Supplier evaluation and selection process has a critical role and significant impact on purchasing management in supply chain. It is also a complex multiple criteria decision making problem which is affected by several conflicting factors. Due to multiple criteria effects the evaluation and selection process, deciding which criteria have the most critical roles in decision making is a very important step for supplier selection, evaluation and particularly development. With this study, a hybridization of fuzzy c-means (FCM) and rough set theory (RST) techniques is proposed as a new solution for supplier selection, evaluation and development problem. First the vendors are clustered with FCM algorithm then the formed clusters are represented by their prototypes that are used for labeling the clusters. RST is used at the next step of modeling where we discover the primary features in other words the core evaluation criteria of the suppliers and extract the decision rules for characterizing the clusters. The obtained results show that the proposed method not only selects the best supplier(s), also clusters all of the vendors with respect to fuzzy similarity degrees, decides the most critical criteria for supplier evaluation and extracts the decision rules about data. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.