Engineers and supply chain/procurement managers need to acquire new suppliers for any of several reasons. There is a good deal of information on selection criteria, but little on where to look. We have thoughts on this and would welcome yours.
There are several ways to find new supplier candidates, and most of these involve spending substantial time and effort qualifying these candidates—so you can then use all the various selection criteria that’s readily available. Proficient Sourcing presents a new method and we believe we can very often shorten the time and effort needed, reduce risk, and do so without cost to the buyer. This stands in contrast to other alternatives.
Proficient Sourcing has a large and diverse network of manufacturers, chosen because of a history of satisfied customers. This means items are made to spec, delivered on time and with excellent value and service. What we do is consider your requirements and then suggest candidates to meet those requirements. This is done FAST and without obligation. Once quoting activity has begun, you are connected directly with those candidates and we step back.
We began this company to improve on these other alternatives:
One alternative is certainly the internet. The task is finding companies that match some search criteria. Our experience with this method has been that a vast list can be generated, many of which are foreign entities if location preferences are not indicated. We are also suspicious that a company’s position is more to do with payments rather than representing the best possible match with requirements.
Needless to say, qualifying companies listed can be a major time consumer, and costly if company visits are involved.
Another method involves web-based organizations that perform computer matching of needs and capabilities—generally looking within some network of “member” companies. Hopefully the membership contains what is needed, for if not, success becomes problematic.
There are also industry specific research sources, such as the Thomasnet system. Your public library may even have database searching resources available. The Cincinnati (Hamilton County) library system has extensive searching resources for business, for example.
Some of these offer on-line RFQ submission; we have little information on buyer happiness with this alternative.
Another method is to seek recommendations from the existing supply base, friends, and associates. Word of mouth referrals are vital to many small businesses and are a common way to find new suppliers. The choices presented may or may not be optimum, since relying on outside referrals will limit choices.
The OEM’s quest may involve very specific requirements, such as materials, certifications, capacity (both current and future), delivery speed, inventorying, and proximity. Satisfying ALL the desired criteria can be time consuming and even costly. The Thomasnet searching system, for example, has drop-downs for most of these factors—but not all.
In all these cases the candidates that are revealed may solve the problem—and often do. However there are important factors that none of the above can address. As a consequence, the original sourcing issue may linger for a much longer time than necessary. This is exactly the reason Proficient Sourcing exists.
No sourcing method is perfect, and all have limitations. If your present methods are working well, there’s no reason to change. On the other hand, there is no system that cannot be improved. That is why Proficient Sourcing is standing by at (513) 489-5252 ready to save you time and money!