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How to find a supplier for your business

Supply chain mapping is a useful tool for better understanding your supply chain. This guide will take you through how to map your supply chain and provide an overview of UK directories for key industries.

Supply chain mapping - what is it and how can it help?

This is a straightforward exercise to help identify risk points in your supply chain. The map helps you see how complex it is and can be used as a starting point for discussions with your teams. They can look at the map and highlight any areas they see as having potential supply chain risks.  

It's essential to involve the right people in this activity. For example, you might want to include supply chain managers, buyers, warehouse staff, technical staff and finance staff.

Once you have assessed the risks, they should be prioritised and courses of action agreed upon.

To see an overview of businesses in Scotland, across various sectors, you can check the Scottish Industry Directories website opens in a new window . These lists are regularly updated. The service is run by Scottish Enterprise, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Development International.

Talk to us if you need advice on supply chain mapping.

Finding alternative suppliers

Finding and engaging an alternate supplier can seem like a daunting, complicated task. However, when the task is split up into smaller 'bite-sized' activities, you can put them into a logical sequence. This is much easier to follow.

The following links can be used to help you identify and assess alternative suppliers: 

Supplier directories by sector

This table shows a list of UK directories for all industries

Directory name

What's it for?

Scottish Industry Directories opens in a new window  

Whether you're looking for suppliers, services, customers or partners, this searchable company directory is your gateway to companies and organisations in Scotland. 

You can search by industry sector and keyword search and filter results by company name or region.

Great.Gov.UK’s Find A Supplier Directory opens in a new window  

Find UK suppliers by industry, product/service, or company key word.

Company profiles feature examples of outstanding projects, and direct contact details of relevant sales and management teams.

Public Contracts Supplier Finder opens in a new window  

Find UK buyers or suppliers registered to be considered for public sector contracts. All that is needed before searching is to register for free opens in a new window  as a supplier if you are a new user.

Go to “Buyers” tab > “Supplier Search” > “Supplier Finder opens in a new window

Search by Category opens in a new window ” also offers a detailed filtering system for finding specialist suppliers in niche sectors.

Find UK traders opens in a new window  

HMRC's searchable database of UK companies exporting to non-EU countries. You may search by commodity code/commodity name, county, year or company name. Information published includes the exporting business name, address and postcode. The 8-digit code and description of goods being exported, and month/year goods were exported. Updated on monthly basis.

Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) opens in a new window  

Independent membership network representing a cross-section of the private, public and social economy sectors. The directory can be searched by sector and region within Scotland.

This table shows UK directories for food and business services

Directory

What's it for?

Management Consultancies Association opens in a new window  

Searchable directory of UK consultants. Can search by sector or service provided.

Law Society of Scotland’s Find A Solicitor directory opens in a new window  

Find solicitors specialising in different areas of law.

This table shows UK directories for the food and drink industries

Directory name

What's it for?

UK Food and Drink Exporters Association Supplier Directory opens in a new window  

Directory of FDEA (Food & Drink Exporters Association) members.

Food and Drink Federation Members List opens in a new window  

Full members of the Food and Drink Federation, from large international manufacturers to small organic companies.

Foodservice Equipment Association opens in a new window  

Provides information on business operators, including activities, key people, strategy and operating data.

Food & Drink Technology Suppliers Directory opens in a new window  

Searchable directory of food and drink equipment, products and services.

Food Manufacture Directory opens in a new window  

Food manufacture.co.uk’s directory of UK suppliers food ingredients, as well as suppliers of packaging and processing equipment. Full contact details provided.

Scotland Food and Drink Support Local Directory opens in a new window  

Connecting you with food and drink producers from around Scotland. From bread to beer and fish to fresh produce. Shop local and support businesses in your local area.

This table shows a list of UK directories for the manufacturing industries

Directory name

What's it for?

British Plastics Federation opens in a new window  

Searchable plastics industry directory, which could be used to find suppliers of machinery, equipment, materials, compounds and plastic parts.

Make It British opens in a new window  

Directory of British companies covering the following sectors; menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, health and beauty, accessories, pet accessories, home and garden, food and drink, leisure, technology, manufacturers and business to business.

Let’s Make It Here opens in a new window  

Database of UK garment, accessories, textiles and textile equipment manufacturers. You can search by category, keyword and location, etc. You can also filter the search to manufacturers who offer bespoke contract manufacturing and can offer small quantities.

Federation of Master Builders opens in a new window  

Directory of companies within the UK construction industry, by trade and postcode.

