After decades of off-shoring strategies, companies are often critically re-evaluating their earlier location decisions; in doing so, sometimes they implement the so-called relocation of second degree. Among them, back-shoring (i.e., relocation to the home country) and near-shoring (relocation to the home region) are two of the alternatives attracting growing interest from scholars. This paper aims to shed new light on the variables influencing the choice made between these two alternatives. As requested in the extant literature, a contingency approach is adopted, focusing attention on the footwear industry. Given the exploratory nature of the paper, evidence from 41 back-shoring and near-shoring strategies are analysed, comparing data from Spanish and Italian companies. Collected data are adapted to test hypotheses concerning three sets of variables: firms’ characteristics, motivations for the second degree relocation and its barriers. Collected data show that firm’s size directly influences the chosen alternative since larger companies prefer to near-shore instead of back-shore. When considering motivations, while the “made in” effect does not influence the firm’s choice, availability of skilled contractors and/or government aids induces companies to relocate to the home country instead of the home region. Finally, companies fearing encountering barriers, in terms of skilled contractors’ availability and/or (re-)development of internal manufacturing competences, will prefer the back-shoring rather than the near-shoring option. The study is focused on two countries (Spain and Italy) where the manufacturing sector (and the footwear industry within it) is still relevant to the local economy. Findings cannot be generalized to countries/industries where the local industry has been totally dismantled, without a previous in-depth analysis. The findings obtained offer managers useful insights on the elements that should be carefully evaluated when considering back- and near-shore alternatives. Additionally, valuable insights are provided for policy makers that plan to design industrial policies supporting back-reshoring policy initiatives. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper in the extant literature addressing variables influencing the choice between back- and near-shoring alternatives.

Back-shoring vs near-shoring: a comparative exploratory study in the footwear industry

Di Stefano, Cristina;Fratocchi, Luciano
2021

Abstract

After decades of off-shoring strategies, companies are often critically re-evaluating their earlier location decisions; in doing so, sometimes they implement the so-called relocation of second degree. Among them, back-shoring (i.e., relocation to the home country) and near-shoring (relocation to the home region) are two of the alternatives attracting growing interest from scholars. This paper aims to shed new light on the variables influencing the choice made between these two alternatives. As requested in the extant literature, a contingency approach is adopted, focusing attention on the footwear industry. Given the exploratory nature of the paper, evidence from 41 back-shoring and near-shoring strategies are analysed, comparing data from Spanish and Italian companies. Collected data are adapted to test hypotheses concerning three sets of variables: firms’ characteristics, motivations for the second degree relocation and its barriers. Collected data show that firm’s size directly influences the chosen alternative since larger companies prefer to near-shore instead of back-shore. When considering motivations, while the “made in” effect does not influence the firm’s choice, availability of skilled contractors and/or government aids induces companies to relocate to the home country instead of the home region. Finally, companies fearing encountering barriers, in terms of skilled contractors’ availability and/or (re-)development of internal manufacturing competences, will prefer the back-shoring rather than the near-shoring option. The study is focused on two countries (Spain and Italy) where the manufacturing sector (and the footwear industry within it) is still relevant to the local economy. Findings cannot be generalized to countries/industries where the local industry has been totally dismantled, without a previous in-depth analysis. The findings obtained offer managers useful insights on the elements that should be carefully evaluated when considering back- and near-shore alternatives. Additionally, valuable insights are provided for policy makers that plan to design industrial policies supporting back-reshoring policy initiatives. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper in the extant literature addressing variables influencing the choice between back- and near-shoring alternatives.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/153607
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