How do I find a company's suppliers?

14 replies
Self-explanatory questions.
What I looked up thus far:

There are databases but these seem to cover only large public companies:
https://libanswers.usc.edu/faq/21412
Some companies list them on their website (I think Honda does).

I found out also that imports by sea of a company are public in the US, through bills of lading. But these are not public in my locale (Canada) and cover only overseas trading by definition.

So what should I do? Do I just network until I stumble upon the right answer?

I have to admit,I don't have much of a network locally. I do the vast majority of my socializing on the internet.

Background:

I don't have a specific offer, so I'm not looking for e.g. to find out the cheapest way to buy widgets to sell on amazon.

The advice I got from a retired management consultant is to find companies that have a major account that can serve as a lifeline, so that they have an incentive to shake things up, then learn what their pain points are and go from there to define my offer. It didn't seem like a bad idea so that's what I plan to do.

Thoughts?
#company #find #suppliers
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Solt
    You can try writing this to a large company and say that you are interested in buying products in bulk. But you want to know more details about the products, production, and so on. maybe this will work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Monetize
    When I want to know a company's suppliers, I hire
    a detective to dig through their trash.

    But seriously, this type of information is proprietary.
    Why would a corporation tell you who their suppliers
    are? Honda probably does it because there is not
    much competition in automobile manufacturing.

    I would use a directory of manufacturers such as
    Thomas and go from there.
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    • Profile picture of the author socialentry
      Originally Posted by Monetize View Post

      But seriously, this type of information is proprietary.
      Why would a corporation tell you who their suppliers
      are?
      The public's right to know?

      Other than this, being coerced by law is usually a good one.
      I'm thinking there's probably something in the public domain I'm missing.

      Have you ever seen the difference between a company's marketing material and what they file to the SEC? All the stuff that's not in the marketing material falls into "Why would would a corporation tell you [stuff]?" category.... but it still has to say this stuff, even if they want to keep it in a safe somewhere. If they have a public contract, that probably leaves breadcrumps.

      Court transcripts are usually public (hopefully --- I wouldn't want to live in a locale where these elements are not public).

      I plan to start from the top locally and go down the supply chain so there is some public interest in the low-hanging fruit. I don't have doubt that as I go down, it will just be too inconvenient to get info at some point, but I'm thinking (relatively) low hanging fruit here.


      As an example, I'm trying to answer questions like: can I get the supplier list of Air Canada? It's a crown corporation. Why wouldn't they tell me what their supplier list is ? Don't I pay taxes?
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      • Profile picture of the author Monetize
        Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

        The public's right to know?

        The public doesn't have a right to know a company's
        proprietary information, trade secrets, business model
        or anything else.

        That's why only two or three people know the formula
        for Coca~Cola.

        When I sold stuff on eBay competitors often emailed
        trying to find out where I sourced my products and I
        never told anybody anything.

        Those people were simply too lazy to figure things
        out for themselves. They could have used DMOZ
        to find wholesale suppliers but that probably never
        occurred to them.

        If you think you are entitled to the supplier list of
        Air Canada, then contact them and find out.
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        • Profile picture of the author socialentry
          Originally Posted by Monetize View Post

          The public doesn't have a right to know a company's ...business model
          or anything else.
          In terms of business model,if it's listed on the stock exchange and it has a ticker symbol, yes, it certainly does. And a lot more than just the business model. I'd suggest you pull up the 10-K of any public corporation. You'll find:

          Financials. Weaknesses. Strengths (sometime they even list the specific software they think gives them an edge in manufacturing). Risks of labour unrest. Usually, there's a pretty good description of their logistical train, and often number and general locations of their warehouses. Size of their fleet. And yes. Sometime major suppliers. All kind of stuff.

          But anyways, I digress. I don't want to get into a philosophical debate as to the merit of corporations disclosing their suppliers.I want to know how to get said information. Two different things.


          That's why only two or three people know the formula
          for Coca~Cola.
          Do you recognize differences in degrees?




          When I sold stuff on eBay competitors often emailed
          trying to find out where I sourced my products and I
          never told anybody anything.

          Those people were simply too lazy to figure things
          out for themselves. They could have used DMOZ
          to find wholesale suppliers but that probably never
          occurred to them.
          I very specifically said in the OP that I wasn't looking to find the lowest priced widget to sell on Amazon. I said also that I was looking to start from the top and I cite Air Canada as an example.

          So just before we go further, let me get this straight:

          On one hand, you have a publicly traded corporation that carries my nation's name as its flagship airline. It is leaking money like a bullet-ridden bucket. It is a major employer in every major Canadian metropolitan areas. It asks for (and usually gets) a government bailout every few years.When it does it provokes debate in Parliament and usually makes it into the 6 oclock news.

          On the other hand, you have your Ebay business with a few randos emailing you trying to mooch off you.

          And those two situations are equivalent, is that... essentially what you're saying?
          when considering the public's right to know, for 500 points, can you spot a difference in the two cases, that might be worthy of consideration?
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Companies guard their supply sources. And most suppliers to companies won't sell to individuals. At least in my experience.

    That said, the way I have found out who an original source was, is buy a product that I want to discover the original source. Most times, the information is either on the UL seal, the instruction booklet, or the shipping box.

