Supply Chain Analysis

What Is Supply Chain Analysis?

Understanding the structure of a market is a fundamental requirement when planning an entry strategy or building efficiency in an existing supply chain. For some markets, this may be relatively straightforward, but in many markets today, numerous tiers of suppliers and complex dynamics need to be assessed.

A company may have a product or capability that could be used in an adjacent market, yet it can be difficult to determine potential customers and suppliers. For example, in B2B markets, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) may not be your customer –several tiers of suppliers could be between your company and the finished product. The lines between the tiers are often blurred, and a market participant can potentially sell to each stage of the supply chain.

Supply Chain Research Methodology

Depending on the market, there are typically two phases of research:

1. Mapping the supply chain
This involves identifying all the companies, activities, and resources involved in the supply chain. This research is typically brought to life with a flowchart that provides an overview of the supply chain structure, indicating the movement of products/services, the position and function of the players, and the type of interaction between them.

2. Identifying the players
The second stage consists of a deeper dive into the companies that comprise each stage of the chain. This includes assessing each player’s capabilities, relationships, and strategic initiatives.

Supply Chain Analysis Objectives

The characteristics of a supply chain vary by market, but generally the objective of supply chain analysis is to reveal:

• Supply chain stages: an overview of the broad linear chain of production

• The main players: the major companies or participants in each stage of the value chain

• Goods produced and services provided: the outcomes or services provided at each stage of the chain

• Processes and activities performed: the major processes and activities required to produce the goods or services

• Support services across the chain: activities required across all stages of the value chain, but not produced as a direct result of the chain

Supply Chain Analysis Case Study

An example of this type of research involved a client exploring entry into the market for power generator components, either through use of its existing capabilities or an acquisition.

The client was uncertain of where it would fit into the supply chain. Identifying what types of companies our client could sell to, in addition to the other products and services offered in the market, Wakefield helped define the attractiveness of market entry.

Mapping the supply chain for power generator components showed a complex mix of manufacturers, suppliers and aftermarket players. The below infographic illustrated the flow of products.


Once the mapping was completed, the particular companies that occupied each stage of the supply chain were identified. This phase involved determining the capabilities and market presence of these players to provide insight into the competitive landscape. Whether through organic growth or an acquisition, the client could use Wakefield’s Market Intelligence analysis to plan a growth strategy based on newfound knowledge of the market’s inner workings.

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