The Reshoring Phenomenon: What Supply Chain Academics Ought to know and Should Do


  • Note: This invited essay underwent a double-blind peer review.Acknowledgments: We would like to acknowledge Ohio State University's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) for supporting this research stream.


The popular press has begun to pay attention to the phenomenon of “reshoring”. The task of supply chain management researchers with regard to this phenomenon should be to clarify what it is; to explore whether it is really a new phenomenon; and, paraphrasing (Simon, 1967; p. 1), to conduct research into the reshoring phenomenon so as to contribute not only to the science but also to the practice of reshoring. This essay is a starting point for our efforts in that direction. We make a number of informed assertions about reshoring—assertions that are juxtaposed in relevant literature and that aim to (a) define what reshoring is and is not; (b) explain why the reshoring phenomenon should not be examined in isolation but rather as a reversion of a prior offshoring decision; (c) describe how the reshoring phenomenon might evolve as societies, worldwide, place increasing emphasis on the environmental impact of business decisions; and (d) articulate a plausible scenario in which reshoring eventually hampers employment in Western nations. We hope these assertions will, in turn, jumpstart an intellectual discourse, through scientific research, into the what, how, when, where, and why of the reshoring phenomenon.