At the recent International Manufacturing and Technology Show IMTS) in Chicago, ThomasNet.com formally relaunched its free platform for supplier discovery and sourcing of components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials and custom manufacturing services. The new ThomasNet.com offers users an even wider range of content, tools and resources. Engineers, purchasing professionals, and facilities managers can quickly find suppliers, source products, and access CAD models and product news.
For those of you not familiar with it (or old enough) and before going online, the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, were known as the “big green books” and “Thomas Registry”, a multi-volume directory of industrial product information covering distributors, manufacturers, and service companies within over 60,000 industrial categories. It was first published in 1898 by Harvey Mark Thomas as Hardware and Kindred Trades. The company stopped publishing its print products in 2006 due to declining circulation as Internet searches eroded the products’ usability.
1905 Thomas’ Register of American Manufacturers
Since then, Thomas moved its database online as ThomasNet, published and maintained by Thomas Industrial Network. ThomasNet has expanded to provide not only product and company information, but Online catalogs, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, news, press releases, forums, and blogs.
After IMTS I spoke with Tom Greco, VP of ThomasNet ThomasNet with one main question: With so much available online, why should I feel compelled to use ThomasNet.com? He said that the one of the most compelling reasons for using the ThomasNet.com platform is Product Search (ps.thomasnet.com) that enables users to find the specific components and products they are looking for.
Thomas’ team of content engineers has aggregated detailed information and line item detail for over 100 million parts from over 30,000 suppliers. Product Search allows users to specify the product they are looking for using groundbreaking taxonomy-powered search and navigation features. Specifiers can find the product that meets their requirements by defining precise product attributes such as applications, materials, dimensions and tolerances.
The new site also makes it easier for buyers to find local suppliers, quality certified suppliers, and companies that meet their supplier diversity requirements. Whether searching for women-owned businesses, an ISO-certified custom manufacturer, or nearby distributors, the new ThomasNet.com makes it easier to hone in on exactly what you need and create a supplier short list.
“We make it our business to understand the challenges our users face when sourcing, and the new ThomasNet.com is designed to address them. Product Search combines semantic search technology with curated content to create an unparalleled sourcing tool,” said ThomasNet’s Greco. “Product Search is a perfect companion to our improved supplier directory and 2D/3D CAD model library.” According to Greco, interestingly, he said that some 80% of product decisions and purchases are made based on the huge volume of CAD drawings that are available.
Greco said that the new ThomasNet.com platform includes a suite of applications, including:
- Supplier Directory – Over 610,000 suppliers including multi-media company profiles
- CAD Library – Millions of downloadable 2D/3D models and drawings from leading industrial product component OEMs
- ThomasNet News – the latest product, company and industry news
- Job BoardJob Board – to help find your first or next job
- Deal of the Day – Big savings on electronics, office supplies and business services
- Purchasing Tools – Free RFQ Event management and Contract management tools
As for the future, Greco said that in the next 12-18 months extensions will be made to Thomas.Net to what exists today, including additional marketing and product services, as well as additional search utilities targeted to solving specific engineering problems. He also said there will be two to three major upgrades to ThomasNet.com in the next 12 months.
Even with all that is available on the Internet, I still consider ThomasNet.com the “go to” application for product and service discovery and sourcing during the product development process.
Check it out for yourself at: www.thomasnet.com