Food for Thought: The Chemistry of Sugar

Today I purchased multiple bags of candy to pass out in a few days to eager trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood. Staring at the bags of candy on my counter I decided to open one piece and cure my craving. Bad idea. Three pieces later I am officially done and know that I have ruined my goal of cutting back on sugar intake. I’ve heard from healthy conscientious friends that giving up bread, fat, alcohol or even meat aren’t nearly as difficult as it is to truly give up sugar.

The Science of Sugar

Did you know that every time you eat sugar your brain releases dopamine? Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that actually tells your brain it’s happy, therefore it really feels like treat to eat sugar. If a little is good then a lot is great right? Wrong. For some people the urge to feel rewarded can be compounded into an addiction issue causing  a person to want more to feed the craving and cutting back on sugar can actually leave your brain feeling the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Sugar also affects the release of serotonin which makes the brain feel happy, so when you stop eating sugar and your serotonin levels drop you can actually feel depressed. Yikes!

What about artificial sweeteners?

I recently read an article by the American Chemical Society concerning a protein calls brazzein that is 2000 x’s sweeter than sugar. Although brazzein hasn’t been approved by the FDA there are tons of other substitutes on the market. I can see the appeal of the no or low calorie sugar substitutes but doing a quick search online there is no shortage of articles concerning the ill effects that sugar substitutes also play on a person’s health.

So what is a person to do with the holidays around the corner?

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Just say no to all sugar! Just kidding. Completely avoiding sugar during holidays is almost impossible, after all tis the season for baking. Your best bet is to try and satisfy your sweet craving with a natural alternative like fruit or go ahead and indulge but in moderation. Plus if you completely binge on sugar then at least setting your new year goal will be easy.

If you’re interested in the chemistry of candy, checkout this great Infographic from Compound Interest: http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/10/21/chemistryofcandy/

What does the DWCP have to do with The Brady Bunch?

brady-bunchSometimes I feel like Jan Brady, but instead of hearing about ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’, I hear about ‘Email, Email, Email’ (to those unfamiliar with the early 70s show The Brady Bunch, just ignore the reference, you haven’t missed much, I promise). Here’s the point: Our Subscribers enjoy information that is difficult to find all in one spot, for example, product lists, certifications and import/export data and contact information, specifically, current and accurate email addresses. And I get it. The DWCP helps a User find a verified producer of hard-to-find specialty chemical, with the right certifications, with the right production capacity, in the right part of the world…only to see the contact as sales@company.com or worse, be provided a specific email address that bounces back. Wah-waaaaah. We hear you and here’s what we’re doing about it:
  1. We regularly extract all emails in the DWCP
  2. We regularly crawl the sites of the companies listed in the DWCP We take ALL those emails and just dump in the DWCP, right? Wrong!
  3. All current and new addresses are run through an email validation program
  4. Then each valid email is manually verified by our research staff who confirm the email is relevant and appropriate to be in the DWCP.
How’s this working? In October, 6,784 email addresses were reviewed. Just 2,138 were validated as correct and appropriate contacts. Now, how do I end this blog with a clever reference to The Brady Bunch? I suppose you could say that like Alice we are cleaning up our emails and data.

Is Your Business Considering Purchasing a Chemical Sourcing and Sales Tool in 2016? Here Is What You Need to Know First

As the end of 2015 is rapidly approaching many procurement and sales & marketing professionals are creating budgets for 2016. We all know the process, you analyze where your best business came from earlier in the year and evaluate the ROI for the processes and tools you currently have in place.

This leads to a discussion of where to put your company dollars in 2016. For many companies it’s time to decide if the business is ready for a chemical sourcing and sales tool. Picking the right database can be stressful and often brings up a lot of questions. After all, there are many options on the market, and you want to make the right decision for your business.

Industry intelligence comes with a price tag, and choosing the wrong solution could be costly. This white paper was written to help you ask the right questions before you buy, so you can select the chemical sourcing and sales tool that suits your needs.

We hope you find the information useful and if you have any questions for us please reach out to our team at sales@chemicalinfo.com.

Download the White Paper Now: Purchasing a Chemical Sourcing and Sales Tool: What You Need to Know First

ChemicalInfo Travels Chemspec Europe 2015

ChemicalInfo Travels Chemspec Europe 2015

ChemicalInfo will again provide its SourceFinder tool to Exhibitors and Attendees making show event planning efficient

The ChemicalInfo (CIS) team is scheduled to attend Chemspec Europe, the fine and specialty chemicals connection, June 24 – 25. The Chemical Info team will showcase The Directory of World Producers (DWCP) and PathFinder, online tools designed to identify and qualify producers of specialty chemicals and bulk pharmaceuticals and the potential intermediate users of chemicals.

