A supplier supplies a customer with goods or services. The term is related to the French livrer and dates from the 16th century. In accounting, the supplier is a vendor owed ​​to the payments while a have their own customers to make as customer payments.

Systematization criteria

The interface between customer and supplier is usually the purchase of a company. For the systematisation and determining the strategic importance of the procurement management of certain criteria here. The systematization of the supplier can be carried out based on two dimensions: classification and positioning in the supply network.


The classification is divided supplier as follows:

  • Parts, material supplier
  • Components, function group Supplier
  • Module supplier
  • System supplier

Furthermore, the classifications general contractor and development services are to be identified, particularly in the automotive industry according to VDA Recommendation 4961/2.

Positioning in the supply network

The positioning in the supply network (also subcontracting pyramid) indicates at what point in the supply pyramid, the supplier is located. This animal -N and also raw material supplier is between Tier 1, Tier 2, ... distinguished. Commonly are also the names first tier, second tier, etc.