Paul “Bear” Bryant, longtime head coach of the University of Alabama football team, is quoted as saying, “Winning isn’t everything, but it beats anything that comes in second.” No one wants to place second, especially after investing significant time and effort in quote preparation.
MFG.com wants suppliers to compile winning records using our online marketplace, or at least establish a win-loss ratio that reflects a majority of wins. In part 1 of this series on winning on MFG.com, we spoke about the preparation needed to be a successful bidder. It involved completing our new-supplier orientation program, creating an online profile and addressing the all-important effort of building a reputation on MFG.com.
This blog will drill down on four specific strategies designed to help you win jobs and establish your reputation as a supplier.
- Login frequently to see what new opportunities are available. The best RFQs don’t stay live in our system for long. That’s because buyers who are serious about finding new suppliers are often motivated and ready to make a decision. Their RFQs tend to only last week or so before getting awarded. If you only log in once every two weeks (or even less frequently) you are going to miss out on most of the juiciest opportunities. Many of our most successful suppliers login every day. They rarely miss an opportunity and over time they routinely generate a gigantic return on their investment.
Recommendation: Get in the habit of logging in daily. Over time you’ll develop a keen eye for the types of jobs you can win. And when they appear you’ll be ready for them.
- Quote frequently and target a variety of jobs. As a familiar expression points out, “You have to play to win.” When first using the platform, quote often and regularly, as greater bidding increases the odds of winning and establishing a reputation (positive MFG.com ratings). Even if you don’t win, frequent quoting provides you invaluable experience on quote preparation. More important, it helps you accumulate a bidding history that our ShopIQ tool can use to provide feedback on your competitive strengths. ShopIQ can specify the RFQ bids where you were competitive and where you were not. In reviewing these analyses, you can understand how you may need to adjust your pricing or the type of the work sought to be more successful in the future.
Recommendation: Quoting one or two jobs here and there does not yield the amount of data ShopIQ requires for analysis. Seek smaller jobs at first that are easier and faster to quote. Look, too, for diversity in the jobs you select. This combination will provide our ShopIQ tool the data needed to hone in on your “sweet spots.”
- Use MFG.com’s filters to screen the RFQs you see. At any one time, there may be hundreds of RFQs posted to our online marketplace. The sheer number of offerings makes it impossible to quote on every job. Plus, the size of your shop, the number of machines available and your specific areas of expertise are critical factors in determining what RFQs you want to bid on.
Our platform offers filters that enable you to specify which types of RFQs you want to see and review. You can specify numerous filter parameters, including the industry, the region, the language spoken, the manufacturing process, the material, the buyer location, part quantity, delivery date, delivery location, job complexity (tolerances) and more. Suppliers also can list specific keywords to define a search further. Both techniques enable you to see as many or as few RFQs as desired. And, you can devise as many different searches as you desire, each reflecting a unique combination of filter settings.
Recommendation: It is not enough to merely set up a variety of searches. You must check the search results frequently. We recommend daily review at first. Remember, RFQs are frequently awarded within seven days of being posted.
- Don’t waste your time quoting on RFQs open to Chinese suppliers. Chinese manufacturers have the ability to quote pricing on jobs that American manufacturers simply cannot match. The bids typically are so low that suppliers can’t even purchase the needed materials at their bid prices.
But not every job is a good fit for China and not every buyer wants Chinese made products. In general, we’ve seen over the years that tight tolerance parts are the best opportunity for US manufacturers to shine, while loose tolerance parts can successfully be sourced to China.
MFG.com gives you the ability to look at the distribution of an RFQ and the buyer’s award history. If you see an RFQ that has been sourced to China or a buyer who has a history of awarding jobs to Chinese suppliers, we recommend saving yourself time and effort by not bidding on this buyer’s RFQs.
Recommendation: Look, too, at the delivery date specified in the RFQ. A distant delivery date can be an indication of intent to award to a Chinese manufacturer, especially for buyers new to MFG.com and lacking an award history.
- Explore the contents of multi-part RFQs. MFG.com displays RFQs in tabular format showing RFQ number, a brief summary of RFQ contents and a list of parts sought and the quantity associated with each. While our summary can be a helpful tool, it does not tell the whole story. To get a true feel for the parts being procured, platform users must open the RFQ and read the contents in their entirety. While you may not have the capability or capacity to bid all the work within the RFQ, you may be the most qualified bidder for one or more of the parts listed.
Recommendation: Trust your search results. If they highlight a multi-part RFQ as being within the parameters you selected, take the time to check it out.