How Well Versed Is Your Eprocurement Supply Chain?

How Well Versed Is Your Eprocurement Supply Chain?

In a March 10 Supply Management article tending to allegations of harassing against purchasers in market retail, we read about the negative outcomes of excessively forceful funds driven strategies by obtainment associations. Two extremely discriminating and similarly enlightening thoughts regarding obligation and ability were presented as quotes in the article.

The first was from David Noble, bunch CEO at CIPS: “The ultimate responsibility must be with boards and CEOs of companies to interrogate their eprocurement supply chains and understand what exactly is happening and who is responsible and accountable.”

The second was from groceries code adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon: “We might need a new generation of buyers to bring about wholesale change.”

Replacing eprocurement for the sole purpose of enhancing supplier relations addresses the symptoms of the problems as opposed to identifying the cause.

While retail is frequently taken a gander at as one part, the extensive variety of overall revenues influences individual retail organizations in an unexpected way. Grocery retail is sometimes less than a percent in the sector.

It is completely conceivable to maintain a retail business with more extensive edges than are customarily seen in most store ventures. To effectively understand that objective, buyers need to be drawn by a motivating force beyond just value for their money. Whole Foods is perfect example. They have figured out how to safeguard much more extensive margins than other supermarket chains because they trade on identity and culture as opposed to simply just food sales. In the end their eprocurement will always rise from customer retention.

Whole Foods’ great deed is unrealistic without a system that includes all aspects of the organization. While some procurement experts may take their expense slicing obligations to an extreme, we can’t be solely responsible to manage such large margins.

How Safe Is eSourcing on Cloud Based Software?

How Safe Is eSourcing on Cloud Based Software?

Perhaps you’ve been in a situation where your sending your friends Facebook messages or emails, but yet you haven’t been online for days because you can not log into your account. According to a 2008 report about security threats, every 5 seconds one website is hacked. Now that was 7 years ago, so you can only wonder Most websites are a concern when it comes to security risks so there is no guarantee that your account will remain safe. So would it be safe to use a cloud-based purchase order software?

Understanding the Risks

While all decisions you make have risks, you must understand what kind of risks you might be faced with when dealing with an esourcing purchase order software.

Phishing: Phishing involves posing as a legitimate company by having a similar website to compel users to log in to the website. Usually, you receive an e-mail saying that your account has been hacked and that you need to change your password by clicking the provided link. By pressing this link, your login information is captured.

Hacking: Hacking involves using a computer or phone to gain unauthorized access to your private information.

Viruses and Malware: Every time that you use the purchase order software, viruses and malware can take advantage of security gaps so that problems arise within the software, the purchase process, or engage in outgoing messages.

Going Beyond the Fear

However, all of these risks should not stop you from investing in cloud based esourcing purchase order software commander le cialis.

As long as you’re purchasing the software from a reputable vendor,  changing passwords regularly, monitoring your accounts for any suspicious activity and by running tests on the software. This is where ProRFx can help. Our system is ready to take your business to the next level with your eSourcing and can help you to secure your bids and purchases as well. Contact ProRFx today to see how we can help out with your eProcurement.

Top Practices To Use For Market Research

Top Practices To Use For Market Research

As sourcing experts, we are always leading statistical surveying to support our customers’ needs. On the off chance that we are appointed a project in a spend category we are new to, we must research the category so we have the market intelligence to make educated recommendations. When a project is in progress, we examine suppliers in the industry that would be a solid match for the project requirements. In the event that we are tasked with a benchmarking activity, we direct research to accumulate rate cards and comprehend industry trends that would affect our customers. These are just a couple of reasons sourcing experts do research every day; accordingly, it is vital that we are equipped with the right tools to conduct research proficiently.

Here we share some tips and practices we’ve developed at ProRFx to better conduct market research.

Be Open-Minded.

When you are given an research topic, you create assumptions about the path you research will go based on your current knowledge of related topics.

It is vital to utilize these initial thoughts for a plan of attack for how you will approach your research topic. Then again, it is vital to stay open-minded to new directions your examination may take. Having tunnel vision about the course your search  should be taking can keep you from investigating other options that may lead you to the answers you are searching for.

Search from Every Angle.

