A new database dedicated to connecting the Dayton region’s manufacturers with Department of Defense contracts acts as an online match-maker.
The new national system is called “America’s Voice.” It promises to redo government contracting, making it more intuitive and streamlined. It should cut back on hours scanning the government’s shopping list for military parts, its backers said.
There’s no charge for a company to register and list on the database. It shouldn’t take an extraordinary amount of time either, said Lloyd Fields, President of Imaginestics, the West Lafayette, Ind., company that designed the system. He describes the platform as “cloud-based social networking for the manufacturing sector.”
A daylong workshop Aug. 27 at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center, “Connecting American Manufacturers,” will show how manufacturers can tap the platform. It’s sponsored by the Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association.
It starts with a manufacturer filling out a series of forms, even providing two and three-dimensional shapes of products and parts. Special manufacturing certifications are noted and there’s a place to describe operations, processes, key personnel and special equipment. From their end, government employees describe what they need. Then, the computerized match-making starts.
The system is designed to be smart, a “visual search-powered online marketplace” that works automatically. Need a metal aircraft part of certain dimensions and materials? The “matching engine” analyzes the buyers’ request along with suppliers’ capabilities. It ranks for best matches, too. .
The system not been up for long. Since December it’s loaded 3,300 “hard-to-source” parts requests from the government. In April 2012, the Department of Defense chose the Imaginestics’ platform to solve the chronic problem of finding domestic manufacturers. The program launched here on a pilot basis in August 2012.
So far, 30,000 manufacturers are registered, including roughly 45 in the Dayton area. The system has handled 96,869 Defense solicitations and matched 35,318 of them to qualified suppliers. Fields said a total of 747 awards were received by 34 suppliers with award revenue of more than $22 million.
The Dayton region’s manufacturing sector should be able to generate millions more in new business considering the small percent of contracting it now from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said Rick Little, president of Starwin Industries, a Kettering defense contractor that connected with the system six months ago.
The problem of finding manufacturers for vital parts, especially for aging military equipment including fighter jets, is a serious one, said Carl Francis, who retired as a Department of Defense financial management executive based at Wright-Patterson. He now works with the Dayton Defense Contractors Association.
“This is an improvement,” Francis said. “It makes life easier for both sides.”
What: Workshop on America’s Voice database for manufacturers.
When: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 27.
Where: Hope Hotel and Conference Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, (937) 879-2696.
Contact: Dayton Defense Contractors Association. Workshop is $25 for members, $40 for non-members.
Register online at daytondefense.org
To sign up with America’s Voice, visit online: Vizspace.com