Request for Discovery Overview

What is a Request for Discovery?

The goal is to improve the manufacturing supply chain selection by adding a process prior to the RFP/RFQ that identifies high potential suppliers without the OEM having to divulge key IP. REA250 and SQI have created just such a process – the Request For Discovery (RFD).

The RFD process enables the OEM and potential supplier to communicate at the required manufacturing processes level – not the detailed drawing level. This obfuscates the IP of the final component or product while clearly identifying the required manufacturing capabilities. Now the OEM and Supplier can exchange requirements and capacities without having to establish a legal relationship.

The RFD can go to hundreds of potential suppliers instead of the few in the existing networks. This process is designed as a low cost solution that can identify new and impactful suppliers. The best potential suppliers front the RFD process are now added to the standard set of suppliers included in the RFP/RFQ process.

We are building our RFD process based on our open-source software, eResource Center. This platform provides us the ability to provide support for new product manufacturing or to find " suppliers whose goods can be integrated into an already-running production system." Features include:

  • Simple registration processes for OEMs and suppliers
  • Google-like search capabilities
  • Effective matching between OEM's and suppliers
  • Ability to support rapid response partner "clutches" with confidential forums and proprietary websites
  • Ability to harvest and share information on evolving design requirements and production capabilities

Identification of Potential Suppliers

Hover over image to enlarge

Supplier Funnel

This image was produced by Jeff Elpern, the lead designer of the Request for Discovery process. The RFD process functions in a unique niche in the Supplier Discovery Chain. We know that Request for Proposals and Requests for Qualifications are well established tools for choosing the one supplier from a few. The RFD process can be seen as sitting at the top of the funnel, allowing access to a much broader pool of suppliers at a much lower cost.

To Other Supply Chain Researchers:

We are very interested in building collaborative solutions to the issues that NIST has so clearly identified for US manufacturing. Please feel free to contact us at if you are interested in discussing this project further.

SupplierDiscovery/RfDProcess (last edited 2012-08-10 15:26:13 by jeff)