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.
GMRG Meeting in Hong Kong: 1998
Sitting: Neva Whybark (USA), Linda Sprague (USA-England), Clay Whybark
(USA), Boo-Ho Rho (Korea) , Danny Samson (Australia)
Standing: Andre Everett (New Zealand), Benito Flores (USA), Rob Klassen
(Canada), Nat Natarajam (USA), Gyula Vastag (USA), Pavel Dimitrov (Bulgaria), Yung-Mok
(Hong Kong), W.B. Lee (Hong Kong), Henry (Hong Kong), Walter Chung (Hong Kong), Jack
Wacker (USA), Kwangtae Park (Korea), Tony (Korea), Ram Narashimhan (USA), Samuel Leung
(Hong Kong), Hamid Noori (Canada).
News From The Director
We had a great meeting in Hong Kong. Our host, W.B. Lee, put together a
superb program and a wonderful team of people to help support the meeting. In addition to
the stimulation of the meetings and the quality conversations in the various restaurants,
we enjoyed a visit to a Group Sense International Ltd. plant in Shenzhen, China. Group
Sense is the worlds leading supplier of hand held translating devices and produces a
line of specialty pagers. They provided us all an opportunity to witness a Hong Kong
management team and mainland manufacturing first hand. The executives of the firm were
wonderful hosts and treated us to a boat trip in the harbor, over near the new airport and
to an island where we "shopped" for our fish dinner in glass tanks at the
restaurant. W.B., thanks so much for providing such a memorable meeting.
Despite what is says above, it was not all play! Not by a long shot! A
number of papers were presented during the formal part of the workshop and several working
sessions were held as well. Some of the working sessions were devoted to going over the
questionnaire and many suggestions were made for improving it. Two versions of the
questionnaire are being prepared one with Lickert type scales and another with continuous
scales. In both versions, the instrument will be shorter, more user friendly, and
consistent with the previous surveys. Although several questions have been deleted, a few
have been added to allow a little more exploration of the relationship between
manufacturing practices and performance.
Data from the second survey were distributed to contributors at the
workshop, but will not be made public until GMRG members have had a chance to explore it.
There are still a few "bugs" in the data and we need to get the descriptive
cover sheets from all of the researchers before distribution can be finished. Gyula Vastag
is coordinating the effort to finalize the data. He also reported on the next book, as he
said "Its B-2since you dont see it, you dont hear it,
you just know its coming." There is more on this in this issue of the Gazette.
Benito Flores is helping to follow up with Industry Week on the
possibility of doing something to augment their USA manufacturing survey. He is also
working on some other possibilities of involving the GMRG with groups doing international
research in manufacturing. Linda Sprague has completed the proceedings for the meeting in
Cranfield. Linda, it looks great. Thanks for the work you sandwiched into your busy global
schedule. Danuta will be checking with those of you who were at the workshop at the
workshop in Poland about the papers for those proceedings.
Speaking of meetings, our next one is in Barcelona, hosted by Beatriz
Muñoz-Seca. It will be timed a little later than usual in order to allow those that are
involved with the International Decision Sciences meeting in Athens to be able to go to
Greece afterwards. Karen Brown will be visiting in Barcelona in the Spring of 1999, so she
will be able to help out as well. Some other details are included here. The meeting for
2000 will be held in Canada, hosted by Rob Klassen.
The Global Gazette
Vol. 4., No. 2.
The Global Gazette is the Official Newsletter of The Global
Manufacturing Research Group.
Global Manufacturing Research Center
Kenan-Flagler Business School
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC. USA 27599-3490
Professor D. Clay Whybark, Director
Professor John G. Wacker, Newsletter Editor
The 1998 GMRG Meeting in Hong Kong: An Outstanding International Group
and Great Meeting
The GMRG wishes to give a special thanks to all the wonderful people at
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. They provided such outstanding support with the
terrific lunches and transporation to the manufacturing facilities, along with the
wonderul farewell banquet. The logistics and funding for some of the lunches and dinner
were from the Department of Manufacturing Engineering. Some of the Staff that was involved
include Mr. Walter Chung and research students, Mr. Samuel Leung and Ms Doris Choi. The
yacht ride around Hong Kong Island was the highlight of the trip.
The Tenth Annual Workshop In Madrid, Spain on June 30 and July 1, 1999
A Message from Beatriz Munoz-Seca.
Well it seems that finally we are meeting in Spain! We have organized
the upcoming 1999 GMRG Annual Meeting at IESE-Madrid. IESE was founded in Barcelona in
1958, and a second campus in Madridwas added in 1974.
We will probably be joined by the operations management professors of
our Business Schools Network. (This is IESEs International network of
B-Schools in Latin America, Portugal and Nigeria.) I will keep you posted. The meeting is
partly sponsored by the Center of Excellence of Operations of IESE (www.iese.edu/ceo). We
will visit Spanish companies and socialize with CEO members, all business representatives.
Here is what the brochures say about Madrid: "Madrid, located in the heart of the
Iberian Peninsula, is the capital of Spain and one of the world's great cities, with its
wealth of history, architecture and museums. June and July is an especially sociable time
as the city comes to life in the warm summer evenings."
Madrid is wonderful. For further info see: www.madrinet.com or www.madrid.org/. If you prefer to have a guided tour go
(Editor's note: I spent 3 months in Madrid and it is a must-see world city.)
Update on data collection
The GMGR database for the second questionnaire is now complete. Clay
did an outstanding job putting together all the material into a coherent dataset. We now
are formulating and gathering data on the new questionnaire GMRG3. Thank you, Clay for all
your hard work and diligence in putting the database together and summarizing the new
questionnaire. It is a job well done.
GMRG-B2 and the Vastag Report on Impeachable Offenses
In Hong Kong I proposed a new project, publication of the second GMRG
book, the B2 (this is also known as the stealth bomber). The stealth bomber has had its
share of technical problems but when it flew, it delivered (the bombs) and nobody saw it
coming. My first objective in this article is to reiterate what could be done in order to
make the GMRG-B2 fly. It is a big chunk of work, so Ill try to cut it up into
The main feature of the book is its suggested mixed approach, its use
of qualitative and quantitative approaches to give a detailed and valid picture of
manufacturing strategy, practices, performance and competitive advantage. There are two
steps that have to be taken to achieve this objective. First, pick some companies from
among those that are in your database. For example, if you collected data in Wonderland
then select those plants that are of interest to you. In most cases it is very easy to
write cases on good companies ("we are conducting a research project on world-class
manufacturing and your plant could serve as a benchmark for others," line in most
cases will get you inside the door). So you select plant SmallWonder-WC, well known
for its world-class operations in producing WC (it does not stand for world class) seat
covers and write a case on it. What is the script for the case? First, you have to show
the plant through the questionnaire (you have their answers in your file), so you can take
pictures about certain operations that are related to certain questions or document them
in more detail. Second, you have to focus on the
strategy-practices-performance-competitive advantage relationship. If your sample is not
in the "traditional" GMRG industries (small machine tool and non-fashion
textile), then please justify the significance of the industry (give some historical,
economic reasons behind focusing on the industry).
The second step leads us to the quantitative side of the book and it is
here where I am considering submitting a report on impeachable offenses to higher GMRG
authorities. Certainly, it is debatable that not submitting a GMRG Survey Methodology
Form together with your data is high crime or misdemeanor but it does not change the
fact that this form is needed. Without it the sampling frame related questions cannot be
addressed. So here is my threat. I am putting together a list of offenders and the next
issue of the Global Gazette will publish this list (we may even put it on the
Internet). Just a practical advice: if you do not remember it then probably you have not
submitted it (check GMRG-B1 if you do not know whats needed).
If I can be of any further help (or nuisence), do not hesitate to call
me or drop me a line at:
Email: Gyula Vastag
Notice of dinner meeting in Las Vegas at DSI:Sunday November,
22, 1998 at 6:15 P.M. We will meet in Ballys Lobby across from the reception
Our Fellow GMRGer
Attila Chikan in his usual good
Attila Chikan Is Named Minister of Economic Affairs for Hungary
Probably the biggest story ever to hit the Global Gazette is Attila
Chikan's appointment to the Cabinet of Hungary. His background is outstanding. We would
need a whole issue to fully cover all his accomplishments, but here is an abbreviated
list. He established an English style college in the (at that time) Karl Marx University.
It was the basis of his forming the "Under 35 party." He founded the ISIR as a
means of enabling the East and West to get together and discuss research (the original
languages of the meetings were Russian, English and Hungarian). He has been president of
several Hungarian and European organizations and a consultant to business and government.
Attila is a founding member of GMRG and has advanced the study of
inventory in many countries with his active participation in several academic
organizations. He is a valuable asset to our group and supports us in many ways.
Kudos to Many Folks
Many GMRGers are publishing hallmark articles in top journals. There
are just too many to list all of the members publications. However, if you publish an
article in a top-journal using the GMRG database, we will mention it (we do not have space
to include the full cite).
Rob Klassen was elected Program Chair, Operations Management division,
for next year's Academy of Management conference in Chicago (August, 1999). Please submit
Avraham Shtub is now at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in
Haifa, Isreal. He also is reponsible for going through considerable trouble to get
manufacturing practices translated into Hebrew.
Upon many promises for free drinks for the group, the Gazette is proud
to announce that Karen Brown and Nancy Hyer have an article on manufacturing cells that is
to appear in JOM.
Clay Whybark was elected President Elect of the ISIR at their meeting
Stelios Zanakis is Chair for IDSI-A In Athens. Plan to attend.
Special Issue of International Journal of Production Economics on
Basheer Khumawala is the editor for a special issue of International
Journal of Production Economics on Managing Global Manufacturing Firms: Empirical
Studies of Strategy, Operations, and Performance. Get your manuscripts in to Basheer.
Have news, let us know
E-mail: Jack Wacker