British Safety Industry Federation opens in a new window  

Directory of safety equipment manufacturers, distributors, test houses, certification bodies, safety consultancy companies and service providers within the UK safety industry.

This table lists the UK directories for the life sciences industry

Directory name

What's it for?

Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) opens in a new window  

Leading medical technology industry association in the UK with over 250 members.

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) opens in a new window  

Directory of members within UK pharma industry.

 

AXREM UK opens in a new window  

AXREM is the UK trade association representing the interests of suppliers of diagnostic medical imaging, radiotherapy, healthcare IT and care equipment in the UK.  Member directory.  

British Dental Industry Association opens in a new window  

UK association for the dental industry. Member Directory.

British Healthcare Trades Association opens in a new window  

Healthcare association representing the UK's healthcare and assistive technology industry.

Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) opens in a new window  

Public Access Database for Medical Device Registrations - will show all companies who have had to register their medical devices with the MHRA.

This table lists the UK directories for the oil and gas industry

Directory name

What's it for?

Rigzone Oil & Gas Company Directory opens in a new window  

A database of international companies and their products and services. You can search the directory by company name, category, or service.

Subsea UK Directory opens in a new window  

Member directory for Subsea UK searchable by keyword and category.

Decom North Sea Member Directory opens in a new window  

Directory of members of this oil and gas decommissioning sector organisation.

Pipeline Industries Guild Directory opens in a new window  

A searchable directory of guild members, which can be used to find contractors, equipment manufacturers, goods & services providers.

This table lists the UK directories for the renewables industry

Directory name

What's if for?

Scottish Renewable Energy Directory opens in a new window  

Scottish supply chain directory searchable by renewable energy sector (e.g. offshore wind, solar) and company type.

Renewable UK Member Directory Search opens in a new window  

Comprehensive database of organisations involved in UK wind, wave and tidal energy.  Searchable by UK region.

Renewable Energy Planning Database opens in a new window  

 

A list of renewable energy operators  involved in renewable electricity projects including those that can be used for combined heat and power (CHP). It is updated at the end of each quarter and tracks energy projects that are 150KW and over. Searchable by technology type.

This table lists the UK directories for the travel and creative industries

Directory name

What's it for?

British Institute of Interior Design opens in a new window  

You can search by designer or practice expertise, style, location and budget and browse a selection of designers appropriate for your project.

Textiles Scotland Members Directory opens in a new window  

Scottish textiles directory searchable by product, material, sector and location.

Visit Britain Supplier Directory opens in a new window  

Supplier directory of UK-based travel and tourism suppliers.

Visit Scotland Supplier Directory  opens in a new window  

Scottish travel trade supplier directory with detailed search function covering all areas of tourism and travel.

This table lists the UK directories for the technology and information services industries

Directory name

What's it for?

ScotlandIS opens in a new window  

Directory of Scottish technology companies covering software, telecommunications, IT and digital technology.

Business Application Software Development Association (BASDA) opens in a new window  

Membership directory for business software development organisations. Member services cover most core business functions such as operations, development, finance, marketing and HR.

KNX UK opens in a new window  

KNX is an open standard for commercial and domestic building automation. KNX UK is a partnership of UK-based KNX systems integration consultancies, individual KNX professional partners, manufacturers, wholesalers and training establishments. They all share the goal of promoting the benefits of the KNX standard for integrated, smart building control.

This table lists the UK directories for hygiene products and PPE

Directory name

What's it for?

The British Safety Industry Federation opens in a new window  

Has created the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme (RSSS). Companies registered with the scheme have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment they offer meets the appropriate standards, fully complies with the PPE regulations and is appropriately CE marked.

The Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA) opens in a new window  

Represents major manufacturers and distributors supplying cleaning and hygiene products in the UK. You can search its online directory of both UK manufacturers and distributors, by product. Products manufactured/distributed include hand care, catering hygiene, soft tissue and PPE.

The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI) opens in a new window  

Represents UK producers and manufacturers of some of the major UK hand sanitiser and soap products, including:

  • Washing powders and liquids

  • Fabric conditioners

  • Bar soaps

  • Hand and machine dish wash

  • Household disinfectants

  • Air care

  • Polishes and specialist cleaners for use in kitchens and bathrooms

The Confederation of Paper Industry (CPI) opens in a new window  

Is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based industries, comprising paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, makers of soft tissue papers, and collectors of paper for recycling.

Its member directory includes members who manufacture tissue and hygiene papers.

Informa’s SHP Directory opens in a new window  

Lists a number of UK and European PPE suppliers. This may includes masks and protective gloves for hygiene or protective purposes. 

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