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Custom Injection Molders & OEM Buyers Meet on the JobQuote Network.

If you run a custom injection molding shop, you know how hard it can be to keep a steady load of the right kind of work running through your plant. Or, if you buy injection molding services, you know how hard it can be to find a reliable vendor at the price you're looking for. The same can be true if you buy tooling, design, and prototyping services, or even fabricated metal parts for use in assemblies. Molders and parts buyers too often have trouble seeing beyond their existing relationships. You know there are alternatives out there. The problem is, how do you find them?

That's exactly what the new JobQuote Network in PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY Online is designed to do. Created in cooperation with ManufacturingQuote.com of Smyrna, Ga., JobQuote Network is a subscription-based service being launched this month that brings together buyers and sellers of injection molding, mold/die-making, design, prototyping, engineering, and finishing services. It's an efficient and cost-effective way to connect OEM parts buyers to molders all over North America--and molders to tool makers and other vendors.

What is the JobQuote Network?

First, a word about what JobQuote isn't: It's not a "reverse auction" that isolates price only as the driver in the request-for-quote (RFQ) process. There's too much of that around already.

PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY'S new JobQuote Network is an online marketplace consisting of buyers and molders who are seeking a more efficient approach to the procurement process and who want to reach beyond the geographical limits that typically constrain customer relationships. Buyers post RFQs with detailed job requirements--including part drawings, CAD files, and other documentation--and molders search those jobs for work that best suits their capabilities and capacity. It works the same way when plastics molders, extruders, and thermoformers post RFQs for design, prototyping, finishing, inspection, or testing services.

The JobQuote Network is not entirely new. It is an extension into plastics processing of the ManufacturingQuote network, which has served the custom manufacturing market for the last two years. Over 1100 jobs totaling more than $31.5 million have been posted on the ManufacturingQuote network over the last six months alone. They span a range of processes, including general and precision machining, die and mold making, other metalworking, rapid prototyping, painting/plating, and engineering services.

But the JobQuote Network is not just about connecting buyers and sellers. It is also designed to facilitate the two-way communication that is essential to the procurement process. It includes Collaborative Procurement Management (CPM) tools that allow companies to interact online on issues that require further communication during the quoting process. Suppliers have the opportunity to offer suggestions on manufacturability or to seek clarification on technical or pricing requirements. The messaging system allows buyers and suppliers to communicate one-on-one, or buyers can post messages for all shops to read.

JobQuote also provides tools for both custom shops and buyers to organize and manage their outstanding quotations. RFQs can be grouped and sorted in a variety of ways, and job-status or engineering-change notifications can be distributed automatically. Buyers can release RFQs to the entire supplier network or to a smaller group of suppliers of their own choosing. They can even target a single shop.

What does it cost?

Custom molders and vendors of other services subscribe to JobQuote for a flat annual fee with no additional "per-transaction" charges. Buyers of parts and services can post RFQs for free once they've filled out the online buyer-registration form. Suppliers and buyers are free to use any combination of online/off-line communications that they feel is appropriate to manage their business relationship.

As an introductory offer, custom molding shops can obtain a free three-month subscription to the network by signing up on the PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY website (www.plasticstechnology.com).

Buyers' tools

For the buyer, JobQuote provides an easy means to put out jobs for bid to multiple suppliers, and to get all quotes back in a common format. The "RFQ Wizard" steps the buyer through the process and allows one to attach graphic documentation such as CAD files, PDF files, other image scans. (Proprietary information may be displayed only to approved suppliers.) Once a job is posted, the buyer is automatically notified via e-mail when quotes are received. RFQs can be managed individually or organized by project or by other logical grouping.

Find the right kind of job

For the custom molder, the first step of the JobQuote process is to create a "Job-Bot," which is a filter that identifies the kinds of work the molder is looking for. Through menu-driven settings, the molder programs the Job-Bot to search for RFQs from a specific industry or for specific types of molding, lot-size ranges, delivery windows, and so on. The Job-Bot collects only RFQs that meet those criteria and notifies the molder by e-mail. Subscribing shops can create as many Job-Bots as they please.

Once a suitable RFQ has been identified, the Quote Wizard guides the estimator through the quoting process. Some elements of the quote are entered automatically based on the buyer-specified RFQ information. Fields are provided for processing costs, tooling costs, material costs, and shipping. Total job costs are automatically calculated. A dialog box within the Wizard allows molders to ask for additional information. Once submitted, the quote is automatically inserted in the buyer's RFQ folder, and an e-mail notification is sent.

If a buyer accepts or rejects a bid, the molder is notified via e-mail. Or, the buyer may ask the molder to rebid based on new information. The process works the same way when the plastics processor is the buyer.

Molders manage quotes in the "Job-Bot Management List." The list identifies which Job-Bots have grabbed new RFQs and new messages, as well as which quotes have been accepted or rejected or are outstanding. It also gives a quote summary so that a molder can analyze won-vs.-lost jobs. Moreover, the system gives feedback on the dollar range of all quotes posted for an RFQ.

NOT JUST FOR INJECTION MOLDERS

Who Can Use the JobQuote Network?

Connect with Buyers If You Sell Any of These Services

Connect with Sellers If You Buy Any of These Services

Custom Injection Molding

General Custom Molding

Insert Molding

Multi-Material/Multi-Color Molding

Thermoset Injection Molding

Metal-Powder Injection Molding

Rubber Injection Molding

Rapid Prototyping Services

Stereolithography

Selective Laser Sintering

Fused Deposition Modeling

Drop-on-Demand Modeling

Decorating/Finishing Services

Plating on Plastics or Metal

Painting on Plastics

Engineering Services

Product Design Services

Tool Design Services

CNC Programming

Finite-Element Analysis

Reverse Engineering

Mold/Die Making Services

Injection Molds

Blow Molds

Thermoforming Molds

Rotational Molds

Transfer Molds

Extrusion Dies

Steel-Rule Trim/Cut Dies

Inspection/Testing Services

Dimensional Inspection

Materials Testing

Custom Metalworking Services

Machining

Stamping

Wire Forming

Casting

Welding

Forging

Heat Treating

Engraving (e.g., Rolls)

Custom Rubber Parts

Pour-Molded Rubber

Die-Cut Rubber

Injection Molded Rubber
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Plastics Technology Online
Comment:Custom Injection Molders & OEM Buyers Meet on the JobQuote Network.(Plastics Technology Online)
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:1133
Previous Article:New CAD Release Enhances Mold=Design Tools.
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