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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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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 1: People, Technology and Collaboration

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

The first phase of a major project on sustainable manufacturing, a food-and-drink industry giant and a UK university sponsored a roundtable discussion on sustainable manufacturing by 24 manufacturing experts from industry, government and academia. The roundtable yielded six major themes — People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience — that describe the key areas on which manufacturers must focus to build a sustainable future.

Idea #652
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 2: Five Pathways

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A collaborative research project on sustainable manufacturing between a food and drink giant and a university uncovers five pathways to sustainable manufacturing in 2050 that leverage technology and collaboration to build environmentally conscious supply chains that support — and involve — society.

Idea #653
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Pedestrians in Toronto, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Serving a Few Major Customers Vs Many Diverse Customers

Idea posted: August 2016
  • Operations

Contrary to the accepted wisdom, manufacturers with a small number of major customers benefit from collaborative practices that lead to less demand uncertainty and greater inventory efficiencies. Manufacturers with a large number of disparate customers are the ones who must keep higher inventory level for longer periods of time, resulting in more inventory write-downs and reversals.

Idea #619
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Hands with flowers

Collaborate with Suppliers to Ensure Green Practices in the Supply Chain

Idea posted: August 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A new study shows that collaborating with suppliers, rather than just monitoring them, is more effective in ensuring that they are engaging in green and sustainable practices. Internal non-coercive drivers (for example, pressure from top management rather than government regulators) encourage buyer/supplier collaboration. 

Idea #617
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Supply Chain Risk: Diversification Vs Under-diversification

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Operations

When catastrophe strikes a link in the supply chain, companies respond by dramatically diversifying their suppliers — only to eventually consolidate their suppliers as the memory of the disruption fades. This inconsistency is costly and ineffective.

Idea #468
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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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Electronics factory in Shenzhen, China, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Outsourcing Vs Reshoring: The Case for Local Manufacture

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Operations

Companies offshore their manufacturing to take advantage of lower wages and other cost savings in overseas countries. However, costs incurred from having an extended supply chain may in fact be wiping out the savings from offshoring advantages. MIT Sloan visiting professor Suzanne de Treville believes that one can make a financial case for reshoring manufacturing.

Idea #429
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St Nicholas saves a storm-tossed ship, Gentile da Fabriano (c. 1425)

Is Your Supply Chain Prepared for the Unexpected?

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Supply chain management is a delicate balancing act in these unpredictable times – on the one hand, there is pressure to keep the supply chain as cost efficient as possible, while on the other, it needs to be flexible and resilient in the face of unforeseen events. How do leaders proactively manage the risk of disruption?

Idea #414
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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, detail from a commemorative mural by Ernest Fiene, 1938–40, at the High School of Fashion Industries, New York

Supply Chain Networks and CSR Sourcing

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Building long-term relationships with select suppliers is seen as the way to reduce the risks of socially irresponsible sourcing and, by extension, damage to a company’s brand or reputation. It is not, however, a ‘magic’ solution to the problem of ‘rogue’ elements in the supply chain. New research finds that the success of ‘relational sourcing’ is directly linked to the structure of the supplier network — and that the ‘optimal’ structure varies by company and product category.

Idea #316
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Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, powered by Rolls Royce engines (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

In It Together: When Companies Collaborate

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

When two or more companies work together – which is increasingly common – their partnership will attract a reputation among customers and other stakeholders. But firms’ management of their jointly-owned reputation has traditionally been relatively neglected. By giving it proper consideration, leaders can improve the way partnerships are perceived by others, boosting their success.

Idea #232
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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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Sales in Poznań, December 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Myopic Pricing Strategies Lose Seasonal Sales

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Dynamic pricing involves setting different prices at different times of the buying season. One of the complexities of dynamic pricing strategy is managing ‘strategic’ consumers who usually wait for end-of-season clearance sales. New research shows that many retailers are setting prices in a way that entice strategic consumers to early season purchasing; this strategy, however, is myopic because it limits potential revenues from end-of-season clearance sales. The researchers show that setting pricing levels in the early season that encourage late season-buying by strategic

Idea #177
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