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ISCOM/370: Strategic Supply Chain Management

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Welcome to ISCOM/370! We've structured this page to cover research tips and things to consider to help you plan and conduct your research more efficiently. These sections are designed to help alleviate some of the issues you might encounter and set you up for success later in the course.

Your Assignment

Finding information about a company's supply chain can be challenging, as some companies protect their supply chain procedures as if they were trade secrets. Public companies are not required to disclose information about their suppliers and customers. As a result, you are unlikely to find a single report that provides you with all the information you need to complete your assignment.

Instead, you may need to collect and analyze information from multiple sources to get a comprehensive picture of your company's supply chain operation.

Selecting a Company

You may already have the name of an appliance manufacturer that you want to research. However, if you don't, or you discover your favorite appliance brand is manufactured by a private company, you can use our databases to browse a list of public companies within an industry.

Use IBISWorld or Mergent Online to search by the NAICS industry code (see Use NAICS codes below) or browse the industry names to pull up a list of major competitors within an industry.

Use NAICS codes. Industry names can vary by database. Use synonyms in your search, as well as searching by company or brand names. Or better yet, use an industry classification number (NAICS or SIC code) to ensure your industry research is consistent. The search box on the NAICS homepage allows you to search by keyword, so a search for television manufacturing will retrieve the code 33410, whose official heading is actually Audio & Visual Equipment Manufacturing. The descriptor may change from database to database, but the code will remain the same.

Watch the numbers. As you collect information from different sources about the same industry, be aware of the timeframe of the publication as well as the scope and source of any financial information provided.

Check the subsidiaries. Some companies take direct ownership of suppliers or distributors to get greater control of their supply chain (vertical integration). Check company profiles and annual reports to find lists and information about any subsidiaries they own.

Consider keywords. Keep in mind the many terms and phrases that are associated with supply chain management as you review your resources: contracting out, delivery, demand chain, disruptions, distribution, freight forwarding, inventory management, just-in-time systems, logistics, management information systems, manufacturing, materials handling, outsourcing, operations management, procurement, production, purchasing, railroads, shipping, sourcing, suppliers, supply chain, transportation, trucking, warehousing, and waste minimization.

Broaden your search. Industry reports may provide a supply chain analysis across the industry. They may highlight specific issues impacting key players that are only alluded to in company reports.

Where to Start

We recommend starting your research in two databases: IBISWorld and Gale Business: Insights.

Gale Business: Insights offers comprehensive business intelligence, including company reports, financials, SWOT analysis, industry and market share reports, and case studies.  

From the homepage, enter your company name in the search box and then select your company from the list under Company Profiles.

  • The company profile will provide links to other resources within the database, including an industry report.
  • As you scroll down the page, use the search box in the Company Articles section to research supply chain terms.

IBISWorld provides a broad overview of the targeted industry, its product and market segmentation, cost structure benchmarks, competitive dynamics, supply chain map, the regulatory environment, and macroeconomic drivers. While not as extensive, it also offers a collection of company reports.

From the homepage, enter the name of your company in the search box. If the company is in the database, a brief report will be available.

  • Depending on its product lines and market share, it may provide information on different industries. For example, the Samsung Electronics report offers a breakdown of Samsung's audio and video equipment manufacturing (televisions) as well as its semiconductor and circuit manufacturing. Within the report for your industry, look for links to more in-depth industry reports.
  • Use its industry reports to see supply chain information for the industry. Enter the NAICS code in the homepage search box and select your industry. From the left side of the main report page, select Competitive Forces from the list of sections. Scroll down to the Buyer and Supplier Power section.

MarketLine Company & Industry Profiles

MarketLine company profiles are available through the Business Source Complete database under Company Profiles. To find MarketLine company profiles:

  1. Go to Business Source Complete.
  2. Select Company Profiles.
  3. Enter the name of the company you are researching.

MarketLine industry profiles are available through Gale Business: Insights. The industry reports will often offer sections covering buyer and supplier power. To find a MarketLine industry report on your industry:

  1. Go to Gale Business: Insights and select the Advanced Search link on the homepage.
  2. Under Search Options, select MarketLine Industry Profiles and then enter the industry code or industry name in the search box.
  3. Select the report you need. To see the PDF of the document, select Original Document (PDF) tab at the top of the report page.

Ask Us!

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Additional Resources

Need more? We have a collection of How Do I guides to assist you in finding company and industry information. Start here to find additional resources: