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January 20, 2017

Here's a look at where Source One's cost reduction
 experts have been featured this week!

Still Using Product Photography to Drive Sales? Part II
This newest alternative to photography offers control over aspects of a photo-shoot that can cause less than ideal conditions, can be significantly more cost-effective, and provides perspectives that photography just can't. In this continued post, Source One Consultant Brian Seipel shares five ways rendering will prove to be a better tool for marketing compared to the traditional use of photography.

Increasing the Relevancy of Procurement
With a recent focus on the effectiveness of procurement groups, the relevancy of the function and how to gain it is taken into consideration. Source One's Vice President of Professional Services, Joe Payne, shares the fundamental concepts he believes can increase relevancy for procurement groups both internally and externally.

On Thursday evening Source One attended an event dedicated to consulting, hosted by DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. Alumni who work in the field started the night by sharing their experiences, leading into a networking cocktail hour for students, alumni and guests. Our analyst interns have the opportunity to support our consulting teams and learning about Source One's unique consultative approach. Interested in joining the team? Apply at
Talent Management is a very big topic in the procurement world, and for good reason.  The skill sets needed for an effective procurement team are incredibly diverse.  A good procurement professional is well versed in strategic sourcing best practices, but also must be highly analytical.  They must have keen negotiation skills to address suppliers, but also strong business acumen and change management skills to address internal stakeholders.  The best procurement professionals are extremely well rounded, and many don’t come from procurement at all, but have evolved into their positions after starting in finance, risk management or operations.

To make things more difficult, there is a training gap.  Supply chain management and procurement isn’t well covered in our colleges and universities.  Even today, very few business schools have curriculum or majors specific to our industry, and the ones that do are relatively new and un-vetted (with some very notable exceptions that have great programs).

While procurement has some unique challenges surrounding talent management, the struggle to build high performing teams is not unique to us.  Whether you lead a consulting team, an HR group or Sales – everyone wants high performance.  But what does that really mean?  How do you determine if your team is high performing, and if it’s not, how do you get it there?  

The first step is completing a gap assessment of your current state – what do you have today and where do you want it to be tomorrow?  At Source One, I recently created a relatively simple gap assessment in preparation for a 2017 planning session.  To do this, I pulled and aggregated key content from the self-performance reviews everyone on our staff takes at the end of the year.  The specific content I analyzed related to 2016 accomplishments and 2017 objectives.  Using this aggregated content, I created a word cloud to identify general themes.

I then compared and contrasted the themes from the word cloud with the goals and objectives that I and the rest of the leadership team at Source One have established for 2017, as well as our three year roadmap. Performing this gap assessment helped me identify where the team was aligned and where it wasn’t, which provided focus for the planning session.  Of course, not everyone will have ready access to this type of data, but generally speaking, if you want to have a high performing team, you need to start with a gap assessment.

Survey your team, compare those results to the goals your company, business unit or department have.  Then, tie those to the overarching goals and objectives of the business.  Take a look at your company mission statement, quarterly and annual reports, and five year plan.  What themes apply to the work that you do, and how do you make sure those themes are built into the everyday work that your team is performing?  Once you’ve established what your team’s role is in making the company high performing, you can tie it to individual team member’s goals and objectives and well as the over-arching organizational structure and roles/responsibilities of the team.

After establishing the expectation of what high performing is to the group you lead, you need to keep two things in mind – continuous improvement and continuous alignment.  Both are necessary to ensure teams continue to perform at high standards.  Make sure the team is measured in a way that keeps them high performing and that progress is reviewed on a regular basis.  Motivation is critical for a high performing team, and consistent evaluation and level setting will motivate good people.  Further, stay in tune with your company’s mission – if it changes then your team needs to know that.  Continually improving and aligning ensures the team has visibility into ever changing market conditions and that their performance stays at high standards.  It also builds towards a culture that expects high performance as standard operating procedure – which in turn makes maintaining momentum much easier! 
What tighter supply means for restaurants like Chipotle

It's hard to think of an industry more in need of smart processes than food service. There are all sorts of problems, from animal welfare to safe transportation, that stand to affect food supply chains specifically. The company behind the popular  fast-casual Mexican food restaurant chain Chipotle recently announced its own plan to enforce better handling of its chickens within the next 7 years.

