Manufacturing

39 Results

 

Calderón: Economic Arguments Needed to Fight Climate Change

Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón says the United States Congress and Chinese coal plants are the biggest obstacles to fixing climate change. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Entrepreneurship and Multinationals Drive Globalization

Why is the firm overlooked as a contributor when we identify the drivers of globalization? Geoffrey Jones discusses his new book, Entrepreneurship and Multinationals: Global Business and the Making of the Modern World. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Stressing Safety in South Africa’s Platinum Mines

Gautam Mukunda discusses why and how he teaches a case study about Cynthia Carroll, the first woman and non-South African to serve as chief executive of mining giant Anglo American. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Hiding From Managers Can Increase Your Productivity

Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ethan S. Bernstein explains why decreasing workplace transparency can increase productivity. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

How to Do Away with the Dangers of Outsourcing

The collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh should be a warning to companies that embrace outsourcing, says Professor Ranjay Gulati. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Making America an Industrial Powerhouse Again

President Obama's funding of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation is a needed step to get the country building again, says Professor Gary Pisano. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Diasporas and Outsourcing: Evidence from oDesk and India

Diaspora-based exchanges have been important for centuries, but the online world reduces many of the frictions these networks solved. How do the Internet and diaspora networks connect? This study investigated the importance of Indian diaspora connections on the oDesk platforms for outsourcing. oDesk is the world's largest online labor market, processing $30 million per month in contracts as of May 2012. This research finds strong evidence that diasporas still matter and influence economic exchanges even when many frictions are minimized. In fact, the case study suggests more often than not that diaspora use increases as familiarity with the platform increases. This suggests a longer-term complementarity between diaspora networks and online tools that may aid the persistence of these networks. At the same time, the oDesk evidence also makes clear that the role of diaspora networks should not be overstated. While they contributed to India's success on oDesk, diaspora connections were clearly not a driving force in India becoming the top destination for oDesk contracts. Read More

America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance

In their new book, Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance, Harvard Business School professors Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih discuss the dangers of underinvesting in the nation's manufacturing capabilities. This excerpt discusses the importance of the "industrial commons." Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Can We Bring Back the “Industrial Commons” for Manufacturing?

Summing Up: Does the US have the political will or educational ability to remake its manufacturing sector on the back of an 'industrial commons?' Professor Jim Heskett's readers are dubious. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines

Does entrepreneurship cause urban growth? Economists and policymakers often argue yes, but it is remarkable how little is known about what lies behind this relationship. This paper investigates the connection more closely using a link between historical mineral and coal deposits and modern entrepreneurship observed in US cities today. Because the process of bringing ores out of the earth is a capital-intensive operation that often benefits from large-scale operations, cities with a historical abundance of nearby mineral and coal mines developed industrial structures with systematically larger establishments and less entrepreneurship. These early industrial traits persisted long after the initial conditions faded through intergenerational transmissions, path dependency, and similar. Using this variation, the study finds the strong connection between a city's initial entrepreneurship and subsequent economic growth is still observed after removing the most worrisome endogeneity. This connection works primarily through lower employment growth of startups in cities that are closer to mines. Read More

Should CEOs Worry About ‘Too Big to Succeed?’

Summing Up Is there a right size for a company? Jim Heskett's readers ponder his question: Can companies become too big to succeed? Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Is India’s Manufacturing Sector Moving Away from Cities?

One of the biggest challenges in development is urbanization. Within developing countries, nearly two billion people are expected to move from rural regions into cities in the next two decades. This paper closely examines the movement of economic activity in Indian manufacturing between urban and rural areas. The authors find that while the organized sector is becoming less urbanized, the unorganized sector is becoming more urbanized. This process has been most closely linked to greater urbanization changes in districts with high education levels; a second role is often evident for public infrastructure as well. On the whole, these urbanization changes have modestly improved the urban-rural allocation of industries within India's districts. Read More

Are Factory Jobs Important to the Economy?

Summing Up: The manufacturing field is key to a strong economy, but a renewed focus on the industry will not necessarily lead to significant job growth, Jim Heskett's readers say. What do you think? Closed for comment; 51 Comments posted.

Kodak: A Parable of American Competitiveness

When American companies shift pieces of their operations overseas, they run the risk of moving the expertise, innovation, and new growth opportunities just out of their reach as well, explains HBS Professor Willy Shih, who served as president of Eastman Kodak's digital imaging business for several years. Open for comment; 32 Comments posted.

