Online, collaborative sourcing service established for manufacturers

Dec. 16, 2005
New system allows buyers to manage multiparty sourcing and find manufacturing partners announced Dec. 13 that it established a new collaborative sourcing service for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who source custom-manufactured components through the online service.

The company says the new service is designed to enhance collaboration in the enterprise and to increase the quality of sourcing, saving time and resources. also says the new service is designed to enhance how business decisions are made and to extend and further develop a manufacturing community on the Internet.

Collaborative sourcing allows purchasing professionals and/or engineers at multiple sites to work together internally or with external suppliers in a single sourcing system, Mitch Free, president and chief executive officer of said in an interview this week.

The new service includes a suite of online tools that are designed to streamline and automate the sourcing process, and allows purchasing professionals to manage their supply chains efficiently, Free said.

Buyers that are linked online can securely 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.

"This is bringing buyers and sellers together online in a more sophisticated way. We are offering a service that will provide visibility across an entire enterprise," Free said.

He said the service allows engineers and purchasing agents to perform their unique functions and to join forces to communicate with suppliers on any number of issues and from any location at which Internet access can be had.

Engineers can develop designs and technical specifications for products, while purchasing agents consider business factors, such as a suppliers’ delivery history and pricing, and can communicate with each other before and throughout the process of developing and receiving requests for quotes (RFQ), Free said. Later, suppliers are brought into the discussions, he added.

"You can have multiple numbers of engineers and multiple numbers of purchasing professionals at several widely spread facilities collaborating on a single project, and talking to multiple numbers of suppliers for specific items or for commodity items," Free said. has established firewalls to protect data, Free noted.

"The data points that can be included and discussed are limitless," he said.

The new service is hosted and managed by, and does not require the customer to buy or maintain software or hardware. The service is free to purchasing professionals and to engineers sourcing engineered to order parts on, and uses’s standardized sourcing platform and four-year-old rating system for suppliers and buyers.

However, Free noted that the collaborative service also provides large manufacturing operations the option to develop their own, internal rating systems for suppliers.

"We are helping to unlock the intelligence of the enterprise," he 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."

By allowing engineers and buyers to collaborate with suppliers from the design phase of a product through its lifecycle, Free said the service offers the ability to dramatically reduce product costs and time to market while increasing quality and customer satisfaction. claims to be the world's largest marketplace for sourcing and selling custom-manufactured goods and services. The company has more than 43,000 buyers across the industrial spectrum, including the aerospace, transportation, consumer products, and electronics industries, who use its services 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. Its headquarters are in Atlanta.

The text of the company's announcement for its new service can be found on its website,