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Sigma Sourcing Celebrates Five Years

October 10, 2019

Sigma marked its fifth year in the hospitality industry on the anniversary of its agreement with Carroll Adams to build a new and necessary procurement software system specifically for FF&E and OS&E purchasing operations. President and Founding Software Engineer, Ben Gripka, spent the next 18 months adapting his purchasing software to address the unique needs of the hospitality procurement industry. Read about the resulting March 7, 2016 launch of the Carroll Adams system below.

This month also brings three full years of [fully-released] software, which Sigma has now provided to 23 purchasing companies, and counting. "We could not be more proud of this system or more honored to be part of helping many companies streamline their purchasing operations," says Ben, "and we look forward to helping them and many more as we continue to grow and refine the system."

Service Management Enhancements Released

September 23, 2019

Sigma Sourcing installed a new version of the system that improves operational efficiencies to handle demands of its quickly-growing client list. With this release, service management has become even more automated, leaving more time for Sigma developers to work on new features for the system.

Onboarding a client used to come with a few days of setup processes that can now be performed very efficiently. This means new Sigma clients are in the driver’s seat when it comes to implementation. "There is no waiting on Sigma to begin your next new project right in the system," notes Ben Gripka, President and Founding Software Engineer. "Our turn-key onboarding means new clients tell us when they want to start using the system, and we can easily deliver."

Big Sigma Growth Spurt Includes International Clients

August 23, 2019

"Sigma Sourcing has added seven new clients just this summer, bringing to 14 its increase in clients over 2018. And things have gone so well with our first international client signed earlier this year," according to Ben Gripka, President and Founding Software Engineer, "that we've added two more for a current total of three clients based outside the US."

These international clients, as well as those US clients who operate in multi-currency, are actively using the dusted-off foreign currency features of the system. Vendors can enter their quotes, and POs are issued to them, in their own currency. Prices are then converted back to the project currency value in reports based on a specified exchange rate.

The in-system training program and Sigma’s use of web-based meeting services to train these clients make onboarding just as easy for clients across the pond as for domestic companies. And, despite time zones up to 3/4s of a day different from Sigma's, these clients still enjoy Sigma's signature highly responsive customer support.

Sigma Syncs with Additional Accounting Systems

July 5, 2019

Sigma has long had the ability to sync its procurement accounting information with the QuickBooks Desktop accounting system. Sigma's syncing capability allows clients to keep their vendor invoices and payments in perfect alignment for each project.

Keeping pace with its clients' most popular choices, Sigma has recently added the ability to sync with Sage Intacct, and Sage 100, and soon will be adding syncing capability with QuickBooks Online and M3.

Record Month in Signing Five New Clients

April 19, 2019

Last month, Sigma Sourcing brought on five new companies to begin using its purchasing system. These new clients range from two 3rd party purchasing services providers, to a casino, to the FF&E purchasing arms of both a design firm and a developer. While most of Sigma's new clients are established organizations, this month included signing a start-up company as well. The company has been conducting training for these new clients who have requested live training and has developed materials to make uploading existing data and other set-up decisions simple and efficient.

The wide variety of client base that Sigma is building may be attributed in part to its recent design of a new, unique pricing structure. Smaller purchasing companies, or larger companies during a ramp-up period, can get in at a per project fee. Companies with a larger volume of projects can choose from among pricing options based on varying levels of customer support and system upgrades.

New 3rd Party Access Features Installed in Sigma Sourcing

March 20, 2019

A purchasing company's Sigma Sourcing system is accessible by their 3rd parties, at varying levels of permissions as controlled by the purchasing company. These parties have previously included: vendors, who submit quotes and accept purchase orders, and freight forwarders, who can access reports on their projects with the purchaser.

With this month's release, a project designer can now be assigned permission to take limited actions in the purchaser's system on a project. These actions can range from simply a "read-only" access for viewing the specs in their project – to entering specs – to viewing POs and reports - to approving POs and updating the status on items required for submittal.

Also installed recently are significant simplifications to system access for all 3rd parties to the system. There is now a video available on the log-in screen to walk a new vendor or other user, such as a client, through the options for logging in or setting a password. Tailored messaging or emails to parties having difficulty logging in are also included with this release. "We recognize many of our purchasing companies' vendors are artisans, not technicians, and we've simplified the ability for them to easily access the system and submit a quote or accept a PO," says Ben Gripka, President and Founding Software Engineer. "Ultimately, accomplishing as much through the system as possible expedites our clients' operations, and that's what we're all about!"

