Demo contact

BellWether Blog

banner

Blog

SMBs Should Take Queues from Large Businesses

Often, SMB (Small to Medium Businesses) do not consider operating at the same level as large businesses with divisions such as human resources, operations and accounting. This is because most small to medium businesses consider these ideas and departments unnecessary without having enough personnel to fill these departments. However, one thing that should be kept in mind is that if large businesses are rethinking their strategies, then SMB’s should also do the same. While they may not have millions of dollars at risk like large corporations, it is still a good idea to think about using new strategies that will produce real results for them. Purchasing strategy is one area for businesses of any size who are thinking about changing their old strategies and switching into a more effective one.

A research made by CPO Exchange revealed that 83% of senior professionals agreed that they have to “rethink their procurement strategies” to put their business into a better position in the present market. The research also found that senior purchasers are finding areas such as stakeholder management and risk management more important in today’s economy. Aside from this, 69% of respondents recognized supplier risk management and procurement risk management as the main priorities. Surprisingly, reducing risk has become a higher priority than cutting expenses with only 57% of the respondents prioritizing cost reduction. The research also revealed that 39% of purchasers want to restructure various processes by employing procurement technologies that streamline processes while 45% aim to enhance stakeholder management.

As a small business owner, it’s important to take note of what large businesses are doing so you can benefit from their large R&D budgets. If they are making changes and rethinking strategy, without costly research, these are queues you can follow in your business. Whatever your business size, you can definitely benefit from employing risk management in your business. This will help you reduce any types of business threats and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. This strategy will also help you deliver projects on time as well as keep it within your budget. If you own a small or medium-sized business and you think that your current strategy does not work, it is the right time to rethink about your strategy to make sure that your business will continue to operate. 

Since the operating environment is always bound to changes, it is also important to look for new ways on how you can keep up with these developments. Large businesses are always after the newest trends in the market so that they can cater to the needs of their clients. Social media sites and other forms of marketing are commonly used by businesses. Big corporations are also taking advantage of the popularity of these strategies, but they keep on thinking of new ways to make their products or services always look fresh to their customers. SMB’s should do the same and make sure that their offers will be remembered by their target audience. If a business owner thinks that his current strategy lost its charm and is no longer producing an acceptable ROI, then he or she should move on and find another one that can bring back the interest of his clients. By taking queues from large corporations, SMB’s can definitely make some changes and improvements to help grow and expand in a tough economy.

 

 

November 29, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
Moving from Traditional Purchasing Software to Cloud-Based Software

Most organizations, especially small to medium businesses, should have a system got purchasing. This is to prevent them from encountering problems that are related to control, issuing as well as monitoring associated documentation and purchase orders. Many of them still use the traditional method or the manual formation and approval method which can lead to incorrect ordering, delays and in several instances, incorrect payments. For instance, a purchase order system which is a paper-based can generate all types of concerns within a business especially if you have no control on the involved processes. Incomplete information can result in interruption of services and the department of finance has restricted visibility in terms of the business’s financial accountability.

By using purchasing software, it offers numerous advantages to the organizations that use this software rather than the manual systems. This works by assisting the companies to manage their exposure to cash flow and forecasting of supplier payments.  Purchasing software is available in the market in wide varieties. This purchase order software also comes in software packages which are intended for a particular purpose. Although the options are plenty, choosing the best software is quite a tedious task because you are not certain on what you need in certain package.

What is Cloud-Based Purchase Order Software and it’s Benefits?

Among the many purchasing software available, probably the best choice is the cloud-based purchase software. This cloud system is considered a better system compared to the conventional software options because it makes the procedures simple, eradicate unnecessary components and is very cost-effective. You can also set-up the software for different departments and multiple websites in a quick manner without requiring the service of the Information Technology department. Cloud systems are also reasonably priced as it allows customization based on your needs and eliminates other aspects that your company does not need.

Small to medium businesses such small hospitals, doctor offices, governments, hotels find a cloud-based purchasing system to be the perfect fit.  It only requires a bit of training and you can easily obtain control of your purchasing process in no time. With cloud-based purchase order software, you can set your budgets limits, force numerous approvals and provide real-time expenditures reports. In addition, cloud-based purchase software also saves all history in a single place without requiring you to install something in the computer. This means that small businesses facing aging technology that may fail have one less thing to worry about with regard to records for business supplies; you are assured that all important pieces of information are in a secure place on a remote server that is also backed up. Unlike the traditional software installed in the office, it is also perfect for various locations as it can be remotely accessed through any Smartphone, tablet or other popular internet-ready device.

