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Online Industrial Supplier Listings Part I: A Multi-Post Review

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A comprehensive feature on Industrial Supplier Listings

Because of the need for these listings, I am going to do a series of reviews on many of the most established ones.  There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of these listings scattered around the internet, but a handful have developed incredibly detailed categories, seemingly endless suppliers for each niche, and many have their own features that make them unique.

What are they?

Engineers have been using supplier listings for almost as long as the term “engineer” has been used to describe the profession.  Some of these listings began their life over 100 years ago in print form, but despite their age, have scarcely evolved since they were digitized into searchable online listings about a decade ago.

The basic interface provides engineers with increasingly specific categories that they can click through to eventually find suppliers of very niche products and services.  Some of these listings boast hundreds of thousands of categories and millions of suppliers worldwide.

How are they used?

Searchable supplier listings, however un-useful when an engineer is first tackling a new problem, are incredibly useful when searching for common components, known materials, replacement or supplementary parts, a new supplier for the same thing, etc., and are widely used by purchasing departments satisfying well developed BOMs.

There will always be a need for directories where engineers and procurement specialists can quickly find suppliers for specific products and services that have already been specified (That’s why we think of these listings more as complimentary services to Industrial Interface rather than competitors.)

Who are they?

The sites that I’ve identified as some of the largest and most useful are the ones I’m going to review.  They are listed below.

Globalspec
Alibaba
Direct Industry
ThomasNet
Macrae’s Blue Book
Global Sources
Medical Device Link
Kellysearch

Are there similar or related resources that you use?

Have you found any of the smaller or more niche listings particularly useful?

Have I missed any major listings or related resources?

What is your professional opinion of these listings?

Suggest others to check out or review in the comments.  Company linkbacks welcomed!

Category: Industrial Supplier Listings, Online Resources

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2 Responses

  1. Very useful! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Drum-Mates, Inc. manufactures and supplies liquid process equipment (heaters, mixers, pumps, hand dispensing nozzles and bung equipment), for drums, IBCs, tanks and other storage containers.

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