The descriptions of capabilities of manufacturing companies can be found in multiple locations including company websites, legacy system databases, and ad hoc documents and spreadsheets. The capability descriptions are often represented using natural language. To unlock the value of unstructured capability information and learn from it, there is a need for developing advanced quantitative methods supported by machine learning and natural language processing techniques. This research proposes a multi-step unsupervised learning methodology using K-means clustering and topic modeling techniques in order to build clusters of suppliers based on their capabilities, extract and organize the manufacturing capability terminology, and discover nontrivial patterns in manufacturing capability corpora. The capability data is extracted either directly from the website of manufacturing firms or from their profiles in e-sourcing portals and directories. Feature extraction and dimensionality reduction process in this work in supported by Ngram extraction and Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) methods. The proposed clustering method is validated experimentally based a dataset composed of 150 capability descriptions collected from web-based sourcing directories such as the Thomas Net directory for manufacturing companies. The results of the experiment show that the proposed method creates supplier cluster with high accuracy.

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