A brief history of Dun & Bradstreet
D&B is one of the most trusted sources of commercial credit related information in Australia and is the leading provider of business information for credit, marketing and purchasing decisions worldwide. With a customer base of more than 100,000 companies worldwide, D&B provide the insight and support needed to help build profitable, quality business relationships with their customers, suppliers and business partners.
D&B's products and services are drawn from a global database of more than 62 million companies.
D&B collects commercial business information in 214 countries around the world, in 95 languages or dialects, covering 181 currencies. To help ensure the accuracy and completeness of its information, D&B uses sophisticated data collection tools which updates the database nearly one million times a day.
D&B is used by all of the major lending corporations as well as firms from around the globe, including Oracle, Siebel Systems, Deloitte Consulting, Open Ratings, SAS Institute, and SAP to integrate Dun & Bradstreet into their offerings.
The history of D&B goes back to 1841 when an enterprising American businessman named Lewis Tappan began providing information to other merchants to assist them in their decision-making.
This led to the establishment of a network of correspondents that would function as a source of reliable, consistent and objective credit information. Tappan named his company “Mercantile Agency” and set up office in New York City. His company was one of the first organizations formed for the sole purpose of providing business information to customers in the world.
Control passed to Benjamin Douglass who was instrumental in establishing local offices and hiring full-time employees who were trained to become skilled reporters and interpreters of credit information.
In 1849, the rival John M. Bradstreet Company was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio. Two years later, the Bradstreet organization popularized the use of credit ratings with publication of the first book of commercial ratings. The rivalry between The John M. Bradstreet Company and Douglass' agency intensified as the United States entered the 20th century. Fundamentally, this had lasting effects on the fate of the two organizations.
In 1859, Douglass turned over the Agency to his brother-in-law, Robert Graham Dun who re-named the company after himself “R.G. Dun & Company”. Dun continued Douglass' vision of expansion and during the next 40 years, Dun established the Agency all over the United States and across international boundaries.
As America entered the 1930s, the effects of rivalry and economic depression on both R.G. Dun and The Bradstreet Companies could no longer be ignored. In 1933, the arch competitors merged to form Dun & Bradstreet.
The merger was engineered by Dun's CEO Arthur Whiteside. Using his first-rate diplomatic skills, Whitehead was able to broker a deal with the company's long-lasting and foremost competitor. Whereas previously both companies sold "products," Whiteside increasingly emphasized "service." With great leadership, he led Dun & Bradstreet out of the depression and into the Information Age.
The rapid development of computing and communications technology in the post-war era has been central to the growth of Dun & Bradstreet. During the past 50 years of D&B's history, increases in the speed and volume of cross-border communications have influenced our evolution from a provider of credit reports to a leader in the international information industry.
D&B expanded dramatically during the 1960's by engineering ways to apply new technologies to evolving operations. In 1963, the introduction of the Data Universal Numbering System -- The D&B D-U-N-S® Number -- used to identify businesses numerically for data-processing purposes -- helped bring business information into the computer age. This unique business identification system proved so useful that today the D&B D-U-N-S Number has become a standard business identifier for the United Nations, the European Commission and the United States Government.
D&B has undergone a period of restructuring in recent years, designed to make D&B a smaller, more tightly focused company. D&B launched an ambitious new plan called the Blueprint for Growth -- a strategy designed to transform itself into a growth company with an important presence on the Web.
Today, D&B have a global database which now covers more than 62 million businesses worldwide.