Archive for May, 2023

Evaluating eProcurement Solutions – Part 1 of 5: Technology

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023


Today’s  is from our SafeSourcing Blog Archives.

Strategic sourcing companies each have their own unique offering whether that is based on a price model, category focus, supplier database or some other defining trait, but the overall goal is to help their customers source products and services easier, smarter and with an end result that creates more value than the customer could achieve on its own. Over the next five days we will be looking at some of features and characteristics you should be looking at when evaluating a new or existing sourcing partner. Not all of the characteristics will carry the same weight for all companies but each should be an area you examine when evaluating who to partner with.

Browser and Mobile Device-ready – We live in a world where the expectation, not the exception, is that business related tools and solutions will be available in some form to users wherever they are. Whether the solution is a true cloud based Software-as-a-Service model or not, customers expect to have some level of functionality and access to data from their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Part of ensuring this is possible is the amount of development resources that are dedicated to testing new versions of the major web browsers on the market as well as providing a mobile ready interface if not a native iPhone or Android application that can be downloaded and secured.

3rd Party Data integration – Strategic sourcing companies deal with a lot of data much of which they house in their own internal system and make available for analysis and reporting. Many times, however, information will need to then make its way to a Contract Management system, PO system or catalog system that is being used already. In the perfect world, you would select a strategic sourcing partner that had all three of these modules as well as others where the integration was already completed and data flow seamless. Since this is not possible for many companies, the ability for their eProcurement partner to provide data feeds to their existing systems is very important and valuable piece to evaluate when looking at strategic sourcing partners.

Reduced IT involvement – IT departments by and large are one of the busiest departments in most companies. Their projects are scheduled in many cases, months ahead of time so that effective planning can be put together to ensure the project’s success. When this is coupled with the fact that technology is moving so fast and both software and equipment are advancing than most IT departments can keep up, it is understandable that getting a new project on their schedule can be difficult and many projects can stall for as much as a year if they require a high degree of IT involvement. That is one of the reasons why hosted cloud based solutions are gaining more popularity because the involvement from IT is reduced and the capital cost of equipment is reduced as well. IT involvement in the deployment of an eProcurement solution is something that should be considered carefully and balanced against other implementation timelines.

With a world that changes daily from technological perspective, it is important to understand the foundation of the solutions you plan to use to ensure that those tools and the technology they are designed around will continue to provide you with the best in class solutions moving into the future. Tomorrow we will look at the libraries and databases from which your sourcing events will be based on. For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you 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.

The Differences between AI and Machine Learning and their Applications in Procurement

Monday, May 22nd, 2023


Today’s post is from our SafeSourcing Research Team?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct differences. AI is a broad field that involves the creation of intelligent machines that can perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence, while ML is a subset of AI that involves the use of algorithms to learn from data.

In procurement, AI and ML have several applications that can help businesses streamline their operations and make more informed decisions. Here are a few examples:

  1. Spend Analysis: One of the most significant benefits of AI and ML is their ability to quickly analyze vast amounts of data. In procurement, this means that businesses can use these technologies to gain insights into their spending patterns and identify opportunities for cost savings.
  2. Vendor Selection: AI and ML can also be used to help businesses select vendors by analyzing data on factors such as price, quality, and delivery time. By using these technologies, businesses can make more informed decisions and select vendors that are most likely to meet their needs.
  3. Contract Management: Another area where AI and ML can be beneficial is in contract management. By using these technologies, businesses can automatically identify key terms and conditions in contracts and flag any potential issues. This can help to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of legal disputes.
  4. Supply Chain Optimization: AI and ML can also be used to optimize supply chain operations. By analyzing data on factors such as inventory levels, transportation costs, and demand forecasts, businesses can identify opportunities to streamline their supply chain and reduce costs.

In conclusion, while AI and ML are often used interchangeably, they have distinct differences. AI is a broad field that involves the creation of intelligent machines, while ML is a subset of AI that involves the use of algorithms to learn from data. In procurement, AI and ML have several applications that can help businesses streamline their operations, reduce costs, and make more informed decisions. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can gain a competitive advantage and improve their bottom line.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite.

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.




