Scope of Symposium

The main theme of the symposium will be gOperations Management for Sustainability and Innovation.h From the view point of operations management, we will address the major issues that the society as a whole is facing in maintaining and sustaining our economic and daily activities. Globally, we have experienced and are experiencing unusual climate variations and natural disasters in one end, and financial catastrophes, severe unemployment and poverty, and a catastrophic nuclear accident in the other end. In Japan, the manufacturing companies in many business sectors have lost global competitiveness for the past two decades despite still possessing excellent Monozukuri (manufacturing and craftsmanship) capabilities, and the society seems to be losing sight of where it should be heading for. Granted that the sustainability is an important principle for manufacturing companies to adhere to, we need to think innovatively from scratch how they should restructure and redesign the ways the business is conducted. One solution might shift from just manufacturing products to servicizing its operations while keeping high quality manufacturing capacities. The other solution might redesign the entire supply chain from the very upstream ends to the customer. To think through these issues, we need to ask ourselves what ultimate objectives the manufacturing firm should have. Just keeping good bottom line performance is not good enough now although that per se is admittedly difficult. Are there any innovative ways that our discipline of operations management and strategy can recommend to the firm and society? This symposium is a forum to discuss how the sustainability principle can be operationalized.