ThomasNet Audience Development Update, September 25, 2013

Last week, the ThomasNet Audience Development team traveled cross country making premise visits and holding speaking engagements to promote usage of, resulting in a lot of excitement and engagement from users.  Their first stop was Minneapolis, where they met with 25 procurement professionals from Graco, a manufacturer of pumps and spray equipment for fluid handling in the construction, manufacturing, processing, and maintenance industries.  The premise visit invitation came after meeting two of Graco’s Corporate Category Managers at the National ISM Conference last April. Graco immediately saw the value in and are really hoping to embed usage of throughout their company.
Next was Vancouver, WA, where they met with the ISM Portland/Vancouver chapter. The audience included buyers from a range of companies and industries, including Georgia Pacific, Port of Vancouver, and Cranston Machinery. After seeing the presentation, the ISM members wanted to put it to the test against Google. One of the attendees from Georgia Pacific was really impressed to see the company profile information and when looking at and Google side by side said “there is no comparison.”
The later part of the week they spent in Reno, where their first stop was a meeting with the Northern half of the ISM Nevada chapter. A conversation got started around buying locally to decrease lead time. After showing the group that they could easily qualify a list of suppliers by a zip code radius, they couldn’t wait try it! Another thing that really interested this group was our RFI functionality and our new custom RFQ service. While a few in the group were reluctant to embrace it due to confidentiality concerns when involving a third party, most saw it as a great tool to open up a conversation with new suppliers, that would increase their chances of getting responses, due to’s reputation in the marketplace.
Lastly, we met with a group of buyers and engineers at Sierra Nevada Corporation, a systems integrator and electronic systems provider providing high-tech electronics, engineering, and manufacturing products and services for the aerospace industry, most notably the US Military.  They had first met their SNC contact at the National ISM show and had done a webinar earlier this summer for him and one of his colleagues responsible for their diversity spend. They were so impressed at that point that they asked us to come out and speak to SNC’s entire procurement team, as well as the engineers they work closely with. Because of the sensitivity involved when working with the military, the absolute most important qualification when searching for suppliers is that the suppliers are ITAR registered. While there was some previous knowledge of in this group, the new Diversity and Quality Certified Supplier Portal was a big hit! The attendees expressed that being able to view and download ITAR certificates right from will be a huge benefit for them. The engineers in the room were also very interested in the Product Sourcing
This weekend, we’ll be exhibiting at the annual APICS (The Association for Operations Management) conference Sunday & Monday.

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