Company Research: Profiles
Places to Start Research (is it public, private/subsidiary, or nonprofit?)
- Company/Organization Website: history, mission/vision/value statements (if available),10-K (for public companies) and annual reports (if available), other policy type documents (e.g., CSR/sustainability reports), media/news/press releases.
- Public companies: library databases contain company profiles (e.g., history, news, financials, competitors, analyst reports, etc.)
- Private Companies: information on public companies is much more readily available than info on private companies or subsidiaries.
- Nonprofits: check out the PSU Nonprofit Sector research guide and the Library of Congress Nonprofit Sector resource guide.
Create/Find Lists of Businesses
- Industry reports such as those from IBISWorld usually list top players.
- Industry associations sometimes make their membership directory public.
- Chamber of Commerce may have a local business directory.
- Trade Shows may have an exhibitors list by product category, such as MJBizCon.
- News, esp. trade journals that may have buyer's guides.
- Think like a consumer and do a google search for products and services.
Finding 10-Ks and 20-Fs
Different ways to search for company filings
- Company's website (usually under Investors or Investor Relations); or google [company name] 10k
- EDGAR search options: Filings search tool of the SEC.
** 20-F: annual SEC filings by certain foreign corporations traded on US exchanges.
Corporate Family Tree
Companies are not required to disclose their supply chain information, although some choose to do so. You will have to synthesize information from multiple sources and draw your own conclusion. Possible sources include:
- Company website: annual report or 10-K (do a keyword search with "supply chain", "supplier", "sourcing", "logistics", "channel", or "distribut"; sustainability (corporate responsibility) report; press releases.
- Google for possible articles.
- Databases listed below:
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.
Free Websites for Company Profiles
The following sites are mostly free, but some content might require a fee from individual users:
Historical Company Information
Most company profiles have a "history" section. You can also check out databases featuring historical annual reports.
Companies may have been mentioned in business publications or newspapers:
Companies (even public ones) are not required to disclose their organizational charts. Top-level executive names may be available on company websites and in their proxy statements (for public companies), and company profile databases (e.g., Mergent Online, Reference Solutions).
- Search article databases or google [company name] and "organization chart" (or "organizational chart", or "organizational structure"). You can even limit your results by file type. For example, ibm organizational chart filetype:ppt or ibm organizational chart filetype:pdf.
- Request it from the company; explain why you need the information and how you'd use it (e.g., educational purposes, term paper, etc.).