Streaming Videos New Resource for Sigma Training

January 15, 2019

Following last November's launch of the training and practice system, Sigma Sourcing now has a comprehensive streaming video tutorial series. The Training Program guides new users through the entire system: from introducing the system menu and ways to navigate on-screen to building a sample project from beginning to end. This Training Program may be used to train a purchasing company's new employees and even in lieu of live, group training for those new Sigma clients who prefer to complete their initial training on the system independently.

"These tutorials were created with the end-user in mind, by a non-developer with fresh eyes to the system and without a lot of technical verbiage," says Ben Gripka, President and Founding Software Engineer. "We understand the learning curve that accompanies a switch to any new software, and we are committed to making that transition as painless for our clients as possible. These videos are perfect for our clients as they grow and new members join their teams."

The training videos feature verbal step-by-step instructions with accompanying on-screen action in the Sigma Sourcing system. They can be full-screen or viewed on the side bar while practicing in the training system announced late last year, personalizing the training experience to the user's preference. The Training Program also includes a wealth of sample data – e.g., companies and users, specs, and budgets - for trainees to practice entering into their practice system right along-side the video instruction. In addition to the Training Program tutorials, Sigma also offers a comprehensive, written "Quick Start Guide" accessed through its Help menu and plans How-To/FAQs for the near future.

Sigma Launches Training and Practice System

November 12, 2018

In a significant step toward helping purchaser companies train new employees on the system, this month features the ability for users to open a copy of their regular system to practice on data that doesn't matter. It runs just like the live system so a new employee can get the full experience of the system. The practice system is set up for any emails sent, such as an RFQ to a sample vendor, to echo back to the users so they can see exactly what their vendors will see.

When the users open the training and practice system, they are logged in automatically, ready to start right off practicing with some pre-loaded sample projects or starting their own new, practice projects. The practice system can be re-set at any time once it has been populated with a lot of practice data, to provide a "blank slate," less daunting for new users to train on.

This practice system will also enable Sigma's new clients essentially to self-train before beginning to work in the live system, streamlining Sigma's on-boarding process for its new clients. Ben Gripka, Sigma's President and Founding Software Engineer, says, "We are making great strides toward having a self-service system, although we are always available for help when needed. Not only will this benefit our new clients in starting up with Sigma, but it frees up our developers' time to keep making feature improvements to the system, which ultimately benefits our clients."

Sigma Sourcing Adds Owner's Budget Capability

September 5, 2018

Sigma has long had bottom-up budgeting, where line-item budgets are created to roll up into a project-wide budget report. As of this month, purchasers can now enter top line numbers for a project, by project area, to create an "Owner's," or "Top Down," Budget.

The budget report then displays these budgeted numbers as well as the expected and committed values at that level, allowing purchasers to provide their clients pie charts and graphs showing progress against that owner's budget. The budget report displays in a variety of ways, with either line item detail or line item summary only to follow the owner's budget report.

"We strive to answer the call of our clients' needs for reporting and functionality," says President and Founding Software Engineer, Ben Gripka. "Providing this ability for our purchasing companies to meet their clients' needs for reports that quickly summarize their projects is just one example of our philosophy to work with our clients to add features that are important to them."

Sigma Installs Major System Optimizations

August 6, 2018

This month Sigma rolls out the effects of its developers' significant "work under the hood" to make massive operating improvements in the Sigma Sourcing procurement system. As a result of implementing many streamlining techniques in its database engine, system diagnostics have shown a dramatic increase in system efficiency. For example, the system's peak memory use is now at 10% of what it was before this installation.

Sigma's development team is continually looking for ways to enhance system operating performance. These particular improvements translate to even smoother and speedier operations as users create forms, save data, and pull up reports. Says Ben Gripka, President and Founding Software Engineer, "We place a high priority on delivering quick response times when saving and submitting data in the system."

The increased speeds also set the stage for being able to provide longer, more complicated project-level reporting - for example, a report to export all payment vouchers with a pending status with all of the backup attachments. According to Gripka, Sigma will be creating and testing these "background-running" in future phases of its development work.

Sigma Completes Major Table Editor Upgrade for Lightning Fast Data Entry

July 9, 2018

Sigma Sourcing today announced the release of major improvements to the functionality of the table editor for entering data into the system, similar to entering data into Excel. "Eliminating the tedium and slowness of data entry for our clients is a high priority for us," says Ben Gripka, Sigma's President and Founding Software Engineer. Last year the company introduced the PDF Importer, and now this year Sigma completely streamlined the process for entering vendors, users, specs, and budgets into the system.

