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Manufacturing in the world: where next?

Louis Brennan (School of Business, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland)
Kasra Ferdows (McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA)
Janet Godsell (Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Ruggero Golini (Department of Management, Information and Production Engineering, Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Dalmine, Italy)
Richard Keegan (Manager of Competitiveness Department, Enterprise Ireland and Business School, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland)
Steffen Kinkel (ILIN Institute for Learning and Innovation in Networks, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Jagjit Singh Srai (Centre for International Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Margaret Taylor (School of Management, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




The past three decades have seen the transformation of manufacturing involving its global dispersion and fragmentation. However, a number of recent developments appear to suggest that manufacturing may be entering a new era of flux that will impact the configuration of production around the globe. The purpose of this paper is to address the major emerging themes that may shape this configuration and concludes that most of them are still in their initial stages and are not likely to create a radical shift in the next few years in how manufacturing is configured around the world. These themes were presented in a special session on “Manufacturing in the World – Where Next?” at the 2013 EurOMA Conference in Dublin, Ireland.


The paper provides a series of perspectives on some key considerations pertaining to the future of manufacturing. An evaluation of their likely impact is offered and insights for the future of manufacturing are presented.


The importance of a focus on the extended manufacturing network is established. The need for customer engagement and a forward looking approach that extends to the immediate customer and beyond emerges as a consistent feature across the different perspectives presented in the paper. There is both the potential and need for the adoption of innovative business models on the part of manufacturers.


The paper presents in-depth perspectives from scholars in the field of manufacturing on the changing landscape of manufacturing. These perspectives culminate in a series of insights on the future of global manufacturing that inform future research agendas and help practitioners in formulating their manufacturing strategies.



Brennan, L., Ferdows, K., Godsell, J., Golini, R., Keegan, R., Kinkel, S., Srai, J.S. and Taylor, M. (2015), "Manufacturing in the world: where next?", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 35 No. 9, pp. 1253-1274.



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