GSCM 458/558 Food Supply Chain Management: Company Research

SCM info on a company

Companies are not required to disclose details of their suppliers or supply chain practices. Here are some possible sources to check:

  • Company website:
    • 10-K: information is usually under Item 1 Business and Item 2 Properties. Or search by keywords like manufacturing, distribution, supply, supply chain, supplier, sourcing, purchasing, logistics, procurement to find the relevant sections (you can search for variations of a keyword by typing in the beginning part, e.g., distribut will find distribute, distributor, or distribution). The level of details varies by company. Also, a public company is required to disclose if a customer accounts for more than 10% of its revenue. 
    • 10-Q or 8-K: may have info on acquisitions, divestitures, or significant events related to the supply chain. 
    • There may be a specific section dedicated to information related to suppliers. If available, a sustainability or social responsibility report might shed some light too.
    • Press releases (sometimes called News, or Media).
    • Conference calls transcripts. 
  • Bloomberg Terminal: e.g., SBUX <Equity> SPLC <GO> to reveal a list of suppliers, customers, and competitors of Starbucks.
  • Articles: prominent companies' supply chains are often discussed. Google or use library article databases such as Business Source Premier and Nexis Uni. In addition to the keywords suggested above, also try joint venture, partnership, contract manufacturer or contract factory, outsourcing, inventory management, warehouse, etc. 
  • IBISWorld (library database): find a report on the industry your company operates in. The Supply Chain sub-section under About shows the supply chain ecosystem surrounding your industry. 
  • Investext (library database): do a keyword + company name search for analyst reports. 

If possible, conduct primary research such as visiting the company/store and interviewing company management/employee. 

Company Information

** In the US, private companies are not required to release much information, esp. financial data. For smaller private companies, in addition to databases above, your best bet will be the company website/social media channels and articles (from newspaper, trade publications, etc.). Check out the Company Research guide for more information on researching private companies. 

SWOT Analysis in Library Databases

Library databases below may have a readily available SWOT report on select companies. Not all companies have a such a report, and even when there are SWOT reports, these are other people's opinions that you can consult and cite. You should, however, always create your own analysis.