In conjunction with the exhibit, ChemicalInfo will offer SourceFinder to help attendees navigate through the show. Organizers have partnered with Chemical Information Services (CIS) to create the Chemspec SourceFinder. This helpful tool will enable all visitors to get the most out of the event, by helping them to find the products and services that they are looking for and to create a plan around the event of the exhibition that are relevant to their needs.

ChemicalInfo will also offer its Limited Access Membership, customized for attendees at Chemspec. The Limited Access includes a 30-day membership to the full suite of CIS online services showcasing those companies exhibiting at Chemspec Europe. That’s access to Chemspec exhibitors including their full product catalog, contact details, certification information, import/export data on their company and products and contract/custom manufacturing details.

“Unique product offerings like SourceFinder for Chemspec Europe are exactly the type of thing our NextGen platform allows us to deliver to our members and prospective clients,” said ChemicalInfo CEO, Ernie Cote. “It’s partnering with Chemspec and PIERS on import/export data and other vendors to satisfy the expanding needs and wants of our member base that make our services invaluable and raise the bar for online tools in our industry. It’s such an exciting time to attend this show and showcase our data and products.”

Attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to stop by Booth F40A for a live demonstration and learn more about SourceFinder and Limited Access Membership. Our National Sales Managers will be onsite for questions and concerns.

Sulfuric Acid: A Short Story

The rain drops fall like fire, licking the outside of the floating bio dome, our tiny island of refuge in hell.  It couldn’t be done they said.  The valuable tool that humans have used since the dawn of time was now a challenge to sustaining the colony on this hellish planet.  The ancient Sumerians were the first to document its properties, Dioscorides, a Greek physician, and the Roman naturalist improved our knowledge through researching the chemical.  Oil of Vitriol they once called it, cruel and bitter.  Very fitting, referring to the Venusian rain in such a way was a fantastic understatement.  The Borderlander miners on Neptune got all the luck with their stunning diamond rain.  Here though, mere seconds in the heat and acid would mean a certain agonizing end.  However, we adapted.  We had to.  Where the sulfuric acid rain had once caused severe thermal and hydrolytic burns to human tissues, we have now harnessed its power and use the unlimited resource to help sustain our gadolinium mining colony. The sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and water vapor in the upper atmosphere are agitated by the intense solar radiation which bathes this spherical inferno.  As the photo-radiation forms sulfuric acid, it gains density and begins plummeting towards the seething, super-heated ground below.  As it heats up descending towards the ground, due to runaway greenhouse effects, the acid becomes more and more concentrated as heat boils water away. Much like back home on Earth a sixty percent majority of our captured sulfuric acid supply is used in the production of superphosphates, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium phosphate.   These high quality fertilizers can be used to keep our hydroponic system optimally producing food and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.  In a clutch they can also double as explosive materials. Still more, about twenty percent, of sulfuric acid is used in production of various things we need to efficiently run the colony.  Water treatment chemicals, detergents, drain cleaners, pharmaceuticals, dye materials, insecticides, and chemical catalysts to name just a few.  The remainder is used in the production of lubricants, batteries, paints, fabrics, and paper.  Almost everything we make here needs sulfuric acid to be produced effectively and efficiently.  Without this deadly rain from the Venusian sky, our colony would not be viable.  Just like the clouds outside, and on earth itself, this dangerous and industrially ubiquitous chemical is necessary for our sustained smooth survival.

Ringing in the New Year with PIERS on the Product Side

As many of you know, ChemicalInfo has always provided you with powerful producer information you can trust. Over the last few months, you’ve heard a mouthful about PIERS, The Standard in Trade Intelligence. This Import and Export data integration has provided subscribers with insight to manufacturers’ bulk shipments of chemical products and pharmaceuticals around the world. Well, drum roll please… PIERS just became even more comprehensive, now extending Import and Export data that is searchable by product. So, what does this mean for your business? If you source raw material and pharmaceuticals, import and export data can make you more efficient by helping you:
  • Monitor global trade activity with a complete picture of what commodities are produced, used and sold by regions. This is influential for determining the best price and regions to source from.
  • Make fast and insightful purchasing decisions by providing cost baselines, that are valuable in buying negotiations.
  • Improve differentiation between Manufacturers and Distributors based on Import & Export activity of each supplier.
If you’re in Sales & Marketing then it’s probably your job to find new customers. Well great news; import and export data will help improve your daily activities by:
  • Defining saturated and vacant markets for business growth. This knowledge helps streamline your decision making by verifying company growth initiatives before investments are made.
  • Gaining a competitive advantage by keeping up with your competitors in order to tailor your business decisions.
  • Qualifying your leads by providing insightful information into suppliers’ product pricing and volumes. These purchasing patterns allow you to prioritize leads, in addition to preparing for more powerful price negotiations.
As Ernie Cote, ChemicalInfo Chief Executive Officer, said “The business intelligence tools created by PIERS allows us to identify trends in the chemical industry based on the companies and specific commodities being shipped around the world, and apply that knowledge to our decision making.” As many of you know, ChemicalInfo’s services have always been designed to make you more effective and efficient in your sourcing and selling activities. Now, more than ever, PIERS allows us enhance that knowledge by providing trade activity on top-searched products. About PIERS PIERS is the most comprehensive database of U.S. waterborne trade activity in the world providing information services to thousands of subscribers globally. Launched more than 35 years ago, PIERS was the first venture in digital global trade intelligence and quickly became the industry standard for accuracy, reliability and insight. Our unique infrastructure and proprietary technology allow us to not only publish import data, but also complete coverage of U.S. export transactional data. PIERS is a division of JOC Group Inc., and a sister company of The Journal of Commerce.  For more information about customized solutions from PIERS, visit www.piers.com.

Brief on the 2014 American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) Annual Conference

Learn, Network & Collaborate by Joining ACS GCI Industry Roundtables

The Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E) is the oldest and most influential event in the field of green chemistry in the United States. The event took place this year on June 17 – 19 in Bethesda, MD in the Washington DC area and was organized by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI). As usual the event reunited hundreds of chemists and engineers from all over the world interested in improving the environmental footprint, health & safety of the chemical industry.

The event featured over 25 technical sessions and importantly industry had a prominent role showcasing industrially relevant technologies.  In fact, the ACS GCI Industry Roundtables organized more than half of the conference this year. These Roundtables are non-competitive, sector-specific collaborations designed to facilitate the integration of green chemistry and engineering throughout the global chemical industry.  With limited budgets and time constraints, yet a plethora of conferences to choose from the industry practitioners in the Roundtables assured content with high implementation potential. The event was also designed to ensure effective networking between academia and industry as well amongst the companies along the value chain starting from hydraulic fracturing oil and gas industry to chemical manufacturers and all the way to business to consumer pharmaceutical and formulator companies. This approach optimized the chance of keeping up to date with the latest thinking in science and technology while facilitating at the same time productive business connections and collaborations.  The Chemical Manufacturer’s, Pharmaceutical and Formulator’s Roundtables met these needs by targeting speakers and discussing impactful alternatives, while simultaneously hosting meetings and networking events throughout the conference.

Technical sessions addressed industrially-relevant greener alternatives

Demonstrating the translation of academic research into industrial application was the focus of a session on commercializing research advances.  Prof. Robert Maleczka, Jr. of Michigan State University presented in series with Dr. Shane Krska of Merck & Co., Inc. and Dr. Jossian Oppenheimer of The Dow Chemical Company to demonstrate the seamless integration of academic research and industrial implementation sides by showing their advances in catalytic C-H borylations.

The event included a stream on bio-based chemicals and their role in the supply chain for various industries. Speakers from Arizona Chemical, Dixie Chemical, Sigma Aldrich (all associated with the Chemical Manufacturer’s Roundtable), as well as NatureWorks LLC, LanzaTech, Corbion, and others shared their latest technologies and products with an audience eager to learn more about this rapidly growing industry.

Closer to the Formulator’s Roundtable activities, J&J Consumer Products, Seventh Generation, State Industrial Products, Rochester Midland Corporation, DuPont, the American Cleaning Institute, Trucost, and the US Federal Trade Commission addressed the design of greener consumer products with comparable performance and price.

For the second year in a row, the event included a session on sustainability aspects of hydraulic fracturing. Companies like Halliburton, Solvay, Akzo Nobel, and Trican Well Service shared their experiences, including, but not limited to, safer alternatives to biocides and crosslinked gel systems.