Do you have a leaky, damaged or in need of repair roof?

Thursday, May 18th, 2023


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

If you have never had a roof leak in your home or business, then you do not know how frustrating it is to look up and see a brown spot or spots on your ceiling.  If this is not taken care of immediately it can end up costing you a lot of money.  Eventually the ceiling where the spot is located will break open and the water will leak through.  It is also common for untreated leaks to lead to serious mold or mildew problems.  This does not only affect the area of the leak, but the spores caused by the leak can end up passing through your HVAC system and could lead to serious health issues for people with allergies, asthma or compromised immune systems.  If you see these water spots on your ceiling, you should find a reputable roofing company to come out as soon as possible so that they can inspect your roof and make the appropriate fixes.  They will also do a full inspection of the roof and make sure that any other potential problems are taken care of as well.  Below are some of the common reasons for leaky roofs.

  • Improperly Driven Nails
  • Pipe Boot Failures
  • Debris in Gutters
  • Improperly Installed Skylights
  • Worn Out Collars around Gas Vents
  • Worn Out Flashing
  • Worn Fiber Coating
  • Worn sealant.

If you think that you have roofing that may be damaged or leaking or one that requires replacement, please contact SafeSourcing.   We can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which company best meets your needs.

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.

May Flowers

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023


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

But have you heard that May sourcing brings savings for the rest of the year?

Now is the right time to begin sourcing the goods or services you need for your organization. Doing so now could prove beneficial in not only obtaining better savings, but also a wider variety of suppliers. Typically, people take vacations and things slow down over the summer. That is why it could be a great time to look at where your spending is and see if you could be saving.

Using a procurement partner, like SafeSourcing, could show savings of 20% off the things you already are buying. You may even think about things you will be spending later this year or next year. Sourcing those things now can lock in your provider and the potential savings. Whether it is ice melt, disposable cups, or bathroom cleaners, a procurement partner will find the products you need and the suppliers who can best provide them. They will work with your current team and provide results that stand alone.

Even if you are not sure what items you might need in the future, a procurement partner can even look at areas that often have the most savings and see if it is the right project and time for your organization to look at. You might see your savings bloom, like those May flowers we so love seeing bloom.

For more information on what the SafeSourcing team can offer you, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.


Supplier Selection for Procurement Professionals – Finding the Best Fit for Your Business

Friday, May 12th, 2023


Today’s post is by the SafeSourcing research team at  SafeSourcing Inc

As a procurement professional, selecting the right supplier is one of the most critical decisions you can make for your business. The right supplier can provide high-quality goods and services at competitive prices, help you stay ahead of the competition, and drive innovation in your industry. On the other hand, the wrong supplier can cause delivery delays, quality issues, and cost overruns, leading to unhappy customers and lost business. In this blog, we will discuss six of the key factors to consider when selecting suppliers for procurement and how to find the best fit for your business.

  1. Identify Your Needs

Before you start looking for suppliers, it is important to identify your business’s specific needs. This will help you narrow down your search to suppliers that can provide the goods or services you require. Consider factors such as product specifications, quality standards, delivery requirements, and pricing.

  1. Conduct Market Research

Once you have identified your needs, it is time to conduct market research to find potential suppliers. Use a variety of sources such as trade publications, online directories, and industry associations to identify suppliers that meet your requirements. You can also ask for recommendations from colleagues and industry experts.

  1. Evaluate Supplier Capabilities

Once you have a list of potential suppliers, it is time to evaluate their capabilities. Consider factors such as their experience, financial stability, production capacity, and quality control processes. It is also important to consider their location and logistics capabilities, as this can affect delivery times and costs.

  1. Evaluate Supplier Performance

Another important factor to consider when selecting a supplier is their past performance. Review their track record of delivering high-quality goods and services on time and within budget. You can also ask for references and conduct site visits to assess their operations firsthand.

  1. Negotiate Terms and Conditions

Once you have identified a preferred supplier, it is time to negotiate the terms and conditions of your agreement. Consider factors such as pricing, delivery times, payment terms, warranties, and service level agreements. It is important to have a clear understanding of these terms before entering into a contract.