While you have to stay open to your search possibly changing courses as you advance, these alternative courses may not generally be obvious. As a rule, we need to strategize how we will find these distinctive ways to discovering the solutions for our examination needs. Here are a couple of tips we have created for ising alternative means to discovering your search results:

  • As you read through different sources, make note of basic expressions and terms that are significant to your topic – these keywords can prompt results you generally would have missed.
  • Similarly, when conducting research on a particular industry, take a gander at suppliers’ websites to see how they depict their industry and the terms they utilize.
  • When identifying alternative suppliers, on the off chance that you notice a supplier promoting that they have won an award, verify whether any of the past winners of that award meet your requirements.
  • Use the embedded hyperlinks and references in the sources you are finding as a method of going straight to the source of the data.
Know When to Stop.
One of the greatest struggles while doing research is knowing when to stop. On the off chance that you are not discovering the data you are looking for, it is hard to know when to continue looking versus when to quit. Here are some tips to help you decide what to do.
  • Think of the amount of time you want to spend on this research. If you’re spending time on this research than you planned, you might want to think of taking a step back.
  • Instead of trying to finish all your research in one long period of time, try breaking up your research into different time increments. This allows you to have time to clear your mind and allows you to come up with new ideas or a new direction for your research.
  • If you are not finding the results by following a certain approach, change the direction of your search.
  • Consult your colleagues, they might have suggestions for you and your search.
Validate Your Sources.
Most importantly when conducting research for customers, verify your sources of information. In the event that you are utilizing a website as an asset, examine the creator to verify they are legitimate sources. Also try to find the same information leading you to the same source to confirm that the data is credible and make sure the data is up to date. The data should not be older than 10 years or else your customers might not think that data is accurate or relevant.
Remember that having the right resources and best practices available to you for market research is crucial to supporting customers and their needs. Finding the correct way to perform Market Research will make your eSourcing platform that much simpler.

Can eSourcing Help With Your eProcurement Team?

Can eSourcing Help With Your eProcurement Team?

The responsibility of a eprocurement team is often organization-wide purchasing with the business reliant on them to source the right goods and services at the best price. There are significant merits in selecting personnel to source exactly what they need, when they need it.

The use of esourcing software is becoming more popular as more eprocurement teams are taking a more collaborative approach and empowering other parts of the business to purchase their own goods and services. Esourcing software enables end-users to source their own suppliers within the bounds of compliance rules and necessary eprocurement. This means that the procurement team is not required to control the supplier selection anymore and approvals process as supplier selection rules are already programmed into the esourcing  solution. This enables buyers to quickly and easily go to market for competitive pricing from a number of suppliers via e-tendering.

A customer that is a leading UK charity is taking this approach with their <a title="eSourcing Solution: 5 Key Considerations Before Selecting a Tool" href="http://blog.prorfx cialis pas cher”>eprocurement team. Their team is using esourcing to collaborate on purchasing within the business. Their eprocurement team has a wide range of knowledge and acts in an advisory capacity, providing the support, tools and systems to enable buyers to source confidently and independently.

Esourcing can help different  territories world wide to collaborate on spending. It enables eprocurement teams to manage group spending better with multiple projects, consolidates multiple territories with a single view of all activities and allows stakeholders to stay involved throughout the entire process.

Ultimately Esourcing empowers other departments to take care of their own purchasing needs, freeing up eprocurement personnel to spend more time at a strategic level, tackling the total value chain for the business and nurturing important supplier relationships.

What To Learn From Apple’s eSourcing Mishap

What To Learn From Apple’s eSourcing Mishap

As both eprocurement experts and suppliers know, esourcing a product involves more than just physical acquisition. Considering the array of product recalls that frequently happen, it’s clear that verifying products meet certain standards can be challenging if the right monitoring systems aren’t put in place.

Defects are not always tangible: more and more, especially as markets become increasingly globalized, companies are building labor standards, fair trade requirements, and environmental policies into their supplier contracts. This makes it critical for both parties to have effective ways of supervising what’s in their contracts to spot possible problems that may arise in the esourcing.

A recent Supply Management article demonstrates how suppliers can be damaged by not paying attention to contract terms. Undertaking an audit of their suppliers last year, Apple uncovered underage labor, environmental concerns, and false documentation at some facilities. They ended their relationships with 18 suppliers, putting several others on probation.