Targeted networking; the right connection is priceless

The 4th Annual ACS GCI Roundtable Poster Reception held on the evening of June 18 was designed to foster networking across the value chain to develop innovative, more sustainable products & processes.  Sponsored by Flotek Industries, LAUNCH, and ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, industry mingled with key government agencies and other organizations.  Importantly, over 85% of survey respondents indicated they learned about a greener technology, material, market need, or research idea that may be applicable to their organization.  For example, Dr. Philip G. Sliva of Amway reported he “had just read about a new solvent in C&EN recently and the Roundtable Poster Reception had the very material showcased. I was able to get samples and literature arranged then and there.”

Effective Collaboration: Leveraging resources of others to maximize return on investment

The ACS GCI Roundtables are designed to leverage the resources of peer companies working together non-competitively to address common challenges related to the implementation green chemistry and engineering.  By working collaboratively, the Roundtable has more influence than any one company could have alone.

Hosting meetings in concert with the conference, the Roundtables not only make good use of their members’ time but are able to simultaneously meet with influential organizations in the Washington, DC area.  Interestingly enough meeting in person is not critical as all Roundtable meetings are web-based to allow for global participation. For example some organizations such as Pennakem LLC, a biobased product manufacturer, and Novartis , a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, participated via web.

The ACS GCI Chemical Manufacturer’s Roundtable addressed ongoing projects and discussed opportunities with guests from the US Department of Agriculture on developments in the BioPreferred Program, as well as guests from the Department of Commerce, US Department of State, and others.

The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable, now in its ninth year, focused on advancing projects on tool development, research grants, metrics, as well as explored a potential international collaboration on education.

The focus of the ACS GCI Formulators’ Roundtable was meeting with the US Environmental Protection Agency Design for Environment Program and International Fragrance Association (IFRA) North America to address challenges in developing products to meet the fragrance standard.

At last, but not at least, the ACS GCI Hydraulic Fracturing Roundtable announced it is now open for membership and began developing goals for 2014-2015.

Looking ahead to 2015, the bar will be raised as the ACS GCI Roundtables celebrate a significant milestone; the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable will celebrate its 10 year anniversary.  Plans are already underway to further optimize industrial impact for the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in July 14- 16, 2015.

Julie B. Manley, Guiding Green LLC, 457 E. Mier Road, Sanford, MI, USA 48657; Tel: 815-325-4974; juliemanley@GuidingGreen.com

Stop paying lip-service to your internal customers: Five things Procurement organizations should start doing now to meet and exceed internal customer requirements

“Procurement needs to be more proactive versus the Business initiating projects”

“Procurement needs to be an integral part of the team”

“Consult the Business before implementing any process improvement”

“Procurement needs to issue the POs in a timely manner. Waiting 3 days on a PO is unacceptable”

These are some comments we’ve recently heard when conducting a Stakeholder Survey (Voice of the Customer) as part of a broader Procurement benchmark for different clients. We often hear that Procurement is focused on meeting and exceeding customer requirements, but benchmarks from Hackett’s Procurement database shows otherwise. The chart below shares that 30% of Non-World-Class (Non-WC) organizations rated Procurement as an Administrator while only 15% of Non-WC organizations rated Procurement as a Valued Business Partner. So, if this is the stakeholder’s perception of the Procurement organization, what are some things you can do quickly to change this perception?

Other than changes to the organization structure, there are five things that we believe Procurement can quickly do to improve internal customer perception and exceed internal customer requirements:

  1. All Procurement resources should be customer focused and empowered
  2. Dedicate specific Procurement resources to Help Desk activities
  3. Start conducting monthly training to educate internal customers
  4. Create a monthly/quarterly newsletter and share recent projects, success stories and upcoming projects
  5. Create an internal website to share Procurement information: FAQs, contact information, approved suppliers, success stories, process documents, etc.

All Procurement resources should be customer focused and empowered. We often hear the comment that perception is reality – unfortunately, there is some truth in this. As Procurement resources are typically focused on assisting end-users with different processes in Procurement, all Procurement individuals (whether they are internal client-facing or not) should be customer focused which means being helpful in problem solving and troubleshooting, being proactive, being a good listener, and feeling empowered to fix processes that are broken. The term ‘fit-for-purpose’ or ‘fit-for-risk’ comes to mind when addressing broken processes. As Procurement works to address issues identified by its internal customers, it should determine whether the process is adequate or overkill for what the internal customer is trying to accomplish based on the value and appropriate risk appetite of the organization.

