Archive for July, 2021

What is Collaboration? Part III of III.

Thursday, July 29th, 2021


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

This post is an excerpt from one of Ron’s White Paper’s titled The Art of Collaboration

The art of negotiation is just that, an art, but so is the art of collaboration. This can be as simple as aggregating the spend for copy paper across multiple companies or as complex as sourcing an entire catalog of office supplies and any mix between the two. In order to be successful at this collaborative process, being able to convince all parties in the negotiation that each has something to gain is an important skill. Most companies do not possess these skills. Some procurement solution providers, like SafeSourcing Inc., have both people and tools that do.

This is as true for e-negotiation events as it is for personal negotiations. The question is how the tools and other resources allow the flexibility to accomplish collaborative goals.

The Art of Collaborative Procurement

There was an older article from USA TODAY by Jillian Berman titled, Negotiate your way to savings. The lead-in was that Cable TV and cell phone bills are ripe for cutting. A case could be made: so is everything else.

So what is the art of collaborative negotiation? According to Wikipedia, negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution.

What this means in terms of this discussion and the previously cited article, is that these are tools that assist companies in thinking outside of the box by encouraging suppliers to act on behalf of the collective relative to pricing, services, and other decision making points of interest.

Category Managers, Buyers, and all other knowledge workers with spend authority need to do the same and the ability to think individually and act collectively when they are developing their specifications and rules that govern their negotiations. Think like this! What if buyers asked themselves how their process would differ if they you were buying this product or service for themselves or their family. What if they were just as aggressive and detail-oriented when it came to their department and company. The simple fact is that no single buyer or group of buyers can assemble, collect, collate, evaluate, and persuade suppliers to act in this manor for this process to be successful on a massive or collective scale. Specific tools and skills are required. Procurement professionals need to be able to make decisions on data, not collect data. Procurement professionals need to be able to apply tactics to drive the required outcome. To do this collaboratively requires today’s modern tools, such as the SafeSourceIt™ family of eProcurement tools.

So when in doubt why not collaborate?

The concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts is important, but the art of the process is in defining the why. At least that was my intent when I began this paper. A company’s survival may depend upon mastering that art.

Some companies have shied away from new eProcurement tools and collaboration with other companies because either they don’t think their individual spend was large enough to make a difference or they don’t know how to find other companies to partner with. The old saying about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts has a role even in eProcurement, and solution providers can provide the direction required to accomplish this. That is, if it’s the right solution provider. Think about how this concept could help find savings in procurement.

  1. Coordinated effort leads to the benefits of scale. SafeSourcing regularly runs events where multiple customers reap the benefits of going to market with a combined larger spend.
  2. Working together offers different things to different companies in different proportions. All companies may not be buying the exact items as each other, but combined, the similar items give a vendor the opportunity to offer greater savings than would otherwise be viable.
  3. Collaborating can prevent companies from seeking different procurement solutions in the first place. The benefits of working with others may go beyond the simple numbers initially calculated.
  4. Collaborating in and of itself might be a new procurement strategy, but a tool and expertise are still needed to facilitate the process.
  5. For companies concerned that these tools are an impersonal solution, time is revealing that the internet and electronic solutions are anything but impersonal. They are different and they allow interaction in ways that were not possible before due to communication and time barriers.


Middle of the road traditional procurement practices will not work in the art of collaborative procurement. The same old same old does not work. The pace with which change occurs today requires companies to be able to turn on a dime and think outside of the box. For that, procurement leadership is required, leadership that looks at the art of the process. Leadership that creates and innovates is required for the benefit of all involved in the collaborative process based on their individual needs.

If you’re serious about reducing your capital costs as well as those of your goods and services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager and ask about our risk free trial

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

What is Collaboration? Part II of III.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021


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

This post is an excerpt from one of Ron’s  White Paper’s  titled The Art of Collaboration

Retail collective buyer organizations, consortiums, share groups and the like have evolved primarily in order to compete with the mega retailers and category killers in support of independent retailers.

These business structures have been around for a long time. Many have evolved to use cutting edge negotiation and procurement tools. Their retailer members are also benefiting from the use of these tools in order to reduce their net landed costs in many different ways.

These types of organizations can go by many different names, such as wholesaler, collective buyer, consortium, cooperative, share groups, and more. Even large Private Equity Companies that control very large portfolios of vastly disparate companies have adopted these methods and they all have one thing in common; they endeavor to consolidate purchasing volumes for a wide array of business structures to try and compress or contain cost in order to improve financial performance.

