HEALTH

ECRM adds Scorecard app to MarketGate

BY Rob Eder

CLEVELAND ECRM recently added a new application to the MarketGate software that drives its Efficient Program Planning Sessions conference events. The new Scorecard software allows ECRM MarketGate premium subscribers to easily develop questionnaires and various types of survey tools for a variety of critical business functions, such as global sourcing, customer and employee research, internal and external benchmarking, and more.

“This dynamic tool provides the ability to generate questionnaires to assess internal or external suppliers or as a survey tool to assess personnel or service performances,” said Charles Walsh, director sourcing and sustainability, ECRM.

Walsh said MarketGate Scorecards is customizable and provides a way to select or create questions, assign or create values or measurements as a means to identify opportunities, assess capabilities and/or performance on people, companies, products or resources. He said quick and efficient emailing and reporting applications are provided to assist in sending, collecting and evaluating the results.

Originally developed at the suggestion of attendees of its European Sourcing events, explained ECRM CEO Charlie Bowlus, ECRM initially used Scorecard internally to help facilitate global sourcing for multinational retailers.

“Buyers from companies such as Ahold, Tesco and Asda told us of the tedious process they used in vetting new suppliers using Excel-based programs to document suppliers’ capabilities, capacity and social and ethical practices,” he said. “At their direction, we developed a Web-based application that provided a way to query several suppliers and then compare results in a variety of formats. The software has an option to attach points to answers so that a composite ‘score’ can help compare one supplier to another.”

Since then, the technology has been made available to a broader range of users, including, retailers and suppliers, as well as government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and others for a variety of purposes that include collecting, quantifying and qualifying information important to a company’s business.

ECRM has bundled Scorecard software with other MarketGate applications, Contact Manager and Product Catalog, to provide companies of all types with a Global Sourcing suite of applications that can be a “game-changer” in how they source, added Anne-Laure Borde, VP of ECRM’s International team.

ECRM has used the internal Scorecard to facilitate supplier reviews for other multinationals such as A.S. Watsons, Ahold, Carrefour, Lloyds Pharmacy and Walmart. It has also been used domestically for many retailers in the United States who have used ECRM to coordinate exclusive supplier reviews.

“ECRM’s Scorecard software is a fantastic way to reach suppliers worldwide to capture specific feedback in a very short period of time,” said Nick Truswell, senior buying manager, Lloyds Pharmacy. “My whole team can access and share this knowledge all in one place. Without ECRM’s Scorecard software, finding this information would take me months and it all can be done here with just a few clicks of a button!”

ECRM has also used the Scorecard software to help retailers such as Sam’s Club and Food Lion find minority- and woman-owned suppliers as part of those companies’ diversity initiatives.

“The scorecard application is a valuable tool to help accelerate attainment of diversity objectives for companies of all types,” said Thom Randle, VP strategic alliances at ECRM. “The application is beneficial in classifying both existing and prospective suppliers, including those that may not be certified as minority- or women-owned. Once classified, the process can help connect the supplier to the appropriate certification organization through links on our Diversity Portal.”

Scorecard software also may be used for a variety of purposes beyond sourcing, explained Kurt Repola, chief architect engineer at ECRM.

“The application may be used to survey customers, associates or others, as well as report cards for your performance,” Repola said. “We had others use it as RFP, or to measure and compare service providers and even law firms. We are using the software this year to facilitate our personal review process. All associates in a department are measured in the same manner and using the Web application helps us keep reviews updated on an ongoing basis.”

Since its inception in 1994, ECRM has held more than 600 of its EPPS events all over the world, including 50 conferences in 2009 alone.

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Hand sanitizers become popular item given to employees, Advertising Specialty Institute says

BY Michael Johnsen

TREVOSE, Pa. The Advertising Specialty Institute on Wednesday announced that hand sanitizers now rival pens as one of the most popular logoed items that companies are giving away to clients and employees.

Searches of the key words “hand sanitizers” by promotional products distributors via the Advertising Specialty Institute’s promotional products database jumped 439% for the 12 months ended October 2009. Only searches for pens — which for years have been the best-selling logoed product in the promotional products industry — were higher over that period.

“Certainly, there’s been a dramatic increase in sales of sanitizer sprays, gels and other anti-bacterial products,” stated Larry Wilhelm, CEO of Custom HBC, one of the many suppliers of customized health and beauty care products for the promotional products field.

Sales of all logoed sanitizing products surged in early spring, and then again in September, at the start of flu season, Wilhelm said. Sales of flu-related items, like facial tissues, have also increased.

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SinuCleanse introduces updated neti pot

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, Wis. SinuCleanse recently introduced a clear, lightly-tinted blue version of its neti pot, designed to enhance ease of use by enabling visual inspection of the saline solution in the neti pot to ensure it is completely mixed and pure.

The clear design also allows better monitoring of the flow and volume of saline solution during nasal washing, the company stated.

“For a practice that dates back literally thousands of years, there have been few innovations in neti pots,” stated Diane Heatley, developer of the SinuCleanse nasal wash system. “The new SinuCleanse neti pot is a true advancement and gives consumers a clear choice in that the ability to monitor the solution and the impression of ‘purity’ that the design provides enhances ease of use and motivates compliance.”

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