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The Cost Advantage of Reshoring

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Operations

Reshoring is the decision to return business activities to a firm’s domestic market. Analysing the impact of reshoring announcements on stock prices indicates that the benefits of reshoring outweigh the costs.

Idea #709
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Toyota factory in Ohira, near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

Lean Manufacturing More Effective in Collectivist Cultures

Idea posted: August 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Lean manufacturing practices are more effective in countries and companies that have more collectivist or group cultures than individualist cultures. In addition, nation trumps organization: a plant’s collectivist organizational culture will not overcome the individualistic culture of the country in which it is located.

Idea #616
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Sugar Factory with clean vapor emission, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Meeting Sustainability Priorities in Competitive Operational Strategies

Idea posted: August 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Environmental and social sustainability priorities can be integrated with traditional priorities to varying degrees. Companies competing on innovation, for example, are more open to environmental and social sustainability than companies competing on price. Yet for all companies, environmental and social sustainability priorities play an increasingly greater role in their success.

Idea #618
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 View of the MS Costa Concordia shipwreck, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Luck Doesn’t Just Happen: The Case of the Costa Concordia

Idea posted: March 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Using the case of the Costa Concordia cruise ship sinking, researchers demonstrate the threat posed by ‘zemblanity.’ While serendipity occurs when a company is prepared to take advantage of good fortune, zemblanity is the polar opposite, occuring when a company creates its own bad luck.

Idea #592
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Management Practices that Lead to Corporate Social Responsibility

Idea posted: October 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Superior management quality practices, in areas such as monitoring employee performance, updating operations, setting targets and establishing incentives, will impact the extent of a company’s corporate social responsible practices — notably in issues related to stakeholder concerns, such as diversity, environmental performance and employee relations. 

Idea #554
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Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich: the Sister, by Edward Ardizzone,1941 (Courtesy: The Imperial War Museum, London)

The Overlooked Productivity Costs of Collaboration

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

While management theorists and business leaders trumpet knowledge sharing and other advantages of collaboration, new research shows that workforce collaboration also comes with ‘spillover’ time-related costs that hurt productivity. These costs, however, can be managed.  

Idea #552
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CFO Survey: Most Hit by Hackers Otherwise Optimistic

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

New research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business global survey of CFOs reveals that 80% of companies have been hacked. Small and medium-sized businesses have been the hardest hit. Other results from the CFO survey include expectations of wage hikes and the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on U.S. exports.

Idea #534
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Innovation is Key to Exporting Success for SMEs

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Innovative companies can find success in export markets, but is there a correlation in the other direction: Can exporting lead to greater innovation? A researcher in Australia, dissecting data from thousands of Australian SMEs, discovered some correlation between exporting and innovation, but concluded that it is wiser to focus on innovation first, before attempting to conquer export markets.

Idea #520
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Public Sector Leadership: Managing 'Multirational' Organizations

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Public sector organizations are hybrid organizations that bring together different rationalities (e.g. political, economic, legal) together under one roof. The role of the public-sector manager is to find a way to enable these different rationalities to collaborate effectively. The key, according to social systems theory, is communication: finding the common language.

Idea #497
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Dante Shows an Artist Some Unusual Clouds, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1883

Six Imperatives for Companies to Embrace Cloud Computing

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Cloud computing can offer companies more cost-effective and agile IT capabilities than many traditional in-house IT services and functions. Based on an extensive study of a company successfully expanding its cloud computing capabilities, as well as on interviews with 45 other companies, a research team from the MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research lays out the imperatives that help companies prepare for and manage the shift to cloud computing.

Idea #465
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The commercial centre Xujiahui (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Buyers Beware: Costs for China Rising

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: NUS Business School

An extensive survey reveals new cost challenges for China-based suppliers, although the country maintains the strengths that it made it the go-to supply source in the first place.

