How to: Use the Supplier Search Engine

There are 2 ways to search on Manufacturing Network. You've got the "Browse by Category" Search, and you've got the "Supplier Search Engine".

This article covers how to use the powerful Supplier Search Engine, but we'll also point you in the direction of the Browse by Category search.



Navigating the Supplier Search Engine

You can get to the Supplier Search Engine in a multitude of ways. But we'll assume you clicked "Find Suppliers" from the top navigation bar.

Once on the Search Engine Page, it should look something like the screenshot below.

Supplier Search Engine

We said we'd point you in the direction of the Browse by Category Search. There it is, in the middle, click to enter the Manufacturing Network Supplier Browser. If you want to come back, there's a button in exactly the same place to return to this page.


There are 3 key components to the Search Engine.

  1. The Process Tree
  2. The Process Tree Search
  3. The Selected Process Summary

These are labelled in the screenshot below.

Supplier Search Engine


The Process Tree

You can navigate the process tree simply by clicking the expand and collapse buttons. Processes categories, or those with sub-processes are identified by the fact that you can't select the process. The only option with a process category is to expand or collapse it to show or hide the processes beneath.

Not all parts of the tree have 4 levels. Selectable processes can be found on levels 3 and 4. You know you can select a process when a radio button appears next to the process label. See the example below.

Supplier Search Engine

If you click the label of a process which has sub-processes, it will automatically expand or collapse. If you click the label of a selectable process, it will be added to your search criteria.

To remove a process from your search criteria you can select the process label, or the radio button once again. This deselects the process. To know which processes you've selected even when the tree is collapsed, see your Selected Process Summary.

In addition to being able to select the processes, you may have noticed the "Information i" icon next to every process and process category. If you click on the icon, as shown below, a process explanation will appear. This helps you make sure you are selecting the correct process, and that the limitations of the process fit your requirements.

Supplier Search Engine

Once you've clicked the "Information i" an Info Box will Pop-up like the one below. You can dismiss the info box and return to your search by clicking the "X" in the top right of the Info Box.

Supplier Search Engine


The Selected Process Summary

Processes which you have selected in the Process Tree will automatically be added to your process summary. This allows you to see which processes you've selected, even when the process tree has been fully collapsed.

You can also use the Selected Process Summary to review the processes, and remove any processes you selected incorrectly. Simply click the "X" next to the process name, and the process will be removed from your search criteria, as shown below.

Supplier Search Engine


There is a Selected Process Summary at the top and bottom of the Supplier Search Engine Search page. If you remove a process from one, it will be removed from both automatically.



The Process Tree Search

What's this? A search within a search? That's correct. There are hundreds of Manufacturing Processes, and there are many variations in naming conventions. The Manufacturing Network Supplier Search Engine has been built with these varied process names in mind.

If you haven't identified the process you are looking for from the names in the list, you can search the tree. Simply enter the process name, or just part of the process name (it doesn't even have to be a full word), and click "Search".

Supplier Search Engine

You remain on the Search Page. If the Process Tree Search is successful it will return "Suggestions" in a box like the one below. The Example search we performed was "Laser Cutting".

Supplier Search Engine

The process you are looking for may not be called exactly the same name in the search engine. The results are generated based on known alternative names and nicknames. Use the "Information i" to check if the processes in the list of suggestions are what you are looking for.


What does clicking Show in List do?

Clicking "Show in List" closes the suggestions box, expands the process tree to expose the process you have selected, then the screen scrolls the selected process into view. 


What if I get "No Results"?

Sometimes you may not get a result, in which case the Suggestions box will return with no results. Try altering your search term, or using only part of the process name.



Time to Find Suppliers

Once you're happy with your search, simply click "Find Suppliers" at the bottom of the page as shown below.

This delivers you to the Supplier Search Results Page. On this page you'll get results for suppliers who's capability matches the search you've defined.

Supplier Search Engine

If you find you haven't got many results, this could be because you've selected an unusual combination of processes. On the other hand it could be because we haven't yet got a supplier in the network who meets your requirements. Try adjusting your search, removing a process or two if you've searched for more than 3 processes.


Adjusting your search

You can do quick adjustments to your search, such as removing a process or two by using the left hand menu. Simply expand the process tree here, and deselect or select the processes to fine tune your results. This is ideal for quick changes, as the results automatically update.

Supplier Search Engine


Navigating Back to The Search Page 

If you're changing your search, we'd advise doing this on the main search page. Either navigate back by clicking on the "Back" button in your browser, or click "Search Again" from the left hand menu as shown below.

Supplier Search Engine


And That's it...

You can now use the Manufacturing Network Supplier Search Engine to find suppliers offering the combination of processes you require for your project.

If you have any problems using the search engine, need support or even have a suggestion of how we could make it better, email us at



Final Tips and Hints

Select a maximum of 3 processes on your first search, then select additional processes as required to refine the search. This increases your chances of getting some good results.

If you're not sure what combinations of processes work together, check out the knowledge base for an article on the processes you're thinking about. If you can't find one, email us at we'll be sure to get it on the list of required content!

Happy Searching!

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