This new efficiency and speed is a game changer for OS&E purchasers. Sigma's primary test case was a 1,000-line OS&E budget with errors to be corrected. Copy and pasting from Excel, the budget was entered and saved in under 60 seconds.

Sigma Sourcing Purchasing Software Undergoes Performance Enhancements

May 25, 2018

Sigma Sourcing's purchasing software is built with the belief that efficiency in the way a software application works is just as important as the features it offers. That is why in April, Sigma Sourcing's President and Founding Software Engineer Ben Gripka directed staff development time to focus on internal improvements.

The initiative resulted in new diagnostics and monitoring protocols to detect any inefficiencies in system operation and quality time spent on eliminating myriad inefficiencies. "We understand and take seriously our responsibility to our hospitality purchasing clients," says Gripka. "That is why we invest time and resources in these process improvements. Now our system is faster than ever and is providing our clients the speed needed to focus on the work and forget about the software."

PO Acceptance Enhancements to Vendor Interface

March 7, 2018

Sigma Sourcing introduces its latest new feature – PO Acceptance Process for Vendors -- in its hospitality purchasing software. A personalized vendor page - where vendors can view Requests for Quote, submit their bids, and view their Purchase Orders complete with PDF spec pages specific to the order - has been a standard feature. Sigma has now added an interactive acceptance process to that feature. Purchasing companies will no longer have questions about whether or when a vendor has received an order and agreed to its terms.

This new PO Acceptance process allows vendors to indicate their acceptance of the PO with a few easy clicks of their mouse. The feature provides purchasing companies a much-needed means for verifying an order was received and accepted, and it is one more function that Sigma Sourcing handles inside the system to help streamline its clients' FF&E procurement operations.

The Ness Group Becomes First Client to Receive Sigma Sourcing's User Training Online

February 19, 2018

The Ness Group, with a staff working remotely throughout the country, has become Sigma's first purchasing company to complete its training program entirely online. Sigma Sourcing's software-as-a-service is cloud-based, making it easy for The Ness Group's employees to be trained via web meetings and be up and running with new projects quickly.

In the training session on Sigma's reporting capability, The Ness Group CEO Chief O'Hara remarked, "This is really great. It's a much-improved budget report in my opinion and gives you a much better sense of how things are being spent overall on the project. Not just a couple numbers that we're randomly throwing out there to the client." Ben Gripka, Sigma's President and founding software engineer, confirms, "Sigma is dedicated to providing meaningful reports for purchasing companies to manage the entire spectrum of its FF&E projects."

Chief also noted, of the Sales/Use Tax Report, "this is exactly what we needed. We can present the information multiple different ways to the client down to the very detail; how much tax is paid to one state and how much is still owed in use tax."

To learn more about The Ness Group, visit www.thenessgroup.com.

Midas Development, LLC is Newest Sigma Sourcing Client

February 2, 2018

Midas Development, based in St Louis, Mo., today inked the paperwork to begin using Sigma Sourcing hospitality procurement software-as-a-service. Sigma is scheduled to provide its standard three-day initial system training at the Midas corporate office next week.

"We are delighted to have all of our clients, and this one makes us particularly proud as they came to us as a referral," says Ben, President and Founding Software Engineer. "That tells us that purchasing companies see the unique value Sigma Sourcing provides in the FF&E procurement industry and are telling others." Midas Development is one very satisfied customer, as Chris Shinkle, Vice President, Development notes: "NEED QUOTE about efficiencies/effectiveness."

To learn more about Midas Development, LLC, visit their website at www.midashospitality.com.

SIGMA SOURCING INTRODUCES PERFECT TRACKING OF VENDOR BALANCES AND SALES TAX

November 11, 2017

Today Sigma Sourcing announces an upgrade to the vendor payment processing module of its software-as-a- service hospitality procurement system. Following weeks of beta testing, Sigma now officially offers its clients the ability to accurately track every penny paid to and balances outstanding with vendors on every project. With this release, our clients receive exact accounting details such as sales tax paid, use tax accrued, freight, handling and overage charges incurred on every project. This eliminates the need for data to be tracked outside the Sigma Sourcing procurement software system, which means every balance reported for a vendor is the actual balance with that vendor.

FF&E purchasing companies can use Sigma Sourcing's system to process invoices that have freight, overage or sales tax only. The system also includes the capability to process vendor credits that brings every balance to zero. If a PO is adjusted via the change order system, the purchaser can now process negative balances. The system also calculates additional sales tax on extra charges, assessed by vendors, which were not entered on the PO.

