Fisher profs win top award for ‘reshoring’ research

(Pictured, middle, is Prof. Gray, co-author Skowronski to his right. Image courtesy @ORMS_Elsevier)

Two professors in the home department of The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence have taken home a top academic award for their research.

Fisher College of Business Profs. John Gray and Johnny Rungtusanatham received the Jack Meredith Best Paper Award at the 2018 Academy of Management Conference in Chicago this summer. The paper, “Why in the World Did They Reshore? Examining Small to Medium-Sized Manufacturer Decisions,” appeared in the March 2017 edition of the Journal of Operations Management. Co-authors include former Fisher professor Gökçe Esenduran, who teaches at Purdue University, and Keith Skowronski, who earned his PhD at Fisher and is now at the University of South Carolina.

In their work, Prof. Gray and his co-authors explored the decision making of small and medium-sized businesses who were moving operations previously “offshored” to low-cost countries back to the United States. Increasing costs overseas couldn’t fully explain these moves.

Ultimately, the authors determined that reshoring decisions often served as corrections to earlier offshoring moves that overly relied on easily quantifiable measures such as piece price, transportation cost, and tax rate. Companies could find themselves better suited to make the right decision the first time around by using decision-making frameworks that factor in less-quantifiable considerations such as labor force skill, disruption risk, and cultural differences.

“Offshoring and reshoring decisions potentially affect many important and hard-to-measure factors,” said Prof Gray, who serves as an associate director for COE. “We hope our findings help shine the light on the need for better decision-making processes to be developed and widely adopted .”

Gray also received the Distinguished Service to the Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSCM) Division award, recognizing his exemplary performance in leadership roles for the OCSM Division during the past five years.

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