One of the most addressed domains in Master Data Management (MDM) is the vendor domain – or is it called the supplier domain?
I have seen the terms vendor and supplier used synonymously many times at different MDM end user organizations, by MDM system integrators and by MDM platform vendors where I have been engaged. This ambiguity exists in English, the most used corporate language, whereas in other languages the distinction seems to be much clearer.
In a recent post by Jignesh Patel of Stibo Systems it is suggested that supplier and vendor are two opposite terms. The post is called What Vendor Data Is and Why It Matters to Manufacturers. I remember to have read the similar post before, probably in a previous version, and commented that this interpretation, in an MDM context, confuses me.
The linguistic issue is to me that a supplier is someone you buy from, and a vendor is someone who sells to you. But as interpreted in the above post, a vendor could also be someone who sells for you. In the latter case I however have mostly seen terms as dealer and reseller used.
Another possible distinction will be that a supplier is someone who deliver goods and services. A vendor will be someone who deliver the bill. So, in an MDM implementation supplier will be used if the MDM implementation is product oriented and vendor will be used if the MDM implementation is procurement and/or financial oriented or dominated.
This distinction reveals an interesting MDMish observation which is that usually the one who deliver the goods and services and the one who deliver the bill is the same entity – but not always.
What is your stance? Is vendor and supplier the same, a bit different or opposite?