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Volume 6, Number 1
February, 2001
1. Manufacturing Practices (Canadian )

This website newsletter is sponsored by the College of Business
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Benjamin Allen, Dean

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Group Statement:

The Global Manufacturing Research Group (GMRG) is a multi-national community of researchers dedicated to the study and improvement of manufacturing practices world-wide. Through systematic study and research throughout the world, the GMRG aims to improve manufacturing practice through the development of theory and dissemination of results. By sharing ideas, results, and concepts with research colleagues and manufacturing executives around the globe, the GMRG serves to strengthen the linkage between research and practice.

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GMRG Meeting in London, Ontario, Canada, July. 2001

News From The Director

Hi there!

It’s been far too long since I’ve communicated with you. It's nice to have Jack and the newsletter available. You don’t want to know all the reasons that we have been tied up, but we are back on line again. Much has happened since our meeting in London, Ontario that I would like to tell you about. I’m going to start with our upcoming conference in Chile on May 30th through June 1st. You should have already received some information on the program from Benito Flores and a form to let him know whether or not you will be attending. Please respond quickly so we can finalize the arrangements in Chile.

The GMRG workshop will be held right after the Pan Pacific business conference, which runs from May 28th to the 30th. The venue for both meetings is Viña del Mar, Chile. Viña is located on the coast not too far from Santiago. It is a lovely seaside resort with excellent shopping, seafood and physical attractions. It has a pleasant climate even in the winter (remember, it will be winter when we are there). Right next door is Valparaiso, a busy working seaport city that is home to the Chilean legislature and the Aldofo Ibañez University. Antonio Kovacevic is Dean of the Business School there and he will be hosting us. One of his faculty, Leopoldo (Polo) Arias, is taking care of local arrangements. Benito Flores is handling the coordination for us on this end, so we are in good hands.

In addition to the information you received on the GMRG workshop, you might be interested in what is happening at the Pan Pacific Conference that immediately precedes our meeting. The Pan Pacific Conference includes some sightseeing, plant visits, plenary sessions and regular paper sessions. For those of you who are interested, the Pan Pacific Business Association publishes proceedings of their conferences. There is usually a good mix of business, academic and public leaders at the conference and there are many opportunities to network with the group. If you’re interested in more detailed information it can be found on Pan-American Busines Association.

Of particular interest to us is the Pan Pacific Conference plenary session on global manufacturing. The topic will be quite general but will look at the role of manufacturing around the world in economic, social and other global issues. It should be a very interesting session. In addition to the plenary session, Sang Lee (the Director of the Pan Pacific Business Association) has assured us that we can have a couple of sessions for GMRG papers if we want. We may want to take advantage of that in order to have formal proceedings publications for our members. Our intention is to also "piggy-back" on the plant tours organized for the Pan Pacific Conference. Since Antonio Kovacevic and Polo are coordinating local arrangements for the Pan Pacific Conference as well as for the GMRG, this should not be any issue. Don’t worry, however, we will have some events of our own as well.

Finally, I want to bring you up to date on some of the organizational changes that are going on in the GMRG. Benito Flores at Texas A&M has agreed to take over the directorship of the organization and will provide a central location for maintaining the address list, information on the organization, the questionnaire, and other data pertinent to the group. Benito will bring his executive experience to bear on managing the central office and in strengthening our relationships with other organizations. We will begin to charge a nominal membership fee in order to defray some of the expenses that will be incurred in maintaining this office. We will also put together an organizational structure that will enable us to continue to conduct meaningful research and provide our results to the academic and industrial communities. We anticipate that by the time of the meeting in Chile we will have the basic structure worked out and will have more to report at that time.

For those of you who are concerned that this (formalization) will change the character of the organization, that is undoubtedly true. However, all of us associated with GMRG want to continue the informality, camaraderie, and sense of purpose that has characterized the group so far. Moreover, we want to continue to provide opportunities for young faculty to enter the international arena and collaborate with their colleagues from abroad. For those of you who are concerned that the survey research will die or that other good ideas may not be entertained, that is not our intention. You can help make sure that others join us in the use of the new questionnaire. This will add to our empirical knowledge of what’s happening in manufacturing globally. You can also help provide opportunities to pursue some of the more focused research objectives that were discussed in Canada.

In terms of GMRG group projects, Gyula Vastag is still interested in putting together a book on our research. Unlike the 1993 volume, however, he’s much more interested in a higher degree of case material and more in-depth analyses of companies' reactions to the changes that have occurred over the years the survey has been in use. If you’re interested in this project, please let him know. We will also continue to work to put together international teams interested in particular industries, research questions, methodologies, or other targeted objectives. This will enable us to accommodate the breadth of interests expressed in the last couple of meetings.

In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Viña del Mar. Join us there for a bottle of great Chilean wine -- Clay Whybark.

