Supply Chain: Resources

DECS 550 Library Instruction Spring 2021 (info still good for Spring 2022)

Spring 2021

Introduction to Secondary Data Sources

Information has value. Monetary value. Strategic value.

Knowing about your company, product, industry and customers will help justify strategic choices.

Some information is quantitative like the revenues for a company. This is a dollar figure which can be measured. In the United States, publicly traded companies report this number and anyone can find out the revenues.

Other information is qualitative like why are consumers attracted to a product in one market but not another. Knowing this is not easy. Some companies sell information to help understand why consumers behave in different ways. This information is extremely expensive due to the labor and expertise required to gather it.

RIT Libraries subscribes to some information products to help students practice searching for and working with premium information. Below are some of the products that can help with finding premium marketing information to help form informed decisions and recommendations.

Your Research Strategy

You can start your research in any order that works for you. Over the years I have found this order works well. By starting with industry research you are ruling in that there is a relatively current report that has almost all the info you need in one place. Now that is nice when it happens but unfortunately not every product or service gets great coverage. It is always possible that your topic has little to no coverage.

Industry Information

The broader industry view can help you with your external analysis.


Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Quick MBA and MindTools each has a concise explanation of SWOT.

When reading a pre-made SWOT report make sure you note the report's date in case something significant has happened in the industry or to the company since the report had been written.

Consumer Market Research

The consumer market research level is closer to who is buying products, their demographics and other attributes.

Mintel sells consumer market research reports. Businesses can buy individual reports or subscribe to the platform and choose to buy access to different modules. RIT subscribes to the US section of consumer reports only. To better understand the monetary value of these reports take a look here at how much an individual report costs from Mintel. Students at RIT have access to Mintel reports for class projects using the library links below. Keep in mind most library databases are only for class use and cannot be used for other purposes or shared with individuals outside of RIT.

Make sure for each report you look at you look at the accompanying Databook found in the DOWNLOAD section.

Next take a look in Passport. Look at the Dashboards, the Industry Reports and the Lifestyle Reports. Not every consumer industry is covered. Our subscription to Passport includes reports covering most countries. It is a great tool to compare markets in countries. Not every country is covered for every consumer industry. Passport help videos.

Business to Business Market Research


Searching across newspapers and more can help you find reviews, business news, press releases. News also helps fills the gaps between when an industry or market report was published and now though it is dependent upon news outlets being interested in covering products.

Company Information

When your research is related to an actual company visit your company website to learn everything about the company and the product that the company puts out into the world. Look for press or news releases. Look to see if there is an Investors or Shareholders section. This will be an indicator that the company is public which is an indicator that more info will be released into the world.

If the company is publicly traded in the US there will be an annual report and/or 10-k. When looking at strategy look for the Letter at the beginning. Executives usually lay out some strategy here though they re unlikely to use that word. This is likely to be overall company strategy and not limited to specific parts of the company.

Start to build a vocabulary of words and phrases that represent the product. There is no agreed to language across products. Is it mixed drinks or cocktails? That depends on who is writing the text.

Try an advanced Google site search to mine to see if words or phrases show up. Example for the word marketing. When using Google add site: to the front of a url to them be able to search for word or "phrases".

Duty Rates

Free duty rate calculators. There is no premium access through library. 

Bloomberg Terminals in Saunders College of Business

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Use of these resources is reserved for current RIT students, faculty and staff for academic and teaching purposes only.

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