AKRON, OHIO — Plastics News and SupplyBase Inc. are teaming with Dunn & Bradstreet to offer financial risk data and performance benchmarking on companies included in PN's online Supplier Search directory.
Separately, SupplyBase in the past month has struck deals to bring two publications into the online supplier network that already includes Supplier Search, SupplyBase's DeveloPages directory, and the sedign services directory of ID Magazine. More such partnerships in the works, said Chris Golec, SupplyBase's vice president of marketing.
The relationship with Dun & Bradstreet of Murray Hill, N.J., brings an added dimension to Supplier Search. Internet users already can access Supplier Search at www.pnsuppliersearch .com for free and use it to identify and qualify firms that can supply a broad variety of products or services, including different types of plastics processing, materials or equipment, molds, design, and financial services.
Now, the records for more than three-quarters of the 30,000 public and private companies in SupplyBase's central database also will include a unique D&B D-U-N-S number. Clicking on that number will call a pop-up window containing basic corporate information, such as the year the company was founded and the name of its top executive. That window also offers the user the opportunity to obtain detailed D&B reports on that company's risk assessment or its past performance. The prices for most of these reports cost less than $100 each, though some international reports cost more.
``Manufacturers that access our directories need to feel comfortable with the quality of a potential supplier before sending a request for quote or any other confidential communication. The information collected by D&B and its strong reputation in the industry helps satisfy this need,'' Golec said.
D&B prepares its Supplier Performance Review reports by surveying up to six of the firm's customers about the firm's delivery record, problem responsiveness, service and product quality, technical support, attitude and cost — and measuring each of those factors against industry averages. Interested parties may buy an SPR report on a potential business partner or supplier for $99.
Also, for $199, industry executives can order an SPR report on their own company as a means of gathering unbiased customer feedback. They then have the option of displaying summary elements (e.g. overall quality rating) of that report as an integrated part of their firm's Supplier Search listing. Users can view these summary elements at no cost and can buy the full report for $99.
``It is difficult to determine if a potential supplier's information is accurately portrayed on the Internet or if they have sufficient expertise or capacity to handle high-volume projects,'' said Dave Otterness, director of supplier management for Flextronics International, a San Jose, Calif. -based turnkey contract manufacturer of electronics. ``The integration of D&B's supplier evaluation tools with SupplyBase's industry-capability information will answer these questions upfront, reduce business risk, and increase sourcing productivity.''
Regarding the use of the SPR report as a self-evaluation tool, Plastics News Publisher Tony Eagan added: ``I can't imagine any company not being interested in having a respected third party such as Dun & Bradstreet provide an independent analysis that candidly reveals how your own customers rate your performance in relation to that of your competitors.''
Some plastics firms that already have used the service agree. ``The customer surveys conducted by D&B helped us understand our strengths and weaknesses with our key customers while fulfilling QS9000 guidelines for customer benchmarking at the same time,'' said Larry Ferguson, vice president of sales and marketing for Master Molded Products Corp., an Elgin, Ill., custom injection molder.
The use of such tools to differentiate among suppliers helps ensure that the Internet is not an indiscriminate equalizer.
``Potential business partners need to do just as much, if not more, due diligence using electronic sourcing solutions vs. traditional methods,'' said Thomas R. Pierson, D&B's assistant vice president of trading partner network alliances. ``So it makes sense to ensure that the D&B information on their companies is up to date, accurate and easily available.''
Dun & Bradstreet offers other reports via Supplier Search that can be ordered online with a credit card:
*Its Supplier Evaluation Report provides extensive data on the subject firm's financial strength and credit worthiness. It notes payment habits and ``special events'' (such as acquisitions or lawsuits), as well as detailed information on the firm's balance sheet, creditors, shareholders, and more. It also includes D&B's own risk rating of the firm, and offers related commentary. Such reports on U.S. firms cost $85.
The D&B Business Background Report costs $20 and details the firm's start-up date, number of employees, key officers, a brief business history, and some background on its operations.
D&B's $5 GlobalSeek report offers a quick business snapshot.
The D&B reports also can be accessed at Metalworking Digest's site at www.mwdservices.com and SupplyBase's www.develo pages.com site. Logistics Buyers Guide Online, www.logistics-buy ers-guide.com, combines the annual buyers guides of Cahners Business Information's Logistics Management & Distribution Report and its American Public Warehouse Register.
For more information on Supplier Search's new D&B services, call SupplyBase toll-free in the United States at (888) 835-1300 or (415) 977-1290 or e-mail [email protected] supplybase.com.