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The Takeaways:
MIT Sloan Faculty Members Offer Their Perspectives (continued)

Duncan SimesterDuncan Simester

Duncan Simester on addressing fake online reviews... “One explanation for the data is that loyal customers may be acting as self-appointed brand managers. ... An alternative explanation is that the deceptive reviews are contributed by reviewers who seek to enhance their perceived social status.”
Fake Online Reviews Face Court Cases and Big Fines,” The Japan Times (AFP), September 30, 2013 Duncan Simester is the Nanyang Technological University Professor of Marketing.

Paul Osterman on the engineering skills gap... “[The skills gap] is nowhere near as universal or widespread as we keep hearing it is. But I don’t think the message of our work is that everything is fine.”
MIT Study Finds Engineering Skills Gap May Hurt American Innovation,” Forbes, November 12, 2013 Paul Osterman is the Nanyang Technological University Professor of Human Resources and Management and the Co-Director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research

Andrew Lo on financing cancer research... “The funding in biomedicine is declining at the worst possible time, at the time that we are just at the point of making a significant set of transformative breakthroughs.” Lo says, “Instead of declaring war on cancer, what we really ought to be doing is putting a price tag on its head.”
Can Financial Engineering Cure Cancer?Advisor Perspectives, October 29, 2013
Andrew Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor, Professor of Finance, and Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering

Matthew MarxMatthew Marx

Matthew Marx on the next generation of entrepreneurs... “If people hadn’t left Xerox and gone off and done their own things, we’d all be using dot-matrix printers today.” Cambridge Firm is Fertile Ground for Entrepreneurs,” The Boston Globe, September 23, 2013 Matthew Marx is the Mitsui Career Development Professor and Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management.

Does the return of manufacturing to the U.S. mean more jobs?

David Simchi-Levi
MIT Sloan Executive Education Blog, November 24, 2013

The return of manufacturing to the U.S., also referred to as the “repatriation” or “re-shoring” by American and non-American companies alike, on the surface sounds like good news for employment. However, this is not necessarily the case.

According to research by MIT Sloan Professor David Simchi-Levi, there are a few reasons.

  1. The rise in the use of technology as well as plant automation and robotics in manufacturing facilities. More technology and robots means fewer human workers.
  2. The types of jobs required for these new, more modern plants are different than jobs needed a generation or two ago. For example, the highly automated manufacturing facilities of today require different types of talent in their employment pool. Today’s plants need more engineers who can fix the robots and less lower-skilled employees who would otherwise do the work that is now automated.
  3. In cases where manufacturing plants do require more employees, and hence could boost employment here in the U.S., many people coming out of school are simply not prepared to work in the field of manufacturing. Some might say manufacturing is not in our “mindset.” So, while some manufacturing companies are hiring, the employment pool does not meet the company’s needs—which means no lift in employment.

The bottom line is that the return of manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is still a positive development. Although employment might not rise drastically as a result of this shift, there will be a need for workers in these modern plants. And, American workers can once again look to the manufacturing industry for unique employment opportunities—a notion that a couple of decades ago didn’t seem possible.

David Simchi-Levi is Professor of Engineering Systems and Co-Director of Leaders for Global Operations.