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What is an Indirect Supplier? – Definition

What is an Indirect Supplier? – Definition

An indirect supplier is a company that provides goods and services to another business, but does not directly provide them to the consumer. Indirect suppliers are different from direct suppliers in that they do not interact directly with customers or consumers. Instead, they provide materials and services to other businesses which then use those materials and services in their own products or services which are sold to their customers. This type of supplier is important for companies as it allows them to reduce costs by outsourcing some components of production, rather than having to source each component from multiple vendors. In this article, we will discuss the definition of an indirect supplier and its importance in the business world.

What is an Indirect Supplier?

An indirect supplier is a company that provides goods or services to another company, which in turn provides those goods or services to a customer. The customer may not be aware that the company they are dealing with is an indirect supplier.

Indirect suppliers can play a significant role in a company’s supply chain. They can help to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. In some cases, they can also provide specialist expertise or products that the company would not be able to access directly.

There are advantages and disadvantages to working with indirect suppliers. On the plus side, they can offer more flexibility and agility than direct suppliers. They can also be easier to work with, as they may be less bureaucratic. On the downside, there is less control over quality and delivery times, and it can be harder to build up a long-term relationship.

Ultimately, whether or not to use indirect suppliers is a strategic decision for each company. There is no right or wrong answer – it depends on the specific circumstances and needs of the business.

The Different Types of Indirect Suppliers

An indirect supplier is a company that provides goods or services to another company, which in turn sells those goods or services to customers. The term can also refer to companies that provide parts or materials used in the production of goods sold by another company.

Indirect suppliers are an important part of many businesses, as they provide the necessary goods and services to keep the business running. However, they are not always the easiest companies to work with, as they often have their own agendas and goals. This can make coordination and communication difficult at times.

There are three main types of indirect suppliers: original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract manufacturers, and trading companies. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the right type for your needs.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs): OEMs are companies that produce products that are then sold to other companies, who then sell them to customers. OEMs typically have strong relationships with their customers, as they need to maintain a high level of quality control. However, OEMs can be inflexible and slow to respond to changes in the market.

Contract Manufacturers: Contract manufacturers are companies that agree to manufacture products or components for another company according to that company’s specifications. Contract manufacturers often have more flexibility than OEMs, as they are not tied to one customer. However, contract manufacturers may not have the same level of quality control as OEMs.

Trading Companies

The Pros and Cons of Indirect Suppliers

Indirect suppliers provide materials or services to a company that are not part of the final product. For example, an indirect supplier for a car manufacturer may be a company that supplies the steel used in the car’s frame. While using indirect suppliers can be cost-effective, there are also some potential drawbacks.

One advantage of using indirect suppliers is that it can help to reduce costs. Indirect suppliers are often willing to sell their materials or services at a lower price than direct suppliers because they do not have the same overhead costs. Additionally, indirect suppliers typically have longer payment terms than direct suppliers, which can give a company more time to generate revenue before making payments.

However, there are also some potential disadvantages to using indirect suppliers. One risk is that an indirect supplier may not be able to meet the same quality standards as a direct supplier. Additionally, indirect suppliers may not be as responsive to customer needs as direct suppliers and may have longer lead times for deliveries.

How to Find the Right Indirect Supplier for Your Business

When it comes to indirect suppliers, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure you’re finding the right one for your business. Here are a few tips:

1. Define Your Needs: First and foremost, you need to know what exactly it is that you’re looking for in an indirect supplier. What types of products or services do you need? What are your budget constraints? Once you have a good understanding of your needs, you can start to narrow down your options.

2. Research Potential Suppliers: Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start researching potential suppliers. A good place to start is with online directories like ThomasNet or Manta. You can also search for specific keywords related to the products or services you need.

3. Request quotes: Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential suppliers, reach out and request quotes from each one. This will give you a good idea of pricing and help you further narrow down your choices.

4. Check References: Before making your final decision, be sure to check references for each of the suppliers you’re considering. This is important to ensure they’re reputable and will be able to meet your needs.


In conclusion, an indirect supplier is a company that supplies products or services to another organization without dealing directly with the end customer. Indirect suppliers play an important role in today’s business landscape by providing cost-effective goods and services for companies who may not have the time or resources to source them themselves. By understanding what an indirect supplier does and how it benefits businesses both large and small, you can streamline your own supply chain management operations.

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