The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour Part 13:

This post is a little lengthy, so it’s been broken down into Comedy and Community, which you can skip to if you’re short on time.


Yakko Rapid Response Management. I don’t think we’d ever have thought of that at our old jobs!
  The maniacs just finished visiting with Kinaxis.
Dot It’s sure one cool concept! So Who’s Next?
Wakko Awesome album!

Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
No, no!

Wakko breaks into his best air guitar routine

Yakko & Dot Wakko!
Wakko What?
Yakko I believe Dot was asking a question!
Dot And I want to know what company we’ll be visiting next.
Wakko Oh.
So, onward where?
Yakko Are we done with the K’s?
Wakko I wonder what’s up with that little company down in the valley that we used to pretend didn’t exist?
Yakko Are you referring to Ketera?
Wakko That’s them!
Dot I’m not ready to go back to California.
Yakko I heard they have a new SaaS e-Sourcing offering! Maybe we can get a web-demo and research them online!
Dot That would be cool. I’ll give them a call.
Dot rings up Ketera.
Sales Voice You’ve reached Ketera! How can we help you?
Dot We’d like a demo of your new e-Sourcing offering.
Sales Voice Who are you with?
Dot The Media.
Sales Voice Well, we’re a little backed up right now … the platform is taking off much faster than we expected. Can you wait a few weeks?
Dot Well, uhm, okay.
Obviously not used to being asked to wait.
Sales Voice If you’ll give me your details …
  the maniacs trailed off here
Yakko Well, I guess we’ll have to catch up with them later.
Dot So where are we?
Yakko I guess we move on to the L’s.
Wakko Elle MacPherson … oh yeah … I could definitely …
Wakko looking confused
Yakko Lexington Analytics?
Dot Too Consulting.
Yakko Lexis Nexis?
Dot Too Data Focussed.
Yakko LlamaSoft?
Dot Too mathematical. And Wakko would spend the whole time tearing the place apart looking for llamas.
Yakko Log-Net?
Dot Too logistical.
Yakko LSC Consulting Group?
Dot Again, consulting.
Yakko Well, I’m out of L’s! On to the M’s!

Editor’s Note: Yakko wouldn’t be out of L’s if he’d check the resource site once in a while, which lists over 500 companies in the space, alphabetically sorted, and accessible by starting letter and major category.

Dot I seem to remember this company called Moai from years (and years) back. Think they’re still around?
Yakko I haven’t heard of them in years! Last time I saw a press release from them was … was … 2004! Not long after the Medebiz merger / acquisition. I thought they were as long gone as the Moai statues on Easter Island that they named themselves after!
Dot Maybe … but I thought I noticed that their web site was still there a few days ago.
Yakko Web site! That’s it! the doctor told us about a web-based operation that starts with M that we’re supposed to check out. Just a minute.

Yakko fetches his handy-dandy notebook.


Wakko Are we going for Chinese food! I’m hungry!
Yakko M-F-G, not MSG!
Wakko Oh. Well, can we still go for Chinese food! I’m hungry!
Yakko You’re always hungry!
Dot So who’s this MFG?
Yakko According to the doctor, MFG, who bills themselve as the on-line manufacturing marketplace, is a SaaS-based marketplace where buyers and sellers can come together and do business.
Dot So where are they?
Yakko I believe they’re in Atlanta, Georgia …
Wakko Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
Yakko ignoring Wakko
… but the doctor says that everything they offer, and everything we should care about, is on-line.
Dot Time for another trip to the cyber-cafe!
Wakko Look! Look! Here’s a Chinese Cafe!
jumping up and down
Can we go? Can we? Can we?
Yakko Yes, Wakko.


Wakko I love Chinese food!
Dot Is there any food you don’t love?
Wakko thinking … despite the look of consternation on his face
Escargot and Cavier.
Dot That’s sophisticated food.
Wakko I’d rather baloney.
Yakko breaking out the MacBook
Shall we begin?
Dot Sure. Where do we start?
Yakko Let’s go to the blogs for background. the doctor appears to have two MFG-focussed posts: MFG: A Community in the Making and – Exploding onto the scene, which I found through his handy Annual Vendor Day master index post.

