ThomasNet.com released its Corporate Edition on Monday, giving buying organizations access to a new enterprise version of the supplier discovery platform. Last year, ThomasNet.com released a similar platform exclusively for Wal-Mart suppliers. This new pilot corporate edition, however, is open to any buying organization that is approved by ThomasNet.
The new corporate edition platform includes a network of more than 700,000 suppliers from the U.S. and Canada. The Wal-Mart specific corporate edition platform linked companies that sold their products through the retailer to U.S. firms only, as the solution was part of Wal-Mart’s broader U.S. reshoring initiative.
Tom Greco, vice president of publishing operations at ThomasNet, said the expansion of the supplier network to include Canadian suppliers was the one major difference in the new corporate edition from the Wal-Mart exclusive one released in 2015. The features in the latest corporate edition are exactly the same as the Walmart edition, Greco said.
Corporate edition-specific features include:
- Supplier insight: A “My Approved Suppliers” tool allows buyers to upload their existing suppliers into the platform and link it with ThomasNet’s existing supplier database. This, according to ThomasNet.com, can show buyers a broader range of products their suppliers may be able to provide.
- RFI additions: Users of the corporate platform can send a single RFI to an unlimited number of suppliers. This unlimited feature is an upgrade from the free edition of ThomasNet, which limits the number of suppliers users can request information from. Another addition to the corporate edition is an RFI follow-up feature, where ThomasNet.com staff contacts the suppliers that users send requests to. Last year, ThomasNet told Spend Matters this process solicits a timely response from the supplier. Information the ThomasNet team gathers from suppliers is entered into the system for buyers to view.
- Improved collaboration: Another feature of the corporate edition of ThomasNet.com is the ability for users to share suppliers they have saved and shortlisted, making that information available to other team members of the buying organization.
So far, ThomasNet.com Corporate Edition has a couple of large multinational buying organizations signed up to use the new version, Greco said. Organizations interested in using the new platform can contact ThomasNet and go through the approval process, he said.