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ASSURE: Initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions

This project will develop a method for initial assessment that will help the manufacturing industry to make better relocation decisions.

Initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions can enhance the overarching decision-making process by making it more rapid, inclusive, and cost-efficient. There is a knowledge gap on how and when initial assessment can be performed. This project will develop a method for initial assessment that will help the manufacturing industry to make better relocation decisions.

Background

The assessment of manufacturing relocation must include many criteria and trade-offs to make the best possible decision. The assessment is often cost-based and attempts to achieve the lowest possible total cost. It has been argued that this is not sufficient, and research calls for assessment methods that better incorporate the criteria that are not easily quantifiable, or which cannot be implemented in various cost models. It has been argued that the final decision should be delayed in the decision-making process until all relevant criteria have been identified and suitable data on the criteria has been collected and evaluated, supporting use of final assessment methods. The point has also been made that firms previously have relied on too few criteria in the decision-making and that they have discovered critical criteria rather late. On the other hand, it has also been argued that capturing the full complexity around the decision could lead to high prediction errors due to uncertainties in the available data. It has also been argued that the timing is critical as managers do not want to lose opportunities by evaluating decision too long, supporting use of initial assessment methods.

Initial assessment can enhance the overarching decision-making process by making it more rapid, inclusive, and cost-efficient, by ensuring that resources are invested in the opportunities with the greatest potential and that critical decision criteria as well as enablers and barriers are identified and considered early. The need arises since the decision-making process consumes significant resources and since this decision is becoming more dynamic, leading to more frequent revision of the supply chain footprint. There is a knowledge gap on initial assessment since most of the available research concern final and stepwise assessment. Further knowledge is needed on how initial assessment can be performed, how initial assessment can enhance the overarching decision-making process, and when initial assessment should be performed.

Purpose and research questions

The aim of the project is to develop a method for initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions. The research questions that this project focuses on include:

  • How can initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions be performed?
  • How can initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions enhance the overarching decision-making process?
  • When during the overarching decision-making process should initial assessment be performed?

Procedure

The project uses an interactive research method that involves joint efforts between researchers and practitioners to answer the research questions. The project includes two senior researchers and one doctoral student. The project furthermore includes practitioners from five manufacturing companies providing different kind of products and one consultancy company offering services within manufacturing relocation. The project steering group consists of representatives from the participating organizations.

Expected contribution

The expected result of the project is a method for initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions that will assist companies in identifying and assessing the factors influencing initial assessment as well as selecting the preferable timing. The method will be developed in close collaboration with the participating companies but will also be applicable in other companies. The method will help companies to perform initial assessment in an appropriate manner and to streamline the overarching decision-making process. The expected effect of the project is an increased ability to make appropriate manufacturing relocation decisions that are resilient over time and that lead to increased competitiveness.

Facts:

Full project name: Initial assessment of manufacturing relocation decisions

Participating organizations: University of Gävle (HiG), Dellner Couplers AB, Fläktgroup Sweden AB, AB Ludvig Svensson, Mysigma AB, AB Sandvik Coromant, and Thermia AB

Project manager: Per Hilletofth (HiG)

Other project participants: Daniella Fjellström (HiG), Magnus Glavmo (Thermia), Olli-Pekka Hilmola (HiG), Ljubisa Kitanovic (Fläktgroup), Heikki Laitinen (Sandvik), Peter Manfredsson (Ludvig Svensson), Patrick Näslund (Mysigma) and Johan Stenborg (Dellner)

Financer: The Knowledge foundation

Time period: 2022-08-01 to 2025-05-31

Contact

Per Hilletofth

Professor Industrial engineering and management
E-mail: per.hilletofth@hig.se
Phone: + 46 073 654 60 96

Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Gunilla Mårtensson Updated: 2022-06-23
Högskolan i Gävle
www.hig.se
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
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