Diane, Yvette and I were helping some students work on a BPL5100 assignment based on Porter's five forces. They were trying to analyze a company's supply-chain. This type of information is not often made public by companies and the students hadn't found much in news sources. Here are some approaches you might suggest to students doing this type of research:
1. Search in the company's SEC filings and on the company website for the words "supplier" or "supply-chain."
2. Use ThomsonOne Analytics and search the text of analysts' reports.
3. Look at the company's joint ventures or alliances to see if the company is vertically integrated.
4. Make a list of the actual products that go into the supply chain and find out which companies are the key suppliers of those products. Use these companies as proxies for the actual suppliers or
5. Take the names of these companies and search their 10-K's for your company's name. Companies often name their key customers in their filings.