RFQ Process, "Web-ified"
There's a proliferation of online Request-For-Quote (RFQ) services on the Web these days.
The shared goal of these sites is to bring buyers and suppliers of machined parts and machining services together more efficiently. That may mean introducing a shop to potential work and markets that it may not have had much success with in the past, or helping a shop to improve a position in markets it currently participates in. For buyers, that goal means an introduction to shops with relevant capabilities for their needs that they otherwise would never have known about.
The values these online services hope to bring to the RFQ process are speed and openness. Traditionally, the RFQ process has seemed clandestine to some, impenetrable to others and cumbersome (read expensive) to both buyers and suppliers. With these services, the providers hope to streamline the selection process to days instead of weeks.
(I recently heard this paring-down of a process' timeline by the Internet referred to as "D2D" (Death-to-Distance). Pretty appropriate, that. — editor)
To participate, buyers and suppliers register themselves on one of these sites. When a job comes up, a registered buyer submits the job—and all relevant details—to the Web site. Prospective suppliers registered with the site may bid on the job(s), and the buyer then selects its short list of candidates from the bidders.
Each of these new online RFQ services varies slightly in its business models, but most require the supplier of the parts or services to pay a percentage upon being awarded a contract.
This market is awfully young (what on the Web isn’t?), and these sites will become more sophisticated over time. But there are good reasons for you to examine what they’re doing and how your shop can use them directly or as inspiration.
For a comprehensive list of the RFQ sites, as well as other related service sites, visit MMS Online's Metalworking Business Links. — AJS
By Any Other Name
Ever rack your brain trying to remember the name of a company, but all you could come up with was a product name? Or worse, the best a colleague could do to help with such an exercise was chime in with "I think it started with a 'Z' or something?"
If so, then maybe the brand new Trade Name Search in MMS Online's Suppliers Database might come in handy. Enter an entire product/trade name, a portion of it, or even just the first letter. You'll receive a list of those companies that have listed names that match your criteria.
Keep your eyes (mouse?) on this feature as it grows and develops. — AJS
April Job Shop Site Of The Month
GTI Spindle Technology is a 22-person shop that, well, does spindle work. The GTI Web site (www.gtispindle.com) does a fine job with its product and service information. But the feature to review is available through the “Your Job” section. Once selected, enter “123456” as the Customer ID Number, select Client Name, and enter “gti spindle” in the last box.
GTI's customer service mechanism was ported to its Web site from Microsoft Excel, and it is updated twice a day. It’s an excellent, affordable application that most shops can emulate by using their current systems as a base.
Notice, too, that in the example account you're viewing, that job-related info (like the shipping status shown under Job #1) can be portrayed through creative partnerships.
This type of application can allow any size shop or plant to add value to a customer's experience—not by creating new information, but by reapplying existing methods with creativity and agility. — AJS
For more on this concept, see the MMS article titled "Connecting With Customers."
Want your shop or plant considered for Job Shop Site of the Month? Send your site's URL to email@example.com with OTW Site Of The Month in the subject line. Please—job shops only.
It's a downpour as Modern Machine Shop Emphasizes and Spotlights Die/Mold Machining, Electrode Production and Workholding.
If after perusing your April, 2000, issue of MMS you find a need for more on Die/Mold, then MMS Online can take you further into the subject—big time. For starters, try the ever-popular, old standby: submit a keyword search on "die/mold" in MMS Online's Article Archive. Just be sure you have a fresh cup of coffee—you'll have a wealth of die/mold-related articles to review.
Further die/mold applications studies and information may be found in MMS Online's HSM Special Supplement on Die/Mold.
For specific information on Electrode Production, check out the EDM Zone and MMS' HSM of EDM Electrodes Special.
MMS' April 2000 Tech Digest looks at workholding as a performance issue in "Updated Workholding Improves Turning Performance And Speed." And don't pass up MMS Online's Workholding & Work Handling Zone for the Web's most comprehensive "Grip It & Chip It" information. — AJS
To get MODERN MACHINE SHOP magazine, visit our Subscription Page.
Up Next Month: In May '00, MODERN MACHINE SHOP will feature Workholding as its Emphasis, and Production Machining as the Spotlight topic. MMS' Tech Digest will showcase the latest Cutting Tools technology and products.
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