Dedicate specific Procurement resources to Help Desk activities. Procurement activities are a complex string of processes. As such, we should expect our internal customers to have plenty of questions related to the process, status of transactions, etc. Dedicating specific Procurement resources to answer questions from internal customers is one of many ways Procurement can help address and resolve questions in a timely fashion. However, it is important to note that the more knowledge the Help Desk resources have about the usage of Procurement technology, status of sourcing events, process for sourcing, and a broad understanding of Procurement, the better they will be at being able to provide first-contact resolution.

Start conducting monthly training to educate internal customers. Conducting monthly/ongoing training to internal customers will help provide them with the knowledge and latest information to perform their jobs. Ultimately, this will also help Procurement. There are various types of training that can be provided to include:

  • How to create transactions
  • How to create spend analysis reports
  • How to identify approved suppliers
  • How to use e-catalogs
  • How to maneuver the ERP maze

During these sessions, it would also be helpful to document the various issues that each of the internal customers faces. By addressing these issues, Procurement will be able to 1) ensure that internal customer requirements are met and 2) improve internal processes.

Create a monthly/quarterly newsletter and share recent projects, success stories and upcoming projects. Most of Procurement’s work goes behind the scenes and rarely do we share our success stories for one reason or another. However, creating a monthly/quarterly newsletter will help provide our Internal Customers with additional information on how the Procurement organization is able to assist, help identify new projects and bring to light creative ideas from previous projects. In addition, it is also a way of demonstrating value that Procurement organizations bring along with some shameless self-promotion.

Create an internal website. While the monthly newsletter is focused on sharing the latest news, an internal website is another way of allowing our Internal Customers to perform self-service. There are various reasons to create an internal website including:

  • Sharing of information with our internal customers
  • Providing them a portal to log issues
  • Providing them ability to self-diagnose and resolve issues

As a member of the Procurement organization, our role is to help support internal customers by listening, understanding, meeting and exceeding their expectations. Being front and center to our internal customers is important. Hopefully, these 5 activities can quickly help your Procurement organization change your internal customers’ perception.

As Outsourcing Relationships Evolve, Vaccine Production Will Continue to Shift to CMOs

The vaccine contract manufacturing market currently accounts for less than 1 percent of the total vaccine market — approximately $705M of $33.7B — but it is expected to grow over the next decade.  Varying factors will influence the growth of the contract manufacturing market segment, including overall growth of the vaccine market, especially in emerging markets, as well as the shift in the dynamic of outsourcing relationships.  Traditionally, vaccines had been viewed as a low-margin business with high barriers to entry.  Complexity of development and production, combined with significant fixed costs, low profit margins, and overregulation had limited competition among vaccine manufacturers and supposedly restricted innovation. However, advances in both preventative and therapeutic vaccines have renewed interest and brought about competition in this market segment. Among Nice Insight survey respondents, the primary area of therapeutic focus for vaccine production outsourcers is infectious diseases, at 71 percent. Increased global demand for the influenza vaccine has contributed significantly to the growth of the outsourced vaccine market — especially since the vaccine doesn’t offer long-term immunity and must be administered annually. Support and media exposure from organizations such as the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative help to keep the important role of vaccines in healthcare in the forefront and drive attention toward developing vaccines for diseases that currently have no cure. This exposure, coupled with recent reports of progress in two separate approaches to provoking an immune response to HIV, certainly contribute to the increasing number of biopharmaceutical companies interested in developing or manufacturing vaccines. Oncology is another key area for vaccine advances, with 52 percent of vaccine outsourcers engaged in this therapeutic category.  Nationwide immunization programs for HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination established in 2008 in the U.S. and Europe have strengthened this market to an estimated value of $2.2B by 2018. The efficacy of the vaccine, as well as the expansion of the target audience to include both males and females, has secured the HPV vaccine’s future and made it a strong candidate for outsourced production. Anticipated shifts in vaccine production from innovators to contract manufacturers influenced the decision to add this service to the Nice Insight Biopharmaceutical Outsourcing Survey for 2014.  At present, the data show 13 percent of all respondents will outsource vaccine production, or 40 percent of respondents who outsource biomanufacturing. Big Pharma and Big Biotech account for the majority of vaccine outsourcing, comprising 59 percent of the buying market.  Emerging biotech and emerging pharma each comprise approximately 15 percent of the buying market, and specialty pharma accounts for the remaining 10 percent. Selecting An Outsourcing Partner For Vaccine Production While quality and reliability consistently hold the top two positions among partner attributes, when it comes to selecting an outsourcing partner for vaccine production, the importance of productivity and innovation move upwards, causing a company’s regulatory track record to shift to sixth position. In fact, when reviewing the companies most likely to be considered for an outsourced vaccine project, the top five companies scored best in quality, reliability, and productivity.  This ranking makes sense, as reliability is directly linked to security in supply, and productivity is directly linked to time-to-market. Security in supply is particularly important for routine vaccines, whether they are childhood immunizations or, like the newer HPV vaccine, administered during adolescence.  Time-to-market becomes a considerable issue when there is a surge in the need for a vaccine, such as the flu vaccine when a particularly bad strain hits or during times like the swine flu and bird flu outbreaks. As CMOs continue to be viewed as trusted partners in bringing drugs to market, their expansion into segments such as vaccine production will continue to add value to drug innovators in terms of product security, improved time-to-market, and increased capacity — all traits where the positive impact is passed on to the health of the consumer. By Kate Hammeke, Director of Marketing Intelligence at That’s Nice cSurvey Methodology: The Nice Insight Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Survey is deployed to outsourcing-facing pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives on an annual basis. The 2013-2014 report includes responses from 2,337 participants. The survey is comprised of 240+ questions and randomly presents ~35 questions to each respondent in order to collect baseline information with respect to customer awareness and customer perceptions of the top 100+ CMOs and top 50+ CROs servicing the drug development cycle. Five levels of awareness from “I’ve never heard of them” to “I’ve worked with them” factor into the overall customer awareness score.  The customer perception score is based on six drivers in outsourcing: Quality, Innovation, Regulatory Track Record, Affordability, Productivity and Reliability. In addition to measuring customer awareness and perception information on specific companies, the survey collects data on general outsourcing practices and preferences as well as barriers to strategic partnerships among buyers of outsourced services.

