Why should consumers and retail products get all the love (or hate)? Online customer reviews, a familiar way consumers evaluate fashion apparel and consumer electronics through the comments of other buyers, now have a home for comments on manufacturing processes like injection molding.
VendOp, a startup online portal for customer reviews, specializes in posting reviews on thousands of providers of business services, such as process manufacturers that handle custom plastic injection molding jobs, founder and CEO Andy Kohm says.
His web portal, VendOp.com, recently launched after about a year of beta testing. With more than $1 million in angel funding, Kohm says, the site has built up a base of about 40,000 reviews for 4,500 manufacturers and other types of companies. In effect, he expects VendOp to become known as a portal where buyers can not only find suppliers of particular types of manufacturing services, but also get information from past customers to help them decide on the best provider.
“We’re trying to change how people find and choose vendors,” he says.
Manufacturers on the site provide such services as making hip and knee replacements for medical device companies. Companies listed on the site as buyers of manufacturing services include electronics company Philips, consumer products company Johnson & Johnson and electric car maker Tesla.
Companies listed as services providers include Heilind Electronics, Armstrong Tools and Fluke, a provider of assembly line testing equipment. Each of these providers was listed among VendOp’s list of “Top 50 Best Rated Vendors,” which is based on their volume of positive reviews.
Kohm, who formerly worked for manufacturers of medical devices, says VendOp will work with manufacturers to provide incentives to customers to write reviews, such as by helping to pay for simple gifts like a $5 gift card to a retailer such as Amazon.com or Starbuck’s.
VendOp lets manufacturers list their services for free on a basic profile page with about a 200-word description of the company and its services. But it charges a fee for companies that wants a more elaborate profile highlighting their brand with logos and images. Average annual fees run about $2,000, but vary based on the manufacturer’s size and sales volume.
VendOp charges no fees to companies using the site to find manufacturers.
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