Improving conditions
In a statement, Chipotle Mexican Grill outlined four specific goals, all of which could also apply to other busy chains looking to modernize while still staying humane. These goals include better breeding, stocking density space, living conditions and slaughter practices.

Although the statement gave limited details about each goal, it did mention Chipotle's partnership with multiple advocacy groups. One of these is Compassion In World Farming USA, and the organization's Executive Director, Leah Garces, commended the business for taking even these steps.

"Chipotle is continuing to walk the talk on animal welfare. We applaud the company and their chicken suppliers for leading the way in a commitment that will improve the lives of more farmed animals than any other food business to date."

Managing food waste
Another issue for food manufacturers is loss within the supply chain. As Supply Chain Dive noted, increasing complexity also adds several points for disruption and loss. Part of this may also be due to the different kinds of markets suppliers have to work with. The changes and conditions can force companies to deal with new distribution methods for the business. Farmers also can work in their own ways depending on the region.

This source also referenced ideas from the Forum for the Future to develop better food loss prevention tactics. That organization announced a plan last year to bring the amount of waste generated by food supply chains down to zero.

Part of this involves a map of innovation points set to drive the industry to more efficiency. The Forum claimed that this would be the first map of its kind, made for a global audience using the resources of the internet. Supply vehicles may have to greatly reduce their emissions levels while still moving quickly enough to make shipments and meet demand.

Fraud and theft
Fraud and theft are two different issues, but both involve targeting the contents of a shipment and could come from inside actors. Earlier this month, Global Trade Magazine wrote about some of the examples of fraud: a person could deliberately alter a shipment to harm consumers, or switch out one type of produce for another for monetary gain. Countering this could require companies to go granular, looking closely at the issues affecting each item in transit and how to keep them in their best possible shape.

Compared to this, theft may be a more long-term problem. The 2016 Q3 Cargo Theft Report from Freightwatch International found that the overall amount of thefts grew by 14 percent from the previous quarter, according to CCJ Digital. Food and drinks products made up 17 percent of the 193 thefts seen during this time.

As signs of the importance of broader supply chain solutions, these trends could be more evidence of the importance of global sourcing procedures.

When you think of a consultant, what characteristics come to mind?

  • Problem solvers 
  • Process improvers
  • Change drivers 
  • Subject matter experts
Companies hire consultants to deliver advice and strategies for solving complex business challenges. And, there are countless areas of consulting including, financial services, IT, retail, travel, procurement. The list of potential consulting areas of expertise goes on and on- allowing motivated professionals to grow in a career focused on a field they're passionate about.

Tonight procurement consultants from Source One will be attending the Kellstadt Industry Night - Consulting at De Paul University. The event presents a unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing a consulting career to connect with leading consulting firms. The first part of the night consists of discussions with Kellstadt alumni currently in consulting roles, followed by a networking portion. Source One aims to shed light on procurement consulting and the role of a consultant in solving procurement and supply management challenges. 

So, what does it actually take to be a successful consultant?

1. A balance of confidence and humility
As the expert brought in to solve various business challenges, you can't be afraid to speak from a point of authority on subject matter you were hired to address. At the same time, remember that you may not have the answers to every question. Be humble enough to recognize when you need do additional research to find the answers. 

2. Learn how to listen
The first step to solving a problem is understanding it. Listen to your client. Don't assume you know the best route simply because you've solved a similar challenge elsewhere. Ask open ended questions and apply what you're learning from your client in solving their specific challenges.

3. Be a team player
Yep - teamwork makes the dream work. And when it comes to consulting, working together with your colleagues and your stakeholders is crucial to achieving your desired goal. Understand your team members' strengths and weaknesses so you're best able to tackle the task at hand. Take ownership of your contributions and be dependable member of your team.

4. Cultivate relationships
Points one through three ultimately lead to this: gaining trusting and build relationships with your clients. Your ability to calm and address their concerns, as well as working well with your team to deliver results is crucial to your success.

Interested in pursuing a career in consulting? The key is knowing that no matter the field or discipline, people are the driving force behind the business and having these key characteristics will help set you up for a fruitful career.

For more information on the available positions within the Source One team, visit:

ICYMIM: January 16, 2017

Source One introduces a new series for keeping up with the most recent highlights in procurement, sourcing, and supply chain news week to week. To stay updated on the latest supply management articles, check in with us every Monday.

