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Non-Disclosure Agreements & Qimtek: A Guide For Buyers

Sarah Venning

We all know that confidentiality can be a concern when you’re putting anything out for quote - be it through Qimtek, or by sourcing your own suppliers. While a non-disclosure agreement can ease these anxieties, it’s important to weigh up whether an NDA is absolutely necessary, or whether it is inhibiting your sourcing efforts.

A non-disclosure agreement is a legal document that prevents divulgence of information to third parties without express permission and approval from the buyer. These agreements are commonplace within many industries, although within engineering they usually relate to the disclosure of technical drawings and information. There are many different reasons why an NDA might be used - for instance, the project could involve a design with a patent pending, or it could be due to the application that the design is to be used within.

Industries such as aerospace, marine, defence/military and autosport are particularly sensitive to confidentiality and therefore, buyers from these sectors may require the use of non-disclosure agreements to satisfy both internal and external security requirements. Security is not something to be trivialised and we completely understand that this is a crucial consideration to most companies; however, by putting non-disclosure agreements in place unnecessarily, you may not receive as many quotes for your project as you were hoping for.

The Use of Non-Disclosure Agreements on Qimtek Projects:

Here at Qimtek, we regularly work with buyers who require a non-disclosure agreement to be signed by suppliers prior to them viewing their drawings. Our system accommodates a feature which makes it physically impossible for suppliers to view drawings unless an NDA has been signed and approved, meaning that you can rest assured that your project is in safe hands.

We will do all we can to satisfy your security requirements, including providing you with copies of all signed NDAs and a list of signees upon request, as well as accommodating the use of either your own NDA or ours. However, we will always warn you that the use of an NDA will slow down response times and limit the number of quotes received. Why? Because some suppliers will refuse to quote projects with an NDA, while the suppliers that do want to quote will have to review and sign the NDA, before returning it to Qimtek to be processed and the drawings released. This is why we advise you to only use an NDA on your project if absolutely necessary.

Please be aware that Qimtek has clauses within our terms & conditions that prohibit the distribution of drawings, meaning that there is sufficient protection in place against disclosure to third parties. Therefore, unless your security concerns are related to the application of the parts, or pending patents for new designs, then it’s worth reconsidering whether to use a non-disclosure agreement on your project.

If you do decide to use an NDA on your project, then the use of a thumbnail image may help you to get a better response. A thumbnail will show either a small snapshot of your drawing, or the complete part/assembly depending on your preferences. Thumbnails help the supplier to decide at a glance whether or not they can undertake the work in question, instead of filling out an NDA only to find that the project is unsuitable for them.

It’s also worth noting that Qimtek cannot sign any NDAs ourselves, as the nature of our business is to distribute your enquiry to suppliers who may be able to assist. Unfortunately, the very nature of our business model means that we would be in breach of any non-disclosure agreements the moment we share your project with our members!

Summary:

Ultimately, you will always have the final say on whether or not a non-disclosure agreement is used, as you know your business better than anyone. We will always advise you on the best route to take to get the desired response, although we do like to be transparent about the detrimental effect that an NDA can have to response rates.

Please feel free to discuss your requirements with your sourcing account manager, who will do all that they can to cater for your company’s needs and ensure that you feel confident and secure in using our sourcing service.

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If you require quotes for your project, our sourcing service is 100% supplier funded! Simply drag and drop your drawings here, or call us on 01256 394 500 for more information.

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About Sarah Venning

Sarah is a sales & marketing content writer, with six years of experience within the engineering & manufacturing industry.  Working both at Qimtek and on a freelance basis, she can usually be found hammering away at a keyboard or with her head in a pile of engineering drawings. 

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