Let’s Get Technical: Lamlinks TDPs

For some of our clients, access to Drawings and Technical data is key to their business. Others not so much. Today’s post is going to address the various ways that TDPs (Technical Data package) can be obtained through Lamlinks, so that those who require technical data can select the approach that best suits their needs.

Subscribers to the Lamlinks Online Library can use our TDP download service to download unrestricted drawings from our server. There is no additional login required because users are not accessing the CFolders site and downloads can be done at any time without regard to whether or not there is an open solicitation. Documents are obtained by clicking on an active link in the Standards Spec and Drawings section at the bottom of the page in the Parts search of the Online Library. People who do not subscribe to the TDP download service can still see the list of documentation but without any active links to enable a download. Fees are based upon the number of downloads authorized per month. We offer a range of options, starting at $5 per month for a package of 10 on upwards. Restricted drawings are not available as part of this service.

Online Library customers can also access TDP information without a TDP Download subscription. This can be done by clicking on the Agency link in the Recent Solicitations section of the Parts library. Users are then directed to the DIBBS site, where they can follow agency links to obtain the drawing using their own CFolders credentials. This feature is part of the basic Online Library service and does not cost anything extra. It provides quicker access to drawings because it avoids the initial login to DIBBS and eliminates the query function necessary to get to the desired NSN or part number. One only needs to follow the link to CFolders and log in to access the desired drawing. When the download is completed, one can then seamlessly return to the Online Library to continue working.

Users who need access to restricted drawings can use the Lamlinks3 TDP Download service to get them more efficiently. To be eligible for this service, users must subscribe to both the Lamlinks3 Bid Matching service and the TDP download service. They must have active PDMI credentials for CFolders. The PDMI login and password information must be entered into the Lamlinks3 Set Up form and kept up-to-date. Users must also receive their API information and key from us and complete the appropriate fields. This information is only entered once and will be retained in the setup form. After setup has been completed, drawings can then be obtained from CFolders, using the Lamlinks3 software. Because they are downloaded directly from CFolders using the clients’ credentials and not from Lamlinks, subscribers to this service can obtain all the documents to which they are entitled. Downloads are not limited to unrestricted data.

Using the Lamlinks3 software, the TDP download service will download any or all available technical documents referenced in the Lamlinks notice with one simple button push. Users don’t even have to log in to CFolders because the software will do so and automatically begin the download process. Items that are coded as having a drawing available have a check mark in the “D” (Drawing) Column. One can download all of them or un-select ones not of interest and download the subset. Either way, all it takes is a click on the TDP button at the top of the Summary page to get the selected drawings.

Since the process requires interface with CFolders and the amount of time required to download all drawings may be lengthy if there are many drawings involved, users who do not wish to tie up their workstation may prefer to download one at a time. One can easily do so from the Internet tab in Lamlinks3. When on that page simply click on the Get TDP button found in the sidebar. The software will log in to CFolders and download the drawing the same way as it does from the Solicitation Summary screen.

Either way the process is initiated (i.e. from the Solicitation Summary or the Internet page), the downloaded data packages are placed in separate folders labeled by NSN and appear in the same format as posted on the PDMI site. To access them, open the Lamlinks folder on the C drive.

It should be pointed out that the TDP must be available on CFolders in order to be able to download it. One may have to attempt a download more than once, since differences in timing may impact the availability of drawings. Notwithstanding this limitation, the ease of use and automation features in Lamlinks3 make this service attractive. Pricing is identical to the download packages offered for the Online Library and is based upon the number of downloads authorized per month.

Of final note is the fact that Lamlinks3 customers can still access drawings even if they do not subscribe to the additional TDP download service. From the Internet tab in the Lamlinks3 software there are two ways to do this. The first option is to enable the RFQ bubble in the sidebar and follow the link displayed from that page. The other way is to enable the Drawings bubble and get the data from that page. Because the Lamlinks3 software searches different places depending on which instruction is used, the results can vary. A drawing may be available in one place and not in the other. This can be clearly seen in the two different screen shots below, where different information was returned depending on the path followed. If a drawing is critical, one should always try both ways to obtain it. Even though users must manually enter their own credentials into CFolders each time they query, our software provides faster access and comes at no additional cost. For those with limited needs or budget, this is a great solution.

