Exploring current enablers and barriers for sustainable proximity manufacturing

Petchprakai Sirilertsuwan*, Daniel Hjelmgren, Daniel Ekwall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Amidst offshoring and reshoring trends, the purpose of this paper is to explore why businesspractitioners, especially from the labour-intensive clothing industry, choose to manufacture some products inproximity to the high-cost European market. Moreover, the rise of sustainability concerns led us to furtherexplore whether these reasons relate to triple bottom line (TBL): business, environment and society.

Design/methodology/approach: The content analysis was adopted for within-case and cross-caseanalysis of data from semi-structured interviews of managers from 12 clothing companies.

Findings: Within-case analysis showed enablers and barriers (factors) of proximity manufacturing withineach company’s characteristics under TBL. Cross-case analysis showed the most-mentioned enablers (high-quality suppliers, short lead-time and fast replenishment) and barriers (expensive production cost and lackof industrial set-up and seamstresses). The findings revealed both common and different factors fromexisting studies.

Research limitations/implications: Besides being motives for companies to bring manufacturing backto Europe, the results can be used by researchers and companies to develop criteria and performancemeasures of manufacturing locations for enhancing the TBL sustainability. Future research may exploredifferent locations and industries for possibilities of proximity–manufacturing generalisation.

Social implications: Findings show that governments could focus on eliminating barriers of proximitymanufacturing and creating favourable institutional infrastructure for the European clothing industryand sustainability.

Originality/value–This paper highlights updated proximity–manufacturing factors from practices in relationto TBL sustainability, including support for proximity manufacturing as a practice for TBL enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)551- 571
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 19.09.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Sustainability
  • Reshoring
  • Supplier selection
  • Sustainable supply chain
  • Local sourcing
  • Manufacturing location decision


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