When it came time to bring its product, the IceDozer, to life, the Innovation Factory located an injection-mold shop by posting an RFQ on MfgQuote.com.
TUCKER MARION AND MARVIN WEINBERGER LAUNCHED the Innovation Factory with the goal of creating interesting, highly functional consumer products. Central to their mission was to remain a virtual corporation — outsourcing and collaboration on designing, toolmaking, plastic-injection molding, product assembly, packaging, inventory, and shipping. When it came time to find and source the company's first product, an ice scraper called IceDozer, to a manufacturer, Innovation posted an RFQ on MfgQuote.com to locate an injectionmolding-shop.
The site is an interactive web service enabling manufacturers to buy and sell custom manufacturing services. Buyers post RFQs at no cost, and suppliers quote for business that meets their expertise and capacity. For Innovation, the site provided a selection of toolmakers and eliminated middlemen from the supply chain so the company could remain virtual.
"We had 10 to 15 manufacturers nationwide respond to our RFQ with varying quotes and a range of prices," says Marion. "Based on timing and cost, we settled on VMV Tool & Engineering of Madison, Ind. Time-to-market for us was absolutely critical in our first year, so delivery was an extremely important issue. We had some suppliers quote 24 weeks, but VMV guaranteed an 8-week delivery."
He goes on to say, "Being able to put our designs out on the Internet and select suppliers from those that meet our criteria has been pivotal to the virtual process central to Innovation's mission. Is it working? We've grown 1,000% from the winter of 2001/2002 to the winter of 2002/2003. Yes, I'd say it works."
To prepare its ice scraper's posting on MfgQuote.com, Innovation turned to industrialdesign firm EJM Design in North Hollywood, Calif., to translate the product's initial concept into several possibilities. From there, Innovation went to the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC), which reduced the amount of injection-molded parts in the IceDozer from 10 to 3. DVIRC is an economicdevelopment organization that helps improve the competitiveness of small to medium-sized manufacturers throughout Pennsylvania.