In summary, we offer several options to those who need access to TDPs. We get the fact that one size does not fit all and that all requirements and budgets are unique. Our customers can pick the product that best suits their needs and get all the TDPS they need.

Web Based Bid Matching

Today we want to highlight WebBMS, the newest version of our Lamlinks Bid Matching Service – Web Based Bid Matching. Our legacy version, Lamlinks3, is a desktop application that must be installed on every user’s desktop. It is easy to use and very powerful; however, it is not a networked product. Anyone who wants to review the daily file must have the Lamlinks3 software installed on their computer. Multiple users cannot share any changes or work done within the daily file.

WebBMS does not require any special software to access the daily files. All that’s necessary is a browser to access the Lamlinks website. This allows one to view the daily files from anywhere that there is internet access. This alternative is particularly helpful in situations where there are limitations on installing software on the user’s computer. Additionally, it is an ideal solution where more than one person needs to process the daily file because it allows all members of the team to see the same results.

Since both products derive from the customer’s search profile, the content is the same regardless if Lamlinks3 or WebBMS is being used. The display is similar in both products but there are subtle differences in functionality. Either way, all bid matching customers receive the same bid matching information – just in a different manner.

WebBMS notices are accessed from the Lamlinks website by clicking on the Bid Matching header on the menu bar. From the dropdown menu, select the My Notices link.

The My Notices form displays the list of the available notices, the date they were created and the number of items within each file. All columns in this form are enabled for sorting as indicated by the double arrows next to the column title. If you click on the header, the sequence will change to either ascending or descending order depending on the direction of the arrow. Clicking again will reverse the order. Notices are available on the web for approximately 30 days.

To view the contents of a notice, click on the date and the notice will open. Underneath the identifying information appears a grid that lists every line item in the notice together with supporting details in columns from left to right. Every column can be resorted in either ascending or descending order by clicking on the header.

With WebBMS hard hits are automatically sorted to the top when the notice is opened. This is a particularly useful feature since they might not appear for several pages in notices with large numbers of item. If you are not familiar with hard hits or the “S” select box, please refer to the Lamlinks3 Bid Matching blog, where this concept is discussed in more detail. The screenshot below shows an example of this feature.

In addition to sorting features, there are ways to further filter the notice. On the far right side of the form located above the three most right column headers is a box entitled Solicitation type. The drop down menu provides various choices of which solicitations you wish to view. Simply click on the desired option and only those items will be visible. All others will be hidden from sight. Check out the example below where only the Set-Aside solicitations are visible.

Results are filtered to display Set-Asides only. Hard Hits are still sorted to the top but now show only those that are Set-Asides.

There is also the ability to easily search the entire notice to locate a specific item within it. Enter the information in the search box and any match will be displayed. See the example below.

This result is from search for part number 166963-08. The list adjusts as characters are entered into the search bar.

To view the specific details of each line item, simply click on the solicitation link. The information returned is the same as that in the Parts search of the Online Library. It has the same active links and sorting capabilities as those in the Online Library. Online Library subscribers can navigate through the web notice in the same way as they would if accessing the data directly on the Online Library. Users who do not subscribe to the Online Library will only see the Agency link as active. Since that link connects to the host site, they will still be able to view the actual solicitation.

Finally, there is the ability to easily export and print information from the notice. To do so, select the desired group of solicitations from the Solicitation Type box and push the Export Items button. With one push, the desired data will be exported to a file in an excel format.

WebBMS has similar functionality to that found in the Lamlinks3 Bid Matching service. However, there are differences derived from the fact that it is a browser based product. If you think it would be a useful tool for your business or have additional questions, please contact us.

Lamlinks3 Bid Matching Service

We have already discussed how the Online Library differs from the Lamlinks Bid Matching Service and described the Parts and Vendor search tools available in the Online Library. In this blog, we will highlight the capabilities of the Lamlinks3 Bid Matching service and software.

The Lamlinks3 Bid Matching Service is our legacy bid matching product.  The program is very easy-to-use and intuitive.  Yet it is powerful and has much flexibility. It is a software based application that requires users to download the Lamlinks3 software onto their desktop. To do this, click on the Software Download link found under the Support section on the menu bar of any page in www.lamlinks.com.

Once installed, there will be a shortcut to Lamlinks3 that will appear on the desktop. It looks like this.