Cloud-based purchasing software, often referred to as SAAS (Software as a Service), is considered as one of the fastest emerging features of cloud computing.  It is a delivering the software your business needs through remote access of a web-based service. It allows different businesses particularly the smaller ones to obtain the rights in using specific software. With SAAS (Software as a Service), the businesses pay an affordable fee (monthly, quarterly or annually) instead of buying a software system that requires hardware upgrades, an IT department, in-house servers and backups among other things. For the small to medium business utilizing Software as a Service in the cloud is the right solution.

November 27, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
Has Your Business Upgraded from Paper-Based Purchase Orders?

When it comes to business, changes will take place from time to time and staying updated is a necessity. Common sense? For some, but surprisingly enough there are still certain things that every business owner finds a comfortable zone and stays there. The ability to be flexible and adapt to these changes in order to sustain the normal operation of your business is key. One of those common sense areas that is often very comfortable not to change is the management of purchase orders. Many companies around the country still use a paper-based system. Today’s businesses, even small and medium size business will be able to achieve an improved operation process by upgrading to purchasing software. This tool will let you analyze the data in a more practical way that can help your business attain more developed business practices while allowing you to save time.

The e-procurement software your business invests in would be a good investment for your business with the time saved managing purchasing orders. These time-saving features will let you have more time to spend on other essential business dealings. This then paves way for you to have a successful expansion and development of your business.

The ability to analyze and compare multiple vendors for sourcing various business supplies will help in multiple ways. You will have greater access to more information that will help you make better decisions. Through the help of purchasing software, you could learn more about the products that you will order and you have more time to spend analyzing every one of them, resulting to a smoother business operation.

Another common problem with paper systems is duplicate orders. Multiple requests  could come in for the same item and ordered by different people or simply on different days and then you end up with too much of one item. Compared to the traditional paper-based purchasing order, chances to have duplicate entries are reduced when purchase order software is used. This software is sensitive and it can remove the duplicate entries while maintaining constant update of the system. The business procedures will be controlled by one system and it will be easier for you to access the data and manage them.

Another benefit that the purchasing software offers is that it provides more information about the entire process and all items orders with the click of a button. The viewing and accessing of every financial transaction will be easier as well since each one of them is automatically recorded and kept by the system. The software will also let you run reports to see where money is being spent, where it can be saved, and what is doing well.

Using purchasing software will help your business to become more competitive. You are able to monitor and evaluate all processes of your business using a central system through which all purchases are made. Any inconsistent data will be noticed and all issues will be resolved quickly and efficiently as the business processes are all improved.

In general, purchasing software is one of the most efficient methods that can be used by businesses in terms of cost. This will allow you to reduce the need for manpower, enhance the speed of the transactions and reduce the possibilities of error. If you want your business to be competitive in today’s quickly changing environment, using purchasing software will be an essential piece of that puzzle.

November 20, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
10 Things to Consider about your Procurement Software

Buying procurement software can be a tricky exercise. The investments that go into hardware and software, either associated with each other or for other independent activities is hefty and it is imperative for any business to try and keep costs low while not compromising on the quality of the procurement software. There are many things to consider while purchasing any hardware or software. Here are the top 10 things to consider before buying procurement software.

What Is The Price For?

Procurement software price can be either for a number of seats or for a set of users at any point of time. You may opt for 20 users and use the procurement software on all 20 users at any point in time. Alternatively, you may not have such a requisite and have the procurement software installed for 20 users but use it on only 5 users at one time. Choose as it suits your business.

Does The Price Include Onsite Services?

Remote service and solutions have become the trend today but there could be several reasons why you may need onsite services. You get what you pay for so consider the importance of onsite services and if it is worth paying extra.

Is There A Satisfaction Guarantee?

Seeking refund for any procurement software that you are not happy with can be an arduous task. Check out the return policy and refund policy before buying it.

Turnaround Time To Fix Bugs

It is unrealistic to expect the software to not have any problems. There will be errors and bugs. What’s important is the time a company would take to get their bugs fixed. Ask this question while buying and it is one of the most important things to consider.

Program Updates

You would not wish to miss out on program updates hence check out if the procurement software sends you notifications, if there are automated updates or you would have to do it manually or request for it.

Scalability

As your business grows your procurement software might have to be redesigned or scaled up. It should be doable.

Customizability

You may not need a few features of the procurement software and may need some customized features. The company should be capable of delivering on such aspects.

Installation & Operational Hurdles

Every procurement software application would have a set of challenges and you should be briefed on the possible hurdles at various stages. A software company that is aware of the problems and know the solutions would be your ideal choice.

Customer Support

The procurement software company must have a customer support policy and you should settle for nothing but the seamless and the best.

