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.