In the retail vertical, companies may actually belong to several different buying groups because their primary group does not offer expertise in a certain area or category. Examples can come from direct or indirect spend and can be as specialized as safety equipment and technology or a wide variety of specialized sectors like legal services.

Buying groups and consortiums are also evolving and beginning to focus on mixed markets where it makes sense. Historically, these groups tended to be vertically focused, such as a drug industry consortium with the members generally representing the drug industry only. Some consortiums are beginning to market themselves outside of their vertical to retailers or other companies who want to take advantage of learned expertise in the categories that are common across more than their own vertical and offer increased volumes. An example of this might be drug stores sourcing very similar products that health care organizations such as hospitals source. Although this may seem like a stretch for most, it is now very common within retail for non-vertical specific players to work together.

Today’s advanced e-negotiation or e-procurement tools, such as the SafeSourceIt™ eProcurement family of products, make it much easier to accomplish collective buying and aggregating outside of a consortium’s initial area of expertise. Large and small retailers alike now have the capability of viewing a much broader universe of suppliers through the use of supplier databases, like the SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database, while also coordinating and participating in collaborative events from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Suppliers now have an opportunity to earn business they did not know about and could not have competed for in the past.

All companies should ask their respective collective buyer organizations how they plan to make use of today’s advanced procurement tools, many of which are cloud based and offered in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS), which means they can be deployed almost immediately with no IT involvement and with extremely attractive ROI’s. They should also ask what the GPO has to offer in terms of introductions to other companies beyond their current group for increased collaborative aggregation volume. This is also a significant benefit that eProcurement solution providers like SafeSourcing Inc. can assist with.

If you’re serious about reducing your cost of  capital and goods and services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager and ask about our risk free trial

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

What is Collaboration Part I of III?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021



Today’s Re-Post is by Ron Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

This post is a excerpt from one of Ron’s  previous White Paper’s titled The Art of Collaboration

The fact is neither internal nor external aggregate collaboration is happening on a large scale in many companies and collective organizations. This is especially true in mid-tier or loosely organized larger national and multinational organizations.

The terms collaboration, collaborative partners, collaborative supply chains, collaborative commerce, and collaborative networks are often used when discussing procurement. It rolls off the tongue like everyone knows what they are talking about. According to Wikipedia, Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together toward an intersection of common goals, and, an aggregate is a collection of items that are gathered together to form a total quantity.

Since collaboration can happen with groups or organizations of any size working together toward the same goal, it can also apply to virtually any business function. When we combine it with the word aggregate to form the collective eProcurement term Collaborative Aggregation, however, we arrive at something potentially meaningful.

Collective buying organizations and share groups often combine purchasing volumes of similar products and services in order to drive better discounts. Large companies often aggregate their purchases among departments and are doing the same thing across different operating groups or companies within a larger organization in order to drive economy of scale in purchasing.

The unfortunate truth is that not much out-of-the-box thinking or art is going on in this process. They are so involved in the process (weeds) that they cannot see the forest for the trees.

If you’re serious about reducing your cost of goods and services please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account manager and ask about our risk free trial

We look forward to and appreciate your comments

If you are not sourcing your services with eProcurement tools you are missing the boat!

Monday, July 26th, 2021


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

Professional services represent one of the fastest growing procurement areas for thousands of companies. The reason for this growth includes reductions in staff, efficiencies through outsourcing non-core competencies such as IT, and cost reductions for service on demand versus full time internal resources.

SafeSourcing has completed hundreds of professional services sourcing events resulting in the following overall statistics:

Number of Service Providers Invited:  5 to 9
Average Suppliers Participating:  6
Project Timeframe:  < 30 Days
Average Savings:  24%

Here is a list of 25 of the more popular services sourced using our eprocurement tools!

1. Employee Automobile Reimbursement Plan
2. Accounts Payable Recovery
3. Event Planning Services by Location
4. Armored Cars Services
5. Audio Conferencing
6. B2B Payment Solutions
7. Background Screening Services
8. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
9. Customer Satisfaction Program Provider
10. Customer Statement
11. Disaster Response (Emergency Cleanup)
12. Event Services
13. Facilities Asset Management
14. Temp Labor
15. Jet Charters
16. Legal Services
17. Managed Print Services
18. Payroll Services
19. Recycling
20.Waste Management Services
21.Lawn Care Services
22.Snow Removal Services
23.Environmental Services
24.Construction Services (General Contractor)

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your current costs for services or get a savings estimate on a specific services category, please reach out to a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Here’s how to ensure your services sourcing projects results Up Front!

