Unveils Online Collaborative Sourcing Service for Manufacturing

System lets buyers dynamically discover manufacturing partners, collaborate on RFQs and manage multiparty sourcing process

System lets buyers dynamically discover manufacturing partners, collaborate on RFQs and manage multiparty sourcing process

Atlanta — December 16, 2005 —, a marketplace for sourcing and selling custom-manufactured goods and services, took the wraps off a new collaborative sourcing service created for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that source custom-manufactured components through

This new service is intended both to beef-up's focus on community by furthering collaboration in the enterprise and to help increase the quality of sourcing, improve buying decisions and save time and resources, according to the solution provider.

Mitch Free, president and CEO of, said that the new service would allow engineers and buyers to collaborate with suppliers during the design phase in the product lifecycle and reduce the product cost and time to market while increasing product quality and customer satisfaction.

Enabling Collaborative Sourcing

"We are helping to unlock the intelligence of the enterprise," Free said. "This gives our community of buyers, engineers and purchasing professionals the ability to discover and collaborate with the perfect supplier for a project, and manage valuable relationships for continuously improving performance."

Collaborative sourcing involves the participation of multiple purchasing professionals and/or engineers collaborating internally or with external suppliers in a single sourcing system. The new offering from provides a suite of online tools intended to streamline the sourcing process, automate collaboration and efficiently manage the supply chain.

Buyers linked together online can distribute requests for quotes (RFQs), collaborate internally with other buyers, collaborate externally with suppliers, manage supplier data and perform advanced sourcing analytics at an individual, group or product level. For example, a buyer may be responsible for the business aspects in a sourcing process, and an engineer may be responsible for the technical aspects, such as providing CAD files or answering technical questions. Both can interact during the process to produce an RFQ, respond to suppliers and evaluate quotes.

Sharing the Supplier Network

In addition, companies can selectively enable linked users to share data such as preferred/approved suppliers lists, blacklists, supplier ratings and prior history with a supplier. Users can create project folders and see rolled-up, projected, per-unit costs for all components in a folder as quotes come in. This makes it easy to compare quotes to baseline or target prices, said. The tool also provides a suite of reporting tools enabling companies to run on-the-fly "what if" scenarios and to export data to Excel or other internal systems.

System-generated and user-added notes to supplier profiles, RFQs, quotes and quote actions (award, decline, negotiated, etc.) provide an audit trail for sourcing events and create sharable corporate intelligence. The collaboration enabled through's standardized sourcing platform gives companies a sharable, macro-level view of their supplier network. The result of this improved communication is higher sourcing quality, more informed buying decisions and sustainable bottom-line savings, according to MfgQuote. users can invite their existing suppliers to participate in RFQs, even if those suppliers are not already members of the network. Invited suppliers may quote work, but only for the invited RFQs. said it respects privately invited suppliers and their privacy.

Security Service

Also, when users create an RFQ they can elect to require suppliers to digitally sign non-disclosure agreements before accessing drawings and documents. And as a secondary level of security, users can elect to review the signature and company profile prior to granting access. Thus, no one gets access to data without explicit approval, according to

The new service is hosted and managed by, with no software or hardware for the customer to buy or maintain. The service is free to purchasing professionals and engineers sourcing engineered-to-order parts on

According to, more than 43,000 buyers in such industries as aerospace, transportation, consumer products and electronics, among others, are using to source, collaborate and receive quotes online for more than 200 manufacturing processes such as CNC machining, metal stamping, forging, plastic molding, metal fabrication and metal casting.

Additional Articles of Interest

— For insights into how the top procurement organizations align with their company's broader business to make themselves invaluable, read "Getting to World-class by Getting a Seat at the Table," the Executive Memo column the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.

— Looking to outsource your supply chain? For five success factors for your outsourcing project Read "Rising to the Challenge of the Outsourced Supply Chain," cover story in the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.

— Got MRO? Then you'll want to read these tips for implementing a strategic approach to sourcing non-strategic categories. Read "Managing the MRO Monster," an exclusive.