Over on Global CPO, Doug Smock has managed to score an interview with Mitch Free, founder of MFG.com and evangelist for manufacturing. Smock headlines his story by noting that MFG.com plans to set "mass market" pricing fees for its sourcing solutions. If you're curious about whether or not MFG.com is planning on selling its "marketplace" sourcing solutions that are already free to buyers, don't worry. I'm guessing they will stay free. What Doug is referring to in his article are the more advanced sourcing capabilities which MFG.com acquired from Sourcing Parts (or at least a subset of them).
In my view, while Sourcing Parts always offered good functionality from a feature / function perspective based on their cost -- and might offer even better value going forward -- their historic UI always left something to be desired. But I suspect this will change in the not-so-distant future, however, since Mitch himself is a bit of a user experience junkie (and the new interface stuff I've previewed that is coming down the MFG.com pike features a great UI indeed).
According to Smock's interview, "Mfg. com will offer the whole nine yards of sourcing capability plus supplier relationship management and contract management for a subscription price of less than $500 a quarter per buying company. That's right: unlimited usage per company". In addition, "Mfg. com is also rapidly expanding in China, and adding a patented should-cost feature based on parametric search."
Given these advances, MFG.com serves as living proof of a marketplace model that works. While I still believe that long-term, MFG.com has a chance to move far beyond its sourcing roots, in the near term, I'm all for their shaking up the status e-sourcing quo from a low-cost pricing perspective. Unfortunately, we'll need to wait to read the full story on MFG.com's strategy that will be coming out in the print edition of Global CPO, a publication which in my view, represents the best reporting in the Spend Management world today.