Global sourcing strategies in transition: An outsourcing study in the apparel industry
Paper in proceedings, 2010
The objective is to explain what internally and externally related forces have driven apparel companies sourcing strategies in the past, and outline how these companies could take action in the future. A framework of driving forces for having to take outsourcing decisions is generated, and used and further developed into a conceptual model in the analysis and discussion.
A theoretical framework is generated from apparel supply chain studies and general literature on outsourcing, supplier relations, manufacturing strategy. Cross-case analysis of three apparel companies with several decades of outsourcing decisions is the basis for generating the model.
A theoretical framework and model of driving forces to outsourcing in the apparel industry has been generated. We distinguish between apparel industry and market related and political society external forces, and four internally driving forces. The externally driving forces can either push a company from a location or pull it to a new location. The past and potential future importance of individual forces is discussed.
The study has focus on the past forces. We have identified some important dimensions that could be driving future sourcing strategies and outsourcing decision. These could be used as dimensions in scenario analysis evaluating the attractiveness of future sourcing locations.
The generated framework and model could be used by managers to understand and map their external and internal driving outsourcing forces.
The theoretical contributions lies in explaining the driving forces and their change processes and form a conceptual model of driving forces for outsourcing.