Measuring the Efficacy of the World’s Managers

Over the past seven years, Harvard Business School's Raffaella Sadun and a team of researchers have interviewed managers at some 10,000 organizations in 20 countries. The goal: to determine how and why management practices differ vastly in style and quality not only across nations, but also across various organizations and industries. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Carbon Tariffs: Impacts on Technology Choice, Regional Competitiveness, and Global Emissions

Under current emissions regulation such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast US, imports entering the region fall outside the regulatory regime and incur no carbon costs. As a result, imports can compete within the carbon-regulated region with a new-found advantage, potentially altering the competitive balance between emissions-regulated and -unregulated firms. While implementing carbon tariffs—border adjustments— may appear to be a straightforward solution to this asymmetry, the potential for such a measure to be interpreted as a trade barrier, and thereby initiate a reciprocal tariff, has thus far stymied debate on the issue. This paper explores the impact of such border adjustments on firms' technology choice, regional competitiveness, and global emissions. The analysis shows that border adjustments (or lack thereof) play a vital role in determining firms' technology and production choices, both of which are fundamental operations management decisions that ultimately determine economic and environmental performance. Results have implications for each of the primary stakeholders: regulators making the policy decision regarding border adjustments; firms interested in understanding their competitiveness and location strategies under a border adjustment; and technology producers interested in assessing the potential impact of border adjustments on demand for cleaner technologies. Read More

Transforming Manufacturing Waste into Profit

Every manufacturing process leaves waste, but Assistant Professor Deishin Lee believes much of this left-behind material can be put to productive—and profitable—use. Open for comment; 17 Comments posted.

Why Manufacturing Matters

After decades of outsourcing, America's ability to innovate and create high-tech products essential for future prosperity is on the decline, argue professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih. Is it too late to get it back? From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 44 Comments posted.

The New Face of Chinese Industrial Policy: Making Sense of Anti-Dumping Cases in the Petrochemical and Steel Industry

The researchers set out to explain differences in China's antidumping actions against importers in the petrochemical and steel industries. During the study period, 66 percent of the country's antidumping cases targeted petrochemical imports, while steel imports were targeted only in 5 percent of the cases. Why did China's petrochemical and steel industries behave so differently in seeking trade protection? The answers put forward by researchers Regina Abrami (Harvard Business School) and Yu Zheng (University of Connecticut) point toward the structural nature of the industries themselves, and against arguments that antidumping actions in China have been driven by retaliation or national industrial strategy alone. Read More

How IT Shapes Top-Down and Bottom-Up Decision Making

What determines whether decisions happen on the bottom, middle, or top rung of the corporate ladder? New research from professor Raffaella Sadun finds that the answer often lies in the technology that a company deploys. Open for comment; 15 Comments posted.

From Russia with Love: The Impact of Relocated Firms on Incumbent Survival

The relocation of the machine tool industry from the Soviet-occupied zone of postwar Germany to western regions is a unique laboratory for studying the impact of industrial structures on incumbent survival. Typically, geographic agglomerations of similar firms offer benefits to each member firm by reducing the transportation costs for material goods, specialized workers, and industry knowledge among the firms. Of course, tight geographic concentration comes with countervailing costs as firms compete for local inputs. In this paper, HBS professor William R. Kerr and coauthors study the impact of increased local concentration on incumbent firms by considering postwar Germany, when the fear of expropriation (or worse) in the wake of World War II prompted many machine tool firm owners to flee to western Germany, where they reestablished their firms. Read More

Local Industrial Conditions and Entrepreneurship: How Much of the Spatial Distribution Can We Explain?

Some places, like Silicon Valley, seem almost magically entrepreneurial with a new start-up on every street corner. Other areas, like declining cities of the Rust Belt, appear equally starved of whatever local attributes make entrepreneurship more likely. Many academics, policymakers, and business leaders stress the importance of local conditions for explaining spatial differences in entrepreneurship and economic development. This paper uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau to characterize these entry relationships more precisely within the manufacturing sector. Read More

Mapping Polluters, Encouraging Protectors

Where are the biggest polluters? And what is your company doing to protect the environment? A new Web site—both a public service and a research tool—posts managers' data in real time, allowing a balanced view of industrial environmental performance. HBS professor Michael W. Toffel and senior research fellow Andrew A. King explain. Read More

What Causes Industry Agglomeration? Evidence from Coagglomeration Patterns

Most industries exhibit some degree of geographic concentration. Although many theories attempt to explain this agglomeration, empirical tests of these theories are difficult as they all predict similar outcomes within individual industries. This study considers how industries coagglomerate—that is, which industry pairs locate together—to form a tractable analysis. The authors specifically study the relative importance of proximity to suppliers and customers, to firms using similar labor, and the sharing of ideas for explaining agglomeration. Read More

From Manufacturing to Design: An Essay on the Work of Kim B. Clark

The interdisciplinary research of economist Kim Clark, former dean of Harvard Business School and now President of Brigham Young University-Idaho, occupies a unique place in management scholarship for three reasons. First, he tended to focus on little known and under-appreciated management groups such as manufacturing managers, product development managers, and product and process architects. Thus, he directly positioned himself outside the "traditional" management disciplines of strategy, finance, marketing, and organizational behavior. Second, he swam against the academic tide by recognizing the power of comparative and longitudinal field studies. Third, he sought frameworks beyond his own field in design theory, the engineering sciences, and finance. This paper reviews his research contributions over almost thirty years. Read More

American Auto’s Troubled Road

Harvard Business School faculty dissect where U.S. auto makers went wrong, and how they might again get on the road to growth. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Homers: Secrets on the Factory Floor

Homers are things you make for personal use while on company time. Professor Michel Anteby says that although the practice might be illegal, some companies secretly endorse it. Here's why. Read More

The Truck Driver Who Reinvented Shipping

Malcolm P. McLean (1914-2001) hit on an idea to dramatically reduce labor and dock servicing time. An excerpt from In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century by Harvard Business School's Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria. Read More

New Learning at American Home Products

In Alfred D. Chandler Jr's new history of the modern chemical and pharma industries, American Home Products follows a singular path to success. An excerpt from Shaping the Industrial Century. Read More

Unilever—A Case Study

As one of the oldest and largest foreign multinationals doing business in the U.S., the history of Unilever's investment in the United States offers a unique opportunity to understand the significant problems encountered by foreign firms. Harvard Business School professor Geoffrey Jones has done extensive research on Unilever, based on full access to restricted corporate records. This recent article from Business History Review is the first publication resulting from that research. Read More

Reinventing the Industrial Giant

It's not easy to transform a trusty but ailing old stalwart. In an excerpt from their book, Changing Fortunes: Remaking the Industrial Corporation, HBS professor Nitin Nohria and co-authors Davis Dyer and Frederick Dalzell discuss how General Motors and Kodak are attempting precisely that. Read More

In the Virtual Dressing Room Returns Are A Real Problem

That little red number looked smashing onscreen, but the puce caftan the delivery guy brought is just one more casualty of the online shopping battle. HBS professor Jan Hammond researches what the textile and apparel industries can do to curtail returns. Read More

How Toyota Turns Workers Into Problem Solvers

Toyota's reputation for sustaining high product quality is legendary. But the company's methods are not secret. So why can't other carmakers match Toyota's track record? HBS professor Steven Spear says it's all about problem solving. Read More

Alfred Chandler on the Electronic Century

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. examines the development of two pivotal industries in post-World War II America—the consumer electronics and computer industries. Read More

How One Center of Innovation Lost its Spark

It's no secret that innovation is what has always made places like Silicon Valley and Hollywood so special. Creativity and expertise centered in one location, it seems, spurs yet more innovation at ever increasing speeds. But what happens when the well runs dry? Read More

The Dynamics of Standing Still: Firestone Tire & Rubber and the Radial Revolution

In the late 1960s, Firestone was perhaps the best managed company in its industry. But when Michelin introduced the radial tire and shook up the U.S. market, writes HBS professor Donald Sull, Firestone's historical success proved its own worst enemy. Read More

Rapid Response: Inside the Retailing Revolution

A simple bar code scan at your local department store today launches a whirlwind of action: data is transmitted about the color, the size, and the style of the item to forecasters and production planners; distributors and suppliers are informed of the demand and the possible need to restock. All in the blink of an electronic eye. It wasn’t always this way, though. HBS Professor Janice Hammond has focused her recent research on the transformation of the apparel and textile industries from the classic, limited model to the new lean inventories and flexible manufacturing capabilities. Read More

Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System

How can one production operation be both rigidly scripted and enormously flexible? In this summary of an article from the Harvard Business Review, HBS Professors H. Kent Bowen and Steven Spear disclose the secret to Toyota's production success. The company's operations can be seen as a continuous series of controlled experiments: whenever Toyota defines a specification, it is establishing a hypothesis that is then tested through action. The workers, who have internalized this scientific-method approach, are stimulated to respond to problems as they appear; using data from the strictly defined experiment, they are able to adapt fluidly to changing circumstances. Read More