Moving manufacturing offshore and back home: A case study analysis
Di Mauro C
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The motivations underlying manufacturing reshoring decisions has been studied separately from the offshoring phenomenon – which foregoes the relocation at home – and its drivers. This seems to implicitly deny the conceptualization of reshoring as a possible further step in the internationalization strategy of firms and possibly undermines a deep comprehension of this phenomenon. Through a multiple case study approach, our paper seeks to fill this gap by analysing and classifying the principal drivers that led to offshoring and then to reshoring manufacturing activities. We focus on four Italian companies competing in traditional sectors (mountain shoes, suitcases and zippers) for which the “Made in” is likely to represent a strategic element. We apply the theory-based interpretative framework proposed by Fratocchi et al. (2016), which distinguishes the reshoring drivers on the base of company’s goals and their “locus” in terms of internal/external environment. We summarize the main results into nine observations that encompass three key aspects of offshoring and reshoring decisions: Why (the “nature” of offshoring/reshoring drivers); How (governance modes); and Where (geographical locations).