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ThomasNet.com Online Portal for Manufacturers and Suppliers on Display at ProMat 2013

Chicago—Jan. 21, 2013Thomas Industrial Network’s recently updated ThomasNet.com portal is a free platform for supplier discovery and sourcing of material handling equipment; components; MRO; products; raw materials; and custom manufacturing services.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, supply chain management professionals, material handlers and engineers must be able to work efficiently to find the exact products and services that meet their needs. ThomasNet.com provides users with added content to help them source products; access CAD models; and discover new suppliers more quickly than ever.

The Website’s new Product Search technology aggregates detailed information on more than 100 million parts. By defining precise attributes—such as applications, materials, dimensions and tolerances—buyers can find the exact products that match their needs. The new site also makes it easier to identify local suppliers, quality certified suppliers, and companies that meet buyers’ supplier diversity requirements.

One issue that is common between manufacturers’ relationships with their distributors is that the perception and reality don’t always match, according to Thomas Industrial Network. For example, manufacturers often believe that their distributors are representing their full range of products, when they’re actually promoting as few as 20 percent.

“I recently watched the blood drain from a manager’s face when she realized that her manufacturing company had missed out on untold sales opportunities with an important distribution partner,” said Michael Sprague, Director, eBusiness Development, Enterprise Solutions, Thomas Industrial Network. “Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common.”

For distributors to properly represent manufacturers’ products, they need detailed product data, including attributes (e.g., hp, rpms, torque); dimensions; pricing; part numbers; and 2D/3D CAD models and drawings. But providing that information is only part of the picture.

Each distributor has its own data and structure requirements, which manufacturers also need to match. For example, power transmission distributors prefer a .PPIF (Product and Price Information Format) file. Other distributors may require more technical detail in their own formats to fit their internal business systems.

Many manufacturers are hard-pressed to locate and update all their product information, much less provide it in customized formats. In response, Thomas recently introduced its Product Data Syndication service to help manufacturers close the gap.

Thomas’ team of engineers developed a master set of accurate and validated product data for each manufacturer. As such, a formatted file is ready to be loaded into the distributor’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or other internal system. From there, distributors can share the data within their organizations, to their websites, and directly with prospects and customers.

“This solution has helped us on so many levels, from increasing internal efficiencies, to improving distributor relationships, and it frees up our time to focus on new business strategies,” said Chris Curran, President, Climax Metal Products Company, a shaft locking solutions provider, which is providing data on 5,000 products and CAD models/drawings to several major distributors. Customers can even download the models from distributors’ websites, and insert them into their own designs, helping them to ensure an exact fit as they make a purchasing decision.

The new service helps manufacturers and their distributors increase sales opportunities; work more efficiently; and be more responsive to their customers.

To view a live demo of ThomasNet.com, visit booth #5512 during ProMat 2013.

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