Purpose Several trends emerging in the last decades have started to trigger the relocation of second degree (i.e., reshoring) of companies’ production activities and supplies (Barbieri et al., 2020; Elia et al., 2021). Some of these trends are the two global crises that hit the world in the last twelve years, the profound change in the economic context in the emerging countries, the gradual change in the production paradigm favored by technological developments, the growing uncertainty linked to the commercial policy choices implemented by the leading economies, the need for a transition towards a more sustainable production system from an environmental and social point of view. This research aims to: i) clarify and disentangle the different types of relocation; ii) assess their characterization in terms of relevance, motivations, and challenges; iii) identify any connections among the relocation types. Design/methodology/approach Literature background Reshoring (now internationally recognized as a synonym for relocation of second degree; Barbieri et al., 2019) is the voluntary choice to move production activities, in whole or in part, to a different country than the one in which these activities had previously been offshored. Depending on the characteristics of the country of destination, reshoring can be divided into i) backshoring, if the relocation has the company’s country of origin as its destination; ii) nearshoring, in case the relocation takes place to a country closer to the country of origin; iii) further offshoring if production activities are further delocalized to a country even further away than the previous one. It is also important to clarify that the activities in the country of the first relocation do not need to be ceased entirely. A debate has opened regarding the “selective reshoring” initiatives, when only some product lines and /or some specific production activities are relocated (Baraldi et al., 2018). Finally, depending on the make or buy choices made by companies, we can talk about both production reshoring, if the production activities are carried out in proprietary plants, and supply reshoring, if the procurement of materials (raw materials and/or components and/or semi-finished products) is entrusted to suppliers located in the country of destination (Gray et al., 2013). Although supply backshoring has recently attracted the attention of several observers, little is known about its actual extent, as well as how to measure it. As happens in the case of production backshoring, there is no official primary data source to draw on to understand the extent of the phenomenon. Method In order to overcome the lack of primary data to study the phenomenon, we designed an ad-hoc survey to collect data in the Italian manufacturing context. The survey research 2 design was developed by following the best practices suggested by (Forza, 2002). First, the conceptual model behind the survey instrument was developed. All the researchers have been studying the reshoring phenomenon for multiple years and had a comprehensive knowledge of the primary constructs involved, the relationships theorized in literature, and the new emerging trends. The operationalization of the constructs was developed thanks to the review of the existing literature on the topic. The unit of analysis for the study was identified in the company, as one of the survey objectives was to assess the relevance of the phenomenon in the Italian context. Therefore, the target population was represented by all the Italian manufacturing companies member of the Italian national industrial association, including 63995 companies. However, not all the companies were contacted. The data collection was conducted between June 2021 and February 2022. The Italian national industrial association was directly involved in the data collection to ensure active participation and good coverage of all the geographical areas. 762 companies replied to the questionnaire. The collected data will be analysed through econometric analyses to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon under study. Expected findings Some preliminary and expected findings can be hypothesized: 1. Provide clarification of the different types of relocation and quantify their relevance for the Italian manufacturing context; 2. Quantify the importance of supply backshoring and its potential to support the local industry; 3. Assess the relationship between production and supply backshoring and their characteristics (motivations, outcomes, etc.). Relevance/contribution to research and practice The paper contributes to operations and supply chain management literature by clarifying, once for all, the different relocation of second degree alternatives and by shedding light on an underestimated trend, namely, the supply backshoring. The practical implications are directed towards multiple stakeholders. First, managers and entrepreneurs can gain insights on the relevance, in practice, of the different relocation types and on the existence of any industry-specific trends. Second, policymakers are made aware of the importance of stimulating the return of owned plants and intermediate activities up in the supply chain.