Idea #461
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Five Things a New CIO Must Do to Operate as a Business Leader

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

In the age of ‘big data’ and all pervasive social media the role of the CIO is increasingly important. However, traditionally seen as a ‘techie’, the CIO needs to shift perspective to operate as a business leader; and the newly appointed CIO must position her or himself to take on this leadership role.

Idea #454
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Organizational Structure  of the Holy Roman Empire, Nuremberg Chronicles, by Hartmann Schedel, 1493

How to Design Organizational Structures by Understanding Organizational Routines

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The characteristics of an organization’s routines — specifically their purpose (operational or dynamic) and whether or not they are specific to individual business units — help define the most effective structure for that organization. 

Idea #451
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Bring Your Own Device to Work: The Pros and Cons for a Multinational

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Rapid advances in communications technology available to consumers has meant that employees often have far greater private access to sophisticated technology than they do in the workplace. Is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) - permitting employees to bring personal laptops, tablets, and smart phones to work, and to use their devices to access company information a sensible policy? In theory organizations benefit, in practice this presents many problems. This Idea uses a case study of a particular multi-national organization to see its response to this question. 

Idea #433
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The Unexpected Impact of Click and Collect Retail Programs

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

When retailers started offering the ‘buy-online, pickup-in-store’ option, also known as BOPS, the assumption would be that online sales would increase. New research shows, however, that BOPS actually reduces online sales while increasing offline sales — a surprising but positive result.

Idea #527
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A Zara shopfront, London, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Fast Fashion Retailing – Transforming Operations Management

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Since the early 2000s, Spanish retailer Zara (founded 1975) has taken the fashion industry by storm, with its ability to react to rapid changes in market conditions and keep its stock fresh and up-to-date, once claiming it needs only two weeks (as compared to up to six months traditionally needed by rivals) to produce and distribute new stock. According to this Idea, other retailers can achieve similar success by optimizing three key operation management decisions: design, sourcing and distribution.

Idea #198
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An Offshore Original? Pirate Radio Caroline North broadcast off the coast of the Isle of Man, July 1964 to March 1968 (Source: BBC News)

Reducing the Risks of ‘Offshore’ IT

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

The digital revolution and the rapid economic development of countries in Asia and elsewhere have encouraged companies in the west to outsource IT services overseas. But large numbers of offshore projects for information systems fail. A study focusing on contract specification and different modes of contract implementation has highlighted ways companies can better control the quality and costs of long-distance outsourcing.

Idea #186
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Noah's Ark, Cameo by Allessandro Masnago who worked in Milan around 1600 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Severe Weather: Moderating Its Impact on Productivity

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

As the extreme temperatures and violent storms caused by climate change continues to create havoc, a team of researchers from Columbia Business School and The Wharton School is investigating the impact of weather on productivity. Using productivity in US automobile assembly plants as the basis for the research, they demonstrate the correlation between bad weather and poor productivity, even in industries that are not ‘climate-sensitive,’ such as manufacturing and services.

Idea #154
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Donkey and overloaded cart, India 2008 (Source: flickr.com)

Why Scaling Up Is No Longer the Only Strategy

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Traditionally, industrial production has moved in only one direction: from small to large. ‘Scaling up’ was the best way to maximize productivity and lower per-unit costs. A fleet of 100 ten-ton dump trucks requires more drivers than a fleet of 10 hundred-ton dump trucks. But automation and communication technology has evolved to the point where a large number of small units may be cheaper, better and more efficient than a small number of large units.

Idea #107
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King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (anon. medieval)

How Evolving C-Suite Structures Affect Performance

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The size and structure of C-Suites has changed significantly over the past few decades. An examination of these changes reveals a number of shifts, including one towards more product-focused (or front-end) functional managers in organizations with closely-related business units, and an increase in administrative positions where organizations invest more in IT. These findings also have an impact on general managers’ salaries. Here’s why executives should pay attention to these shifts when structuring their top teams.

Idea #082
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