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A high level of supply chain risk management is often required to support an organization’s resiliency goals and objectives.  And, a large part of every supply chain’s own resiliency capabilities and performance is based on the key suppliers within that supply chain.

The Business Continuity Institute is often referenced by our staff because of some of the great reports they produce in the disciplines of business continuity planning, supply chain management and disaster preparedness.

Recently a new research report has been published by the Business Continuity Institute’s Partnership Steering Group.

Written by Steve Wicks, MBCI, and entitled, ‘An Investigation into How to Identify Key Suppliers’, this report provides a comprehensive review of techniques employed to identify key supply chain partners and is illustrated with seven benchmarking studies and six case studies.   

The important research for this report began by utilizing the BCI’s annual ‘Supply Chain Resilience’ survey results to demonstrate probability and impact of supplier failure. This was followed by an extensive internet literature review to explore the case for understanding the key supplier base, how key suppliers might be identified and the benefits this might accrue to a business.

A quick synopsis of the report can be best understood from the following excerpts from the report itself:


This research aims to propose a framework tool to help businesses identify their tier one key supplier base; a process that can be more complex than many appreciate, and potentially involves a wider range of considerations than most approaches currently use.


  1.  To define what is meant by key tier one supplier base.
  2. To examine a range of key supplier identification processes to learn what good  practice might look like and note differences in approach.
  3. To analyze the validity and limitations of criteria used to determine criticality (and criticality to whom), including whether they really link to business impacts.
  4. To review related literature research and any suggested methodology for key supplier identification
  5. To share good practice in the BCM community.


A framework model, together with supporting guidance and a checklist to help businesses identify their tier one key supplier base from a           business continuity perspective.

Click here to read the report as a PDF file.

If applicable, our staff recommends adding this report into the reading resource library of your organization’s procurement and supply chain risk management team.  And, if you are working for a private sector company, make sure that your PS-Prep strategy planning members add this report to their resource reading list as well.

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