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
- Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA)Click on US Businesses, then the Advanced Search tab.
- Mergent OnlineClick on the Advanced Search tab. US and international public companies only.
- Nexis UniClick on Business, then Company Dossier. Click on the Create a Company List link.
- Business Insights: GlobalClick on the Company tab, then Company Finder.
- Portland Business JournalFind company rankings in Book of Lists. PSU faculty/staff/students please log in with your PSU (ODIN) ID to view username/password. Visitors please contact the Reference Desk.
- 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
- Nexis UniIncludes full text sources for regional, national, and international newspapers as well as business, legal, and medical publications, and also, government documents.
- Business Insights: GlobalProvides company and industry profiles, including SWOT reports, market share reports, investment reports, articles, financials, and case studies.
- Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA)Provides profiles of U.S. companies, health care providers, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
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:
- IBISWorldThere is "supply chain" information on the industry (not company) level.
- MintelRetail channel information is available under Market -> Market Breakdown and/or Appendix - Market.
- PassportSome industry reports have a section on distribution such as typical purchase outlets (e.g., specialty store vs. supermarket).
- SMA: Sports Market Analytics (formerly SBRNet: Sport Business Research Network)Select sport, find the product (if available) under Consumer Expenditures, then click on the link Purchases by Outlet Type.
- StatistaProvides statistics from over 18,000 free and proprietary sources on a wide range of topics such as business, media, and demographics.
Business Insights: GlobalProvides company and industry profiles, including SWOT reports, market share reports, investment reports, articles, financials, and case studies.
Business Source PremierProvides full text and citations to articles in various business publications; also includes company profiles, industry profiles, and country information.
Investext (via Mergent Online)Provides reports written by analysts at investment banks, brokerage houses, and consulting firms. Reports cover financials and analysis on companies and select industries.
PassportProvides profiles on select (mostly large) companies.
StatistaProvides statistics from over 18,000 free and proprietary sources on a wide range of topics such as business, media, and demographics.
Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA)Provides profiles of U.S. companies, health care providers, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
StatistaClick Reports on the top navigation bar, then click Toplists, which lists top companies in various industries.
Forbes ListsCompany rankings.
Fortune RankingsRankings by Fortune Magazine. Includes Fortune 500, Most Admired Companies, and more.
Portland Business JournalProvides access to Portland Business Journal (and other city business journals) and Book of Lists. You must create an individual account to access.
PSU faculty/staff/students please create an account using your PDX email
Business Insights: GlobalIncludes Business Rankings Annual.
FT Global 500Financial Times Global 500 largest companies.
Inc. 5000: America's Fastest Growing Private CompaniesCriteria to be in Inc 5000
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:
- Crunchbase (limited free data)Company directory that covers startups and other private companies. Also offers free or discounted access to their full data through their Academic Research Access Program (faculty and graduate students only).
- IQS DirectoryA directory of manufacturers and suppliers serving major segments of the OEM industrial manufacturing marketplace across the United States and Canada.
- KompassInternational directory of producers, distributors, service providers, exporters, importers, etc. Full version available at the Multnomah County Library - Central Branch.
- ThomasNet (formerly Thomas Register)Directory of manufacturers, distributors and service providers in US. Searchable by brand, product, and company name.
- Yahoo FinanceCompany information (description, financials, news, etc.) and market data (stock and mutual fund performance).
Historical Company Information
Most company profiles have a "history" section. You can also check out databases featuring historical annual reports.
- Business Insights: GlobalEnter company name in the search box to retrieve the company profile, then look for Company Chronology and Company Histories in the menu.
- Mergent OnlineEnter company name or ticker to retrieve the company profile. History is under the Company Details tab.
- Proquest Historical Annual ReportsArchives pdf images U.S. companies annual reports from 1844 to the present.
- Mergent ArchivesAvailable online through the Multnomah County Library. Requires a Multnomah County Library card. More info at https://multcolib.org/get-library-card.. Access to Moody's Corporate, Municipal, and Government Manuals (1918-present).
Companies may have been mentioned in business publications or newspapers:
- Business Periodicals IndexIndex of English-language periodicals published in the United States and elsewhere, including the leading business magazines and trade and research journals. 1959+
- The Industrial Arts IndexIndex of English-language technology and engineering publications. 1914-1958
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).
- The Official BoardOffers charts for "the world's 20,000 largest corporations." Free membership limited to viewing 15 charts.
- 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.).