What are downstream operations?

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Understanding downstream operations

Downstream operations are activities that occur after the firm in the overall industry value chain. The companies that a firm supplies for example are downstream. There may be multiple subsequent downstream operations before the products reach the final customers.

Examples of downstream operations

Some examples of downstream operations are:

  • The sale of gas/petrol is downstream of the refining stage in the oil and gas industry
  • The processing of metals is downstream of metal smelting
  • The smiling of metals is downstream of metal mining
  • The processing of food products is downstream of growing crops
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