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    Product Sourcing Strategies of UK Footwear Firms

    Duckworth, John (2022) Product Sourcing Strategies of UK Footwear Firms. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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    Abstract

    This research projects is aimed at clarifying the impact of global economic shifts on UK footwear sector firms’ future product sourcing strategies, their sourcing location decisions and how they might respond to ongoing turbulence if further contraction within the domestic industry is to be halted. China remains the world largest exporter of footwear to the UK. They are, however, experiencing significant inflationary pressures in manufacturing such that some UK firms are considering alternative sourcing locations. Additionally, many footwear firms seek to achieve greater supply chain (SC) agility whether outsourcing or manufacturing in order to respond more effectively to satisfying demand in increasingly fickle UK market segments and in some export markets. In this regard consideration is being given to manufacturing repatriation, however, sector expertise is becoming increasingly scarce with the resulting loss of traditional shoemaking knowledge and ‘know-how’. Given such circumstances, technological innovation may prove to be the only strategy for re-shoring to become viable. The research will adopt both Transaction Cost Theory and the Resource Base View as both individual and complementary theoretical lens. Comparative case studies provide the main source of data, supported by sector specialist key informant narratives in order to provide verification to the primary outputs. The primary case studies will be subjected to ‘cross case’ analysis in order to generate findings which identify critical issues relating to footwear product sourcing by UK firms. In turn they will provide a platform for the development of new SC theoretical concepts and generate usable supply chain practitioner models/ frameworks. If adopted these new approaches to product sourcing strategy should positively impact on firm performance product sourcing efficiency, improved SC agility to halt sector decline.

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