Searching for suppliers: trade fairs and databases
The search for suppliers constitutes the heart of procurement activity.
To manage it, companies usually employ two tools:
- Visits to trade fairs where they can find new partners.
- The purchase of databases with local or national coverage, containing company data (company name, location, website, industry sector, etc.).
Let us look at the features of each of the two approaches.
Trade fairs periodically bring together companies from one or more industries; by participating as visitors to find new suppliers, managers and entrepreneurs have no guarantee to find companies in line with their goals.
Time is another limitation: the duration of these events – and busy agendas – often prevent one from meeting all the exhibitors.
In contrast, digital databases, usually sold by advisory companies, can be consulted at any time.
Moreover, thanks to regional or national coverage, they contain the name of companies in one or more industries within a country.
However, they are organised on the basis of rigid parameters (e.g., the companies turnover), and the specific characteristics of these have to be verified manually by visiting their websites.