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 Value Chain Analysis diagram of Value chain

Doing a “Value Chain Analysis” begins with understanding the concept of the “Value Chain.”

Your textbook, or these links may give you some insight:

Strategic Management Insight
Mind Tools

“A value chain is a chain of activities that a firm operating in a specific industry performs in order to deliver a valuable product or service for the market. The concept comes from business management and was first described and popularized by Michael Porter in his 1985 best-seller, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.[1]

"The idea of the value chain is based on the process view of organizations, the idea of seeing a manufacturing (or service) organization as a system, made up of subsystems each with inputs, transformation processes and outputs. Inputs, transformation processes, and outputs involve the acquisition and consumption of resources - money, labor, materials, equipment, buildings, land, administration and management. How value chain activities are carried out determines costs and affects profits."

The concept of value chains as decision support tools, was added onto the competitive strategies paradigm developed by Porter as early as 1979. In Porter's value chains, Inbound Logistics, Operations, Outbound Logistics, Marketing and Sales and Service are categorized as primary activities. Secondary activities include Procurement, Human Resource management, Technological Development and Infrastructure.” (From the Wikipedia)

As a student doing a Value Chain Analysis, you will be doing determined and extensive research in several of our key databases (listed below). Before you do this you will want to read our company overview reports for your selected company, and our industry overview reports for your company’s industry.

In order to do this analysis well, you will need to be prepared to read many, many articles and financial reports. Companies often treat their supply chain and value chain information as secrets. So, you will have to work with secondary sources, reading what journalists and analysts have discovered about these companies. Primary resources would include S.E.C. 10K Reports

When searching within these databases:

Google Scholar

WestLaw News

ProQuest News 

you can try to restrict your search results to a specific company by typing its name into the search box and then do a topic-specfic search by entering the following (sample) search terms or keywords:

You may also want to try these keywords as well:

"Cost Advantage"
"Differentiation Advantage"
"Quality Control"
"Dealer support"
"Customer’s value"
"Inbound logistics"
"Outbound logistics"

You may want to try searching for other related words as well.

In addition, you should look up the company’s 10K reports, in this database:

Mergent Online

Go into Mergent Online, search for your company by name or ticker symbol
On the results page, click on the “Reports” tab, and then select “Annual Reports.”

Now you can view 10K and Annual reports in PDF format. Once you are in the PDF documents you can type CTR F for a search box, where you can type in your keywords.

Keep in mind that you may find many articles and documents that contain your company name and keywords but they may not provide the information you seek. In other cases, you may be able to piece together useful bits of information from several articles.

Good luck on your research !!!


If you have questions or are encountering problems, please contact me

Last Update: April 23, 2018

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Compiled by Jim Vileta
former Business Librarian

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