Orbweaver Blog

Comments on Purchasing Automation for Contract Manufacturers

If you have been following Orbweaver’s development from our founding in 2012, you will recall we were not always as focused on Sales Automation Solutions as we are today.

In fact, a lot of our prior marketing effort was directed toward Purchasing Automation. To explain this evolution, some context might be helpful.

Orbweaver was born from two industries: Contract Manufacturing within the Electronics Industry and Large Scale Technical Engagements related to Data Automation.  With familiarity of these two industries, our founders were both frustrated by the quality and velocity of the RFQ cycle between CMs and Distributors, and saw an opportunity to improve this communication through data automation.

However, early in the Orbweaver’s existence, we identified a critical flaw in meeting the need for CMs to consume actionable data: the data at the Distributors is in often cases poorly constructed or inaccessible, and this was in part because the data at the Component Manufacturer is also flawed.  So in 2015 we pivoted Orbweaver away from providing Contract Manufacturers with the Inform solution, and developed Advance as a product to offer Distributors and Component Manufacturers. Today, the majority of our revenue is with Advance and Orbweaver’s primary mission is now to offer sales automation solutions.  Inform really only exists at a part of the entire ecosystem and the number of users of Inform as a stand alone product is now quite small.

Advance is used by Distributors and Component Manufacturers for Product Information Management (PIM), Inbound RFQ Automation, Sales Order Validation, and Supplier and Customer Integration.

Having said this, Orbweaver does provide data transport and automation solutions in the purchasing cycle by and between CMs and Distributors / Component Manufacturers   Some of these CM clients were acquired early in our development with whom we have maintained a relationship, and some are because a select number of CMs with a clear vision and allocated resources are able to work with Orbweaver to implement custom solutions that substantially increase efficiency through automation, eliminating swivel chair operations, duplicate entry, web searches, reducing emails, etc.

Orbweaver’s core value proposition is that we are experts at moving very large amounts of data, normalizing that data, and securely transporting it between two trading partners.  We are also very adept at unfettering data stores from systems or DBs that were previously monolithic in terms of connectivity within an organization’s digital platform – meaning they were inaccessible and disconnected.  Today we move data related to about a billion transactions per month, and that number increases every day. Most of the big Distributors are clients, or we move their data on behalf of mutual trading partners.

As a set of building blocks, the tools offered by Orbweaver may be used to assemble any number of solutions, including within the purchasing cycle.  In that vein, although Orbweaver does not today offer an out of the box procurement solution, it may be of benefit to discuss your purchasing objectives, what an ideal procurement engine might look like, and how Orbweaver might be able to get you there.

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