"With Sigma Sourcing, no ‘i' goes undotted or ‘t' uncrossed. All additional values are reflected in the balance on the Accounts Payable Report, allowing our clients to fully zero-out each and every project," says Sigma President and Founding Software Engineer Ben Gripka. "This newest enhancement to the Sigma Sourcing procurement software platform gives our clients a competitive edge when it comes to closing out projects."

CHRISTINA RIVER EXCHANGE SIGNS WITH SIGMA SOURCING

September 26, 2017

Sigma Sourcing, offering software-as-a-service purchasing systems to the hospitality industry, is pleased to announce the addition of its newest client, Christina River Exchange, LLC (CRE), providing design in addition to procurement services. With design specs being the driver of the hospitality procurement project, Sigma Sourcing strives to build and improve its database systems to provide the utmost in accuracy and efficiency. This new relationship with a very forward-thinking CRE propels Sigma, through its client-centric and collaborative business model, toward an even more comprehensive purchasing software system for FF&E industry leaders.

Training of CRE staff and implementation were completed this week and both parties are looking forward to the new relationship. "Sigma Sourcing is an invaluable software platform, which has helped us improve the overall efficiency of our procurement process," according to Michelle Schwandt of CRE Business Operations and Development. "Specifically, the ability to import specifications provided by our design partners and field map data within the software allows us to easily generate RFQs and Purchase Orders."

To learn more about Christina River Exchange, visit their website at www.christinariverexchange.com.

SIGMA SOURCING INTRODUCES Freight Forwarder ACCESS AND REPORT

August 7, 2017

Sigma Sourcing announces the launch of freight forwarder access with 100% real-time collaboration on all project orders and final destinations. This capability for forwarders is unique in the hospitality purchasing software market, providing forwarders real-time access to view orders and the final destinations for all projects to which they are contracted.

Sigma Sourcing's software-as-a-service integrated purchasing system streamlines the process of tracking final destinations by collecting the information when the PO is issued. This functionality is another way Sigma Sourcing facilitates purchasing companies' workflows – once a PO is cut, there is no need to keep spreadsheets, create additional instructions or generate and send reports to forwarders.

President and Founding Software Engineer Ben Gripka says, "Working with a freight forwarder is commonplace in hospitality purchasing, and we recognize the value of connecting forwarders into a purchasing company's realm. With access points for forwarders and vendors, and in the near future designers and warehousers, Sigma Sourcing provides purchasers real cost savings by connecting all members of this complex procurement web within their unique role in the process."

COMPREHENSIVE SUBMITTAL TRACKING NOW PROVIDED BY SIGMA SOURCING

June 1, 2017

Today Sigma Sourcing completes the installation of enhancements to its software-as-a-service hospitality procurement system to provide detailed tracking of designer submittal items for each project. A new interactive report shows the status of each submittal required of each vendor. The easy-to-use tool provides simple tracking of submissions and sign-offs to ensure the vendor and designer are in sync.

"Submittal tracking is a functionality that seems small in the scheme of the overall procurement process," says Ben Gripka, Sigma Sourcing President, "but we know that it's critical to track every little detail if the property is going to open on schedule." Sigma's newest enhancement allows its clients to keep track of this information right inside the system, eliminating the need to store additional data in spreadsheets, as is often the case with other purchasing software.

This newest enhancement represents yet another component of the Sigma Sourcing system that is creating a competitive advantage for Sigma's clients in the FF&E hospitality procurement industry.

SIGMA SOURCING EXPANDS DEVELOPMENT STAFF TO MEET DEMAND FOR HOSPITALITY PROCUREMENT SOFTWARE

May 30, 2017

In a strategic move to continue adding value to its clients, Sigma Sourcing today adds Eric James to its web development staff, creating even more bandwidth for continued expansion of its software-as-a-service hospitality procurement software. This additional staff will also result in a boost to Sigma's already great client service, providing additional technical, yet relatable, staff to answer client questions or trouble-shoot issues on-the-spot.

Sigma's strategy of adding staff follows its entire business model of measured growth and has proven to be effective in finding just the right resources to continue making its mark in the FF&E hospitality procurement industry. "We are focusing our expansion in technical areas that benefit our clients the most," says Sigma Sourcing President and Founding Software Engineer Ben Gripka. "Our experience in this industry and collaborative efforts with our clients work seamlessly to drive our development activities; our newest developer will be expanding and enhancing the service we provide."