Buying vs Shopping Part II

Thank you everyone for all the comments on my first blog.  It’s been a real gift for me to read your ideas and absorb your enthusiasm for good procurement practice.   To continue our discussion on what the difference is between a professional buyer and a shopper, I’m going to focus on my favorite aspect of my job- data.  Maybe it’s a sign of mental unbalance, but I love the super detective work we professional buyers do to gather data! Shoppers always tell me they also love data. Here is some “data” that a typical shopper considers before making a sourcing decision:
  • Lowest price
  • Recommendations from friends
  • Unconfirmed market intelligence a.k.a. “sales rep gossip”
  • Hunches, guesses, and gut feelings
  • The supplier rep who brings in the best cupcakes
  • Magic 8 Ball, tarot cards, and horoscopes
I am just kidding on that last one.   And FYI, I love cupcakes. Unlike shoppers, professional buyers know what good data is and how to find it.  To begin with, every manager should provide a budget to the chemical buyer to purchase a Chemical Info subscription.  (Chemical Info. did not pay me to say that.)  My experience with this tool has been very positive.  Information provided by the DWCP is a proven efficient and accurate gateway to gathering the data I need to do my job well. What kind of data does a buyer need?  For purchasing API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) for example, I suggest the following as a basic table of market and SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) metrics to begin with. 7.16.14 image 1 This basic information can be harvested with the use of the DWCP, a Request for Information (RFI) event, Dun and Bradstreet, the FDA.gov website, and internal SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) metrics.  It would be nice if all sales reps would just put this information on the back of their business cards.  But again, if collecting good data was easy, we’d be called shoppers instead of buyers! A good buyer will use a basic table like this to craft a sourcing strategy.  I may blog about the analysis procedure in the future.   In many cases the next step in the process for a buyer is to harvest more data with a Request for Proposal (RFP) event.  The key components of a good RFP include a supplier profile, material manufacturing and quality profile, the business proposal which would include supply chain efficiencies such as JIT or VMI, and the price and terms proposal.   This information is the foundation for planning a data-driven supplier selection and negotiations strategy. A frustrating reality for professional buyers is that shoppers without good data can occasionally get lucky enough to achieve a successful project and impress management.   Another frustration for buyers is the fact that we can never achieve the condition of perfect information. For buyers, the magnitude of our success on each project is directly proportional to the effort we invest into acquiring as much good data as possible.   One of the best moments in my buying career was the feeling I got after reading feedback comment in my annual review from a manager that said, “I bet Penny looked under every rock on the planet to get this (project) done.”