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Jason Heffelfinger

Jason joined the Intesource Account Services Department in 2005. He is responsible for providing new and legacy customer support, category discovery and process/tool implementation. Jason's role is to understand the opportunities and challenges customers encounter when it comes to their procurement activities and then provide guidance and strategy for potential sourcing events. Before joining Intesource, Jason was the VP of Operations for a market research firm, where he has background in both project management and Six Sigma. Jason has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Arizona University.
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Recent Posts

Mmm…Canned Meat: Sourcing Stories from Sample Testing Land

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Sep 29, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Before or After

When Intesource completes sourcing events for our customers, we try to encourage them not to stray too far from the normal process they use today.  We still want them to participate in collecting the information internally to ensure we are going out to market with the most up-to-date information available.  That way, we do not have a “garbage-in, garbage-out” result.

When sourcing items from either new sources of supply or going out to market on a new product offering, it is very important to require the supplier community to provide samples.  Every organization needs to continue to complete their due diligence no matter the approach to sourcing, and sampling a suppliers product offerings is absolutely key to a positive outcome.

Deciding when to review samples can be a bit of a balancing act.  Most of our customers want to know when the bidding starts, that everyone participating can supply them the exact items being requested.  This is completely understandable.  However, this can also be a tall order when there are scores of suppliers for the category being bid.  The last thing you want to do is impact your stakeholders’ already very busy day by having them sift through mountains of samples.  We are trying to make the sourcing process easier through process and technology, not more cumbersome.  So, making cuts of suppliers who do not pass the basic requirements collected through a request for information (RFI) questionnaire is a good way to start thinning the herd. 

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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, About e-Sourcing

Leveraging Sourcing & Procurement's Forward Thinkers

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Aug 4, 2016 8:30:00 AM

It's common to run into a bit of resistance when trying something new. And it's no different with eSourcing. New process can be viewed by some stakeholders as an invasion or challenge into their specific areas of expertise.

The common body language seen in these interactions include suspicious looks and crossed arms. These buyers feel, rightly so, that they are the best at what they do. Oftentimes statements from buyers like the following come up during these initial conversations and confirm their apprehension:

“So how can you help me? “

“I already get the best price.”

“I can't get the same items; I'll have to compromise for a better price.”

“You'll make me award the business to a vendor other than my incumbent.”

“I'll have to pick the low quote provider.”

All valid concerns. And these are just a handful of the misconceptions that surround eSourcing.

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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Strategy

5 Lies Your Supplier May be Telling You

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on May 19, 2016 8:10:00 AM

Are you in the potentially dangerous place of not knowing your supplier community? As a spend owner you have the responsibility of knowing not only who’s out there, but perhaps equally important - having an understanding of their ability to meet your unique requirements and expectations. I get it – you’re busy, the marketplace is constantly changing and evolving – it’s tough to have a good handle on future potential suppliers. Especially when you’re happy with your current vendor. But be wary of the following tactics your current vendor might be employing to keep you in fear of switching to another, potentially better supplier.

Exclusivity: Has your vendor made it perfectly clear they are the only one who can provide the product/service you need?

Your incumbent probably can honestly claim they know your business best, but they may take it one step further and say they can't be touched when it comes to the quality of their products and/or the service they provide. However, you'll often find if you truly understand the supplier community, there are vendors that can either match or improve on what you're receiving today. And frankly, it’s on you to verify those claims. An additional benefit of sourcing a category thoroughly and frequently - it'll likely raise the bar of your existing supplier. They have everything to lose in trying to keep your business.

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Topics: e-Sourcing Strategy

Celebrate the Good and the Bad of Your eSourcing Program

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Mar 3, 2016 8:00:00 AM

It is difficult to celebrate a bad experience or a perceived loss.  However, focusing too much on both the successes, as well as the failures of your eSourcing program can often times get you bogged down in analysis paralysis.  You might dwell on what is seen as a failure, or become completely blinded by the success of a category, that you fail to see the bigger picture

A sourcing process or program is just that, a total program.  In the overall evaluation, micro managing each category with their wins or loses is not productive.  In some cases, it is difficult to even define what would be considered a success or failure.  Instead of focusing on increasing efficiencies and developing a better understanding of your categories (including the supplier community), you may get derailed by instead focusing on misinterpreted negatives such as a sourcing event that came out flat with no savings.  Without a broader view of what success means, it may feel like the outcome was a loss. But was it? 

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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Strategy, About e-Sourcing

Five Dangers of Not knowing Your Supply Base

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Dec 17, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Understanding the categories you are responsible for can sometimes feel overwhelming.  Your main focus may be just keeping items on the shelf for either your customers or in stock for the staff in the warehouse.  With organizations expanding both their footprint and distribution reach, it can sometimes feel like you are running around with your head cut off.  If this is the case, you may get caught in a very dangerous place of not knowing what is going on in your supplier community.  Along with holding suppliers in compliance with you organization’s requirements, knowing who else is out there can be equally as important.