Tania Seary – Procurious, MyPurchasingCenter 1/4/2017

The importance of data security is reviewed by the founder of online procurement community Procurious in this guide to protecting the valuable information in your organization and your supplier’s organization. From where to start, the challenges with the online market place, and new technical developments, this piece is an informative place to update the IT safety within your business.

Frank Rovella –, 1/11/2017

In the final week of 2016 two of the world's suppliers of industrial gas, Praxair and Linde AG, merged to form a $66.6 billion corporation. Praxair will take the Linde name and the CEO will be headquartered in Danbury, CT. This union has predicted annual savings of $1 billion and annual revenue of $30 billion. Rovella shares the impact of this merger and how it follows after other consolidations in the industrial gas industry.

The Doctor (AKA Michael Lamoureux) – Sourcing Innovation, 1/11/2017

Driving technological advances, also known as process transformation, is a key part of successful Supply Management in any organization. In this multi-part series, Lamoureux explores different solutions for process transformation and explains why no single path is appropriate for every organization. Part I shares a comprehensive, IT-driven approach for business transformation through the use of design and delivery models and plans to administer change in the organization. Utilizing this specific approach and the influence they'll have, as well as a four step framework designed to improve distinct areas can lead to a successful process transformation. While this may be a resolution for some, Part II gives alternatives for others.
  • Process Transformation: How Do You Get It Right? Part IIThis second segment breaks down the four basic steps of a general process transformation and offers a simple road map to get through each. Starting with a benchmarking process, and then comparing it to third parties that maintain industry benchmarks to visualize where your organization stands, is the suggested first step in Part II. The next step is to identify pain points for team members, followed by reviewing published case studies relative to the processes under consideration, and finally recognizing where team members are making efforts to prevent, or avoid, the processes wherever possible.

2016 was quite the year. 

Major social and political shifts have left no corner of the world immune to supply chain disruption. As a result, many companies have shifted priorities, investing in their procurement and supply management operations in an effort to proactively mitigate risk and gain a competitive advantage.

In helping industry leading organizations develop strategies for improving supply management operations, our executives have observed a number of trends. In Source One's new downloadable document, 7 Procurement Trends to Watch in 2017, our experts have pulled together the top procurement trends they anticipate continuing in the upcoming year. 

Take a brief look at the trending procurement and supply management priorities for industry leading organizations and they strategies they're implementing in the list below. For a more detailed look the drivers and results of these initiatives, be sure to check out the 7 Procurement Trends to Watch in 2017

Saying “Goodbye” to Decentralized Buying
Some organizations consider their decentralized purchasing routine, while others have recently recognized the need for centralized departments, specifically procurement, to better direct spending decisions. A focus on guiding supplier relationships, contract management, and cost –reduction efforts is crucial for businesses aiming to grow and succeed.

Transcendence of Procurement through Transformation
Advancing tools and technology, evaluating processes and metrics, and promoting Human Capital practices are all priorities of maturing procurement departments. Professionals in the industry are setting, and reaching, new goals to gain a competitive advantage for their organization by leveraging procurement.

Changing the Conversation to Action
When it comes to achieving the desired results, implementing plans is the key to seeing a change. Strategies and roadmaps that can actually drive improvement are crucial for putting these plans into place and making the changes your organization needs to advance.

Hiring with an Open Mind
It comes as no surprise that good Procurement and Supply Management talent is hard to find. As this "candidate market" has continued over the past year, more and more companies are taking a different approach to recruiting. Rather than focus solely on the hard qualifications (such as years of experiencing X category) of potential employees, hiring managers are assessing their soft skills (such as mathematical and analytical skills) and the ability to apply those skills to their organization.  

Matching Metrics to Maturity
As the industry matures, procurement is creating more a name for itself than just being capable of creating visible savings. The role of the procurement department is becoming more focused on the value beyond cost reduction efforts, such as a supply base diversity and supplier driven innovation.

A Blurring of Lines Between Services and Solutions Providers
Having to choose either a solution for technological needs or specific support service is no longer a concern, as today’s services providers offer both solutions and support in one place. Today's providers are making the decision simple for clients, delivering strategy and services backed by technology. 

Building the Business Case by Comparison
It’s more than being aware of what your competitors are doing, it’s recognizing how you can leverage their smart decisions to prevent your organization from falling behind. While copying their every move isn’t going to guarantee you will be just as successful, understand how your business can benefit from being in sync with the competition.

Ambitious plans and business process outsourcing can be an organization's best friends. To make a radical change successful, granular analytics can help bring specific data into the conversation, harnessing relevant information to make a difference. This can also apply to green energy, environmental initiatives and other attempts to make the basic processes of the supply chain friendlier to the planet.
Procter & Gamble has created a new example of this approach to follow, which includes a long?-term benchmark for improvement, not just an immediate plan. According to a statement, the company wants to take dramatic steps to eliminate all manufacturing waste over the next three years.
Building off of success
Already, the company said, 56 percent of its world production sites generate zero waste, and the future expansion of the policy will focus on reusing, recycling or otherwise taking advantage of existing material for a more sustainable approach.
The company's President of Global Product Supply, Yannis Skoufalos, described some of the ways Proctor & Gamble has been able to create a profitable "afterlife" for its raw materials after intended use.
"For example surfactants from Head and Shoulders waste in China are repurposed into carwash, while scrap from our Tampax plant in Canada is used to make emergency spill containment products," Skoufalos said. "These innovative external partnerships enable our sites to see scrap not as waste, but as potential worth for someone else."
Other zero waste leaders
Although having a bold goal to meet could seem daunting, it also encourages businesses to keep working for greener results. Last month, Environmental Leader reported on General Motors' progress in reaching toward its own landfill waste reduction plan.
The source said that the auto manufacturer had 152 global sites that each produced zero waste as of the end of December. This is two more sites than the 150 the company hoped to achieve by 2020, as it laid out in an earlier plan.
On top of this, the company also claimed on its website that its world headquarters creates zero landfill waste, an effort that has bled over into the way it works with its partners. It can be important for any business to have major benchmarks to use as signs that it is improving, even though that takes time.
The ultimate goal
Lowering landfill waste can make a statement on its own, but it also helps reinforce any collective that wants to remake its image into a more environmentally conscious one. An SDExec piece commented on this, listing the many businesses and brands dedicating money to some sort of sustainability measure, including sourcing. Businesses with grand intentions may need to start by improving their sourcing processes.
Procurement management takes many different elements into account, from the state of the market to the decisions that would save the most money. Source One, in particular, can help companies work with countries to optimize existing chains. Any major project, including a green restructuring or waste reduction, could require oversight using the latest, most intelligent tools available. Source One puts those tools within reach.

January 13, 2017

Here's a look at where Source One's cost reduction
 experts have been featured this week!

Quality images of goods are often credited for prompting sales and revenue, which is why the photography services that create these images can be a majority of sales budgets. A new trend that serves as another option is digital rendering, which completely replaces the need for a photographer. While this new concept is competitive, it hasn’t proved to be overall superior to photography. Source One consultant Brian Seipel gives insight on alternatives to this traditional approach to marketing.

DePaul University’s Kellstadt School of Business hosts an evening for consulting students and professionals, including consultants from Source One who are seeking new talent for the analyst internship program. Alumni from Kellstadt who moved on to work in consulting will present an informative session, followed by a cocktail hour for current students specifically interested in the industry to meet with a variety of firms.

