Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show that there is a wealth of academic literature that qualitatively examines the outsourcing and offshoring from a go/no go perspective. The paper examines the complex “where to outsource” question by applying a quantitative approach called Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Design/methodology/approach – The authors examine a Fortune 500 company's real‐world decision about where to outsource and summarize the current selection process employed by the company. We then apply our AHP model to the company's decision and compare the results. Findings – There are four major findings: the location selection decision is a component of the outsource supplier selection decision; the AHP model effectively manages the complexity of the decision making process, incorporating all decision criteria harmoniously; a method such as AHP, which is able to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative criteria into evaluations, would streamline the decision‐making process; and the AHP process allows firms to look at a portfolio of choices and determine which firms are basically equal in qualifications. Research limitations/implications – The research implies that: (AHP may be more applicable in these areas by providing a rigorous framework for assessment of qualitative and quantitative factors together; and AHP offers substantial flexibility to accommodate the variety and quantity of decision criteria set forth by the firm. Practical implications – As firms are more active in pursuing opportunities in global markets, identifying the right offshoring location is critical. The selection process is complex, involving a set of qualitative and quantitative factors and requiring rigorous and careful analysis. Therefore, a scientific method that not only offers flexibility and simplicity, but also simultaneously accommodates a wide variety of decision criteria is invaluable. The research demonstrates that AHP provides these benefits and is an effective technique for analyzing the where‐to‐outsource decision. Originality/value – The extensive literature review suggests that the majority of the existing works focus on analyzing the go/no‐go decision using a qualitative approach. This paper applies the AHP method to the “where to outsource” question to demonstrate one quantitative approach to this complex decision. Additionally, the paper provides a detailed description of how the AHP method is implemented in analyzing the decision by using a Fortune 500 company's data and information as an example.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 26, 2008
Keywords: Outsourcing; Decision making; Analytical hierarchy process
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