To begin using Lamlinks3, the software must first be configured with the user’s login and password.  The program remembers this information sot that thereafter customers only need to open the program and push a button to import the daily solicitation files. The program may be installed on multiple workstations but all must be configured the same way. It is designed to run locally on the workstation.  Because it is not a networked product, no user can see another user’s view.

When the Lamlinks3 software is opened the first screen that one sees contains a list of all Lamlinks notices, their date of issue and the number of line items in each. From here, one can download any new notice and click on any reference number to open the notice to view its contents.  In general no solicitation appears in more than one Lamlinks file so that a customer will not waste time reviewing the same solicitation more than once. However, we offer an option whereby,  if requested, we will re-publish solicitation information in a subsequent Lamlinks notice when certain conditions occur.  Such circumstances include a solicitation that moves from a pre-solicitation status to an actual solicitation or when a major change to the solicitation occurs. This option can be made part of a customer’s search profile and is an example of our attempt to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to our clients.

When the notice is opened, there is a display that contains multiple tabs. The tab that is open is highlighted in red so that one easily knows which form they are using. In the screen shot below, we see the Solicitation Summary screen. It acts like a table of contents that lists every item in the notice. Each item appears on a separate line with columns left to right that contain additional details, including: part number and CAGE of the item, description, national stock number, procuring agency, quantity, estimated vale and due date. There are too many columns to display without scrolling from left to right  but the additional information provided include: solicitation number, purchase requisition, acquisition method, whether the item is coded as having a drawing, set aside information, and purchase type. Below is a screen shot of the portion of the solicitation summary page that is visible when the tab is first opened.

Because not every user has the same perspective, the Lamlinks3 software permits customization of the Solicitation Summary form.  One can change the sequence of how the various columns appear by dragging the column headers to a different spot. This can be helpful if there is information of particular interest that one  wants to group next to other information and make available at first glance.   In the example below, the “D” (drawing) column has been relocated from the far right so that it appears next to the nsn field and is visible at the outset.

Results containing drawings will be indicated with a check mark in the “D” column.

Additionally, the width of the columns can be minimized so that one can see more information at first glance. An example of this appears in the screenshot below.

The items are added to the notice in no particular order and are merely assigned a number in the chronological order in which they were added. The contents can be re-sorted in a more meaningful way by clicking on any of the column headers and they will be put in that sequence. For example, if you click on description, the items will be displayed in alphabetical order. If you click on the nsn they will be placed in numerical order. The same is true for the other columns as well. The screen shot below shows a re-sorted notice by description.


Double-clicking on “description” displays results in alphabetical order.

Of significant importance  is the ability of the Lamlinks3 software to highlight priority items. We have developed the concept of “Hard Hit” and it is an important feature.  A “Hard Hit” is an item that the search profile specifically flags in the Lamlinks notice.  The default for designation as a “Hard Hit” is that the particular item matches the user’s CAGE, either as an approved part or because the user appears in procurement history as a supplier.  Upon request, the definition of a “Hard Hit” can also be expanded to include any additional items that the customer wants highlighted. For example, a customer may provide us with a list of inventory items and ask that they be flagged as “Hard Hits”.  These items will be highlighted even though they do not necessarily match the customer’s CAGE. Another example might be that the user wants to flag any item that matches specific drawings or other manufacturer CAGE codes. These items can be designated as additional “Hard Hits” in the customer’s profile and will be highlighted as well.  We can generally accommodate any requested Hard Hit designation and will update the profile at no extra charge.

When a “Hard Hit” appears in a notice, a check mark is placed in the box next to it under the “S” (Selected)  column. To see if any items within the notice are “Hard Hits” press the “do it” button. (The default setting is that “set hard hits selected” is enabled so nothing else needs to be done.) Then double click on the “S” header. The checked boxes will automatically be grouped together and sorted to the top of the column for easy viewing.

Sort hard hit items by clicking the “do it” button. You’ll see sorted items are marked with a check mark in the S column.

The check marks appearing in the “S” box are like a toggle switch. Even though the “do it” button automatically placed them there, they can be removed with a click.  Likewise, an empty box can have a check mark manually inserted with a click. Thus, after flagging the hard hits with the “do it” button, a user can go through the list of items and manually select additional  items. By enabling the Hide option and pushing the “do it” button, all items that were not selected can  be hidden from view. This result can be reversed by enabling the Show option and pushing the “do it” button.   One can repeat this process using different criteria to select and hide items if working with subsets of the data. The “set all items selected” and “reverse selected items” can be a useful way to select and unselect large numbers of items.

