Researching Global Suppliers and Environments: These Three Posts/Articles Provide Guidance

In addressing the global business environment, Margaret J. Wheatly, Ed.D., writes about the sensitive nature of systems that are interconnected and how movements in one part can greatly affect other parts: “The nature of the global business environment guarantees that no matter how hard we work to create a stable and healthy organization, our organization will continue to experience dramatic changes far beyond our control” (Wheatly). This quote speaks directly to the concerns of supply chain and procurement professionals in regard to risk, especially those risks associated with large global businesses. It is imperative to know the financial health of first- and second-tier supply partners in addition to the environments in which they operate.

Here are three recommended posts/articles from experts to read before tackling country and/or international supplier risk research efforts.

Arthur Weiss’s (AWARE Market Intelligence) recent article appearing in Business Information Review (BIR) took second place for being the 2014 best article of the year. The article is entitled “Searching In a Global Environment: Finding Information From and On Foreign Countries, Regions and Markets.” Arthur comprehensively covers key issues, global Internet penetration (and why it is important), how sources of information are categorized, source examples, using search engines, regional information sources, general and official data sources, financial and investigative resources, news resources, and other resources (i.e. Kompass, Panjiva, IndexMundi, Knoema). The beginning of the article covers key issues that need to considered and taken into account when performing global research. These considerations are: non-English language websites may need to be used, data comparability between countries, and inaccurate data due to bias and being outdated. Also, “often data will be unavailable, limited or incomplete. This is likely to be the case if there is no reason for it to be made available online, or the costs of doing so outweigh any perceived or actual value in making it available.” Resource links that cover open access and for fee, subscription-based sources are bountiful. The article provides many aha moments that are crucial to consider when researching global environments.

Karen Blakeman, of RBA Information Sources, lists official company registers on her website. “Reporting and filing requirements for companies differ from country to country and sometimes from state to state, or region to region. They also vary depending on the size and legal form of the company (sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability etc). Many of the official company registries are on the Web and some offer access to their database of companies.” The first section of her resource page lists key starting points and the rest “is organized by continent and then country and concentrates on what is available at the online registry web sites.”

Heidi Longaberger’s (FreePint) post entitled Private Company Information Outside the U.S.: Western Europe, UK and Ireland provides helpful guidance on how to find private company data. Heidi writes that in many other world regions (as opposed to U.S.), “private company data must not only be filed with the appropriate regulatory body, but it is made available to the public as well. As a generalisation, because there are national differences, European private companies often report balance sheets, director details, profit and loss, and cash-flow statements.” She provides details and a matrix “that highlights the regulatory bodies, financial reporting requirement, and resources for accessing private company information in the U.S., UK and parts of Western Europe.”

“Writings,” Margaret J. Wheatly, Accessed June 8, 2014, http://www.marga-
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