Friday, July 23rd, 2021


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

Awards of business, contracts and statements of work are all important after a services event has taken place. However, if you want to ensure the savings associated with your new services contract make sure you identify or reference a structured change of control process in your terms and conditions.

Change happens. It can result from poorly designed specifications, terms and conditions, quoting instructions and other data related to a bid. The normal process for managing these changes is a change of control process which governs how any changes to the services being provided as identified in the actual bid.

The change of control is normally managed as a request that communicates the requested changes to the services deliverables. Normally the change request will describe the following at a minimum.

  1. The change
  2. The reason for the change
  3. The effect the change may have on the existing Statement of Work.
  4. Impact on cost or savings

In most cases a project manager or the associate with responsibility for managing the program deliverables will be required to submit a written change request to the contracted or warded supplier.  The supplier will then develop and return the response to the contracting company.

The contracted supplier and the contracting company will then review the proposed change request and either approve it, modify it, or reject it. When approved the contracting company as well as the contracted supplier must sign the change request to authorize the work as well as the implementation of the work and its potential impact on the existing project plan or project timeline.

If you do not want erosion in your savings, make sure you spend the time to cover this process in your bid parameters.

In order to learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate. Be sure to ask them about our Risk Free Trail Program





Procurement As A Service (PaaS)

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021


Today’s re-post is by Dave Wenig, Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at SafeSourcing.

In the past, we’ve talked repeatedly about how SafeSourcing delivers our services in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. As a refresher, here is a post from 2014 that details our SaaS software suite. We also often talk about how we treat our SaaS offering as full-service and have done so for a long, long time. Here’s another quick read from 2017 talking about our full-service approach. The way we combine our tools with our expertise and the way we actually deliver the services to achieve our customers’ goals have pretty well always been what you might describe as procurement as a service (PaaS).

I mention this because it seems to me that I am hearing more and more about PaaS recently as if that is a new or emerging trend and it surprises me greatly. SafeSourcing has always operated as an extension of our customers’ own procurement capabilities in order to allow them to outsource much or all of their needs to us. We’re comfortable delivering against this model and we rarely operate outside of it.

The entire procurement process can be managed by SafeSourcing beginning with spend analysis. In all reality, the process never really ends because procurement is truly cyclical. There are other buzzwords as well and just like with PaaS, there will be a marketing campaign that will rise to the occasion. As a term like PaaS gains momentum, more and more companies will roll out their offering. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, it can make it harder to identify which companies are actually experienced in delivering a PaaS offering.

Anyone interested in offloading more of their procurement function should be careful to find a partner that can truly take on the load in a SaaS model. Many lack the expertise needed in their services teams to truly deliver on the wide variety of categories that need to be addressed. SafeSourcing has this expertise and delivers strongly in the as a service model. To be effective you really need a partner that has the people, the intellectual property, and the software to drive savings in an efficient outsourced model.

Procurement as a service isn’t a new concept and we like to think we’ve been doing this all along. Personally, I would be leery about choosing any provider that talks about PaaS like it’s a new concept. 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.





Warehouse Prices Spurred by Demand

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021


Today’s blog is by Gayl Southard, Vice President of Administration at SafeSourcing.

Due to the surging e-commerce purchasing, warehouse distribution centers are jockeying for limited space.  Competition is driving up industrial rents as retailers and logistics providers look to get goods closer to the consumers, resulting in bidding wars in coveted locations.  Businesses are looking to get their goods to consumers as quickly as possible.  “Demand for industrial real estate is so strong that taking rents — the initial base base rent agreed on by a landlord and tenant — are rising faster than rents, according to real-estate firm CBRE Group Inc.  Industrial taking rents were up 9.7% in the first five months of 2021 compared with the same period last year, while industrial asking rents rose 7.1% according to CBRE, which tracks 58 U.S. markets.”1

Logistics space, close to cities and ports, and for big-box warehouses like those used in online fulfillment operations, prices are rapidly increasing.  In Northern New Jersey, first-year base rents  jumped by a third year-over-year through May, while Southern California’s Inland Empire rose 24.1%, according to CBRE.  It is creating a similar situation as the housing market, where the demand is greater than the market.  The pandemic lockdown and store closures have pushed retailers into online marketing.  E-Commerce will account for 26% of all US sales by 2025.  Companies are also looking into keeping more inventory on hand in order to avoid shortages.  Goods need to reach consumers faster, as well as cut down on the transportation costs.  The amount of available industrial land for new warehouses near urban centers fell over the past decade.  This adds to the pressure on supply of warehouses for larger buildings with higher ceilings and adequate parking that will accommodate e-commerce fulfillment centers.   In turn, this will push more development out to secondary markets.

