Individuals, businesses, or other organisations that provide resource inputs (eg materials, components, equipment, energy, etc) to other individuals, businesses, or organisations that need them, in order to supply their customers with the goods or services they require. A business is dependent upon suppliers to deliver goods in the right quantity and quality, in the right place, at the right time. Suppliers can, in fact, have a major impact on a business’s operational performance, in particular the quality of a business’s product / service and level of wastage, its unit costs, as well as its ability to meet customer orders on time. They can also affect operational performance, in terms of productivity and capacity utilisation. Suppliers (of raw materials and components in particular), can play a vital role in helping a business to develop and maintain a Unique Selling Point (explained in ‘Marketing’ below) and competitive edge – whether this is through lower prices, superior quality, or faster delivery.