Starting as a “parts marketplace” that is free to buyers, it has, especially after its recent acquisition of, a large supplier community that you can search, and tap, for custom manufactured parts and products through its free on-line sourcing and collaboration tools. Furthermore, it goes beyond just simple supplier directories, as MFG verifies the listed capabilities of suppliers who use the site and allows buyers to post their feedback, which it compiles into supplier ratings.

On top of this, it has a real-time supplier matching capability that works on detailed part specifications which will automatically locate the suppliers who are capable of filling your order. Once you select one, you can work with them using the built-in tools to collaborate on, and refine, the design until you get a high quality design that is cost-effective to produce.

And then there’s the companion site, released about six months ago, open to all manufacturers, and buyers, in an on-line forum that allows them to come together, share information, ask questions, post classifieds, find work, take advantage of open-source machine tools, and keep up with the latest news and trends. It’s all based on “Web 2.0” technologies – forums, blogs, wikis, and networking tools.

Dot Anything else?
Yakko the doctor has also cross-indexed a number of Spend Matters posts on MFG as well. Let’s check them out.

In Going Global with a Unique Leader, JB tells us about their CEO, Mich Free, and how he’s a b-school type — gritty, school of hard knocks, and personally knowledgeable about how a machine shop actually works — and how he used that knowledge to build a team that actually understood what manufacturing is and what it needs in an on-line platform.

In Smock Gets the Scoop, JB references a recent interview that notes that is planning to offer an advanced sourcing solution to buyers, which goes beyond its basic platform that will remain free, that will include “the whole nine yards of sourcing capability plus supplier relationship management and contract management for a subscription price of less than $500 a quarter per buying company”.

Dot Wow! That’s bargain basement pricing! For sourcing!
Yakko In the Fusion posts (I and II), JB told us about some of the visionary insights of Mitch Free, MFG’s founder, and how he’s trying to open up the manufacturing space in ways not previously thought of, and in — Building a Textile Marketplace, he tells us how MFG is creating a new marketplace for textiles, an industry that, like traditional manufacturing, has been traditionally underserved on the web.
Dot Wow! Sounds like MFG are one busy bunch of guys and gals!
Yakko And that’s not all! In “Surviving China’s Rapidly Changing Sourcing Tides” (I and II), the doctor mentions, the MFG companion site … in Chinese … to serve the Chinese marketplace.
Wakko Gan Bei! More Tsingtao please!
Dot Busy, busy, busy!
Yakko Very! I think it’s time to check the site out!

Wow! RFQs are sorted into standard, commodity parts, for open, public bid and custom parts — making it easy for suppliers to find the RFQs most appropriate to their orientation. Hundreds of categories, allowing everything to be precisely specified. There has to be over a thousand standardized parts and products here!

And the resource collection is awesome! Industry LInks to CAD & CAM Software, Consulting Srvices, and Machine Tool Builders to name a few. Links to over 20 relevant Manufacturing Publications. Over 15 relevant manufacturing industry associations. Information on the major certifications and standards. Even a collection of useful utilities.

Wakko That’s a collection that even the doctor, with the largest collection of useful resources (on the Sourcing Innovation Resource Site) in the space, would be proud of!
Yakko And the help, and online process guidance, is very extensive. Even you could use it Wakko!

And as far as I can tell, is just as extensive!

Dot What about – The Global Manufacturing Community?
Yakko I see over 10 active communities – Buy and Sell, Employment, Open Source Machine Tools, General Manufacturing, Sourcing and Procurement, Marketing for Manufacturers, Metalworking and Machining, Textiles and Apparel, Design and Engineering, Software, Logistics, and Materials. And everything’s a wiki document, so you can log in and make it better. And then there’s the blogs. Led by their blog-master, former analyst extraordinaire, AJ Sweatt.
Dot Does Mitch blog?
Yakko Occassionally. (Found here.)
Dot Too bad he doesn’t blog more. the doctor says he’s one smart cookie.
Yakko I don’t think those were quite the words he used.
Dot Same Dif.
Yakko Anyway, this looks like a great resource for manufacturing buyers and suppliers alike!