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A Guide to Supply Chain Management

About finding suppliers and customers

Who are a company's actual (not potential, or possible) suppliers and customers?  Sometimes this is easy to find, sometimes not. 

Problems you may encounter:

  • Private company:  if you're dealing with a private company, remember that you'll always find less information. 
  • Proprietary information (i.e. secret).  Often companies consider the names of their business partners to be sensitive, proprietary information, and do not disclose them.  Public companies must disclose the information if their relationship with a supplier or customer is potentially risky. 
  • Too many and too diverse to list.

Articles

To find supplier information, you will most likely have to scour and skim through trade magazines and other publications. It is often in articles that you will find information on new contracts, lost contracts, joint ventures, etc. The databases below, are your best options for searching for supply chain information.

When searching use lots of keywords, such as the ones noted above. Also use expert search strategies as explained here.

Business Source Premier

Scholarly business journals covering management, economics, finance, accounting, international business and company information, company SWOTs, market research and country data.

Economist

Weekly magazine of business and economics news and reports.

IBISWorld

Provides data and analysis of the industries, including supply chain information

LexisNexis Academic

Use the Company Dossier search to find complete public and private company profile "packages" that include articles, corporate structure, financials and stock data, intellectual property and other legal information, and investment analyst reports (private company profiles will typically not include financial data or investment analyst reports).

OneSource Global Business Browser

OneSource Business provides comprehensive company and industry information, as well as information about company executives. About17 million companies, including international companies, are profiled, as well as 25 million company executives.

 

Keywords

To find information about supply chain, you will have to try a variety of keywords in different combinations. Below are some keywords which you may find useful while searching the databases.

    Supply Chain      Materials
    Suppliers      Materials Handling
    Customers      Materials Management
    Distribution       Procurement
    Distribution Channels      Purchasing
    Inventory      Raw Materials
    Inventory Control      Transportation
    Logistics      Warehousing

General Business and Finance News

Company Filings

Public companies are required to name the companies that they deal with if, and only if, the relationships with those companies may place the reporting company in jeopardy.  For example, the reporting company would be in jeopardy if one of their major suppliers, or customers, were having problems or trouble.  This is usually discussed in the 10-K report in the Management's Discussion & Analysis section.  If the partner company gets into trouble mid-year, it may also be reported in an 8-K report.