan and all savings are recovered during the same business calendar year net profitability would increase to $2.6M or a 73% improvement.  Again this assume no tributes to Caesar or other funny accounting associated with new capital plans and the like

So, why don’t many companies use reverse auctions and other e-procurement tools? That’s a great question! Maybe someone out there has an answer.

If this author were you, I just could not ignore this type of opportunity.

If you’d like some examples of the types of savings SafeSourcing can generate for you by size of spend and category, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Do you know what types of software delivery models are available to you?

Friday, September 4th, 2020


Today’s post originally from 2015 is from our SafeSourcing Archives and still relevant today!

If you’re not very imbedded with what’s going on in software development today, you have heard terms like “Software as a Service”, or “Open source” thrown around, but may not know much about what they may mean. And if you are having to make decisions for your company about the kind of software tools you use, you may find yourself needing some basic understanding of the different models for deployment that are available. Many of these models have similar components to them, but may not have the same full structure. As such, it can get a little confusing, but will be important to know the differences so that you know what to look for if for example you don’t need hosted service, but do need support, though not unlimited licenses, etc.

  1.  Software licensing model: A company creates the software, and sells to customers for a one-time fee. It is essentially the customer’s responsibility to manage all aspects of the software as needed, for which all costs are borne by the buyer.
  2. Outsourcing model: Here you may purchase a software solution for a one-time fee, but also outsource support and development, rather than take on the responsibility in-house. This can be advantageous for cost savings, but brings with it many of the same risks and obstacles the come with doing multinational business.
  3. Hybrid Model: In this model, the buyer purchases the software upfront, but then the seller is paid regularly for ongoing service. So if a buyer wants to own the software, but doesn’t have the datacenter to host the software, this model may be a good solution.
  4. SaaS (Software as a Service) Model: A subscription based model, in which a buyer pays for both access to the software, and hosting performed by the seller’s resources. This model has been leapfrogging all other models because it allows segmentation of specialty, where someone with a great idea but no software expertise, can pay those with the technical skills to support businesses that never would be able to get off the ground otherwise. According to Gartner, “The traditional deployment model for on-premises software is expected to significantly shrink from 34 percent today to 18 percent by 2017”[1], and there are more and more options becoming available as SaaS providers continue to multiply.
  5. Open source model: In this case, the software is free (usually online) for the taking, but often unfinished, and unsupported. Many large and widely deployed products had their start as an open source project; however turning the software into a commercially viable product can still be very expensive to develop.


[1] “Gartner Survey Reveals That SaaS Deployments Are Now …” 2014. 15 Nov. 2015 <>

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.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments