July 2015
Let’s face it, good procurement talent is at times hard to define, let alone find. Each company has a unique set of requirements and expectations for what is considered a qualified candidate for supply management roles. And, while some positions may require an emphasis on technical skills, others may more heavily rely on soft skills, like people management. In today’s supply management talent market, finding the right talent is more difficult than ever. As the role procurement serves in an organization has transformed over the years, so have the job functions of individuals in procurement departments. Well-qualified candidates are often hard to find and passive (meaning, not necessarily actively searching), creating a greater demand for companies to seek alternative ways to source their talent.

Resource and time constraints often mean that searching for talent on typical job forums are cutting it when it comes to reaching top talent, creating a new trend of companies partnering with staffing and consulting firms to meet their procurement staffing demands. In the first part of Source One’s Recruiting Insider Series, now available on iTunes, Source One’s Business Development Manager, Ken Gaul discusses the client demand for meaningful partnerships for attracting and retaining top talent.

Gaul shares insights into what Source One client’s are asking for when it comes to supply chain and procurement staffing support: “For us, it’s not just about business process outsourcing, or simply taking something off our client’s shoulders. Certainly, that is one of the effects of someone hiring us, but it is not the end vision. What our clients really want is a partner who can elevate their operations, elevate their processes and produce sustainable results, all without the demands of hiring full time resources themselves.”

The podcast’s inaugural guest, Naseem Malik, Managing Partner of MRA Global Sourcing, adds that attracting and retaining top talent begins by clearly understanding the organization’s needs, including knowing what “good” talent means to the company in terms of balancing aspects of both technical  and hard skills, as well as being a cultural fit.

For insights into the state of procurement recruiting, listen to Part I of the Supply Management Recruiting Podcast Series now on available on the Source One Podcast Network. Stay tuned to the Podcast Network for the follow up sessions to the series, providing insights in to what sets the most successful candidates apart from the competition and more. 

Source One Round Up: July 31,2015 

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


While some may believe direct mail campaigns have gone out of style, industry trends indicate quite the opposite. According to data from the Direct Marketing Association Statistical Fact Book, the cost to generate a qualified sales lead was roughly $4 less with direct mail than email. But, before you jump right into a direct marketing campaign, Senior Project Analyst Megan Connell shares her knowledge on the core components of a direct mail program and strategies for managing these costs. 

Transparency boosts trust in supply chain

People's survival relies on the food they consume. They expect to have a wide range of options that allows them to choose what types of groceries they place in their carts. Consumers place their trust in these stores and the brands they carry to bring them nutritious and filling foods that will keep them happy and healthy. However, with the number of recalls throughout the food production industry, confidence in the supply chain is lacking and calls for higher transparency.

Consumers lack trust in retailers
In a Trace One survey of U.K. and U.S. consumers, less than 7 percent of respondents trust the foods they eat, and it's easy to see why. In July, nine products were recalled due to contamination from salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcal enterotoxin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When people see these announcements, they may rethink their purchasing decisions.

Approximately 91 percent of U.S. and U.K. buyers said it was important to know where their food came from, Trace One reported. Yet only 13 percent are confident that they have that knowledge. Transparency is the key to manufacturers and retailers earning their customers' trust. They require information about where materials are coming from, the conditions they're grown or made in and the effects those elements will have on their health.

"Retailers need to validate their product ingredients and the origins of those ingredients, and consistently communicate that information throughout the supply chain and with consumers," Chris Morrison, chief marketing officer of Trace One, said in a press release. "If brands want shoppers to trust their products more, those brand owners must be armed with accurate and reliable product information that enables brand transparency and, ultimately, builds consumer confidence and trust."

Companies must improve communication
Transparency might be slightly harder than it seems. Global sourcing can make it more difficult for companies to trace where their materials and products are coming from. To be able to provide consumers with the information they seek, businesses need to discover those details for themselves, Morrison explained in an article for The Guardian.

Companies know from where they directly receive products, and they may be familiar with who their supplier gets the items from. However, they might not be informed about the supply chain beyond that point, which can lead to problems for brands, Morrison claimed. Poor business practices may lead to customers looking elsewhere for their desired products, which hurts companies' sales. According to Nielsen's 2014 Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, more than 50 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for brand items they know they can trust.

"Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand's social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions," Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability at Nielsen, said in a statement. "This behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands."

Increasing transparency leads to countless benefits for companies. Not only will they improve their images in the public eye, they may also see increased productivity and efficiency, Morrison explained. Consumers want to do business with organizations that they relate to and can rely on. If those corporations can't provide people with the details they need to make informed decisions, customers are going to grow weary of those brands.

To keep business going and consumers happy, companies should do whatever they can to improve transparency in the supply chain.

Language barriers hinder supply chain
Many people in the United States were required to take a foreign language in school. They may have chosen French, Spanish, German or even Latin in an attempt to ace their SATs. However, once graduation rolled around, how often were those skills put to use? A lack of knowledge of foreign languages may actually impede the American supply chain. With the multitude of cultures comprising the nation, as well as American companies' numerous business dealings with other countries, the need for a foreign language education is prominent.

Business dealings require multilingual skills
The U.S. is a melting pot of cultures. The country was built on the belief that people from anywhere in the world can come to America to follow their dreams. However, there may be an obstacle to those accomplishments - the language barrier. When people come to the U.S., they bring their linguistics with them. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, of the more than 290 million Americans aged 5 and older, approximately 21 percent speak a language other than English at home. While many of those people know Spanish, others speak a variety of other languages, including Italian, Chinese and Arabic.

This can interfere with communication between people of different cultures both at work and at school. It's the general expectation that new inhabitants will learn English because it's the dominant language. However, this rule should go both ways. Native English speakers should learn a second language to improve their communication with co-workers, peers and business associates. Many of the larger corporations may conduct business overseas, but that becomes nearly impossible if employers and workers don't learn the language. Learning another language or culture will show people that you value their backgrounds, LinkedIn contributor Mac McIntyre explained. While you might not be fluent, using even a few words and phrases can go a long way toward building trust, breaking down barriers and improving the supply chain.

Starting language education early
While it's possible to learn a new language as an adult, this can be more difficult than it is for children and young adults. Regardless of age, acquiring the knowledge of a second language offers countless benefits, The Telegraph noted. The practice can turn you into a better critical thinker, boost creativity, improve multitasking, increase cognitive function and even expand your understanding of the English language.

Historically, only college-bound students learn a language, Great Schools claimed. Unfortunately, this leaves the rest of the population at a disadvantage. In today's diverse society, it is crucial that everyone can communicate with one another at all employment levels. Whether you're a chief executive officer or a line worker, you need to be able to talk to the people around you and at all points in the workflow, and they may speak different languages.

"We're talking now about what is it we really want our students to do," Paula Patrick, foreign language coordinator for the Fairfax County, Virginia, public school system, told the source. "It's no longer a check-off to college admission. It's a tool for communication."

Language barriers can create problems along the supply chain. Employees won't be able to communicate with one another, their bosses, suppliers or clients. For both local and global sourcing, businesses need workers who can negotiate with others regardless of the language they speak. By teaching second languages to people before they enter the workforce and then encouraging them to regularly brush up on their skills, companies will be able to create businesses that are open to everyone no matter their backgrounds.

In the year of 2015, where data analytics plays a critical role in strategic decisions, companies have implemented technology to capture data about procurement, manufacturing, sales, and financial projections. Although, when one looks at Accounts Payable (AP) technology there has been little change. AP is more of a “back office” function than a collaborative partner to other business units. Why has AP been regulated to tactical transactions only, when they have access to spend across all business units? Is it due to the nature of Accounts Payable tasks? Is the available software designed to improve AP transactions? We will explore many of the options for automation and spend analysis tools that can help Account Payables evolve into a collaborative partner.

Traditional ERP:

There are many businesses that have implemented a form of enterprise resource planning (ERP) into procurement, manufacturing, and financial (accounts payables included) business units only to realize that these systems function as spend analysis platforms. There is some functionality of automation with ERP, but it can be limited to one type of automated transaction and customizing can be costly.  With only a few options of automation, this system could be too rigid for suppliers and customers. Before considering an ERP system, take into account the upfront licensing cost, expert service, migrating data, loss of productivity, and resistance to change. An additional factor to be aware of is the culture of the company. If the company’s culture does not fit into an ERP system, it might not be the best solution for process automation.

Hybrid ERP:

A hybrid ERP is a cloud-based business application that can be a standalone system or integrated into a traditional ERP system. The benefits of hybrid ERP is customer/vendor engagement improvements, procurement management, employee engagement, and implementation speed.  Customer and vendor engagement improves due to the less rigid portal designs, and ease of navigation to process transactions. Procurement management becomes transparent due to having a centralized location to be able to solicit, source, procure, and invoice from one system. Accounts Payable can use such a system to provide options to vendors for payment and improve the approval process. A company must still consider all factors associated with traditional ERP when thinking about a Hybrid ERP, thankfully the cost and time of implementation is much less compared to traditional ERP.

Cloud-Based Spend Management Systems:

Cloud-Based Spend Management systems take the best of ERP system (spend analysis platform) and the cloud (easy interface and accessibility) to focus on managing spend, running procurement events, centralized supplier information, multiple options for vendor invoicing, and an added bonus of being used as an interface to a current traditional ERP.  Due to the multiple options for invoicing in a cloud-based spend management system can help reduce transition cost, better engage with the suppliers about their options for payment and take advantage of discounts with quicker invoicing process through the cloud. Cloud-based systems can help reduce spend and they are easy to implement into one's company, even a small business, of course be aware of security concerns that could arise with information on a cloud system, along with internet connections speeds, and  mobile application being slower than a desktop application.

Implementing any of the spend system options above helps to gain insight on spend, although the tactical transactions of Accounts Payable have to become automated with options for suppliers to transition AP from a tactical partner to a strategic partner.  Procurement and AP working together with an integrated hub of information can elevate them to a center of excellence.
How does the Internet affect the supply chain?

The Internet plays a large role in the lives of global citizens today. It's used for communicating with friends and family, completing schoolwork, playing games and accomplishing work tasks. Without the Web, many jobs would take a lot longer to do. The Internet has even expanded the supply chain. Retailers are no longer secluded to one region. Instead, they can receive orders from almost anywhere in the world. However, e-commerce has altered the way businesses run, and companies must change their habits to succeed in this online world.

The problems with the Internet
Online shopping has, in many ways, become preferable to visiting a store. Consumers don't have to leave their homes, they often find better selections and their products are delivered to them. Businesses can also communicate with customers across the globe, which leads to more sales. This convenience will only help Internet purchasing increase.

Because of this, brick-and-mortar stores face some stiff competition, with many businesses emerging solely online. Some companies have failed because of their inability to keep up with e-commerce retailers like Amazon, but even those are being challenged by new corporations, Multichannel Merchant contributor Jeremy Hanks explained. According to a 2014 survey from Boston Retail Partners, 32 percent of companies expected their sales growth to be from e-commerce, while 21 percent said it'd be from stores, Internet Retailer reported. This is a significant difference from the previous year, when 52 percent said brick-and-mortar stores would receive the most business and only 23 percent said e-commerce.

Some retailers currently have two separate supply chains - one for online and one for stores. They have yet to combine the two successfully, which has created an $800 billion problem, according to the IHL Group. Out-of-stocks and overstocks are causing companies to lose money. However, without proper warehouse management software monitoring both online and in-store sales, retailers cannot know exactly what products they have and what they need.

Retailers find solution for e-commerce
Fortunately for consumers, businesses are currently in the process of streamlining the supply chain. According to Boston Retail Partners, 93 percent of retailers are working to create a unified commerce system, and 85 percent said they can take inventory from various departments to fulfill orders from different channels.

An omnichannel presence may make it more difficult to complete orders, but with the proper management system, companies should be able to remove any bottlenecks from their workflows. Consumers will appreciate being able to order online or via mobile device and return or exchange products in-store, Multichannel Merchant explained. This flexibility ensures that brick-and-mortar stores are just as necessary as their Web-based counterparts. However, this will leave retailers struggling if they are not properly prepared.

When items are out of stock, retailers can lose both sales and customers. Consumers aren't going to return to a company they know doesn't meet demand for popular products, they're going to go to a store that can fulfill their wishes. This remains a problem for many businesses. Approximately 40 percent of retailers can let customers know if items are in stock at brick-and-mortar stores, but only 20 percent can do the same for online shoppers, Boston Retail Partners reported.

Businesses require systems that will keep all parts of the supply chain up to date on the events in various areas. Communication is the key to success. Real-time inventory visibility helps distribution centers fill both online and store orders accurately and in a timely manner.

Stopping infection with help from the supply chain

Health care can be an unpredictable job. While doctors may know what they're doing, they have no guarantee that they'll be able to treat every disease and health condition that comes through hospitals. It's important for hospitals to have measures in place to protect medical professionals and patients throughout the supply chain.

Superbugs cause serious health problems
While "super" generally implies positivity, superbugs are far from good. These bacteria cause countless problems for health care providers and patients. While antibiotics should cure many diseases, they are sometimes defeated by carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained. Good bacteria in the digestive system enter other areas of the body to cause CRE infections, which are, unfortunately, resistant to antibiotics.

In September 2014, President Barack Obama released an executive order calling for health care providers to adopt procedures to not only prevent the development and spread of CRE infections, but to illustrate what to do in the event of an outbreak. With this announcement, a task force was created to ensure medical facilities follow federal regulations and implement practices to monitor and control CRE infections.

Hospitals improving infection prevention
At the time of Obama's executive order, many hospitals already had infection prevention protocols in place. However, they can only do so much with the medications and devices they're provided, Healthcare Finance News explained. Antibiotics are difficult to create because bacteria are always evolving and becoming resistant to treatment. This requires pharmaceutical companies to develop medications that can battle even the most stubborn and advanced contagions.

One way to combat the problem may be to limit the use of antibiotics if they aren't absolutely necessary, as people and bacteria can build up a tolerance. Another method would be to use medical devices with antimicrobial properties, the source claimed.

"From a supply chain standpoint, you are looking at potentially higher costs to buy devices with antimicrobial additives," Lise Moloney, director of business development at Sciessent, told Healthcare Finance News. "But hospitals need to think of what having a new way of preventing antibiotic-resistant infections can save them."

To eliminate superbugs, medical facilities need to do whatever they can to develop treatments to prevent the spread of bacteria. This starts at the beginning of the supply chain with pharmaceutical companies coming up with solutions and ends with patients receiving the medications they need.

Egg procurement remains high for health care industry

Restaurants and grocery stores are feeling the severity of the current egg shortage issue through increased prices and fewer deliveries. Those yolky breakfast foods are popular among the American population, which means that even if they're expensive, people will pay higher prices. However, the supply chain reaches much further than people's favorite diners. The health care sector also uses eggs for a variety of purposes, from feeding their patients to creating vaccines. Luckily, while some industries have faced setbacks, the medical field isn't letting the avian flu affect it too heavily and has taken measures to ensure they have the eggs it requires. 

Hospitals see effects of egg shortage
You can order eggs in various forms - scrambled, fried, poached, etc. However, those delectable dishes don't just taste good. While they've received a lot of criticism in the past, eggs actually have many health benefits. According to The Huffington Post contributor John Berardi, egg yolks contain 90 percent of the calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, omega-3s and phosphorous you need to stay healthy. They can help people reduce inflammation and weight, prevent heart disease and diabetes and improve blood cholesterol levels.

Eggs are one of the foods that are abundant in hospital settings. They're used in various recipes and can be customized to fit patients' needs. They are a staple in residents' diets because of their high nutritious value. Unfortunately, health care facilities have had to alter their menus to make up for the egg shortage and their accompanying prices, Modern Healthcare explained. The cost of 15 dozen shell eggs jumped from $18 before the shortage to $37 during it. Unlike consumers who have options, patients, particularly those in long-term care, may only be able to eat certain meals, eggs potentially being one of them.

"It's a very real issue, because some of the largest (manufacturing) facilities that have been hit are the ones that are very heavy in institutional foodservice," Julie Jones, director of nutrition at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, told the source.

Unidine Corporation, which oversees 30 U.S. hospital kitchens, has continued to place regular orders, but has cut back on the frequency in which the company uses the ingredient so it has a stockpile, Modern Healthcare explained. Using this method, the company hasn't seen too many setbacks, but others may not have the same experience.

Eggs needed for vaccine creation
In health care, eggs aren't just for consumption. Many of the vaccines people receive actually started out in the shelled food. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers use millions of fertilized eggs annually just for flu vaccines. Virus strains are injected into the eggs and are incubated for several days to allow the germs to grow. The virus is then harvested and purified. While there are other means of creating vaccines and other medications, egg use is the tried-and-true method.

Fortunately, egg procurement largely hasn't been a problem for vaccine manufacturers. These companies generally maintain their own chickens, whose eggs are only used for medical purposes, Reuters explained. However, while they don't have to worry about having no eggs to use, they face threats from the avian flu. The virus can be carried in people's systems, on their clothes or on their skin. While they won't show symptoms, they can still pass the avian flu on to the animals in their care. If one bird becomes infected in these facilities, other chickens will likely eventually catch the disease as well. A contaminated lab could be detrimental for medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies have stepped up their security and are continuing to monitor the spread of the virus. Biosafety standards have been reinforced to ensure their chickens are safe as well. The FDA also regularly checks these development facilities to make sure they are in top shape, according to Modern Healthcare.

The egg shortage and the avian flu are affecting various industries in the U.S. By containing the infected birds and curbing the spread of the virus, the rest of the supply chain will hopefully remain untouched.

Today’s post is a continuation of our slowly developing series “Alternative Solutions for Staffing Procurement and Sourcing Positions” that we started a couple of months back. Today we’re discussing another alternative solution that can help fill the gaps in your procurement and sourcing groups. This post will talk about ways to maximize the use of newer, less experienced resources, training them to be experts and how to ensure that subject matter experts be more focused on delivering value to the organization rather than doing tactical work.

It is always a positive vibe to walk into an organization that has already recognized need and has already established a dedicated sourcing team. However, far too often do we see the structures of those teams constructed in a way that restricts the results that the team could produce under optimal conditions. More specifically, it’s not uncommon to see subject matter experts and category managers that are exclusively dedicated to a singular commodity (or spend category). These category managers tend to source their commodities very well, have learned the ins and outs of the bid process and negotiation levers, but don’t have a lot of time outside of their defined categories to get involved anywhere else or to help the organization on a broader level. While these SMEs might have some general templates and a common sourcing technology platform that they share across categories, the reality is most of them are disconnected from what other resources are doing in the company as a whole as well as other sourcing groups, and are often not taking advantage of resources appropriately in order to maximize efficiency and ultimate achieve savings targets faster.

I would call this type of company one that is stuck in “Category Manager Mentality”. It’s not entirely different than when you try to approach a new department who hasn’t yet adopted strategic sourcing (like HR or Marketing) and are told that you don’t understand the commodity, approach, history, uniqueness, and are basically told to go away. Category managers can often be just as bad, “sourcing our category is unique”, “we can’t use the standard process”, “I have too many other, bigger, projects going on, can’t get involved in a new one”. Being trapped in category-driven sourcing group is a horribly inefficient use of resources; and these types of businesses must change the way work is allocated and resources are utilized. In fact, as a consultant, we know there are often huge savings opportunities in sourcing groups that have become compartmentalized; as they frequently never go after the other 20-30% of spend that doesn’t fall within their category management structure.

What I’m speaking about here is moving to a shared services model, or a center of excellence. Instead of having a series of commodity managers exclusively in charge of managing spend in a singular commodity (IT, Marketing, Raw Materials, Indirects, etc), modern sourcing groups have a shared resource pool that maximizes the talents of individuals, develops new individuals, maximizes the efficiencies of the current resource pool, and ultimately allows you to achieve savings faster. This is how we do it in the consulting world. Everyone has a solid understanding of the process, tools, and sourcing model, but specialists are assigned at a task level. This means identifying the talents and skills of individuals, separating that from commodity subject matter expertise and sharing common resources to get the job done.
  • Do you have an IT sourcing person who is a wiz at generating macros in Excel? 
  • Do you have a marketing sourcing SME who is incredibly organized and develops RFPs that have better than average response rates?  
  • Do you have an “old timer” who isn’t very tech savvy, but is a master in the art of the negotiation? 
  • Are you utilizing them to their fullest extent, or are these resources dedicated to a department or commodity and focused on achieving their individual targets?
Instead of locking people into a commodity, or a specific series of projects (with big contracts) each year; focus on understanding the individual talents of each person in your group and capitalizing on their strengths. Assign that negotiator a seat at every big negotiation (regardless of commodity area) to help lead the strategy, don’t burn precious hours of their time having them manipulate RFP response data in Excel when they’ll simply never be that quick at it. Utilize that IT commodity manager who is good at Excel and have each person explain the tasks that take too long to complete (like comparing multi-line item bids) and ask them to develop a solution. Learn why your marketing person writes good RFPs, or have them proof, edit and create the strategy/format for your next RFP in another department. Many companies are taking an approach of having one or two Subject Matter Experts for big-spend categories and using a shared resource pool of generalists (excel experts, writing experts, research experts) to get the job done.

The great thing about this model is that you don’t have to find high-cost (in-demand) procurement experts to get the work done. Any decent fresh out of school accounting major, economics, or statistics major can do you heavy lifting in analysis, and inexpensive journalism and composition majors can be used to draft your RFPs. There’s no need for an $80K, $100K, or $150K resource to be doing this type of work. Those expensive resources should be considered leaders. Their focus must be on strategy, reviewing work, delegating work and getting as many sourcing initiatives off the ground as possible. These leaders should be utilizing a team of tactical resources to do the heavy lifting. These tactical resources will become the learners.

Training and Retaining

First, the bad news. According to a recent HBR study, high achievers that are on average 30 years old, have good work ethic and demonstrable work credentials leave employers on average after only 2.5 years. So why invest in someone who is just going to leave you after they learn, right?

Well, let’s look at the good news. According to Naseem Malik, Captain of Industry at MRA Global, these same workers tend to have fast growth and development, find multitasking easy, are able to be big-picture focused thinkers, value technology and are not intimidated by position or job title. In other words, they are the ideal candidates to take over the previously mentioned analysis and transactional activities.

It’s much easier to train new resources on how to use templates, conduct analysis, and follow a standardized procedure than it is in developing subject matter expertise that might walk out of the door as soon as it is learned. In fact, it’s an easy place to insert students and interns into the process; so you can test their skills while they test their career path (and your company).

I’m not saying that all new-hires should be locked into number crunching or drafting RFPs, but that is a good place to start. The confident self-starters will use the opportunity to improve on your processes, templates, spreadsheets. Let them! A fresh set of eyes to a tired way of doing things often can produce valuable results.

It’s not as easy of just pushing the grunt work downstream though. Keep in mind that these resources do want to grow, and don’t want to be locked to a cubicle running Excel macros for life. They will require constant feedback and direction and must feel that their contribution is meaningful to the business (such is the generalized characteristic of the millennials). In many cases, you’ll find them to be a bit needy.

On the other hand, the motivated ones will want to learn more, improve your company, and grow with your organization. This means, that with time, you introduce them to the strategic roles of your business, the category expertise that you have; and let them help you pick the direction of what their future will be in the business.

Get rid of those old structured HR manuals that walk people through outdated corporate culture and make sure your training programs are fluid. You may have to reinvent your training process, and even how your teams operate as a whole. As you’ve done with job functions; break the tactical (using tools and defined templates) trainings away from the strategic (personal, one-on-one, hands on, subject matter expertise). At the end of the day, you should be able to build a functional team that can handle more projects quickly, and that is able to better adjust workloads when an individual leaves unexpected. With more time and a little bit of empowerment, these learners will become the next leaders (and trainers) for your organization.
Security measures protect health care supply chain

Health care is a large industry. Doctors, nurses and patients aren't the only ones who can be found in hospitals and doctors' offices. There are also various pharmaceutical representatives, technology service providers, insurers, hospital management staff and office maintenance workers, among others. The medical supply chain is a long one. However, with so many people coming in and out of these facilities, hospitals and practices need protocols to keep everyone safe both physically and digitally.

Background checks keep patients and providers safe
Unless someone's a permanent staff member, it can be hard to recognize people coming in and out of a health care facility. The day-to-day visitors, staff rotations and patients are always changing, and this can lead to a relaxed security system. Unfortunately, when this happens, these facilities are putting both patients and medical professionals at risk. If people who are entering cannot be trusted, then there could be problems regarding safety, Supply Chain Digital contributor Chris Luoma explained.

This can also cause compliance issues, as many government organizations have guidelines in place to protect patients and health care providers from outside dangers. According to Luoma, managers at medical facilities can only do business with credentialed vendors, which means they could face penalties if they choose the wrong ones. Uncertified businesses may prove to be untrustworthy, and if they have access to patient and staff records, they could put people at risk. When they pick companies that follow all rules and regulations, health care providers can protect patients and the business, receive reimbursements from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and comply with all guidelines.

To make these decisions, hospitals and private physicians' practices need in-depth information about individual vendors before purchasing any supplies, Luoma explained. They must know who is certified and who isn't. They can get these details from government organizations, but they should also maintain their own records. This will have all the companies they have done business with and will let them know which ones to be wary of. All of these details should be kept in one shared document or folder so that everyone in the the facility can have access to it. 

Internet increases risks for health care facilities 
Medical facilities face potential threats from both their vendors and Internet users. Since former U.S. President George W. Bush announced the move to electronic health records in 2008, patient information may be ripe for the taking. EHRs make it easier for various organizations to share data, but it can also open up these documents to hackers, DOTmed contributor Kurt Mueffelmann claimed.

Health care services need to ensure their online security is completely updated and that policies are in place in the event of a cyberattack. According to Mueffelmann, certain software have capabilities aside from basic virus protection that help monitor electronic safety. The auditing and reporting features scan documents and compliance guidelines and alerts officials if there are any discrepancies in their systems. Files can also be classified based on its need for privacy, and then either restricted or encrypted to ensure only authorized people can open them.

Hospitals, doctors' offices, insurance providers and vendors have access to an abundance of private information about facility functions, staff and patient data, and security. Without the proper measures being taken in the supply chain, these places can put people's personal data at risk. When various protocols are in place both physically and online, medical facilities can be safer for everyone.

Source One Round Up: July 27, 2015

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


When it comes to attracting top procurement and supply management talent, the on-boarding process is only the beginning. Today's talent is asking more from employers in terms of personal development, recognition, and work-life balance. So, what steps can employers take to help retain their talent? This past week, Source One Project Analyst and talent management enthusiast, Peter Portanova shares insights into key programs employers should consider for driving ongoing engagement.

You've completed your RFP (Request for Proposal), now it's time to decide on a supplier and place the orders. But, have you paused to consider the next critical step: Negotiating the price with market indices as a driving factor? Source One Project Analyst, Tinamarie Rintye explains the three major areas of consideration when developing a strategy to negotiate a price or service, while improving relationships with your supplier base. 
Hackers threaten Internet-connected cars

When people buy computers, one of the first things they do is download virus protection. Even seemingly innocent websites and emails can contain malware, spyware and other cyberthreats that target personal information and documents. They want their systems to be as safe as possible so they install software to protect it. 

However, in today's increasingly connected society, more than just computers are in danger. Anything with cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection - such as smartphones or tablets - can easily be hacked. Unfortunately, there's a device that is even more at risk. With cars' new computer systems, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection, the know-how to do so and a bit of software coding can take control out of owners' hands. Manufacturers will have to incorporate more testing into the supply chain to figure out how to stop these cyberattacks from occurring. 

Cars open to cyberattacks
With people wanting access to their mobile applications at all times, it only made sense for manufacturers to give them those capabilities while driving. Now, cars are connected to the Internet and share cellular data on family phone plans. However, this leaves them open to attack.

In a study in 2011, researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California at San Diego hacked into a sedan's computer system to disable the locks and brakes. They also determined that the radio, GPS system and real-time monitoring devices can be completely taken over with a phone call to the vehicle's system.

Currently, another study is reaching its final stages. In 2012, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek started researching to expand on the universities' study. They learned about cars' systems inside and out, and, within the next year, they were able to hack into the electronic control units while connected to the vehicles, Wired explained. Since then, the researchers have discovered how to wirelessly take over some car models, and they found that distance doesn't matter when it comes to hacking. As long as they had an Internet connection, Miller and Valasek were able to detect cars around the U.S. They could plot map points of drivers' locations and control the radio, wipers, and heating and cooling system. Miller and Valasek could even cut the engine if they chose to. Nothing was safe from their computers.

Government taking steps to protect drivers
The 2011 researchers didn't publish specifics about the make and model of the car, but Miller and Valasek had no qualms about doing so. They felt that manufacturers had enough time to make securer systems, yet the businesses didn't do enough to protect the computers from cyberattacks, Wired claimed. The researchers will publish their findings with the hope that it will force manufacturers to step up security.

The federal government has the same beliefs. After reading Valasek and Miller's study, Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal have proposed legislation that will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to establish guidelines to protect drivers. The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act will call for protection at all potential entry points and will require systems to block attacks and alert companies and drivers of hacking attempts. The SPY Car Act will also establish a dashboard that will inform car owners of each models' security capabilities.

"Drivers shouldn't have to choose between being connected and being protected," Markey explained in the statement. "We need clear rules of the road that protect cars from hackers and American families from data trackers. This legislation will set minimum standards and transparency rules to protect the data, security and privacy of drivers in the modern age of increasingly connected vehicles."

Car manufacturers have missed a crucial step in the supply chain to ensure their vehicles are safe. While testing for durability of products' individual parts, such as steering and braking, they will also need to start evaluating the security of their computer systems.

New procurement method may cut education costs

If people know anything about college, it's that it's expensive - sometimes overwhelmingly so. Paying for school was manageable for some people only a few decades ago, but, now, many students need to apply for loans and scholarships to even come close to covering the bill. According to the College Board's Trends in Higher Education report, the average cost of tuition for both private and public colleges and universities significantly increased in the past decade.

If the prices continue to rise, students may no longer be able to afford to continue their education. It remains in the hands of university officials to help these young people attend college. Through adopting new procurement procedures, schools may be able to reduce the cost of tuition.

What is center-led procurement?
Secondary education facilities are comprised of several different departments, and each of those has various subcategories that department heads need to accommodate. The needs throughout the school change depending on which section students and professors are in. Procurement methods should meet all everyone's requirements.

The two popular processes - centralized and decentralized - have both benefits and disadvantages. Centralized operations simplify ordering. One office or official is designated as the person who does all the purchasing. However, this can leave the individual departments without the supplies they need, ChainLink Research claimed. The focus remains on the school as a whole. Decentralized procurement has the opposite effect. The buying power is in the hands of the departments. They have the freedom to purchase what they need. Unfortunately, schools may go over budget with so many people having free reign of the finances.

Center-led procurement is the best of both worlds - one centralized unit is doing the spending, but key individuals contribute to the decision-making process, eSourcing Forum explained. People from each department are allowed to share their thoughts, describe their needs and participate in the discussion. This eliminates excess spending and ensures that all university divisions have what they require.

Why do schools need center-led procurement?
The educational supply chain expands across many industries and areas. Colleges and universities receive money from the federal government, students and their families, donors, and scholarship organizations. This funding is then put toward ensuring students and faculty members enjoy their experiences while attending or working at the school. However, this goal can result in exorbitant expenses if departments and offices don't work together.

The center-led model allows people to share in the decision-making, which means the organization doesn't purchase extra supplies. Instead, the groups participate in "strategic sourcing," Supply & Demand Chain Executive contributor Steven Lutzer claimed. Together, the various departments can decide what expenses are crucial and which areas could handle budget cuts. They'll be able to weigh the pros and cons of their purchases and consolidate expenditures so that nothing is bought that they don't need.

While schools and students won't see the effects immediately, their returns on investment will be worth it. When colleges and universities begin to cut costs, the institutions will see their overall savings start to increase. Eventually, they'll be able to lower their costs of tuition and may see more students enrolling in school.

Aviation industry experiences worker shortage in supply chain

If you had to choose a super power, what would it be? Would it be invisibility or maybe strength? No matter what you decide on, the ability to fly was probably a worthy contender. The freedom to soar among the clouds without a care and to easily get from point A to point B appeals to many people. Dreams of flight led to the creation of the airplane, allowing humans to know how birds feel.

Unfortunately, not as many people are sharing that aspiration as they were in the past, and the aviation industry is experiencing a shortage of workers that will only increase as time passes.

Airline forecast looks grim
In its 2015 Pilot and Technician Outlook, The Boeing Company predicted that there won't be enough pilots and technicians to manage the anticipated 38,000 airplanes to be added by 2025. To meet demand, global services will need more than 1 million new commercial pilots and technicians by 2034. Schools and businesses will need to take steps to increase interest and awareness of these positions.

"The challenge of meeting the global demand for airline professionals will not be solved by one company alone," Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services, said in a press release. "Aircraft manufacturers, airlines, training equipment manufacturers, training delivery organizations, regulatory agencies and educational institutions are all stepping up to meet the increasing need to train and certify pilots and technicians."

According to the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act, pilots are required to retire once they reach 65 years of age. Once they hit 60, they need to have another pilot with them under that age. The Aviation Week Network reported that, because of these criteria, approximately 20,000 positions will become available in the next seven years. While these openings should go toward the most experienced pilots, that's not always the case. The supply chain doesn't flow evenly. Instead, it jumps around and allows newer aviators to take the helm of main airplanes, which results in regional services to have worker shortages.

Education requirements may push away aspiring pilots
Becoming a pilot in the U.S. requires a lot of time, effort and money. Aviation schools and programs are expensive, and many students are in debt when they graduate, Aviation Week Network explained. The country also requires a minimum of 1,000 flight hours for people to earn their pilot license. However, this isn't the case in all countries. The Asia-Pacific region allows recent graduates to take over the controls without the minimum hour criteria. This benefits the area, as Asia-Pacific will require nearly half of the new pilots and technicians in the next 20 years, according to Boeing.

Unfortunately, this may leave other students feeling dismayed, and many newly licensed individuals could believe the costs of flight school wasn't worth it. Starting as a regional pilot only earns them a $30,000 per year salary, while their counterparts at major airlines may make up to $150,000, Aviation Week Network reported. This results in graduates applying for positions at larger companies to earn the bigger salaries to both pay off debts and fulfill their aspirations.

The supply chain may have to be adjusted to build interest in aviation among the younger generations. If potential employees know they'll be stuck working lower salary jobs while paying off college loans, they may change their career goals. Worker procurement may continue to face difficulties until bottlenecks in the workflow are figured out.

Construction on the rise, but facing worker shortage

The construction industry rises and falls with the U.S. economy. When the Great Recession began affecting the country in 2007, building saw a similar downtown. However, once the government worked its way out of the red, construction started booming, so much that there aren't enough workers to cover all the jobs coming their way now. To take on all the responsibilities presented to them, construction companies will need to rethink their supply chain.

Worker shortage causing delays in construction
When construction is on the rise, the economy reflects it. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, construction spending has risen to an all-time high since 2008 to $1.035 trillion, Equipment World reported. That's more than an 8 percent increase since last year. The number of building jobs are increasing, as well as the need for skilled workers.

Unfortunately, the latter may be a problem. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, approximately 83 percent of construction firms can't find the help they need, Equipment World reported. Several states have more clients coming in than their employee totals can handle. When the Great Recession hit, many skilled workers left the industry and didn't return once the economy turned around, The Seattle Times explained. This has left many companies scrambling to hire subcontractors and any available workers to complete jobs.

Washington's unemployment rate dropped from 6.1 percent to 5.3 percent in the past year, and the state is only second to Utah in job growth, the source reported. However, the construction firms in the state now have more openings than people to fill them. Shannon Affholter of Master Builders Association told the Times that people might be wary of the industry, as they aren't sure if the construction boom will last. According to the Nashville Ledger, it could take four to five years for the industry to fully recover, but companies don't have that long to recruit talent.

New recruitment processes answer to shortage
The key to eliminating the shortage of workers is to start at the beginning of the supply chain. Construction firms need to renew interest in the industry by targeting the younger generations. However, this may be a little harder than it was in the past. Companies departed from the union system approximately 35 years ago, according to Bill Canton, the chief operating officer of the Alabama chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, in an op-ed piece for Al.com. Unfortunately, this is how many firms recruited and educated their workers. Luckily, the AGC isn't letting this prevent their efforts.

In 2015, the Alabama AGC worked with the state's congress to pass the Construction Industry Craft Training Act, which will help raise funds to go toward educating future construction workers, Canton explained. The legislation will supplement the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute's Go Build campaign, which works to recruit people for the industry. The AGC expects the act to bring in $3 million to $5 million annually.

The southern state isn't the only one in the nation to establish new means of recruiting. AGC chapters in various other regions are doing the same. Nebraska created BuildOurNebraska.com to serve as a one-stop resource for both current and aspiring contractors. The site provides links to and information on job postings, scholarships and education programs. BuildOurNebraska.com offers versions for parents, teachers and students to give as many people as possible the details they need about the industry.

Earlier this year, Tennessee - where most workers are older than 50 - also established the Go Build Tennessee Act to create a statewide program to educate and foster students' interest in construction, according to the Memphis Business Journal.

To develop all sections of the supply chain equally, the construction industry needs to start with the younger generations. By recruiting new workers, firms will be able to recruit and sustain the workflow.

Egg shortage calls for change in the supply chain

What came first - the chicken or the egg? People have been racking their brains to solve this dilemma for ages. The United States may just have the answer, though it didn't come from a positive situation. There are plenty of chickens, but no eggs. The country is experiencing a nation-wide shortage of the delectable breakfast foods and will need to import eggs to meet demand.

Avian flu's impact on the economy
The agricultural sector has had its ups and downs, but its current down is serious enough to command the attention of news channels across the country. Three deadly strains of avian influenza have infected American birds everywhere. Since December, nearly 50 million birds have died from the disease, and most of those were egg-laying chickens, National Geographic reported. The virus has been found on commercial farms and in the wild in 15 states and Canada and has made its way from California to the Midwest, where most of the eggs are produced. According to the Boston Globe, the Department of Agriculture has identified more than 200 cases of the disease.

Prices have nearly doubled for both consumers and businesses. Since the beginning of May, wholesale eggs have jumped from $1.24 to $2.55, and store-bought dozens can be as much as $5 each, the Globe reported. Companies, such as When Pigs Fly Bakery and Sweet Tooth Bakery, have seen their weekly bills skyrocket, a $650 and $45 increase, respectively.

At the moment, businesses may be experiencing more downfalls than consumers. Eggs are sold in two different forms - liquid and shell. The latter are the ones you find in the grocery store, but liquid eggs are used by countless companies to create their products, Logistics Viewpoints explained. Most of the avian flu deaths have been at liquid egg facilities, which have caused prices to jump 240 percent since May. Two-thirds of eggs in the U.S. come in shell form, so consumers' prices haven't increased too much, but they should expect to face shortages in the near future.

Changes needed for disease to disappear
In an attempt to quell the problem, the U.S. will look to global sourcing. The nation will receive its eggs from several countries in Europe, including France, Spain and the Netherlands. However, this may prove difficult as regulations vary between the countries, Reuters reported. European egg producers will need special licenses to be able to export to the U.S. Hopefully, once they've received proper allowance, these countries will be able to supplement the nation's production.

However, situations like these may call for a restructuring of the entire supply chain. The close confines the animals are kept in allow the virus to spread easily, which leads to the destruction of entire farms. Brad Moline, a turkey farmer in Iowa, lost his 56,000 turkeys to avian flu and - by extension - two-thirds of their yearly income, according to National Geographic. The birds were kept in 12 barns, which would put nearly 5,000 turkeys in each.

Several agricultural organizations have considered developing a vaccine against the virus. However, that could be just as detrimental. The U.S. exports poultry to other countries, but those locations refuse to accept vaccinated birds, the source claimed. While they may not show symptoms, the chicken and turkeys may still carry the disease, which means they could spread it to other unvaccinated animals. This could lose the U.S. $3 billion in trade revenue.

The loss may not be the worst that could happen. The American economy has already lost $3.3 billion because of the avian flu, and the damage is not expected to stop anytime soon. Analysts have determined that the cause of the virus is wild birds from Canada migrating to the U.S. When people, objects and other animals come into contact with those birds, they transmit the disease. Once the fall comes around, more cases may be discovered unless measures are taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Can US-based fracking improve the supply chain?

Gas and oil prices are always changing. Prior to the hydraulic fracturing surge in the United States, the nation had to resort to global sourcing to meet demand. However, this could be costly for both the government and the people residing in the country. Some people believe that fracking can benefit the U.S. economy. Oil and gas companies have taken this a step further to make the supply chain even more efficient.

Fracking improves economy
Fracking has its critics. The process involves drilling into the Earth and shooting water, chemicals and sand at high velocities into the hole to create fissures in the shale. It's been linked to allegedly contaminating drinking water, polluting the planet and causing earthquakes, the Global Energy Initiative reported. The overabundance of methane production may eliminate any benefits gained from replacing coal-fueled power plants with natural gas.

However, the chances of these events occurring are small, and the positives just may outweigh the negatives. Having natural gas derived from local sources has stabilized the energy economy, lowering costs and standardizing prices for consumers, SCM World explained. Strategic sourcing of fracking may even create new jobs and revitalize the U.S. economy. According to the Boston Consulting Group, all parts of the supply chain benefit from the process. Thanks to the abundant supply of natural gas, capital investments in chemical production totaled $130 billion from 2010 to 2015, while chemical manufacturing will add $10 billion to $21 billion to the economy.

New process speeds up gas production
Unfortunately, fracking is expensive. Installing a new well can cost $8 billion, Manufacturing.net reported. These newly drilled shales also see a 70 percent decrease in production within the first year. Luckily, drillers have come up with a new way to make the process more cost-effective and increase the speed and collection of natural gas.

Refracking involves drillers returning to already existing wells to repeat the fracking process over again. It not only costs $6 million less than a new well, but there's also a 60 percent recovery rate on re-tapping old wells, according to the source. These wells could last for at least 50 years if regularly re-stimulated, Bloomberg reported. Once they've exhausted those resources, workers can move onto drilling more.

IHS Inc. estimated that refracked wells may make up 11 percent of the fracking process by 2020, according to Bloomberg. However, it also may come with more risks. By re-tapping a well, drillers may over-stimulate the shale, which can result in its destruction. There could be more room for error as well, and the environment may face negative effects.

Refracking is in its early stages. Only a few drilling companies have experimented with the process, while others have their doubts. By refining fracking, these business and the economy may see a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.

Expanding the supply chain to outer space

Zenon Carr made living in space seem like a piece of cake. The "Girl of the 21st Century" could easily travel from the space station to Earth nearly as effortlessly as you can travel to the grocery store.  While the Disney TV movie may have idealized intergalactic living, it could very well be a possibility in the distant future. With a few changes to the supply chain, getting people and goods from the ground to the moon may not be too far away.

Testing for safety
Every space mission needs a rocket ship. Astronauts won't get anywhere without one. However, it can't be any spacecraft you see in movies. So missions don't end up like Apollo 13, manufacturers need to ensure their ships are fully operational. Just like with any vehicle on Earth, these modes of transportation need to undergo rigorous testing and evaluations. Unlike cars, however, rockets cannot easily get help if something goes wrong.

Three astronauts had to delay their voyage to the International Space Station because of a failed cargo mission to the same destination, Agence France-Presse explained. In April, the cargo ship lost all communication with Earth and burned up in the atmosphere. Russia, which had built both the lost vehicle and the new one, proceeded to ground all spacecraft until it could determine the problem and evaluate the rest of the ships.

"Right now we are very, very ready," Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui explained to the source. "I know that the Soyuz is a very reliable, safe ship. I believe that our launch will be the safest launch ever."

With all tests occurring throughout the supply chain and before use, the spacecraft should theoretically experience no problems.

Expanding the supply chain
Space travel is expensive. According to an infographic from Florida Tech University Online, one mission costs $450 billion. Unfortunately, the supplies needed for these trips don't help the costs. Just one gallon of water requires $690,000 to send it to the moon. If astronauts at the International Space Station need to replenish their stocks, they'll have to figure in the time and money it will take to get items to them.

Unlike Earthlings, who can easily receive products they require for generally reasonable prices, space voyagers require a much longer supply chain. Purchasing goods isn't as simple as going to the store. However, Jason Dunn, the chief technology officer at Made in Space, believes he may have the solution. Last year, his company sent a 3-D printer to the International Space Station to experiment with manufacturing products on-site as opposed to shipping them from Earth, Manufacturing.net reported. The printer can receive orders from the ground and create the objects for the people in space.

Dunn and Made in Space wanted to create a system that would allow astronauts to have everything they needed. Initial packing for trips can only get them so far. The company designed a 3-D printer that would work in zero gravity.

"Today we treat space like a camping trip," Dunn said during his presentation at the 2015 RAPID conference for 3-D systems. "Everything we design for space has to fit in a cylinder. In fact, everything we design for space is designed for launch. We're really over-engineering. We're not truly designing just for space."

Global sourcing may have its own problems, but intergalactic shipping has issues too. Supply chains need to run smoothly both on the ground and in space to allow for safe and efficient missions. If this is accomplished, then people may be living like Zenon soon enough.

How can you improve your shipping methods?

Production is going great. The materials arrived on time and in pristine condition, the assembly line is ahead of schedule and the quality is looking perfect. You've managed to avoid any issues that may come with creating a product. However, what happens when it's out of your hands and the items are in transport to distribution centers?

Commute times are at record highs and are only continuing to lengthen, according to Harvard Business Review. That's not even just on the roads. Trains and waterways are just as busy, and air transport is nowhere near adequate. With your business depending on reliable transportation at either end of the supply chain, you'll need to determine which system is right for your company.

The problems with traditional shipping
According to the Boston Consulting Group's 2015 Supply Chain Benchmarking Study, more than 80 percent of business leaders worry about the transportation of their goods. The industry pays approximately $15.5 billion annually for the distribution of their items. Yet, that system is still unreliable. There are truck driver shortages and high turnover rates. Gas prices are in a constant state of fluctuation and road congestion is always an issue.

Unfortunately, these setbacks in shipping also mean delays delivering to customers. With fewer trucks spending more time in stop-and-go traffic, the travel time from factories to distribution centers and then to stores or consumers will take much longer, the source explained. The cost of shipping increased by 14 percent since 2012, which means companies may have to slow production to cover those extra expenses.

Solutions to save time and money
Retailers cannot expect these problems to go away. As both the global population and consumer demands increase, efficient transportation is a priority. Businesses must work to improve their supply chains and create a more reliable shipping system.

  • Streamline workflows - There are various departments and sections involved in the production of merchandise. However, if there are redundancies or if all areas don't work together, your supply chain is going to be a mess. By simplifying your workflow, you'll be able to more quickly get the product to where it needs to be, Harvard Business Review explained. You should solve any bottlenecks holding up production and eliminate any repetitiveness throughout the process.
  • Partner up - Managing a business on your own can be pricey and time consuming. However, by working with other suppliers, consumers and retailers, you'll be able to reduce both of those problems, Boston Consulting Group claimed. Customers can pick up their products at stores instead of having them shipped to their houses. You can share truck or warehouse space with other businesses so that you also split delivery expenses. Retailers may be able to help predict product demand and you can ensure you have enough on hand.
  • Switch it up - Roads can get overwhelmingly packed. Shippers don't have a monopoly over the roadways, meaning they'll have to share the highways with consumers. There are plenty of other options you can use to deliver your items to distribution centers and customers. The waterways, railroads and air freights all offer reasonable alternatives. Those also have traffic, but if you do your research, you'll be able to find the best modes of transportation to use. However, according to Boston Consulting Group, 63 percent of companies expect to use intermodal systems, which means even those options can get crowded.

While parts of the supply chain may have their problems, they can be managed with the right measures. By planning ahead and using alternative shipping methods, companies may be able to reduce their costs in this increasingly expensive world.

Why should you slow down the supply chain?

When it comes to their products, consumers have high expectations. They want their goods when and where they expect them. The general population doesn't like to be kept waiting, whether they're sitting in a doctor's office or standing in line at the store. This demand calls for businesses to step up their game, but speeding up the supply chain can actually cause more problems than benefits.

Insufficient tests lead to errors
If you've watched or read the news lately, you've probably heard about several manufacturers recalling vehicles because of faulty airbags. You may also know about Maine-based Barber Foods recalling nearly 2 million pounds of poultry believed to be contaminated with salmonella. This is the second chicken recall by this company this month. If products don't go through rigorous testing, they could be put on the market before they're ready.

Unfortunately, in today's society, that happens more than it should. According to IndustryWeek, it's not uncommon for companies to skip an extra test before releasing items to the public. Businesses may see larger returns for getting merchandise in stores earlier than anticipated, which causes them to push for a speedy production line. However, this can be dangerous for both consumers and companies.

Without final testing, organizations can miss an issue in their products. When these items get to their buyers, they could cause problems. Faulty airbags can lead to injuries and fatalities, while contaminated chicken may make people severely ill. Even if the mistakes don't prove that serious, they can still lead to inadequate products.

Quality checks improve customer safety, satisfaction
Consumers hand over money with the expectation that they'll receive satisfactory products in return. However, if businesses don't perform quality checks, they're going to have a lot of unhappy customers. They may gain bad reputations and lose clientele if the problems persist, the Aveta Business Institute explained. On the other hand, if people love their purchases, they'll likely share their experiences with others, which will drive more traffic to those companies.

Quality control checks are crucial, and they should be done at all points in the supply chain, the source claimed. There need to be criteria that the products are required to meet at each part of the process. Organizations can bring in outside agencies or perform in-house testing during all stages of production to ensure quality. Companies can conduct customer surveys or call previous buyers to determine how these items are being used and how well they're working. If possible, businesses may use beta testing with just a select group of consumers before releasing products to everyone.

According to IndustryWeek, companies shouldn't be afraid to slow down their supply chains if necessary. While they don't need to bring the speed to a grinding halt, they require have sufficient time to perform tests, gather data and correct any issues long before the products near distribution. Businesses should be able to predict any inefficiencies before something goes wrong.

Today's society may call for its favorite products when it wants them, but that doesn't mean companies should sacrifice quality and safety to do so. By performing the proper tests, businesses can ensure that once their items are on the market, they stay there.