How to Find and Choose a German Supplier
December 21, 2017
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Finding an international supplier is a challenge, but with the reputation for quality, it is worth your while to find a German supplier. Germany typically produces products in the following categories: aerospace, automotive, chemical, communications technology, electronics, food and beverage, healthcare, machinery and equipment, and nanotechnology. For more about Germany and German business culture read our comprehensive guide.
You can find a supplier either online or in person; for tips on how to find and choose a supplier read below.
Make a Shortlist of Suppliers by finding them online
There are three main ways you can search for suppliers in your industry in Germany online:
Use Panjiva: Panjiva offers a free search tool for businesses by industry. You can type your industry in the search field and find a list of companies. In order to search by country and to find out business profiles, you can become a paid member.
Search by professional organization: On the Ixpos site, you can find information about different industries. As you click though your industry, you’ll come to a page with professional organizations on it. Click here to begin.
Search for companies using business directories: Here is a list of German business directories that can be read in English. Please note that these directories are private companies and you’ll have to do further research on your supplier.
- All Biz: A business directory for Europe.
- Europages: The plan of this business is to take over the yellow pages.
- Gelbe Seiten: This is the German yellow pages; you can navigate it using google translate.
- German Business Directory: A directory for international business.
- MacRAE’s Blue Book: This is a US business that provides a German directory
Find a Supplier at a Trade Show
You can search for German trade shows by industry at AUMA, which is the association for the German trade fair industry. Remember to refer to our guide if you plan to travel to Germany.
There is also a list provided by the US government of trade shows in Germany and the relevant industry and business here.
Lastly, you can visit a local trade show in your industry in person and look for German suppliers. For example, you can find a local trade show in your business industry on Events in America.
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Tips on How to Choose the Right Supplier in Germany
Now that you have a manageable list of suppliers, you can ask each for a written quote, and a sample. Price and sample are not the only tools you can use to compare suppliers, you can also use the following strategies:
- Ask whether the supplier outsources their work to another company.
- Ask for references. Ask who else they did business with and find out how it went. Ask if they are fast and reliable.
- Get credit checks on potential suppliers to find out if they have the cash flow to produce your product on time.
- Consider whether to use more than one supplier. Using only one supplier may be cost effective, but in a pinch it may be handy to have someone else you can ask to produce for your business.
Remember that as you go through these negotiations, you are developing a business relationship with your German counterpart. German business people value credibility and history and you are engaging in activities that build trust. For more about German business culture, refer to our guide.
German business people value credibility and history and you are engaging in activities that build trust. For more about German business culture, refer to our guide.
Another way establish credibility with your German counterpart is to use Veem. Veem uses a multi-rail system to make international wire transfers that are insured, safe, fast, and as easy as sending an email.