Difference Between Vendor and Supplier

The business world survives with a complex structure that ensures that the products reach the end user in a smooth way. The whole process starts with research on a product, its inception, production, promotion and eventually the selling channel.

The process is not an easy one and all cogs must fit in the right place in order for it to be successful. You often hear the terms suppliers and vendors and use them as synonyms. The meaning of the two practically almost the same but there are some differences that make them both somewhat different.

A vendor is somewhat closer to the end user and provides the goods and services to retail outlets. They generally deliver their goods directly to the outlet without the involvement of the supply chain of the company taking these goods in the traditional manner.

The supplier on the other hand generally provides the goods to the warehouse from which the company decides the amounts to be dispersed to each outlet.

The vendor is never a manufacturer and is generally an authorised company that provides the goods and services to other sellers. On the other, a supplier can be a manufacturer and the supply may be done through a small supply company setup by the manufacturer.


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    Vendors supply goods to retail outlets of all kinds. Generally they have an order which may not be large in nature and they deliver it inside the outlet. Often a physical verification is done on the spot to make sure that all the merchandise as per the requirements mentioned before have been received.

    There is no binding of the supplier only providing to retail outlets and they may be supplying the goods or services directly to customers as well.

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    Suppliers provides goods and services to businesses but generally are a part of the supply chain and do not come in interaction with the outlets or the end users in general. The provide products or services in bulk and it is at the discretion of the company to decide how to utilise them.

    Often the companies distribute these goods through their own distribution channels that are made to cater to the needs of their stores. This reduces the overall costs and increases the product availability.

    Suppliers generally supply in bulk quantities and it is rare that they deal in orders that are of small nature. For suppliers they want to sell of the products in very large quantities to make it economically feasible and to clear their inventory.

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