The 2000 GMRG Meeting in London, Ontario: A Shakespearean Twist with great food. The number of people we must thank for the memorable meeting in London is too large and the degree of appreciation so great that justice cannot be done in such a small space as this. We at GMRG feel that it was wonderful and thank all people involved at Western Ontario University. We wish to particularly thank Rob Klassen for his leadership and the time he spent on making this meeting outstanding. The meals at the UWO and the entertainment along with the fine tour of 3M were just terrific. Rob and the folks at UWO were absolutely great. We enormously enjoyed our trip to Stratford and the play. It just could not have been better. GMRG

The Twelfth Annual Workshop in Viña del Mar, Chile
GMRG Workshop 2001
Viña del Mar, Chile
May 30 - June 1, 2001

This year the GMRG workshop will be held in Viña del Mar, Chile. Viña del Mar is a lovely coastal resort town, with a mild climate in the winter (remember, it's the Southern Hemisphere). The city that houses the legislature of the country and the Aldopho Ibañez University, Valparaiso, is right next door. Antonio Kovasevik is the Dean of the Business School at Ibañez and will be hosting us. We were able to put this together by joining forces with Sang Lee and the Pan Pacific Business Association. The Pan Pacific conference will be held May 28 – 30, 2001 providing us the opportunity attend both meetings. There will be GMRG paper sessions during the Pan Pacific conference for which proceedings will be published and we will have paper sessions at the GMRG workshop as well. Moreover, we will share some of the plant visits with the Pan Pacific Group (we might be able to sneak off to a winery on our own, however).

Benito Flores is coordinating the meeting from here, while Tony and his staff are handling local arrangements. If you are planning to attend, we would like to know. A registration form is included, please complete it and send it to Benito along with the registration fee. Also, be sure and register and get your papers in for the Pan Pacific meeting if you are going to attend and make a presentation.

You can get more information about the Pan Pacific meeting at their web-site Pan-Pacific. You can get the forms through there as well. If you need some leverage or assistance in raising the funds, please let Benito Flores or Clay Whybark know.

As for the GMRG meeting, we’ll have paper sessions, discussions on current research and research ideas, some tours and follow-up on the formalization of the organization. We will be initiating a dues structure and this year the membership dues will be a part of the registration. The total registration fee (to cover some of the plant tour and other costs) is US$60.00 and the annual dues for 2001-2002 are US$25.00, for a total of US$85.00. We are also considering proposals for the meeting venue for 2002 during the meeting. This will be a professionally rewarding and culturally rich experience and I look forward to seeing you in Viña del Mar, Chile. Benito Flores

Update on data collection

On the data collection, you might be interested in knowing that the third version of the questionnaire is up on our web site which is located at and can be downloaded for use by anyone who is interested. Presently, I know of data gathering activities in three countries. Chwen Sheu is working in Taiwan and thinks he'll have a good sample by early summer. Rob Klassen is using the 3rd version of the questionnaire to gather data in Canada and Blaram Avittathur is using it in India. There may be others but I haven’t heard from them yet. There is still a great amount of analysis that can be done on the second round questionnaire and I’m hopeful that we will have more participation in the use of the 3rd version.

Supply Chain Management and Information Systems in the Internet Age Conference

Hong Kong in December 17-19 2001.

The Department of Manufacturing Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University is co-organizing an international conference in collaboration with University of Massachusetts at North Dartmouth, USA and Hong Kong Productivity Council. It is envisaged that a number of papers in this conference will be invited to submit for publication consideration to the special issues of one of the three journals (Internation Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, International Journal of Production Economics, and International Journal of Management Decisions.)

The organizers are currently working on pricing to keep cost down and the first Calls for Paper to the conference will be out soon. HKPC will be looking after the logistics and industrial matters. PolyU and Uof Mass will be looking after the academic matters.

Any interested parties (sponsorships, academic and industrial issues are welcome) may contact the following persons for more details Dr Stephen S.F Lee or his deputy Mr Spencer Tao, at Hong Kong Productivity Council, (852) 2788 5311 E-mail Dr A. Gunasekaran, University of Massachusetts, Tel: (508)999-9187 E-mail: or Mr Walter Chung of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Tel: (852) 2766 6611 E-mail:

News of Many Folks

Mellie Pullman will not be at SMU next year. At the moment, she is deciding between offers at London Biz School and Colorado (where her home and boyfriend are located). Peter Haug is on an exchange teaching at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik until June. You can reach him at this email or the following email address:

Benito Flores has achieved an appointment as the Tenneco Professor at Texas A&M University. Congratulations, Benito!! Chew Yoong WAN, Associate Professor, Division of Strategy, Management and Organization Nanyang Business School has been appointed as Deputy Director (as of January 2001) Nanyang Technopreneurship Center Nanyang Technological University.

Last August, Gyula Vastag (Founding Member and Past Associate Director) joined the Stutgart Institute of Management and Technology (SIMT) in Germany. He was appointed as Professor and Dean of the Supply Chain Management Programs. SIMT is a private, international management school in one of Europe's most important high-tech regions, offering MBA programs in International Management, Information Systems Management, Finance and Investment and Supply Chain Management. SIMT was founded in 1998, in cooperation with DaimlerChrysler, Bosch, Siemens, Trumpf, and Hewlett-Packard (just to name a few of the sponsors) and with the support of three German public universities (Hohenheim, Stuttgart and Tuebingen). Gyula can be reached at Andre Everett is on sabbatical at the University of Innsbruck, Institut fuer Unternehmensforschung (for Enterprise Research), with his research focus to address customer needs and satisfaction determination methodologies.

Jack Wacker will be retiring from Iowa State University effective June 30, 2001. He will join his wife in Phoenix, AZ,

Have news, let us know
E-Mail: Jack Wacker

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