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Researching Supply Chains: Starting Points

Guide to approaches and secondary resources for researching supply chains

Business Press

Begin searching for articles in journals, periodicals, and the business press using these databases:

Business Source Premier. Searchable abstracts of articles selected from several thousand periodicals and journals. Between 70-80 percent of the items also include full text. (Rutgers-restricted access)

Keep in mind the many terms, phrases, and concepts associated with this field e.g. contracting out, delivery, demand chain, disruptions, distribution, freight forwarding, insurance, inventory management, just-in-time systems, logistics, management information systems, manufacturing, marketing channels, materials handling, outsourcing, operations management, procurement, production, purchasing, quality control, railroads, risk management, security, shipping, sourcing, suppliers, supply chain, transportation, trucking, warehousing, and waste minimization.

Factiva (formerly Dow Jones Interactive). Searchable full text of many business periodicals and regional newspapers; international in scope. Beginning dates of coverage vary considerably according to source. (Rutgers-restricted access)

International Abstracts in Operations Research is the literature search and discovery tool for operations research, supply chain, and management science research. Click on the DOI links to see if the full-text is available. (Rutgers-restricted access)

TRID: the TRIS and ITRD Database covers all modes and disciplines of transportation and contains more than a million records of published research.

Best Bets for Company & Industry Info

Begin where you are: probably in the middle of a chain! You might know the name of a company or an industry. Try to find ways to think upstream and downstream from there. Work from company names to industries, and from industries to companies.

For a quick picture of how the industry operates, check out the links on the Flowcharts tab.

The more you know about a company, its competitors, and the ways a given industry operates, the better you can think about who the suppliers and customers are likely to be for each step of the supply chain. All the way upstream, you encounter providers of raw materials and may explore industrial processes. All the way downstream, you will find the ultimate consumers.

Think about automobile manufacturing as an example. Suppose you are researching Toyota. Downstream, consider how vehicles are sold through dealerships to the final customer. Upstream, think about parts, then steel and copper and fabric and plastics, then raw materials. Value is created all the way up the chain by mining, manufacturing, and transportation that translates into the sticker price of a truck, a van, an SUV, an automobile.


Mergent Horizon (Rutgers-restricted access)

Database is designed in part to explore the supply chain for very large, public companies in the U.S., with links to corporate suppliers, buyers, and partners.

One freely-accessible online resource that offers information on a public company's suppliers, competitors, and customers by product segment or company division is CSI Market.


IBISWorld (Rutgers-restricted access)

Industry Reports include names of major companies in that industry as well as suggestions of industries and activities upstream and downstream. Also trends, statistics, and analysis on market size, market share of competitors, and industry growth rates for over 1,000 industry sectors. NEW Procurement Reports for price drivers and pricing trends, supply market characteristics, and supply chain risks.

Mintel Reports (Rutgers-restricted access)

Product and industry reports emphasize consumer goods and lead to some demographic and sales information about customers.

Subject Librarian

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Roberta Tipton
Roberta L. Tipton
Business Librarian
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Interim Nursing Librarian
The John Cotton Dana Library

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