(2022). Disentangling reshoring types: empirical evidence from Italy [conference presentation (unpublished) - intervento a convegno (paper non pubblicato)]. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10446/234810

Disentangling reshoring types: empirical evidence from Italy

Boffelli, Albachiara;Barbieri, Paolo;Kalchschmidt, Matteo;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Purpose Several trends emerging in the last decades have started to trigger the relocation of second degree (i.e., reshoring) of companies’ production activities and supplies (Barbieri et al., 2020; Elia et al., 2021). Some of these trends are the two global crises that hit the world in the last twelve years, the profound change in the economic context in the emerging countries, the gradual change in the production paradigm favored by technological developments, the growing uncertainty linked to the commercial policy choices implemented by the leading economies, the need for a transition towards a more sustainable production system from an environmental and social point of view. This research aims to: i) clarify and disentangle the different types of relocation; ii) assess their characterization in terms of relevance, motivations, and challenges; iii) identify any connections among the relocation types. Design/methodology/approach Literature background Reshoring (now internationally recognized as a synonym for relocation of second degree; Barbieri et al., 2019) is the voluntary choice to move production activities, in whole or in part, to a different country than the one in which these activities had previously been offshored. Depending on the characteristics of the country of destination, reshoring can be divided into i) backshoring, if the relocation has the company’s country of origin as its destination; ii) nearshoring, in case the relocation takes place to a country closer to the country of origin; iii) further offshoring if production activities are further delocalized to a country even further away than the previous one. It is also important to clarify that the activities in the country of the first relocation do not need to be ceased entirely. A debate has opened regarding the “selective reshoring” initiatives, when only some product lines and /or some specific production activities are relocated (Baraldi et al., 2018). Finally, depending on the make or buy choices made by companies, we can talk about both production reshoring, if the production activities are carried out in proprietary plants, and supply reshoring, if the procurement of materials (raw materials and/or components and/or semi-finished products) is entrusted to suppliers located in the country of destination (Gray et al., 2013). Although supply backshoring has recently attracted the attention of several observers, little is known about its actual extent, as well as how to measure it. As happens in the case of production backshoring, there is no official primary data source to draw on to understand the extent of the phenomenon. Method In order to overcome the lack of primary data to study the phenomenon, we designed an ad-hoc survey to collect data in the Italian manufacturing context. The survey research 2 design was developed by following the best practices suggested by (Forza, 2002). First, the conceptual model behind the survey instrument was developed. All the researchers have been studying the reshoring phenomenon for multiple years and had a comprehensive knowledge of the primary constructs involved, the relationships theorized in literature, and the new emerging trends. The operationalization of the constructs was developed thanks to the review of the existing literature on the topic. The unit of analysis for the study was identified in the company, as one of the survey objectives was to assess the relevance of the phenomenon in the Italian context. Therefore, the target population was represented by all the Italian manufacturing companies member of the Italian national industrial association, including 63995 companies. However, not all the companies were contacted. The data collection was conducted between June 2021 and February 2022. The Italian national industrial association was directly involved in the data collection to ensure active participation and good coverage of all the geographical areas. 762 companies replied to the questionnaire. The collected data will be analysed through econometric analyses to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon under study. Expected findings Some preliminary and expected findings can be hypothesized: 1. Provide clarification of the different types of relocation and quantify their relevance for the Italian manufacturing context; 2. Quantify the importance of supply backshoring and its potential to support the local industry; 3. Assess the relationship between production and supply backshoring and their characteristics (motivations, outcomes, etc.). Relevance/contribution to research and practice The paper contributes to operations and supply chain management literature by clarifying, once for all, the different relocation of second degree alternatives and by shedding light on an underestimated trend, namely, the supply backshoring. The practical implications are directed towards multiple stakeholders. First, managers and entrepreneurs can gain insights on the relevance, in practice, of the different relocation types and on the existence of any industry-specific trends. Second, policymakers are made aware of the importance of stimulating the return of owned plants and intermediate activities up in the supply chain.
intervento a convegno (paper non pubblicato)
Boffelli, Albachiara; Barbieri, Paolo; Di Stefano, C.; Elia, S.; Fratocchi, L.; Kalchschmidt, Matteo Giacomo Maria; Pensa, Cristina
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