Vendors vs. Suppliers: Are You Buying Hot Dogs, or Building Relationships?

Suppliers and vendors. Yes, the words are to some degree synonymous, and it even may be a matter of semantics, but in my world there is a distinct difference between the two. Many years ago, when I was dumber than I am today, I would constantly interchange the terms, until one day my supply chain sensei stopped me to explain the difference: “A vendor is a transactional provider like a hot-dog vendor on the street, while a supplier has a personal relationship with you.” I am certain that your list of procurement sources are a combination of vendors and suppliers, but if your list is heavily weighted towards vendors, then you are likely having supply chain issues. So let us explore the qualities that distinguish the two.

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