Leveling the Competitive Playing Field

MFG.com has a renewed dedication to fair and open competition in our global manufacturing marketplace. Today we are announcing a new policy designed to insure that manufacturers know who they are competing with and buyers know where their parts are going to be made.

There's been a changing of the guard at MFG.com. As many of you may know, the company was purchased by new owners in 2013 and shortly thereafter, Bo Hagler was appointed CEO. Bo brought with him a new vision for the company that is based on two key principles:

  1. Dedication to the highest standards of quality and clarity in our marketplace, and
  2. Commitment to innovate in imaginative ways to help the global marketplace achieve its full potential.

Change is not easy. Yet, it is best achieved when guided by an understanding of the status quo from all perspectives. You cannot plot your future direction without first knowing your point of embarkation.

So, over the past few years, the management team at MFG.com focused their attention on gathering input from the company’s many stakeholders, both within and without. In particular, MFG.com put in place a variety of avenues for soliciting customer opinions – both positive and negative – and listened to the thoughts and rationales behind them. And, by listening, we do not mean simply checking some box on a tally sheet or nodding our heads in agreement with no intention do anything more. We mean we have truly heard your complaints, your recommendations and your feedback and come to understand them.

As a result, we believe we now know many of the challenges our buyers and suppliers face. And, we have not only defined the areas for improvement but also formulated concrete actions that will yield the change we all desire.

One of the most important areas customers commented on is fair and open competition.

Like any successful company, MFG.com has grown since its founding in 2000. Growth brings with it both good and bad consequences. On the upside, MFG is now global and can offer buyers and sellers nearly limitless opportunities. Marketplace features and functionality have grown commensurate with the burgeoning size of our user base. You’ve seen some of these positive changes with ShopIQ, application redesign and website innovations.

Now, here is the downside. Given our expansive user base and multitude of features, it was inevitable that some companies would look for ways to exploit the marketplace to unfair advantage. It may come with the territory, but it is something our sheriff simply would not accept.

So, we set out to identify both the companies involved and the methods used to unfairly represent themselves in our marketplace. What’s most important, we’ve done something to stop this unfair practice going forward.

We call it location verification.

Customers on both sides of our platform expressed a common concern: Firms gave buyers the impression they were U.S. manufacturers and led suppliers to believe the same. It is not hard to see how such misperceptions created an unfair playing field.

So, beginning in September, MFG.com began requiring all suppliers in our marketplace to certify the location of their primary production facility. What does certification accomplish? Well, first, it assures that buyers can choose to source only in locations where they want to source. Likewise, it means suppliers offering quotes have assurance that they are competing solely against their true peers rather than companies from low cost countries (LCCs) representing themselves as U.S. firms.

Second, certification – and the new rules that accompany it – calls for location verification to occur. We can’t share how, but rest assured the measures we’ve put in place are sophisticated and difficult to circumvent. And, should the production location not stand up to these verification procedures, our new rules give us the ability to impose a permanent ban from our marketplace. That’s right, any firm that misrepresented its location will no longer be allowed to use the MFG.com platform. This action is unprecedented in our history, but is designed to send an unequivocal message: Consumer confidence and trust in the MFG.com are so important to us that we are willing to go to exceptional lengths.                

We heard your call for fair and open competition, and we took decisive action.

But wait, there is more in store. Other actions designed to level the playing field are yet to come. More important, there are plans in progress to improve and extend our platform’s capabilities, as well as offer our consumers more and better tools to be more successful in their business by first finding greater success on MFG.com.

These are exciting times at MFG.com, with many more innovations set to debut in the months to come. Stay tuned. You will not be disappointed.