Strategic Sourceror Supply Chain News on Amazon's Delivery Tunnel
A new patent seems to show Amazon's possible future moves as it gets more involved in logistics. GeekWire recently reported on an Amazon patent for a project that could continue the business' interest in delivery. It could also, as with many other innovations from larger businesses, demonstrate a new approach for logistics companies that want to try similar tactics themselves.
The latest chapter in Amazon's logistics work, the patent corresponds to a new network delivery effort, one which would deliver packages underground. As the source noted, it adds more layers to Amazon's already ambitious plans for logistics, which currently include airborne drones and land?-bound trucks.
According to the patent description, the patent includes multiple functioning aspects, from a "hub" center to a series of underground "conveyers" and "junctions." The advantages would apparently be fewer delays than other modes of delivery and a more simplified means of processing packages.
The system would also involve locker storage for special items. More than one item will reportedly be carried at once on the conveyors through these subterranean spaces. A special control system could also work with the setup, reducing the amount of time involved in each of the delivery actions involved. The underground network represents a new way to bring different objects together and help Amazon theoretically have tighter control over the delivery process.
A part of Amazon's larger plan
There have been reports of the new changes Amazon has made to enter the supply space. Another addition has been a new app that functions as an "Uber for Freight," as Logistics Management reported. The source quoted project44 President Tommy Barnes, who said that the application makes sense within Amazon's existing plans for development.
"Amazon doing this is not a surprise, but Uber for trucking is tougher than those give it credit for but the difference between what Uber and Amazon are doing is that Amazon has a larger endgame in mind," he said. Barnes also referenced the company's ability to "leverage its own network" as it implements these kinds of changes.
Other companies can learn from this example by seeing the value in a comprehensive supply chain approach, as well as a shift in how the business conducts itself in the future to deliver packages to its customers.
Benefits in and outside the company
A Trefis piece on Forbes described some of the thought process which might be behind Amazon's new plans. The article said that the logistics gamble is both for Amazon's own benefit and so it can be a partner for other outside entities.
In all of the different iterations of Amazon's logistics, an additional goal appears to be moving more fluidly to serve recipients in hard-to-reach areas of the world. Spend management and other strategic decisions give businesses a greater degree of control and measure over delivery. Spend management also gives organizations a simple solution instead of a more complex one, allowing them to choose the spend analysis it needs.

Logistics itself appears to have improved jobs numbers during the recent holiday season, with the increase in traffic leading to a similar rise in employment.

The Wall Street Journal said that while overall job growth numbers were down, the developments in the logistics sector showed some strength for the industry. Transportation, warehousing and trucking companies all saw new jobs, with the first of these witnessing just 14,700 jobs within the single month.

It's true that the holidays often see increased activity, but it's worth it to consider the impact on labor and shipping companies specifically. The source also said that a vast majority of the new transportation and warehousing industries were "courier and messenger" businesses, according to the Department of Labor.

The head of the DoL, Thomas Perez, released a statement on December jobs, saying that the economy was still strong.

"December saw the strongest wage growth since 2009; wages grew faster over the last year than at any point during the recovery," Secretary Perez said. "All told, the U.S. economy has added 15.8 million private-sector jobs since February 2010. We've experienced 75 months of continuous overall job growth, the longest streak on record, and over two years longer than the previous record."

Why December matters

If December always leads to an uptick in traffic, it's fair to question whether it's an accurate model to follow for the rest of the year. The Journal featured other data as part of its December jobs report. comparing 2016 trends with those from the previous year. In both unemployment (which dropped by 4.7 percent in December 2016 alone) and "broader unemployment" (which fell by 9.2 percent in the same period), the source found a decrease in 2016, compared to the 2015 figures.

Still, the recent graph shows a drop in unemployment, all staying in the lower regions of the axis since 2009, when unemployment increased by 4 points. Despite the recent decreases, though, the drop in unemployment every year seems to generally get smaller and smaller.

The report found other details related to labor performance, including average hourly wage earnings, which tracked higher for all private employees, greater than the rate of inflation. The actual average wage for all of these workers was $26, which grew nearly 3 percent over the same time of year in 2015.

New jobs coming to change industry

These statistics may seem encouraging, but we also need to pay attention to the possibility of new jobs coming, which could change logistics and affect the workforce even more. Adding further managed IT services to logistics control could require new additions to specifically keep the company up to date.

Some of these positions, mentioned in a Forbes piece, include the "commercial troubleshooter" or "production planner" titles, which marry technology with oversight duties. This also shows the concerns businesses have with technology potentially "replacing" workers. Instead of this, the jobs that help bridge the gap between human workers and automation could continue to be relevant.
Using e-sourcing and other strategies can also help shipping companies grow without losing traditional workers.
The push for greener, more environmental supply chains continues as the new year continues on. With many lobbying to establish the importance of environmental initiatives, businesses will likely have more ways to look for future efficiency measures. But why should they continue to do this soon?

We can list several reasons, but here are some prominent ones based on recent events.

1. Aligning customer and company
It can be good to be on the same page as your customer base. Along with transparency measures, green business initiatives are a way to bridge the gap between the customer and the business, by acknowledging what the former is looking for. This can also come from the increasing prominence of younger consumers with a greater preference for environmentally friendly practices, including production and delivery.