SIGMA SOURCING BOASTS "0 TO 60 IN SECONDS" WITH PDF IMPORTER

March 14, 2017

In a major productivity boost for its FF&E hospitality procurement clients, Sigma Sourcing introduces its Designer PDF Importer – a proprietary tool that instantaneously maps designer spec data into the Sigma Sourcing hospitality purchasing software system, eliminating the need for tedious and time-consuming data entry. "This tool helps our clients gain a competitive edge on their new project starts and in preparing proposals," notes Sigma Sourcing's President and Founding Software Engineer Ben Gripka. "It also allows our clients to hit the ground running with their designer specs auto-imported into their Sigma Sourcing database."

Gripka's significant experience working with FF&E leaders provided critical insight for designing this software tool that interprets the most common designer spec templates and imports their data directly into Sigma's database system perfectly. With no up-front effort, the importer provides Sigma Sourcing's clients superior data integrity for the entire procurement process, from budget to payment.

"This tool is a game-changer for our client's efficiency and growth potential. This solution and others like it are the ways Sigma Sourcing empowers leaders in the hospitality procurement industry."

Sigma Sourcing Expands Management and Development Staff

January 29, 2017

Today marks the introduction of two positions at Sigma Sourcing, demonstrating its continuing commitment to be a leader in providing software as a service for FF&E hospitality procurement companies.

Cyndi White joins Sigma Sourcing as the new Director of Operations, bringing expertise in corporate governance, human resources, documentation, and project management. Assuring these behind-the-scenes functions are handled proficiently demonstrates Sigma's commitment to all aspects of its business operations, while allowing its technical staff to focus on executing on continuous improvement for FF&E hospitality procurement.

Sigma Sourcing's newest Web Developer, Tony Verbano, brings experience in the hospitality purchasing industry, especially in the area of accounting. Adding technical staff enhances Sigma's capacity to continue enhancing and refining its purchasing system.

"We are confident that our measured and selective growth in personnel will bring the ultimate benefit of improving our clients' experience and capabilities," says Sigma Sourcing President, Ben Gripka.

Sigma Sourcing Adds QuickBooks Feature to Hospitality Purchasing Software Platform

November 30, 2016

Sigma Sourcing, an integrated software as a service company, today announces support of QuickBooks Web Connect, a feature that functions as a bridge between Sigma Sourcing and QuickBooks and eliminates most data entry associated with the high volume of invoices and payments typically handled by hospitality purchasing companies. This feature imports accounts payable and account receivable data directly in QuickBooks and ties payments to purchase orders creating real audit controls. Leveraging QuickBooks features, it also brings efficiencies to the creation of financial statements, payment processing and invoice collections.

"Integrating QuickBooks into our already robust, completely customizable hospitality purchasing software platform is having an immediate impact on client operations," says Sigma Sourcing President Ben Gripka.

QuickBooks integration is one of many benefits of Sigma Sourcing's hospitality purchasing platform designed specifically to help FF&E procurement companies efficiently execute their core sourcing processes. Other key features and functionality include expediting, change orders and detailed budgeting.

Sigma Sourcing Introduces Customizable Software Platform Exclusive to Hospitality Purchasing Industry

October 25, 2016

Sigma Sourcing, an integrated software as a service company, today announces the release of its hospitality purchasing platform designed specifically to help FF&E procurement companies efficiently execute their core sourcing processes. The software platform was built together with hospitality procurement leaders for hospitality procurement leaders, with features and functionality to support today's industry-specific needs, as well as those in the future. Key features and functionality include expediting, change orders and detailed budgeting, vendor payments and client invoicing. Sigma Sourcing's easily-customizable software platform is ideal for mid-size companies interested in bringing efficiency to their core sourcing processes, yet not able to hire an in-house development team.

"We add the greatest value for hospitality procurement companies expanding their operations, outgrowing their current system or just getting started and want an efficient system from day one," says Sigma Sourcing President Ben Gripka. "We are committed to making sure each client's specific needs are met and they never again outgrow their purchasing software."

Sigma Sourcing Launches Carroll Adams

MARCH 7, 2016

Sigma Sourcing, a hospitality procurement software management company, officially completes implementation and launches training of The Carroll Adams Group's New York and Orlando offices. This launch, which marks the introduction of Sigma Sourcing's industry-specific software to hospitality FF&E/OS&E purchasing companies, brings 24/7 real-time access to Carroll Adams' projects: organized budgeting and planning; a timeline highlighting key project thresholds; and clear, customized and easy-to-read, flexible project reporting.

To learn more about The Carroll Adams Group, visit their website at www.carrolladams.com and read our Success Story about them.

President and Founding Software Engineer Ben Gripka says, "we are proud and honored to be Carroll Adams' choice. If you are in hospitality procurement and also need software that you cannot find anywhere else, call us today at (913) 735-6061 or email info@sigmasourcing.com."

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