Notice the all items except two have been hidden.

The last feature displayed next to the “do it” menu is the TDP download button. It enables customers who subscribe to our optional TDP Download service to automatically log into CFolders and download available TDPs for all items selected on this page. This service utilizes the customer’s credentials so that with one button push they can obtain the drawings to which they are entitled, including ones that are restricted, for all selected items. This topic is discussed extensively in the Let’s Get Technical: Lamlinks TDPs blog so check there for a more complete description of the product.

The solicitation details tab is directly to the right of the solicitation summary. It is possibly the most important form in the Lamlinks notice because it displays all available supplemental information in one place. In the upper portion of the form, the identifying details are clearly called out in different fields. In addition, one can see whether a drawing is available, whether or not it is a set aside and whether or not it is a part number buy.

On the bottom half of the page the user can see procurement history, information that is critical for constructing a competitive quote to the government.

Across from the procurement history tab, part number cross reference data can be found. We display a complete list of the parts that correspond to the national stock number, even those not acceptable for bid to the government, to provide maximum information to help users identity the item. To view the data, select the part number tab.


Information based on part numbers can also be seen from the Solicitation Details tab.

The packaging requirements and shipping destinations can also be seen by activating those tabs.

Users can scroll through the entire notice from the solicitation details page by using the next and prior buttons found in the navigation bar on the left hand side of the page.  One can see all  or only the “selected” items, depending on preference.  “Selected” items have check marks in the box. Since it acts like a toggle, a click will add or remove the check as required. All pages in Lamlinks 3 have these tools and work the same way. Thus one can select items of interest from whatever page best suits the requirement and scroll through the entire notice from whatever page is preferred.

The screenshot below shows the solicitation text.  Located directly to the right of the solicitation details tab, here one can see the information presented in a text format. Some users find this to be a helpful way of reviewing the solicitation details because it looks familiar. This alternative view is another example of  our belief that one size does not fit all.  It should be noted that this form is not the official solicitation, but a compilation of details from our database. It simply represents an alternative way of viewing the data for those who prefer it.

To view the actual solicitation, one must go to the Internet tab.  There is a browser embedded into this  form so that where available and without leaving the Lamlinks3 software, an active link will take the user to the appropriate government site.  In the upper portion of the navigation bar on the left one can choose where to connect. The default setting is to the RFQ.   In the screenshot below one can see how the internet tab has linked to DIBBS.  There users can view the actual solicitation as well as follow links to upload a quote on their site or obtain technical data. When finished navigating on the government site, one can seamlessly return to Lamlinks3 by clicking the Home button in the software.

The screenshot below shows the Drawing bubble enabled on the sidebar. This option highlights the contradictions inherent in the government data. Depending on where and when one goes on a government site, one may encounter different results to the same query. Nowhere else is this as obvious as here.  Sometimes information is  displayed when using the Drawings option that is not available when using the RFQ selection and vice versa. The takeaway here is that if searching for information, try as many paths as possible. The screenshot below shows the response to a drawing query and the corresponding links offered on the government site.  Use the Home button to return to the notice.

 The Awards option links to the awards database on the DIBBS site.  Users can execute queries without having to log into DIBBS and obtain information of interest before returning to the Lamlinks3 software.  This function can be seen in the screenshot below.

Finally, the navigation bar on the internet page includes some additional tools. As discussed earlier, there are next and prior buttons for scrolling through the notice, the ability to select the item,  and to save or print a document. The Get TDPs button at the bottom of the sidebar enables customers who subscribe to the TDP Download service to automatically log into CFolders and download the TDP that corresponds to the NSN displayed on this page. This approach is perfect for the person who doesn’t want to tie up the resources of a workstation for a lengthy period of time and is only interested in obtaining one at a time.  It is an alternative to the TDP download from the solicitation summary page that was discussed earlier. Again, please go to the  Let’s Get Technical: Lamlinks TDPs blog for more information.

We offer an optional add-on Quotation Upload service for interested customers. It is an ideal solution for those who have a significant volume of quotes to upload. The Quote tab is where those who use this service go to enter their quote for upload to us. This is  a topic beyond the scope of this blog and will be addressed in another post.

