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The Global Gazette

Official Newsletter of the Global Manufacturing Research Group (GMRG)

Volume 4, Number 2

October, 1998

1. Manufacturing Practices (Hebrew)

This 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 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 "It’s ‘B-2’since you don’t see it, you don’t hear it, you just know it’s 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.

Clay Whybark


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The Global Gazette

Vol. 4., No. 2.

October, 1998

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 School’s Network. (This is IESE’s 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 to http://www.red2000.com/spain/madrid/1madrid.html. (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 I’ll try to cut it up into pieces.

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 what’s 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 Bally’s Lobby across from the reception desk.

Our Fellow GMRGer
Attila Chikan in his usual good nature

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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 papers.

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 this Auguest.

Stelios Zanakis is Chair for IDSI-A In Athens. Plan to attend.

Special Issue of International Journal of Production Economics on Global Manufacturing:

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

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