Future Prospects

Procurement software that is set to bring in positive developments and new features in the future is better than ones that do not have any such propositions.

November 15, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
4 Rules of Wise Spending on Purchasing Software for SMBs

Purchasing software is mandatory, and knowing what you need to before you go into the deal is essential. Everything that sounds good isn’t necessarily so. The thing that you need to know about procurement software is that it is not straight forward. There are different companies, different options, and different levels of service. So wise spending for SMBs is important. Here is where you decide whether or not you will buy or build. It is going to function how you want it to. Still, having all of the details that need to be involved is important too. There are definitely a few rules that you need to keep in mind.

#1 Rather than focusing solely on the initial price look at the price for ownership in general. There are integration fees, maintenance fees and variety of potential costs to evaulate. These long term sums have to be considered. Your immediate needs seem more important now, but not focusing on the big picture can really cost your company down the road. This is definitely one of those “you get what you pay for” scenarios. You could end up with a lot of unexpected cost as well as awful integration.

#2 Buy what you need now, but make sure it will evolve with you as your business grows. If you are not focusing on the future of your business, then you are throwing away money. Do not use the software as a temporary fix. It can work for you for the long haul. Think of it as an investment. No matter what your budget, it only makes sense to get something to last. Once your customer base has expanded your needs will still be there. The last thing that you need is to be running multiple systems or to have no system at all.

#3 Many times you hear that first impressions are everything. Well in this case don’t count on it! A lot of things can be dressed up in a fancy box and be very disappointing once the full realization of what it contains is revealed. Your purchasing manager or other staff that will be using the software may not have an IT background so the appeal of simple, user-friendly software may weigh heavily in your mind. You have to know the software is going to work for you both now as well as later, even if it means going to the more expensive options. You can have a balance between user-friendly and complex expansion capabilities. 

#4 What about training and tech support? That is as essential as the software itself. That is one downfall of software you buy off the shelf. You are not getting this essential support. You will end up spending more than you wanted through having to outsource training to another provider. The long term results are not good. Organization suffers and eventually you are back to square one. It is always the best choice to deal with a professional who can support all of your needs both now and in the future. 

November 13, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
Purchasing & Procurement White Collar Crime

White collar crime is a term referring to any unlawful and/or passive types of behavior committed by both business and government related professionals or white collar workers—hence the name, white collar crime. These crimes often involve various forms of fraud, theft or other violations of trust that occur throughout the employment of these professionals.

White collar crime is alarmingly common within the workplace, because it’s rather easy for people in positions of authority to secretly conduct these unlawful actions; many of these potential cases go undetected. Due to this, white collar crimes like procurement fraud are an increasingly common issue within several companies.

Purchasing & procurement fraud is perhaps the most common form of white collar crime at various businesses and enterprises, since it primarily involves the handling of product manufacturing and/or the purchasing of the aforementioned products. This type of white collar crime can involve fraudulent costs and/or labor, defective pricing and parts, price-fixing, bid-rigging and even product substitution.

Mid-size companies and even small businesses are also susceptible to this hidden white collar crime. As reported through the Massachusetts based Wicked Local news, a store clerk of Fall River, Massachusetts was recently charged by a grand jury on October 11th; the man’s main charges were for procurement fraud and the conspiracy to commit procurement fraud.

The man was another Massachusetts store clerk granting permission to customers to use state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits for the purpose of illicitly exchanging food stamps for cash. He later reappeared in court on October 26th, answering the charges covering his conspiracy to defraud the state out of thousands of dollars.

The Fall River store clerk was later arraigned, pleading not guilty to his charges and was remitted to the Middlesex County Jail on a bail of $1,000, with the condition that he relinquish his passport.

As implicated by the previous example, purchasing & procurement fraud is now more prevalent, thanks to the current financial times; nowadays, an employee, manager or even higher official may feel a need to secure their assets in an unethical manner.

In fact, around 75% of economic-related crimes, including procurement fraud cases, happened within a company, likely by employees living beyond their means or suffering from financial difficulties. The aforementioned study was conducted by the 2009 Global Economic Crime Survey, a telling look into the factors making up economic crime today.

Procurement fraud is a very real problem that siphons valuable company finances out of the system—and into the pockets of those regularly committing this white collar crime to their benefit.

November 8, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
What We Can Learn From a 2012 Presidential Campaign Quote

Today is election day 2012. A time that Americans will go out and vote for President, congressmen and women, governors, mayors and many other local, elected positions. It is truly an amazing time with all the civil unrest and economic turmoil going on around the world, that one country can peacefully elect a leader – whether that is to re-elect the incumbant or take a new direction with the challenger. 