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.


Jennifer Smith, WSJ, 6/23/2021








Sourcing Team​

Friday, July 16th, 2021



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

Wherever you spend majority of your time and effort, whether it is at home, school, or work, there are prevailing themes that you may notice. The biggest and arguably the most necessary is teamwork. Within a family, teamwork could mean a number of things, from sharing in the chores and housework, chipping in on bills and expenses, or simply working together to make things interesting and fun. Schools often use teamwork, not only in sports, but also through collaborative classwork or group projects. This type of teamwork is an important learned skill because it will ultimately affect every person later in life, especially at work.

Work environments rely heavily on teamwork in different, yet equally important, ways. Teamwork allows employers to play to the strengths of their team. For instance, if one person is great at organizing and finding files, they may help other employees filing tasks so they can focus on work that align with their strengths. In addition to utilizing stronger areas, employees can share workload when a task becomes more daunting. For instance, if a project suddenly becomes more complex than initially thought, others on the team can help to either get the larger task done or work on the smaller tasks, allowing for more focus on the larger tasks.

Whichever way your business team supports each other and finds success, there is another way to utilize teamwork and that is through a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing. SafeSourcing can help your team and assist in their procurement efforts or take them on entirely so your team can focus on what they do best. Procurement partners can help find the vendors you need, services you need, or the supplies you need and often at rates lower than expected.

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.




A simple supplier scoring system may provide key performance indicators for the future.

Thursday, July 15th, 2021


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

Having a large international supplier database to drive sustainable results in e-procurement events such as ant e-RFX function is critical to that events success. Maybe even more critical is making sure that the suppliers once selected for participation in an event are of the highest quality, professional, responsive and have your best interests at heart. There are several areas in the early strategy stages of a  an e-RFX process which if properly monitored can be leading key performance indicators as to future performance. These KPI’s are; the initial supplier response and supplier training schedule adherence. If suppliers are not interested enough during these early stages, this may be an indicator of future performance in other more critical areas such as on time delivery, back order management, documentation and audit compliance.

A reasonable process for measuring these KPI’s would be to measure the number of days between the project start date or initial supplier contact and the event start date, where the supplier has been sent an invitation but has not responded either positively, negatively or given a reason  for their response. Maintaining an active status of response dates could be scored based on the number of days it takes invited suppliers to respond. The longer it takes a invitee to respond the lower KPI score that supplier would receive.  Another possible KPI measurement or filter once the invitation has been accepted would be the number of days between the date accepted and the event start date, where the supplier has accepted an invitation but has not completed their automated training.

These are not intended to be punitive measures. In most cases suppliers will perform beyond your expectations. Sustainability and quality require measurements regardless of how simple.

If you’d like to learn more about The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services account manager.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

“To Make Change in Some Different Way”

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021


Today’s post is from our Archives at SafeSourcing, Inc.

With the advent of every new management tool comes a painfully predictable wave of human resistance. The reasons people resist new tools and processes are as varied as the number of humans that have been asked to change.  Some employees strongly resist change because the effects are unpredictable.  Other peers view changes in their quality processes as risky and they fight it only on principle. It’s almost natural that people wait for others to embrace change before they accept anything new.  When late adopters don’t embrace change, the resulting lack of shared vision and inconsistent implementation confuses and eventually kills any change effort.  As wide-ranging as the reasons are for resisting change, the various forms of reluctance share one common trait.  The people fighting change are rational. This is true when it comes to procurement,  meaning the art of buying goods and services.  Over the years, procurement pros have become responsible for larger budgets and interestingly from both 10 years ago and today not much has changed with some aspects of the procurement process.  Then, as now, procurement professionals say their biggest challenges are having accurate forecasts and having to do more with fewer people. More automation or use of technology can only help improve the profession.

SafeSourcing eProcurement tools, in particular the reverse auction process, is a fairly new way to increase your bottom line utilizing SafeSourcing Inc’s full service offerings to enhance the spend process.  Using new technologies as described will put additional profit dollars directly on your bottom line where the savings are traditionally 10X your investment utilizing eProcurement tools.  You’re just accepting a different way to facilitate the bids/pricing process many times with your incumbent vendors.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can help in your procurement efforts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.