The Print function is available from the Print tab. Again there is much flexibility.  As mentioned earlier, items can be selected (or unselected) from any page. Here one determines which items- all items, selected items, an individual item or items not selected- and what type of information is to be printed.  There is  a drop down list that offers a wide range of choices. The user selects the details to be included and the order in which the information should appear.  Simply stated, with a few clicks one can easily print information from the notice, in the exact format desired.

Finally, in Lamlinks3  there is the ability to export the data to a spreadsheet, or other format. Simply follow the prompts and push the button.

XLS, also known as Excel, is a popular export format and can be easily created from this software.

We realize that there is a lot of functionality in Lamlinks3 and that it can be difficult to understand its features without the benefit of using it in person.  We offer a limited 10 day free trial so that those who are interested can try it out for themselves. This is the recommended way of assessing the value of the product and deciding whether or not Lamlink3 Bid Matching Service is a good fit for your business.  After all, words can only do so much.

Online Library Part 2: Vendor Search Online Library

In this post, we will discuss the Vendor side of the Online Library. Unlike the Parts search that focuses on items, the Vendor search enables users to research the Online Library for data that pertains to a company. The nature of the Online Library makes it likely that one will navigate between both the Vendor and the Parts side.  The interface between the two is seamless and queries on one side inevitably lead to the other side.  The task at hand merely dictates where the search begins, not where it ends. Because there is so much information to cover, we have separated our discussion into two parts.  However, each topic is really incomplete without a description of the other. To get a more complete and accurate understanding of the Online Library, be sure to read both blogs. The library is one product and should be evaluated in its entirety, not as two separate parts.

After logging into www.lamlinks.com and selecting the Vendor search option, one can begin a search in a variety of ways. If the CAGE is known, simply enter it. In the example below, we searched for CAGE 3B1R2.

The following results were returned:

However, if the CAGE was not known, one could also search by name.  In the example below, we searched using the name “Boeing” and found 471 matches.

To view details for each entity, click on the CAGE code link. and more Information will be displayed

Research on an entity can be initiated with as few as 3 letters. This will return every company whose name includes those three letters, obviously a very broad response that would require additional effort to drill down to the correct entity. The more letters used to query, the narrower the results. Thus, in the example below, we searched using “boe” and 1463 results were returned.

To provide even more extensive search capabilities, we have  a feature that allows one to query by contact name, phone number or Email address. Thus, if you don’t know the name or CAGE of an organization, but have a name,  phone number or email address, you can easily find the company that is associated with that information. As an example, in the search below we used the name Liz Koen. It returned 2 possible matches shown below.

Regardless of how the search is initiated, the vendor display offers a wealth of information about the entity in question. At the top is the demographic information, SAM status  and points of contact.  Additionally, if the company is a manufacturer, one can look at their list of approved parts by clicking on the View Approved Parts button.

As seen in the screenshot below, a list of approved parts appears after the button push.  It should be noted that the display is limited to 300 parts in order to guarantee rapid response and peak performance on the website. Customers who require more extensive information can obtain it by requesting a data report. There is a nominal fee associated with this service. The screenshot below shows the display of Approved Parts in response to the query.

Returning to the vendor page, there are additional tables displayed beneath the demographic section.There is information about the entity’s bookings over the previous 12 months, including dollar amounts and source of bookings. The company’s most recent awards are also displayed, with the national stock number for the item and an active link to the parts side of the library where one can see all the associated details for the item. All of the columns in the Recent Awards table can be sorted, as indicated by the  arrows that appear in the column header. Examples of both tables are shown below.

Finally, at the bottom of the Vendor search is a list of solicitations that match the CAGE of the company being researched.  It shows all the solicitations that according to our data base, have not yet been awarded.  Where possible every piece of information is also a link and most of the columns can be re-sorted.

There is a lot of information displayed in the Library and it includes many features that can be difficult to explain. We feel the best way to discover what the Online Library can do is to actually use the product.  If you have never done so, you can sign up for a no obligation 10 day free trial  and see for yourself.

