IBM buyers submit RFQs to Contract manufacturers on a secure IBM site. Contract manufacturers receive and respond to RFQs submitted by the IBM buyers from this secure web site. They can review the RFQ package, detach attachments, or download the Bill of Materials (BOMs). Following are some of the key features of this process:
- Manufacturers access IBM's A-Source application on a secure Web site with standard Internet access equipment: a PC , that is connected to the World Wide Web through any Internet service provider. The communications protocol is Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) over TCP/IP.
- When a buyer submits a package, A-Source sends an E-mail notification to the selected contract manufacturers, alerting them to check for the documents.
- Contract manufacturers use a PC with a standard Web browser to log onto the secure A-Source IBM Web site and sign in with their assigned user ID and password. Each selected contract manufacturer can view only their copy and can edit only specific fields in the documents.
- The manufacturer downloads the request for quote package to their system and detaches it, producing a complete collection of electronic documents, including a bill of material's file that is compatible with most major spreadsheets and supporting documents.
- The A-Source standard template ensures consistent and complete information to the component detail level. The application allows the manufacturer to attach supporting documents to the bid to explain such things as terms, penalty clauses, required advance notification, pricing of materials and labor, and volume discount breakdowns.