So on the that note let’s consider a quote that was said during this current campaign season:

“Don’t boo—vote.”

Those are the words of current President Barack Obama, to his supporters in response to their protests against his opponent throughout his presently running campaign. The quote, as simple and succinct as it is, is a testament to the humanistic discipline that “actions speak louder than words.”

But what does that quote mean for you?

Whether you’re campaigning for President or getting ready to settle in a new job, what you can actually take from that quote is so simple, you probably don’t realize it as you’re reading now.

It’s all about motivating yourself in your job and even in your life, just so you can actually diverge from learned habits. Politicians will always remind their supporters to vote for them, because voting can make a difference in the long run. For you, it’s all about sticking with what you want to accomplish and actually following through with your plan.

Motivation is the key here—it’s that inner drive or energy that pushes you toward acting or performing actions that help you achieve your goals. Both desire and ambition are closely intertwined with motivation, and much like the presence of sunlight that warms our planet, if ambition and desire remain absent, so will the heat—or motivation.

So, stop complaining! If you’re an office worker, stop bemoaning the documents you need to sort out. If you run a home-based business, stop procrastinating. If you’re a purchasing professional, don’t avoid dealing with your suppliers.

Purchasing managers face challenges. There is no doubt about that. You have challenges within your place of employment. Maybe it is office politics or maybe it is trying to secure that coveted promotion. You have challenges with the suppliers and vendors you deal with. What you do about those challenges directly effect the outcome both short-term and long-term 

Complaining will deter your motivation, making it so you will have to keep restarting your campaign towards getting your work done. If you’ve got the desire and the ambition, just think about what you can accomplish in one day, one week or even throughout the month or year.

Take this as an example: a student who’d rather procrastinate instead of studying for their test will eventually lose their motivation throughout the period lasting from the assigned study date to the day of the test itself. A student that is motivated to study, however, will succeed, going into the day of the test with confidence and the drive to complete the assignment.

Simply put, a motivated professional will get their work done and without any complaining. The main route to becoming motivated is setting a goal, a map marker, that you’ll follow on your personal road map. It’s an end goal to look forward to when you’re just about complete.

So, don’t boo—get to work!

November 6, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether
Halloween Candy Procurement

Last night was October 31st, All Hallows Eve, better known as Halloween. Kids (and adults) across the country dress up and go door to door, trick-or-treating. Have you considered all the procurement implications of a simple holiday? If this is your business then you certainly have. If not, think about what you can learn from this holiday.

Stores everywhere dedicate multiple aisles of shelf space to this one day. Costumes, knick-knacks, make-up, and of course, candy. Depending on the study you read Halloween often boasts the holiday with the most candy sales.  

Where does it all start? We could follow it back pretty far, but for the purposes of today’s blog post let’s start with the candy manufacturers. October is likely their biggest month for the entire year. Purchasing departments work with forecasters to obtain the raw materials necessary to produce massive amounts of the yummy stuff consumed by the handfuls on this single night of the year. 

Stores from the big-box retailers to small mom & pop shops have to clear out shelf space and increase their candy quantities available for this month. They will include everything from the ever-popular big-name chocolate bars such as Snickers, Reeses and Kit-Kat, and the seasonal suger-laden treat like candy corn (does anyone actually eat that stuff) and let’s not forget the more common and often inexpensive candies like suckers and Smarties.

Next come the adults – all the parents, grandparents and really anyone who loves the holiday sets out to procure an acceptable amount of candy to pass out to all the little ghouls and goblins when they come knocking. Some adults put as much planning into the procurement of their offerings as a small business carefully calculating the rate of candy distribution over the alloted time. Then when the night arrives they mentally track how many pieces of candy are distributed in the first half hour and adjust up or down to ensure they have adequate supplies to last the entire evening. They start early and make sure they have plenty of candy and just the right kind. Some will load up on the cheaper options to be able to give something to everyone. Others buy the “good stuff” – you know CHOCOLATE! Some wait until closer to the end of the month when retailers start discounting to clear the shelves of the inventory purchased for the holiday. 

Finally, you have the kids themselves. With and without parental help, depending on their ages, who get their costumes and strike out to procure bucket loads of the stuff. With experience, they learn which vendors…errr…. houses and neighborhoods have the best goods. 

So how was your Halloween candy procurement? Which step of the process did you have your hand in?

November 1, 2012
0 comments
BY Bellwether

Connect with BellWether

Feel that tingling in your fingers? That's the magnetic urge to contact us!

  • Give Cathy a Call

    Call Bellwether Sales at
    1-866-698-1398

  • Send Cathy a Message

    Fill out a form and we will get back to you

  • Take a Live Tour

    See how Bellwether Software works