Online Library Part 1: Parts Search Online Library

This blog post will discuss the Parts search of the Online Library. We’ll describe its features and highlight some recent enhancements that make for a better user experience.  Because there is so much information to cover, the Vendor search feature is discussed in a separate blog post. However, we must emphasize that both the Parts search and the Vendor search comprise the Lamlinks Online Library and a discussion of one is incomplete without reference to the other.  The interface between the two is seamless and queries on one side inevitably lead to the other side.  It is one product and should be evaluated in its entirety, not as two separate parts.

To begin, the Online Library is accessed through our website at www.lamlinks.com using a simple login and password.  Users can then initiate a search through two different portals- the Parts Library or the Vendor Library, depending upon their objectives.  Results are subsequently displayed with active links so that desired information can be seamlessly obtained regardless of where begun. Navigation between all areas is easy and where you start makes little difference as to where you might end up.

Below is a screenshot of a search started on the Parts Library.  One can query using a variety of methods (National Stock Number, Part Number, Solicitation, and Purchase Requisition, Drawing number, Technical keyword or Contract number). Here we begin the search with a National Stock Number.

Parts Search

In response to the query, a wealth of information is returned. It is displayed in different sections that are divided by topic and are easy to read at a glance.  There are too many fields to show in one screen shot but the user can easily scroll down the entire page and get an excellent overview of the details pertaining to the item.

At the top of the page is a description of the item and related details. Some information is represented by various codes but if one hovers the mouse over the code, the corresponding definition will be displayed.  In the example below we highlight the SRVA (Supplier Requirements Visibility Action) code because it is of particular interest to many users.

SRVA

The display directly beneath the item description is called Recent Solicitations. It is a listing of the 36 most recent solicitations and details pertaining thereto.  One can easily see how frequently the item was procured.  Because we have extensive databases, we are often able to include historical records that can be very useful.  In the case below, there are 19 solicitations that date back to 2002, an indication that the item has not been solicited very often.  For the more recent solicitations, the solicitation number is an active link that will display the actual solicitation text where available.  Additionally the status of the procurement cycle-whether it is still open, awarded or cancelled- and the quantity solicited are displayed. There are other details as well so that with one quick glance, one has an excellent overview of the item’s procurement cycle.

It should be noted that many of the columns in the Recent Solicitation table, as well as other tables, can be sorted independently from each other without reloading of the page or re-querying. Columns that are enabled for sorting will show double arrows next to the title and will change to an arrow showing ascending or descending when clicked. See screenshot below:

Recent Solicitations

Procurement History is displayed in the table below the Recent Solicitation data. This is an area rich in information. It was designed to provide a synopsis of award data so that the user can get an overview of pricing history without getting lost in too many details.  To that end, we display awards for each supplier, without including order details from long term contracts. The intention is be able to show summary information that will provide an accurate bird’s eye perspective of procurement history.

Procurement History

However, if a synopsis (without all the details of long term contract releases) is not sufficient, more information can be easily obtained. Click on the Order Details button next to the Procurement History header and you will see information pertaining to the contract releases.  In our example below, we see not only details about recent shipments but also history that goes back to 1998. Such extensive information is the result of our many years of experience and illustrative of the depth of our databases.

Order Details

The table beneath Procurement History displays Manufacturer Part Numbers that cross reference to the national stock number. We list all known matches to make it easier to identify a part. However, we highlight the ones that are acceptable for quote to the DLA (Defense Logistics Agency). The manufacturer CAGE for each part is displayed as an active link that will take you to the Vendor display in the Library.

Manufacturer Part Numbers

One of our recent enhancements appears in the table below the Manufacturer Part Numbers. Entitled Lamlinks Suppliers, we display any relevant parts that have been uploaded to us for posting under the corresponding national stock number.  Anyone, customer or not, can upload lists of parts or inventory to our database for posting here.  This service is currently free and expanding all the time

Lamlinks Suppliers

The tables that follow provide a wealth of additional data about the national stock number, including technical characteristics, procurement item description (PID), end use, and packaging data.  Again, where there is a code highlighted, hover the mouse over it and the definition will be displayed.

Additional Info

The final table is a list of  Standards, Specs and Drawings that pertain to the item. It details document type and other descriptive information, including whether or not access is unrestricted. We offer options on getting access to technical data and if interested in this topic, we suggest you read Let’s Get Technical: Lamlinks TDPs. You can get answers to most questions there.

