These are 5 possible definitions of a "supplier":
- Any person who provides, sells or makes available goods or services to a business.
- Any person who provides materials for the manufacture of goods, or the performance of services for a business.
- Any person who provides raw materials for the production of merchandise, to include agricultural products.
- Any person who has an organization or company that provides goods and services to another organization for a fee.
- A distributor is generally known as a supplier in the supply chain management industry.
Also, consider that MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operation) suppliers provide maintenance material (e.g., parts), consumables (e.g., lubricants), and other services (e.g., repair) to support production operations.
MRO providers can be suppliers of raw materials in their own right or may be selling products produced by others. MRO providers can be direct suppliers to end-user customers, such as retailers and consumers, or indirect suppliers when they supply other companies with products and/or services used in their businesses.