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Topics: e-Sourcing Strategy

6 Ways to Kick-off Your eSourcing Program Right

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Aug 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The stage has been set.  You have completed a proof of concept that included a few wildly successful e-auctions and determined that there is great value in implementing an eSourcing program at your company.  So what’s next? 

How do we keep the momentum we just generated with three money saving bids? 
How do we expand it throughout the company? 
How do we keep an eSourcing program sustainable? 

I am glad you asked.  Let’s look at the following things your organization can do in order to get off on the right foot:

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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices, Project Management

6 Things to Consider When Sourcing Your Organization’s Very Identity

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on May 21, 2015 8:00:00 AM

As a full-service e-sourcing provider, some of the buying organizations we partner with are very well known for various items on their shelves or in their restaurants.  Whether it‘s the pasta or the sauce that goes on top, tortillas, breads, freshly prepared foods or the main ingredient for their menu items, they trust their incumbent suppliers’ abilities to match to specification. 

Some might view the thought of taking an organization’s most important items out to bid as a poor business decision.  You’ve worked for years to develop the taste and feel of the item and more importantly, the customer’s loyalty.  Why would you  mess with that?  It can threaten not only your job, but also the reputation of your organization. 

Intesource considers all these concerns as valid.  However there are ways to ensure your success in sourcing and usually it involves things you already do.

We’ve heard many stakeholders state that if they source through an e-sourcing tool or process, that they’ll sacrifice quality for a lower price; they’ll risk shortages over consistent supplies; they’ll sacrifice relationship over process. 

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Topics: e-Sourcing Strategy

9 Things to Consider When Developing a Sourcing Policy

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Mar 5, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Whether you are engaging in a fully hosted e-Sourcing service and solution provider like Intesource, investing in standalone software and support staff or just attempting a reorganization of your current procurement process and structure, developing a sourcing policy for your company is a key step.  

Provided below are some ideas to seriously consider when developing your own approach to successful sourcing:

  1. Spend Threshold:  Decide on a spend amount that makes sense to review a category and consider it for e-Sourcing.  Not all categories make sense running through an auction process.  While a category like nametags can save 50%, you may only have $10,000 in spend.  If your sourcing solution supports running all sizes of category spends, those 50% savings start to add up, no matter how small.
  1. Categories by Department Goal: Another approach to encourage participation is to require a specific number of categories to be completed through the e-Sourcing process.  Sometimes this can be difficult, as some departments have more categories than others.
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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Strategy, About e-Sourcing

3 Ways You Can Tackle the Biggest Challenges Facing Procurement

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Dec 18, 2014 8:00:00 AM

The Battle of Procurement

One might think that the biggest hurdle a procurement team faces is the negotiations with vendors or actually receiving the budget they requested.  Based on our interactions with most procurement organizations, we would both agree that while those two rank highly, their most significant challenge is winning over the stakeholders and at the same time, remaining relevant within their organization.  Intesource finds this issue not unique to any one type of organization or industry, but across all.

Procurement organizations seem to be constantly in the mode of proving themselves to their colleagues and trying to provide value without becoming a bottleneck to their stakeholders’ process.   I recently attended ISM’s (Institute for Supply Management) Annual Indirect Procurement Conference in Phoenix, Arizona and found this very issue a common theme running through both the presentations and the conversations I personally had with attendees.  Procurement professionals all provide immense value to their organizations, yet have to continue to prove it.  This can be exhausting and non-productive, but continues to be a key part of their job description.

Here’s what I found after listening to these people last week - the best way to establish trust is to show consistency in both the process applied and the delivery of results.  While outcomes of negotiations are tough to “crystal ball”, you want to give the stakeholders a sense of ongoing confidence to the point that the stakeholder comes to rely upon your organization as the go-to-team when it comes to procurement.

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Topics: Motivational, e-Sourcing Best Practices, e-Sourcing Strategy, About e-Sourcing

7 Things to Remember When Trying e-Sourcing for the First Time

Posted by Jason Heffelfinger on Jul 31, 2014 8:00:00 AM

It has always been hard for us to try something new.  Think about it; going all the way back to trying something new at the dinner table as a child or going on the new big roller coaster at the amusement park.  Pretty scary stuff!

This sentiment can also ring true when a procurement professional is tasked with trying a new tool or process outside of their current approach.  The following list will provide some guidance on how to approach your first e-Sourcing project:

  1. EmbraceAs a Stakeholder, it may initially feel like the correct path is to go into lock down to protect what is yours and resist change.  You may be concerned that this new approach to procurement for your department or organization may expose you as either a complacent or poor buyer.

    This is absolutely not the case!  Intesource works diligently with both the stakeholders and the C-Suite by educating everyone that this process adds to the toolbox the procurement professional already uses.  We see many times the C-Suite rewarding the sourcing professionals who embrace the process with company-wide recognition.  Once the sourcing expert experiences a full-service approach to their procurement needs, they feel like they have a whole team on their side, including that C-Suite.
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Topics: e-Sourcing Best Practices