Q&A: How do you identify key external environment factors for companies in an industry?

Factors like competitors, customers, labor, suppliers?

IBISWorld reports cover factors like these for nearly 700 industries. The Industry Market Research report for consumer electronics stores, for example, discusses issues like these in the Industry Conditions section: -barriers to entry -regulation -cost structure, including wages -capital and labor intensity -technology and systems -globalization The Market Conditions section discusses size of the market, demand determinants, and the basis of competition. The Key Competitors section discusses leading companies. Another database, Mintel Reports, analyzes the market for various consumer products. The one for Audio/Video Hardware Retailing, for example, includes these sections: -Market Drivers -Market Size & Trends -Market Segmentation -Retail Distribution -Advertising & Promotion -The Consumer You must create a personal account when you access Mintel Reports for the first time. The 10-K Annual Reports for publicly held companies sometimes address supplier, raw materials, and distribution issues in Part I, Item 1. The 2007 10-K for Best Buy, for example, discusses supplier strategy and distribution of products to its retail outlets. IBISWorld and Mintel are available from the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z and also from the Rod Library Business Portal. 10-K reports are usually listed on corporate web sites under headings such as Investor Relations or directly from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission EDGAR database. Other search tools listed on the Business Portal, such as ABI/INFORM Global and Business Source Elite and Business & Company Resource Center, may lead to useful information in academic journals, trade journals, and business magazines. These pages list additional sources that may be useful for classes like Business Policy.