RFQ – Take Two

I have been in touch with a manufacturer. This manufacturer happened to do a search online, intentionally looking for businesses when he stumbled across this blog. He now has a copy of the new BOM and CAD files and is working on a quote for me.

Like any smart businessman (or woman), I sought out other manufacturers for competitive bids. If you are looking for fabrication or other types of manufacturing, Thomasnet is a good resource. Tim Ferris mentioned Thomasnet in a youtube video I stumbled upon recently and the CAD engineer I hired also recommended Thomasnet. No cost and easy-to-use, I followed the simple menu of selections; filled out the basic forms; attached the CAD file and BOM and pressed submit. According to them, I should receive 5 quotes. We will see.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that this is not the first time I have requested quotes. My first attempt did not go so well. In hindsight, I had two problems. I was asking manufacturers to engineer my shortcomings and I was overly formal. My RFQ looked more like a corporate RFP, or a small town phone book. This time, I kept it short. The BOM and the perfect CAD file and drawings allowed it to be short. Here’s all the verbiage I sent:

“Structural parts are cut from 1/2 inch and also 5/8 inch baltic birch. Moulding from pine shoe and 1/2 round. See BOM Quote needed for parts cutout only. No assembly required. Wrap on pallet to be shipped. Provide size and weight of pallet with quote. Please let me know if kitting, packaging and B/B or B/C services are services you provide. Looking for good price, but also future, continued orders. Call 660-955-0007 for questions. I will return your call if no answer!”

That’s it.  I went from a very formal 10 page RFQ to a single paragraph.  I submitted the RFQ on 9/23, so I am giving them all just over 3 weeks. It should be enough, but if not, they are welcome to call and request an extension.

They say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” That’s a nice platitude, and it highlights persistence, but it doesn’t portray the necessary traits of success. In fact, it is borderline insanity to try again if you do not pivot for adjustments. Trying again is only half the formula. It is important to realize why you need to try again and think about another way to do it better. My first RFQ lacked a single purpose. So this time around, I finished the CAD design completely. Now the manufacturers are not being asked to “help finish” the engineering aspect of the desk’s design. The second thing I did was I removed all formalities. I followed the industry. The industry uses Thomasnet. So instead of contacting the companies, I went to Thomasnet, followed their formula and kept it short and simple. I learned from my mistake; I pivoted and then I tried again.

For obvious reasons, I will not share any specifics as manufacturers respond and quotes come back to me. This entire endeavor hinges on the hope that the cost is low enough that this can become a business. I still need to work out details of warehousing, kitting, packaging and shipping. This is where I begin to cross my fingers. I still have a plan B and C if this model does not work, but I do hope to make this a success. Stay tuned.

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Regular family guy working to change his stars for his kids.

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