  1. Monitor Supplier Performance

Even after you have selected a supplier, it is important to monitor their performance to ensure they continue to meet your requirements. Set up regular performance reviews and establish metrics to measure their performance. If issues arise, work with the supplier to address them proactively.

In conclusion, supplier selection is a critical process for procurement professionals. By identifying your business’s specific needs, conducting market research, evaluating supplier capabilities and performance, negotiating terms and conditions, and monitoring supplier performance, you can find the best fit for your business and ensure long-term success. All six of the above considerations are included when you engage SafeSourcing to conduct the supplier research as part of our seven-step e-Procurement engagement. Save yourself some time and contact a SafeSourcing customer services associate today.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite. That includes our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers.










If you can improve profitability 73%, Why don’t more companies use Reverse Auctions and other e-Procurement Tools?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023


Todays post is from Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc.

Todays reverse auctions are web/cloud based  Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings that are part of very sophisticated procure to pay applications 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 companies or groups of companies (Group Purchasing Organizations) can invite far more suppliers to take place in reverse auctions than they could possibly find or manage using traditional sourcing methodologies. During the reverse auction event they can review on one page all responses from suppliers, data about suppliers, notes from suppliers, product specifications and other necessary information at an instant. Upon auction conclusion which is typically less than 30 minutes retailers and other companies can review savings scenarios and award business from their desktop.

Now let’s get to the simple financial benefits. Let’s assume a $150M 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 or above the gross margin line spend or roughly $11M. With below industry average savings of 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.

NO BS Here! If you don’t believe me, I will be glad to personally sit down with your CFO and Finance team and prove it to you!

Wen company’s  can begin almost immediately (SaaS/Cloud offering) with no risk (Cost Neutral Pilots)  and no IT involvement,why don’t more companies use reverse auctions and other e-procurement tools? That’s a great question!

If this author were you, I just could not ignore this type of opportunity. If you’d like to learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Account Manager.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Summer Fuel prices may be dropping in time for your planned travel.

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

According to a recent article in the San Diego Tribune titled EPA allows gasoline with higher ethanol blend during summer by SCOTT McFETRIDGE, fuel stations throughout the country will be able to sell gasoline blended with 15% ethanol during the summer under an emergency waiver issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency in a move that could reduce prices at the pump and boost demand for the Midwest-based ethanol industry.

 So just what is the difference between Summer and Winter Fuel.

The following according to Gas Buddy.

Summer Gasoline:

In the warmer months, gasoline has a greater chance of evaporating from your car’s fuel system. This can produce additional smog and increased emissions. Refiners reduce the chance of gas evaporation in your car during the summer by producing gasoline blends that have lower Reid vapor pressure (RVP), or lower volatility. These blends vary from state-to-state, region-to-region due to RVP state regulations. They also vary by octane level.

Cost for your wallet: According to NACS, this higher-grade fuel can add up to 15 cents per gallon to the cost of your fill-up. This excludes the increased cost due to summer fuel demand, which can vary between 5-15c/gal, depending on the region. More stringent requirements (like California) can mean an even higher cost.

Winter Gasoline:

In winter, gasoline blends have a higher Reid vapor pressure, meaning they evaporate more easily and allow gasoline to ignite more easily to start your car in cold temperatures. This blend is cheaper to produce, which results in lower gas prices at the pumps from late September through late April.

Cost for your wallet: Prices typically fall 10-30c/gal starting in mid/ late September through late November as gas stations switch to winter gasoline and demand for gasoline falls seasonally as we start to stay closer to home. Many retailers continue to sell summer gas until their inventories run out before then selling winter gasoline. Hurricane season can also affect prices before the switch, ending in a squeeze just before the switch since refiners don’t want excess expensive summer gasoline sitting around and especially if refineries are in the path of a major storm.

SafeSourcing regularly sources several different types of fuel including gasoline for resale for our customers. And while the savings may not be in percentage points like other commodities and services, basis points savings can add up quickly based on the volumes being pumped.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite. That includes our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers.

To learn more, please contact a SafeSourcing customer services associate.


Are beef prices getting ready to rise substantially?

