NCMS Project #: 140495
Problem: Current approaches by which spare part requirements are presented to the industrial base often prevent small manufacturers from quickly identifying manufacturing requirements that match their unique competency and providing bids at a reasonable cost. Existing systems simply post the Government’s requirements without screening or organizing the requirements based upon the forecasted capabilities needed to meet them. This approach often leaves small business combing through a mass of spare part requirements until they find an opportunity that can be filled by their set of capabilities and expertise.
In order to address current issues associated with acquiring critical spare parts for military systems and improve participation of small manufacturers in building components for the military, the DoD has sought “e-sourcing” solutions that screen, organize and present Government spare part requirements to the industrial base thereby improving the ability to pair the right suppliers with the right parts at the right time. Web-based sourcing “portals” such as FedBizOpps.gov provide varying capabilities for sourcing manufactured goods from the industrial base. However, there is no national-level, integrated framework to enable rapid, high-density, multi-sector brokering between buyers and U.S. suppliers. Numerous inchoate examples exist in the U.S. as a result of sector-wide efforts (e.g. supplier exchanges), but technical, procedural, and cultural barriers exist which limit the full potential of such portals to open opportunities for more U.S. manufacturing business.
Buyers of OEMs, Government agencies, depots and military contractors use America’s VOICe™ to:
- Improve the response and fulfillment rates for industrial requisitions.
- Decrease the amount of time spent fulfilling requisitions and selecting qualified vendors.
- Develop and expand a network of qualified supply chain partners across multiple categories.
- Instantaneously disseminate RFIs, RFPs and RFQs to thousands of qualified suppliers.
- Segment, filter and qualify suppliers/vendors based on specifications.
- Facilitate State and Federal regulations for RFP/requisition solicitation.
- Compare and contrast bid quality and pricing.
- Develop a multi-layered and redundant supply chain.
- Create the systems and visibility necessary for accurate cost modeling, trending and management.
Small to mid-sized manufacturers and industrial suppliers/processors use America’s VOICe™ to:
- Establish credibility and visibility among America’s top industrial buyers.
- Tap into a consistent flow of targeted and qualified new business opportunities.
- Develop and expand a network of trusted business and industry contacts.
- Exponentially multiply sales and marketing resources.
- Leverage existing assets and investments.
- Streamline the RFI, RFQ and RFP response process to save time and resources.
- Access an easy-to-use lead lifecycle tracking and management system.
- Gain visibility into real-time market opportunity/market demand.
NCMS efforts with depots to increase posting of sources sought notices will provide a powerful incentive for non-traditional suppliers to register with VOICe™, thereby increasing opportunity matching even more.
Solution/Approach: The America’s VOICe™ solution by Imaginestics, LLC builds upon its existing online industrial networking platform, VizSpace, by establishing a marketplace, to act as a “channel” to which VizSpace members are automatically subscribed. Buyers post their opportunities within that marketplace which either filter to suppliers who are subscribed or use a state-of-the-art matching engine to automatically find supplier matches. VizSpace’s automatic crawlers also extract opportunities nightly from various Federal, OEM and public/private sites and match/deliver them to suppliers. As a secure, hosted networking platform, the America’s VOICe™ platform allows both buyers and suppliers to make their data and opportunities as public or private as desired and associate themselves with vetted trust networks of companies as appropriate for their needs. The America’s VOICe™ marketplace leverages the manufacturing capability ontology for which the VizSpace platform was built. The ontology basis, along with Imaginestics’ years of work in shape and text extraction technology make it possible for the tool to extract key data from tech data packages to derive appropriate capabilities and supplier characteristics. The America’s VOICe™ marketplace reduces lead time and no-bid responses with a number of factors: the speed and responsiveness of automatic matching and electronic communications; the ease of evaluating tech data packages in a neutral format; apps that allow for manipulation of drawings and models; and access to established, trusted networks of suppliers. America’s VOICe™ brings new suppliers into the defense supply chain by making access to good, quality, applicable defense opportunities as easy as checking email, but also by leveraging the existing marketing, training, communications, and relationships established by the framework of economic development organizations that help manufacturers enter the world of defense manufacturing every day.
To fulfill the organizational workstream, the team’s three onboarding organizations, one of which is NCMS, reach out to suppliers to communicate about America’s VOICe™, provide training on how to use the online marketplace, and act as a first line of support for questions or problems. These organizations are designated as “partners” to the America’s VOICe™ marketplace, which would mean that buyers could filter only to members of those partner communities if desired. Suppliers are able to subscribe to America’s VOICe™ without joining or already being a member of a partner community, but members of those communities would receive the benefits of communication, opportunity suggestion, training, additional information, and specialized apps that those organizations will be able to provide through their online community spaces.
America’s VOICe™ also matches “sources sought” solicitations to registered suppliers. Depots can post there notices to VOICe™, providing an incentive for non-traditional suppliers to register for the system. Depot assets can also use the VizSpace search to find potential suppliers. This small NCMS project is intended for NCMS to leverage it’s depot contacts to increase sources sought notices.
Impact on Warfighter:
- Fewer “no bid” opportunities translates to reduced acquisition cycle times.
- Increased competition for part orders lowers part cost.
- Better spare part availability improves readiness.
- All depots