The Outsourcing of Apparel and Textiles: Manufacturing Site Selection

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Edlyn-Kay Leipohaimaukealoha Walsh (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan Walcott

Abstract: The outsourcing of American manufacturing to the international sector historically utilizes supply chain/logistics analysis (lowest-cost supplier and transportation networks) as the primary method in site selection. This approach stems from Alfred Weber's (1929) location theory, compared to the neoclassical Heckscher-Ohlin theory that focuses on the exploitation of location endowments such as natural resources, capital and labor (Harrington and Warf, 1995). Since established transportation networks are more efficient than in times past, site selection may rely more on the cultural characteristics of the outsourced labor market than on transportation costs. The objective of this research is to determine whether the Weberian or the Heckscher-Ohlin factor model is relevant in today's outsourcing practices. An empirical case study evaluates why some outsourced production initially placed with contractors proximal to the United States was later transferred to contractor locations a greater distance away - arguably, costing more to the producer and consumer. Data collection takes place through quantitative and qualitative surveys of twenty-five outsourcing professionals. Three cultural characteristics are considered: 1) time sensitivity, 2) on-time delivery, and 3) the establishment of long-term relationships between the foreign contractor and the U.S. manufacturer. The research will demonstrate that apparel outsourcing site selection is broader than supply chain/logistics/cost analysis and contributes a qualitative perspective to business practices. It responds to previous research that apparel manufacturers have a preference for contractors at close distance. If cultural considerations influence site selection, then some locations are preferred over others that do not possess similar traits, regardless of distance.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Outsourcing, Apparel, Textiles, Site Selection, Manufacturing
Offshore outsourcing.
Industrial location $x Decision making.
Industrial location $x Economic aspects.
Clothing trade.
Textile industry.
Manufacturing industries.

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