Specs and Drawings

In summary, the Parts Library provides a tremendous amount of information in very easy- to- use views. The active links allow for additional research and the ability to navigate throughout the site. It is only a subset of the data available, a compliment to that found in the Vendor Library.

Finally, we want to mention that we offer a no obligation 10 day free trial to new users.  If you have never experienced it, we invite you to see for yourself what the Online Library can do for you.

Your Search vs Our Results: An Overview of the Online Library and Bid Matching Service

We’re excited to welcome Lamlinks users, and other visitors, to our new blog. We plan to highlight updates of our products and provide informative articles about the solutions we offer that streamline the process of doing business with the DoD. Our goal is to help Lamlinks users maintain a competitive edge and to ensure that our clients get the most from Lamlinks subscriptions. 
We are often asked about the relationship between the Online Library and the Lamlinks Bid Matching service. In this blog we will explain the difference between the two. 
Simply stated, the Online Library and Lamlinks Bid Matching service are complementary products. One is a do-it-yourself research tool and the other is a service that delivers to you daily files with new Government solicitations.

 Online Library

The Online library is a searchable database, compiled over more than the 20 years we have been in business that is located at www.lamlinks.com. There one can conduct research on many topics involved in government procurement. It is easy-to-use and results are quickly displayed in a clear manner designed to provide an overview. Details can be accessed for those interested in drilling down to more specific information. The combination of extensive data and good search tools makes it a simple task to research and get answers fast. And that is what the Online Library is designed for. For a more comprehensive description of the specific features available in the Online Library, be sure to read our Parts Search and Vendor Search blogs.  We separated the discussion into two parts because there was too much information to address in one single entry. Be sure to read both if you want to know more about our do-it-yourself research tool, the Lamlinks Online Library 

Bid Matching Service

The Lamlinks Bid Matching service is a fully automated service whereby we deliver a daily file of new government solicitations to the customer. In collaboration with the user, experienced personnel develop a customized search profile that is used to define which solicitations will be included in the daily file and which solicitations will be screened out. This is the first step of the bid matching process and perhaps the most important in determining its effectiveness. The goal is to create a profile that captures only the relevant solicitations. It should miss no appropriate opportunity and not drown the user in irrelevant, useless data. Without well-defined criteria it is impossible to accomplish this goal. 

Search profile creation is an art. We have over 20 years of experience and use very sophisticated techniques that include Boolean logic. Every profile is custom tailored and can range from simple to very complex in nature. At Lamlinks, we say that “if the customer can think of the filters it wants to use, we can implement the requirements.” Together we work to establish the profile and refine or modify it as needed. There is no extra charge for this effort as it is part of the customer service that we offer all our clients. Once the profile is defined, Lamlinks begins the search process. On a daily basis, 24 hours a day, we review all the public solicitations posted on the various federal government sites, including DIBBS, FedBizOps, TACOM, NECO, and REDSTONE among others. We are a DoD-certified Value Added Network (VAN) so that we also receive and process the government’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) feed. There are hundreds of buying locations that use only this method to publish solicitations that never appear anywhere else. Thus, search efforts are not limited to only the public websites and our clients are guaranteed that we cast the widest net possible. We identify all relevant solicitations for our customers so that they can focus on their own business and not spend their time searching for opportunities. 

Results that match the customer’s search criteria are bundled together into a file that is made available daily. These files are called Lamlinks notices. We offer two different options on how to view them:  Lamlinks3, our desktop application, or WebBMS, our browser based service that uses the internet. You can get more detailed information about each of these products in the Lamlinks3 Bid Matching and the Web Based Bid Matching blogs.

Regardless of whether one is using Lamlinks3 or WebBMS Bid Matching,  the daily notices include all the solicitation information, as well as supplemental data to enable the user to quickly decide if the solicitation should be acted upon. Additionally, both products provide tools to be able to select, sort and further filter the search results in order to maximize efficiency. Lamlinks customers don’t waste time looking in multiple places or wading through various documents to identify solicitations of interest. They are provided both the information and the tools necessary to avoid missed opportunities and to get the job done fast. 

We hope that the role that each product plays is now clear, even without a detailed review of all their features. One product is not a substitute for the other. They serve different purposes. Used alone or together they both provide powerful tools that make our clients more knowledgeable and efficient in their business. We offer a 10 day free trial for those who have never used our services and want to see how either or both the Online Library and the Bid Matching service might benefit their business.