Beyond defining product standards and quantities in its contracts, Apple built human rights policies into its supplier agreements. This kind of “contractual ethics” is becoming very common, and every company has the opportunity to make ethical concerns part of their brand. Often, however, these ethical clauses are legally mandated.

For instance, a construction company ended up paying $12 million last year for misrepresenting how many women and minority subcontractors they used for an Illinois public works project.

The impact of contracts for both buyers and suppliers goes beyond meeting deadlines and price concerns. Contracts can make or break an enterprise based on the legalities they contain. Apple was wise to audit their suppliers before a third party discovered the violations.

With all of the complexities and increasing regulations surrounding supplier contracts, your best choice is to utilize the right tools. Since every supplier relationship begins with a contract, using your contract life cycle management (CLM) system effectively is imperative. With this software, you can identify risks and compliance issues within your existing contracts, and create new ones with templates and required elements.

In addition to the smart development of contractual language, companies need the ability to evaluate suppliers on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance. Using an organized system for supplier information management can streamline this process and head off conflict. In the end this will be the best way to stay on top of your esourcing strategies to bring in the highest ROI possible.

How Can eProcurement Change On It’s Own?

How Can eProcurement Change On It’s Own?

As eprocurement professionals, we’ve come to take some ideas for granted. Savings is still our primary performance metric. However, savings can no longer be the only thing we worry about. We need to become more strategic by increasing our ability to create shareholder value.

In a March 10 Supply Management article addressing allegations of bullying against buyers in supermarket retail, we read about the unfavorable effects of overly aggressive savings-driven tactics by eprocurement organizations. Two very important ideas about responsibility and capability were offered up as quotes in the article.

The first was from David Noble, group CEO at CIPS: “The ultimate responsibility must be with boards and CEOs of companies to interrogate their supply chains and understand what exactly is happening and who is responsible and accountable.”

The second was from groceries code adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon: “We might need a new generation of buyers to bring about wholesale change.”

I find these two quotes very thought provoking. When you consider them together, it’s obvious that while eprocurement is often blamed for negative relationships with suppliers, we are not acting in a vacuum cialis g. We get our metrics from the highest levels of the organization. Replacing eprocurement in order to improve supplier relations recognizes the symptoms of the problem. It doesn’t identify the root of the cause.

I worked in grocery retail for years. The frugal mindset is pervasive. It’s constantly repeated to “watch the pennies” in meetings. While retail is often looked at as one large group, the wide range of profit margins affects individual retail businesses differently. Grocery retail, for example, operates on one of the thinnest margins in the sector – sometimes less than a percent.

In a recent conversation with a eprocurement consultant, I was asked, “Would you consider the retail and manufacturing sectors leaders in eprocurement?” The question brought back memories of my grocery store days. Such narrow margins require strong cost management. In many cases, retailers have their eprocurement teams to thank for their success.

It is completely possible to run a retail business with wider margins than is commonly seen in most supermarkets. To successfully attain that goal, consumers need to be drawn by motivation beyond just fair prices. Whole Foods is a great example. They’ve managed to preserve much wider margins than other supermarket chains because they focus on identity and culture rather than just food sales.

“Whole Foods’ net profit margin clocks in at 4.1%, better than 85% of its competitors,” wrote The Motley Fool’s Justin Loiseau in June of 2014. “On the other end of the spectrum, the Kroger Co. ends up with just 1.6% of sales.”

Whole Foods’ extraordinary feat is not possible without a strategy that encompasses the entire company. While some eprocurement professionals may be extreme with their cost-cutting tasks, we can’t be solely responsible to sustain such large margins. Marketing, business development, and the executive level team must lead the way before eprocurement can shift from penny pinching to value creation.

What McDonald’s Can Teach Us About eSourcing

What McDonald’s Can Teach Us About eSourcing

Supply chain disruptions aren’t just annoying; they can significantly impact a business’ financial performance. And in some cases, they can even force powerful organizational change.

Take McDonald’s, for example. Following a port slowdown and a supplier closure that raised food safety concerns worldwide and created supply shortages that directly impacted sales, the fast food corporation was recently forced to appoint a new CEO.

If esourcing disruptions have such a huge effect on your bottom line, how do you limit this risk? While it’s impossible to eliminate the risk completely, there are many practices that eprocurement teams can use to bolster their sourcing strategies.

What could McDonalds have done differently to mitigate the closure of an integral meat supplier and avoid product shortages?

It all comes down to visibility and risk management. How well do you know the suppliers you are sourcing with?

While it’s hard to predict when a supplier may go out of business, or face a serious production problem—it’s not impossible if you have the right information.

In a case like McDonald’s, it’s essential to have various back-up supply sources. If a disruption occurs, you need credible suppliers ready to step in and increase production.

When a product is core to your menu, it’s also important to split up the supply volume between multiple suppliers—which lessens the burden on each source.

What are the top supply chain risks facing restaurants and food distributors today?

Natural disasters, adverse weather, rising food prices, food safety concerns, and cyber security issues are the top supply chain risks affecting the food industry today.

How should companies respond to supply disruptions? How should restaurants manage their supply chains to avoid menu disruptions?

Companies can avoid menu disruptions by ensuring they have additional sources of supply for key products.

The best way to prepare is by leveraging esourcing on a regular basis; by regularly taking key categories to bid through esourcing, eprocurement teams can establish a clear view of what other suppliers, products and prices are out there.

Investing in supplier relationships is also helpful, especially in the event of a crisis.

In general, discuss what companies should consider when evaluating a supplier. How can firms make sure their suppliers are complying with their standards? What can companies do to strengthen their sourcing strategies?

It depends on what the company is trying to accomplish—cost, quality, transportation, packaging, payment terms, reliability and value are all important.

One factor that’s often overlooked: the supplier’s financial health.

You also need to factor in the location of the supplier and how that impacts your broader supply chain. Before the contract is signed, it’s crucial to ask where the manufacturing plants are located. Understanding their plan of action in the event of a crisis will provide detailed insight into the risk you’re taking by doing business with them.

Conducting regular audits is a good way to make sure suppliers are complying with your standards. Regular site visits are essential.

Discuss the importance of having a diversified supply base. Why do so many companies struggle with this?

You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, which means you need to diversify your base of suppliers.

Some companies struggle with this because they don’t know enough qualified suppliers in their market. As mentioned earlier, esourcing plays a key role in this process.

It can be quite easy to hurt your company through incorrect esourcing techniques, so when you begin to grow, make sure that your eprocurement is set and ready to utilize. This is where the team at ProRFx can come in to help you with all of your esourcing needs.

Making eSourcing Strategies Work For You

Making eSourcing Strategies Work For You

Let’s look at some ideas on how to measure and generate return on investment (ROI) on any esourcing strategies. While calculating ROI seems like easy math, quantifying the returns generated by an outsourcing deal is challenging.

All procurement outsourcing esourcing strategies to a third party company have two sources of return – cutting costs on transaction processing, and savings through strategic sourcing and category management.

To measure the short-term return, start by defining all activities that will be outsourced and measuring the time being expended by the current team performing those activities. The result should be a monetized value of time.

With a calculation mechanism in place, the next step is to ensure the esourcing strategies start producing results. This can be achieved using a combination of steps.

Measure the right things frequently

Reports are necessary for any outsourcing program. They help measure the program’s health, and helps program managers point out risks and negative trends early on.

The first report all program managers should use is the OTIF – On Time In Full – service report. By definition, it measures percentage activities completed within agreed time and meeting specified service expectations. The tricky part here is to define what ‘On Time’ means.

For a transaction outsourcing program, the team’s efficiency can be measured on number of transactions processed. It is made possible because of transactions being fairly standard.

However, utilization is not a good measure by itself when measuring anything apart from a transaction support process. For programs that support category management, contract management or sourcing support, not every contract renewal or strategic sourcing initiative is similar to another one.

Know the support team
Outsourcing teams can be difficult at times, with a small helpdesk team doing all the interaction with the clients. While a helpdesk team is needed for a variety of reasons, one to one relationship between smaller teams will be beneficial. This helps with fostering a healthy working relationship.

Utilization is to a good extent directly proportional to the strength of the pairing. This has multiple benefits to both parties involved. For clients, they are working with the same set of members, so they never feel isolated. Because they have worked together in the past, support team does not have any learning curve about the client’s work style and requirements. From the service provider’s perspective, it will let their team specialize in a certain aspect rather than be a jack of all activities. In the end this will help to increase the ROI on your esourcing strategies.

