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Supply Chain Studies

Applied Economics in US Manufacturing

Assembly Plant
Photo Credit: The Chrysler 200 Factory Tour, an interactive online experience using Google Maps Business View technology, takes consumers inside the new 5-million-square-foot Sterling Heights Assembly Plant for a behind-the-scenes peek at how the 2015 Chrysler 200 is built.

It is often estimated that 80 % of a problem is due to 20 % of the cause and evidence suggests this 20 % can be a target rich environment for high return research investments. Likewise, research investments that focus on the highest 20 % of environmental impacts can disproportionally improve environmental sustainability. Environmental impact areas and costs tend to correlate, making it possible to reduce both simultaneously. The research below investigates identifying these high cost/impact areas for manufacturing, including flow times, which increase capital costs.

Tracking and Measuring Costs

  • The effect of natural/human-made hazards on business establishments and their supply chains. This paper examines the impact of natural and human-made hazards on payroll, GDP, employment, and establishment survival/creation in the year of hazard occurrence in the U.S. economy and more specifically in the U.S. manufacturing/goods producing industry.
  • Identifying High Resource Consumption Areas of Assembly-Centric Manufacturing in the United States. This paper examines supply chain value added in the US for producing assembly-centric products, which includes machinery, computers, electronics, and transportation equipment, and determines whether costs are disproportionally distributed. The implication being that reductions in resource consumption in some cost areas can disproportionally reduce total resource consumption.
  • Life-Cycle Cost of Manufactured Goods: A Case Study in US Ground Passenger Transportation. This paper examines the life-cycle cost of passenger ground transportation as a proof of concept to identify those items that have both a high cost and high environmental impact. Public research that focuses on these items has the potential to be more economical than other areas. This paper uses US input-output data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, data from the American Time Use Survey, and environmentally extended input-output data to examine the supply chain for production and use of ground transportation equipment. This paper is unique in that it identifies the costs, some of which are not documented in GDP (i.e., uncompensated time use), along with the environmental impacts of producing and using a class of manufactured goods.
  • US Manufacturing Value Chain: An International Perspective. This report uses input-output data from the World Input-Output Database to track the intermediate goods and services used in national manufacturing industries. Specifically, it examines the extent that supply chains increasingly involve imports and the extent that this trend has changed for the U.S. and other countries.
  • Tracking Industry Operations Activity: A Case Study of US Automotive Manufacturing. This report identifies data on manufacturing activity and provides a model for tracking operations activity. The method is then illustrated in the automotive manufacturing industry.

Tracking and Measuring Flow Time

  • Flow Time Innovations: The Effect on Productivity and Production in US Manufacturing. This paper examines the impact that innovations in material, finished goods, and work-in-process flow time have on productivity and production, measured using the multifactor productivity index and manufacturing value added.
  • An Examination of National Supply-Chain Flow Time. This paper utilizes data on manufacturing inventory along with data on inter-industry interactions to develop a method for tracking industry-level flow time and identifying bottlenecks in US manufacturing. As a proof of concept, this method is applied to the production of three commodities: aircraft, automobiles/trucks, and computers.
  • Inventory and Flow Time in the US Manufacturing Industry. This report identifies and reviews data on manufacturing inventory and flow time along with data on inter-industry interactions. It then develops a method for tracking the flow time of US manufactured products. This method is illustrated for automotive and aircraft manufacturing.


Created January 24, 2020, Updated November 2, 2021