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In the Wonderland of Your Suppliers


Knowing your Suppliers well is the key to effective sourcing and procurement. A Sourcing or Procurement Specialist must have a good knowledge of the suppliers. "Information, as we all know, is power". 

We have varieties of suppliers and these suppliers have to be managed in different ways to obtain the desired results. Years ago, a senior acquaintance mentioned that we can classify the suppliers based on their behavior. I found his description quite interesting and thought I should share the gist our discussions with you all. Different categories of suppliers according to him are:

  1. Globe Trotter - Is a frequent traveller. Is in touch with the developments in the industry. Can, hence, provide what is current. Is perhaps not available or traceable when urgently required.
  2. The Copy Master - Is very good at replication. Give this supplier an item, machine or equipment and the supplier reproduces it without much trouble! Such a supplier can perhaps handle even complicated needs easily. Such a supplier may not however be creative or innovative. Such suppliers are usually not capable of creating something original. 
  3. Mr. Articulate - Is very expressive and believes in being eloquent. Could be quite persuasive. This may be treated as a positive trait. This kind of supplier may not lose hope so easily and like to keep things moving. On the downside, there is a likelihood that they are just articulate and may fail miserably during execution
  4. Mr. Confident - Is confident of what he / she does and believes in sticking to the commitments. Because of the positive attitude, has no doubt about the capabilities. Most often succeeds in the endeavors. The buyer, however, must ascertain that such suppliers are not overconfident while making commitments.
  5. Mr. Nervous - Such a supplier could be very good at supplying quality product or service, but because of nervousness may have failed very often in the past. Could be an useful source of information but may not be very expressive because of some hidden fear or apprehension. Buyer dealing with such a person has to manage him/her cautiously. The buyer has to instill courage in such suppliers to ensure that they succeed.
  6. The Fly-by-Night Operator - "Fly-by-night" is a mocking term for businesses that appear and disappear rapidly. Some suppliers are 'here today, gone tomorrow.' Such suppliers try to exploit the situation and may take advantage of any weakness that the buyer has. They may not be reliable. They can be used only when in severe trouble, to meet any urgent requirements. A buyer has to beware of such suppliers.
  7. Mr. Gold Digger - Is a supplier who is primarily interested in material benefits and not in relationships. This supplier cares more about his / her own financial health than that of the buyer. He / she believes in 'making hay while the sun shines' and takes advantage of the situation like the Fly by Night Operators. But the Gold Diggers do not disappear once their objective is fulfilled. They usually invest their money only in those ventures where they can make money quickly. As a result, they keep changing their businesses.
  8. The Philosopher - Is calm & rational and believes in moral self-discipline. Is also keen on investigation of the causes, principles of reality, or values based on rational thinking rather than realistic methods. Such suppliers are easy to deal with. But, they could be at times too philosophical and hence, may not see reason.  
  9. The Change Agent - A change agent leads a change project or business-wide initiative. Change Agents must have the belief that they must state only the facts based on data, even if the consequences are linked to unpleasantness. A supplier who is change agent believes in continuous changes that usher in improvements. Such a supplier is more modern in his/her outlook.
  10. The Karma Yogi - Karma Yoga basically consists of completely selfless service. The self-esteem is given up to oblige the mankind, animals, plants etc. Karma Yoga is also the pathway for doing the right thing. Karma Yogi is a supplier who accepts responsibility without bothering much about remunerations like wealth, name or fame. Such suppliers are very few in number, but it is good to have them around!

Do you want to add few more categories to this list? Please feel free to do so.....


Very interesting and articulative topic. Intriguing. Keep blogging,

Very nicely written.

very interesting classification of suppliers, in a completely new way..........and a very well articulated message.....keep blogging

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