Friday, May 5th, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

I was reading an article on Reuters today by Tom Polansek titled Shrinking US cattle herd squeezes meatpacker profits.  

According to the article, “The U.S. beef cow herd is the smallest since 1962 as a result of drought and high feed costs that drove producers to send animals to slaughter instead of keeping them for breeding. Paying more for cattle cuts into the meatpackers’ profitability. They will likely try to pass on costs to customers, charging more for ground beef and steaks at a time of high inflation, analysts said”.

So just maybe it’s time to look at locking in your beef costs.

At SafeSourcing our savings average over 24% better than what companies can do on their own most of the time. It may not be that high on commodities, but we can help.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite. That includes our SafeSourceIt™ Global Supplier Database that includes over 557,000 vendor/suppliers.

Knowing Who Your Suppliers Are – Onsite Visits – Part I of II

Thursday, May 4th, 2023


Todays post is from our SafeSourcing Archives

One of the important practices recognized by many successful procurement professionals is that of performing onsite visits to both their new and incumbent suppliers.  So much can be learned about how your suppliers do business that may affect your future decisions and contracts.

Today’s blog will be focusing on visits to domestic suppliers and Part II will have more details on visiting your international suppliers.

If you are dealing with a new supplier and scheduling an onsite visit, this is the opportunity for you to validate all of the details they have presented in their RFP/RFI response or presentation; validating that they have the staff, resources and facilities to handle the demand you are requiring of them.

This will be an opportunity to meet the sales and support team that will be assisting you and your company when the inevitable problem does occur, so take advantage of this time to get acquainted with the supplier’s staff.

If you are dealing with an incumbent supplier, make sure you have thoroughly reviewed your existing contract so that details about the level of service and quality promised can be focused on as part of the visit.  Make sure that you request, in advance, any additional reporting from your IT department or from the supplier on the history of the relationship so far.  This would include quality issues, shipping issues, product delays, inventory availability or any other special circumstance that may have occurred.  This visit will be the right time for you discuss these with the supplier face-to-face.

A final very important area to spend time in your visit, whether new or existing supplier, is the shipping area.  Here you will have a very clear idea of how the supplier is organized and you may even get a glimpse at the companies they get their raw materials from as well as other customers they are shipping too for future reference and follow-up.  Information found in this area will also go a long way when having contract negotiations with your incumbent suppliers for concessions on how your products and deliveries are handled.

Onsite visits are critical to understanding who you suppliers are and can be extremely valuable negotiation checkpoints.  My next blog will focus on the differences and things to consider when visiting international suppliers.

If you are interested in locating potential new sources of supply, please contact SafeSourcing.  The SafeSourceIt™ Supplier Database contains 457,000 globally.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Google’s Godfather of Ai Quits.

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023


Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing Inc

I was reading a FOX Business Flash top headline as I frequently do By Anders Hagstrom of Fox Business titled Google’s ‘godfather of AI’ quits to spread word about dangers of AI, warns it will lead to ‘bad things’”.

While I think we always need to exercise caution regarding new technologies and that includes listening to influencers like Elon Musk, I do not think the world is falling regarding how Ai is being used in the procurement space. Go use an Ai product like ChatGPT to look for new vendors that you might want to do business with. You might find the results amazing. It will get your curiosity flowing to ask other questions that might be helpful to you at work and at home.

I’d rather look at a thing from a how can this tool help from a humanity in general and my company and people that I care about perspective.

As an example, another individual I follow that worked at Google is Ray Kurzweil who among many specialty areas is interested in how Ai can aid us in longevity. “He asserts that in the future, everyone will live forever (YEAH). In a 2013 interview, he said that in 15 years, medical technology could add more than a year to one’s remaining life expectancy for each year that passes, and we could then “outrun our own deaths”. These thoughts are based on the speed of development of Ai, machine learning and other related advanced technologies.

So, I’m sure that the benefits of Ai in the medical research space as well as proposed solutions that result from it will benefit humanity greatly and it even might help us in procurement.

SafeSourcing is a Procure to Pay SaaS based provider of a number of e-Procurement solutions and associated white glove services that are part of our SaaS offered SafeSourceIt™ eSourcing suite.

For more information, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Services Associate.