Start with the basics
Although you may not yet know who your potential suppliers or providers are, what you know for sure are your requirements and some of the criteria the providers must abide by.
These are some of the most common criteria typically associated with supplier selection:
Type of provider - manufacturer, distributor, service, etc.
Customer ratings - do you need to evaluate the provider or check to see if they have a good amount of customers?
Company size - is provider size a strong consideration for the project? Do you need a smaller and more nimble one?
Time in business - should newer companies be included in your search, or are you looking for well established ones exclusively?
Minimum number of countries where they have customers - when international exposure is also a factor in your selection
By now you should have a general idea of the type of provider you're looking for, so let's proceed to the next step.
Get specific with tags
Tags are just specific terms a provider attaches to their company profile. If it's important to their business and they want to be found or identify with it, that means you can use it to search for them.
Tags allow you to start narrowing the list down to find only certain companies. They can be product or service types, a specialized industry or market, a business function, etc.
And if you want to hone in on providers even further, think of the most important criteria you'd consider to be a perfect match for your project or need. For instance, specific technologies the provider is specialized in, industry certifications or particular skills that are typically associated with the type of work you're contracting for.
Remember, you can also combine tags to help you focus on the exact companies you need.
Combining multiple tags
Combining tags for more focused results.
Limit your search to local results
Depending on your project or business, you may only be interested in local providers. Use your state abbreviation, a commonly known region name or country to get only local results.
Limiting results to a country
Using country tags to find only providers in a single country.
You're ready to evaluate providers
This short article should allow you to get a list of type of companies that fit your provider/supplier criteria, with the expertise or product you require, industry experience, and even meeting your project requirements from a skill, technology or function standpoint.
These are all the pre-qualified providers you want to evaluate further with a scorecard.