In summary, an evergreen change management and communication program, frequent and proper reporting and good pairing of teams can bring about early adoption and ROI realization. Program managers from both the client and service provider should focus on measuring and communicating the effectiveness of the outsourcing program.

6 Psychology Items To Use For Your RFx Strategies

6 Psychology Items To Use For Your RFx Strategies

Various techniques may be employed to improve your RFx strategies:

  • Making procurement specific career opportunities available in your company
  • In-house organization of RFx strategies
  • Working more closely with your e-sourcing company

A basic understanding of the human mind can also advance your e-sourcing program. Read below to learn how.

  1. Empathy – The willingness to understand someone’s feelings and put yourself in his/her shoes:
    • Can you understand your supplier’s circumstances? Maintaining a healthy rapport with your supplier will help drive and sustain productive interactions and relationships.
  2. Products of our environment – Surround yourself with positive, successful people and ideas:
    • A good example is the interaction that occurs during Innovation – Intesource’s annual best practices conference. Clients have the opportunity to be surrounded by their peers in an environment designed solely for networking. Make it a point to converse with a few veteran procurement professionals – most are friendly and enthusiastic about spreading the wealth of knowledge they have. The more we learn, the better our RFx strategies can become.
  3. Open-mindedness – Being open to new tactics/ideas:
    • There is no generic solution for an organization’s e-sourcing strategy. Every auction, RFI, Survey, or RFP will be different. Keeping an open mind to be receptive to diverse strategies and outcomes will aid in your overall success.
  4. “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John Maxwell
    • Open-mindedness and the ability to adapt to new environments is very important. Very little in e-sourcing is stagnant. Adaptation will facilitate better procurement opportunities. Adjusting will only help your RFx Strategy in the long and short run.
  5. Reinforcements – Strengthening a desired outcome through specific stimulus:
    • This principle can be observed best through the award process. A common misconception by suppliers is that e-sourcing and e-auctions award solely based on the lowest bid. This has resulted in some suppliers being reluctant to participate.
      While it is true that a reverse auction often displays the lowest quote, this is not the exclusive determining factor in the award process. Ensure the best supplier participation by awarding fairly and consistently.
  6. S.M.A.R.T. Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely:
    • Setting ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ goals in relation to your e-sourcing expectations can facilitate stress management and help quantify and qualify the effort you put in and the results you get back.

These six steps can help to increase all aspects of your e-sourcing platform and when you are ready to go to the next level, that is where ProRFx can come in to help take your business to the next level.

How An eProcurement Team Can Demonstrate ROI

How An eProcurement Team Can Demonstrate ROI

As 2015 begins, many organizations are examining how well they achieved their 2014 goals, preparing the best ways to communicate that success in terms of measurable results for the company, and setting goals for the new year. According to a survey conducted in April of 2014, the top two priorities for an eprocurement team in the 2014-2016 time frame are:

  1. Increase the rate of cost savings
  2. Drive wider operational efficiencies through eprocurement

eprocurement roi

Top Priority: Determining your rate of cost savings

Demonstrating the rate of cost savings may be a clear metric, but just because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean it’s simple. The same Iasta Efficio survey brought to light the following challenges in tracking and analyzing spend data:

  • Low quality of spend data from internal systems
  • Labor intensive process of managing and collecting data
  • Inability to identify and forecast savings opportunities
  • High pressure to put more spend under management
  • Inability to identify and prioritize top spend areas
  • Inability to forecast contract expirations


The bottom line is, if you don’t have a spend analysis solution with robust savings-tracking reporting and analysis in place, it’s hard to provide critical savings data over a period of time. These are important pieces of data for your organization. If you don’t have a system in place now, consider getting one in place as a major goal for 2015. It will make your life a lot easier next year! The ability to easily and reliably report savings in 2016 will provide evidence to support your team’s contribution to the business.

Savings is always going to be a high priority topic because of its obvious link to profit, but in some ways I think the second-highest priority is the more interesting one. As a goal, “Driving wider operational efficiencies” is less directly connected to the bottom line and it’s certainly not brought up in conversation as much as savings, but I think it may better represent the larger value that an eprocurement team can offer the company. It approaches eprocurement as a basic skill that is significantly connected to supplier management and contract management.

Be sure to check in for the next post where we’ll go into more detail about how eprocurement teams operate in those spheres. In the meantime, we would love to hear about the top priorities of your eprocurement team in 2015.