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Multimarket Facility Network Design with Offshoring Applications, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM)


Moving production to low-wage countries may reduce manufacturing costs, but increases logistics costs and introduces foreign trade barriers, among others. This paper studies a manufacturer's multi-market facility network design problem and investigates the offshoring decision from a network capacity investment perspective. We analyze a firm that manufactures two products to serve two geographically separated markets using a common component and two localized final assembly. The common part can be transported between the two markets that have different demand and economic characteristics. Two strategic network design questions arise naturally in this context: (1) Should the common part be produced centrally or in two local facilities? (2) If a centralization strategy is adopted for the common component, which market should the facility be located in? We present a transportation cost threshold that captures costs, revenues, and demand risks, and below which centralization is optimal. The optimal location of commonality crucially depends on the relative magnitude of price and manufacturing cost differentials but also on demand size and uncertainty. Incorporating scale economies further enlarges the centralization's optimality region. Finally, we translate our results into managerial insights for assessing the value of offshoring through direct capacity investment.




Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu, Jan A. Van Mieghem

Date Published



Lu, Lauren Xiaoyuan, and Jan A. Van Mieghem. 2008. Multimarket Facility Network Design with Offshoring Applications. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM).(1): 90-108.


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