According to Pew Research Center survey data, 59 percent of Americans are willing to pay higher costs for more strict environmental regulations. While there are differences depending on political leanings, overall the majority of citizens seem to think this, according to data from the source. Across several different age ranges and education levels, the majority again and again comes out in favor of regulation.

In a DC Velocity piece, Home Depot Vice President of Domestic and International Transportation Michelle Livingstone explained the rationale behind her company's efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

"The reason why Home Depot is so committed, and why I think the other companies are too, is that it is the right thing to do," she said. She also added that it's what the customers expect from the brand, saying that "If there is no better reason to become very green, it is that customers are expecting the companies they do business with to be sustainable and to make good decisions on that."

2. Major companies are paying attention
Microsoft may not be primarily a retail company, but its interest in sustainability could carry over to retail business owners. Green Biz reported these kinds of corporate interests as one of the big "career moves" of last year that defined green business activity. Microsoft in particular selected Jim Hanna to work as its director of data center stability. Nissan also appointed a Chief Sustainability Officer for the first time, the source said.

If this trend continues, the pressure could be on for companies to adopt similar executives to drive transformation further. Someone in this position could have the authority to direct environmentally friendly programs and lead a business to both efficiency and sustainability. This can include supplier relationship management steps to make managing third parties easier and keep these partners in step with the organization's developing growth.

3.Greening could parallel other kinds of supply chain developments
A Forbes piece on the possible 2017 changes to supply chains mentioned the rise of "socially conscious product development." It could make sense for companies to transform their processes to be greener if they are already moving in that direction.

Whether they embrace green practices because they think it's good for the planet or because it's valued by the customers, all companies can try to challenge themselves to achieve lower rates of emissions through strong policies.

Supply chain changes can take curious routes. While many might guess that the fish in the seafood market come from areas near water, Mother Jones reported on VeroBlue Farms, a "fish farm" in land-locked Iowa dedicated to raising barramundi fish.

Despite the obvious challenges, this site seems to hold some advantage for the company. The source did admit that running a fishery on land requires 15,000 gallons of water a day, at least at the VeroBlue location. What's more, as consumer tastes have drifted to organic and free-range farming practices, the idea of fish culled from such a facility rather than the Pacific Ocean may seem unappetizing.

Against these arguments are some powerful pros. According to the article, the barramundi fish don't receive any antibiotics and require less food than salmon. Even if this particular breed hasn't caught in with the mainstream yet, some food-world influencers could, thereby increasing demand.
Iowa already has a strong farming culture, which could provide a surprisingly good background for the new fish tanks. If other meat producers learn to see fish farmers as an add--on to their existing operations, it could start a new trend for other companies to follow.

More advantages

Barramundi may be waiting in the wings, but these land-farming practices could also work for the ever-popular salmon. In 2015, National Geographic wrote about "the fish farm of the future" in British Columbia. This referred to the Kuterra farm, a large indoor pool owned by the Namgis First Nation and perhaps setting a standard for large-scale, sustainable indoor fish farming.

Kuterra spokeswoman Jo Mrozewski told the source that the facility allows for better environmental management than would happen in the wild.

"The one word that best describes what we're doing here is 'control,'" Mrozewski said. "You control the environment, you control the growth parameters. You can control so many things because you're not exposed to the vagaries of nature."

At the time of writing, Kuterra hadn't actually made a profit yet, despite securing millions in funding.

The need for smart sourcing

Like many other industries, seafood shows us the importance of strategic sourcing. In addition to the already mentioned challenges, the following issues will also probably continue to impact seafood suppliers:
  • Authenticity: In the fishing industry, it's not uncommon for catches to vary wildly. Mislabeled food can also be an issue. The 2015 Future of Fish report mentioned the unpredictability that fishermen face all the time due to environmental factors, but there's also mislabeling of fish to be aware of.
  • Sustainability: Keeping these farms not just operational but environmentally stable will also require companies to invest in some of the green supply chain elements that other businesses are paying attention to.
  • Worldwide presence: The same Future of Fish report also looked at the different attributes of supply chains around the world, from the lobster fisheries in Mexico to Indonesian tuna. Interactions between these spheres could be major challenges to businesses trying to maintain strength.
Global sourcing may help businesses improve on these fronts while keeping these elements alive as well.