Of Narrow Windows and Acrobats: COVID-Responsiveness and Knock-Ons via Additive Manufacturing Capabilities

41 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021

See all articles by Elliot Bendoly

Elliot Bendoly

The Ohio State University

Aravind Chandrasekaran

The Ohio State University; Operations

Mateus Lima

Ohio State University (OSU)

Robert Handfield

North Carolina State University - Department of Business Management

Ed Herderick

Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence

Siavash Haghighat

Aalto University

James McGuffin-Cawley

Case Western Reserve University

Sam Roscoe

University of Sussex

Date Written: July 8, 2021

Abstract

This research investigates the institutional factors that have driven firms equipped with additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities to repurpose those capabilities as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. We also examine factors that affected the response outcomes as well as the overall lessons learned from engaging in the pandemic response. Critically, in each of these considerations, we seek to understand the role played by specific AM design capabilities. To answer these questions, we adopted an inductive theory building approach, leveraging a two-wave multiple case study design, to study the research questions. Our rich examination of 33 cases, each entailing interviews with multiple representatives conducted both in the Spring and late Fall of 2020, reveals that core/COVID-19 product similarities and regulatory familiarity are important drivers of participation, along with the unambiguous presence of demand pressure. High usage of generative design (GD), a category of computational technologies enabling novel and optimized design options, appears to compensate for lower levels in part similarity and regulatory familiarity. Firms making COVID-19-related parts, particularly those with extensive GD experience, also report the value of both AM agility and supply chain partners much more frequently than firms that did not participate and are far less likely to cite revelations of inventory risk during the pandemic. Taken together, our study informs both research and practice regarding the potential for GD experience to facilitate resource pivoting during pandemics and related crises, as well as its spillover effects regarding broader experiential learning.

Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemic, Case Study, Theory Building, Additive Manufacturing, Generative Design

JEL Classification: M11, O32, I10

Suggested Citation

Bendoly, Elliot and Chandrasekaran, Aravind and Lima, Mateus and Handfield, Robert and Herderick, Ed and Haghighat, Siavash and McGuffin-Cawley, James and Roscoe, Sam, Of Narrow Windows and Acrobats: COVID-Responsiveness and Knock-Ons via Additive Manufacturing Capabilities (July 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3882909 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3882909

Elliot Bendoly (Contact Author)

The Ohio State University ( email )

Fisher College of Business
2100 Neil Ave
Columbus, OH 43212
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.bizbreed.com

Aravind Chandrasekaran

The Ohio State University ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

Operations ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

Mateus Lima

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Robert Handfield

North Carolina State University - Department of Business Management ( email )

Raleigh, NC 27695
United States

Ed Herderick

Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Siavash Haghighat

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Helsinki, 00101
Finland

James McGuffin-Cawley

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

Sam Roscoe

University of Sussex ( email )

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

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