    But if you contact them as a customer, they will refer you to a distributor/retailer.

    Distribution chains are a closely guarded secret, mostly to prevent people from buying direct.

    It would be much easier, if you just concentrated on companies that advertise the name of the company, like life insurance companies, or branded items.
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  • Profile picture of the author Monetize
    Your questions have been asked and answered.

    You're welcome.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Right to know I think is a bit far... EVEN with Govt subsidies being brought into this... the right as you a citizen to know where they get X part is a stretch

    So I have looked at a few things... Of most interest to me is who makes Fords chips.. NO WHERE in any federal filing or quarterly or year end report to I find the name "Visteon Corp" and the only reason I would know the name is because of the dilemma that Ford is in currently with half of Visteon's plant that burned down.

    What gets "interesting" in all of this is then looking up Chevrolet chips... they have a "shortage" as well.. and then we see with a simple search that Qualcomm supplies GM with their chips.. and then one has to ask, why exactly is GM effected by a factory fire that supplies FORD with chips? We could then ask the same of Toyota, Honda, Ram etc etc etc

    Me and my little dink eBay store can tell you that Interfast Inc is who supplies Boeing with Rivets. and said company supplies all of those that repair said planes.

    I think if you really really refine your search you might be able to find the answers you are looking for. "Who builds Boeing motors?" produces a very nice listing from Wikipedia that spews all kinds of interesting information
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    This is a post that I've read over and over...only because I've been trying to determine why it seems so difficult to answer...and I've determined that it's because it's too general.

    It's not hard to find any suppliers for any particular company...but when you lump it all together into one question, it makes it perplexing.

    There is no one database. It's not proprietary. It's all out there.

    The question I would have to ask is that you narrow it down more to what particular company?

    It's kinda like asking what makes of boats do they use on the ocean.

    Maybe I'm reading this wrong...but it's been nagging at me since you posted this.

    Name a company and I'll tell you where they get their supplies...

    To ask in general where companies get their supplies is impossible to answer because it's too comprehensive.

    There really are no secrets.

    There are minimum orders and proprietary territories...but it's all out in the open...but not in one general database...
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      This is a post that I've read over and over...only because I've been trying to determine why it seems so difficult to answer...and I've determined that it's because it's too general.

      It's not hard to find any suppliers for any particular company...but when you lump it all together into one question, it makes it perplexing.

      There is no one database. It's not proprietary. It's all out there.

      The question I would have to ask is that you narrow it down more to what particular company?

      It's kinda like asking what makes of boats do they use on the ocean.

      Maybe I'm reading this wrong...but it's been nagging at me since you posted this.

      Name a company and I'll tell you where they get their supplies...

      To ask in general where companies get their supplies is impossible to answer because it's too comprehensive.

      There really are no secrets.

      There are minimum orders and proprietary territories...but it's all out in the open...but not in one general database...
      I think this is true... its not in any one place, but "contract" deals etc for supplies are very often mentioned by the company producing the supplies... Just because there was a press release I could tell you who provides TP for Air Canada on a 5 yr deal - as an example.

      Its just getting down to the nitty gritty specifics will you find most of this stuff - if you where to follow through with this pet project a page on a website with your findings... I am sure more than a few would find interest in it!
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Let's talk about this on Skype.

    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author xayara9207
    Distribution chains are a closely guarded secret, mostly to prevent people from buying direct.
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by xayara9207 View Post

      Distribution chains are a closely guarded secret, mostly to prevent people from buying direct.
      Really?

      Are you saying most people would buy directly from the supplier if they could?

      Are you saying most suppliers aren't interested in bulk orders and would sell to mom if she wanted something?

      I don't agree at all with your comment.

      There are not a lot (if any) secrets.

      It's all out there.

      You hopefully realize that most people can know everything there is to know about something but won't start it...you can copy Macy's and get all their supplies from their suppliers, but most aren't going to put up the money.

      There are coffee shops in my town and I can tell you (as can anyone) all their suppliers but hardly anyone is going to start their own coffee shop. They may buy directly from the suppliers, but that defeats the purpose of the shop (hopefully), which is the atmosphere and the whole branding concept.

      You can buy Nike gear at a lot of stores...or you can buy directly from Nike.

      The point I'm making is that we all know that having knowledge and then using it is not something most people will do. It's not something that keeps business owners up at night.

      I'm telling you, this stuff is not secret. It's not something that is closely guarded.

      We can discover the secret recipe to Coke, but, there's only one supplier that supplies one single ingredient and Coke has a contract with them to keep it from being distributed to anyone else. We can learn the recipe to Pepsi, but who is going to sit at home and make it? Who is going to get all the supplies and do it?

      Walmart can tell you every single supplier (which they do)...but they're not worried you're going to start a Walmart...

      the point I'm making is that the knowledge isn't secret because even if you knew it (which you can), you're not going to front the money to start it.

      Gordon Foods delivers to a lot of restaurants. The way the restaurant takes the food and adds their own touches is another thing...but it's still not a big secret.
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  • Profile picture of the author tewelrogers
    Industrial companies' key contacts info can be easily found on some reliable directory websites. If your product or service is reliable and economical at the same time then you can surely get a customer.
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