Payload Systems Builds Fast, Cost-effective Supplier Network

Aerospace company taps to complete custom projects within fixed budgets under tight deadlines

Aerospace company taps to complete custom projects within fixed budgets under tight deadlines

Atlanta — November 8, 2005 — Space shuttle contractor Payload Systems has been able to expand its network of qualified suppliers and more quickly and cost-effectively obtain specialized parts for its customers' space vehicles by tapping into, a marketplace for sourcing and selling custom-manufactured goods and services.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Payload Systems provides specialized devices and components for space flight for customers like Boeing, NASA and the U.S. Navy, and in 1989 it was the first U.S. company to place a commercial payload aboard Russia's Mir space station.

Using's online marketplace, Payload Systems has significantly increased its stable of suppliers with the credentials, expertise and capacity to provide parts for its highly specialized contract jobs. Until Payload Systems mechanical engineer Edison Guerra discovered, the company relied on just five subcontractors.

"One of our suppliers was becoming a bit too comfortable in their relationship with us and had been taking advantage of the situation," Guerra said. "We began using to broaden our supplier base, and within a few months we had relationships with nearly 60 providers. Now we have a tiered supplier system that gives us fallback positions if a supplier can't deliver exactly what we need when we need it." also helps Payload Systems engineers work within strict time and cost budgets, especially for NASA, one of the company's biggest customers. After finalizing their designs, Guerra and the company's other engineers are responsible for ordering the parts to build their devices. The complexity of their designs leaves little time at the end of the cycle, so the orders must be very precise.

"We're often up against it time-wise," Guerra said. "When we order parts, they have to be completed very quickly, exactly to spec and come in at a cost that won't take us over budget. helps us find the suppliers that can get us the parts under those conditions." is a Web-based service designed to connect buyers with suppliers of manufacturing services while facilitating the collaboration, quoting, due diligence and analysis processes. According to MfgQuote, more than 43,000 buyers across the industrial spectrum — including aerospace, transportation, consumer products and electronics — use the online resource 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.

"Companies doing highly skilled, specialized work like Payload Systems can't afford to spend time doing all the traditional groundwork for developing a network of trusted suppliers," said CEO Mitch Free. " can do that for them by intelligently matching buyers' needs with specific suppliers and helping these partners efficiently execute their business online. In this way, becomes their sourcing platform, giving companies like Payload Systems a new way to ensure they can deliver specialized products on time and under budget every time."

Additional Articles of Interest

— It has been said that the ability to learn faster than your competitors is the only truly sustainable competitive advantage. And that's just what those companies that learn to apply tax planning best practices to their supply chain structure are finding out. Read more in "The Tax Efficient Supply Chain," only on

— For examples of companies implementing warranty management solutions to reduce costs and improve product quality see the daily news items on Carrier, auto supplier ArvinMeritor, retailer Sears and appliance manufacturers Whirlpool and Sub-Zero deploying these types of solutions.

— Supply chain executives are discovering new ways to apply technology and innovative processes to the challenge of managing uncertainty. Read more in "Rethinking Risk," cover story in the August/September 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.