Author: Albachiara Boffelli
As one of the first articles for our blog, we thought our readers might be interested in knowing more about our main research topics, or in other words, our research passions. One of the first things I’ve learned during my PhD path is that to do research you need to be passioned about your topic, you need to become informed and read news, articles, and reports from multiple sources. You need to develop a radar and to become receptive to absorb as much as possible about everything that has been and is being said and written on the topic you have interest in. This is the only way to develop a personal opinion and to start doing research that really matters, not only for yourself but for a broader audience: your research’ stakeholders.
Who am I? I am Albachiara, a simple research fellow at the University of Bergamo that is trying to find her way into academia. I have just defended my PhD thesis last July (you will learn more about it in another article). Still, I have already moved the first steps to activate new research topics, new passions. And by the way, I learned that it is always a matter of trade-off: you will not have enough time in your life to deal with the many interests that you have, you need to focus on the most urgent ones. And this blog is all about this: sharing personal research passions, related insights and experiences.
Coming to which are my research passions, they are all related to the field of operations and supply chain management in the context of manufacturing companies. The first one is undoubtedly associated with the phenomenon that started just in the first decade of this new millennium, and that entails the decisions by several companies to redesign their global manufacturing footprint by bringing the manufacturing activities back to their home country. This phenomenon is called in multiple ways in the literature: reshoring, backshoring, back-reshoring and so on. In the local press here in Italy, the word that is being used to refer to this phenomenon is back-reshoring, that has settled as reference term thanks to the pioneering work of Professor Fratocchi and colleagues. The main issue with doing research in this field is that no data are being systematically collected to trace and objectively quantify the phenomenon. All the available data are based on the collection of news and secondary data thanks to projects and organizations such as the European Reshoring Monitor, the Reshoring Initiative and the Reshoring Institute.
Another topic I’m passionate about concerns the introduction and implementation of new technologies within organizations and supply chains, as well as the impact that these technologies have on people. In fact, we tend to forget that organizations are made of human beings naturally resistant to change, who need to be guided through a process of digital transformation. I must confess that I love to develop case studies, to get inside many different companies, understanding their specific contexts and meeting other people that work there to see multiple and often contrasting perspectives. I hope that in future, many companies will realize the value of having a researcher inside their walls, trying to deeply understand how things work through his or her eyes. We need more research activists, namely researchers who are willing to take action and bring their perspective from the field, as we need more companies, organisations and supply chains ready to open their doors to researchers and collaboratively develop projects with high practical relevance.
Finally, sustainability, and the environmental pillar on top, has always been a passion and a way of living since I was born. I’m not sure where this passion came from, most likely from the love of nature and all the Earth beings that my parents were able to transfer to me. Nevertheless, I am still not satisfied with my efforts to connect my research activities with this pushing passion. I’m still not reading enough, I’m not updated about what is being said in my research field, namely supply chain management, on sustainability. Therefore, I share with all of you my willingness to make additional efforts in further developing this final stream among my research passions.
Finally, I am really very passionate about teaching. I always put as much effort as possible in every lecture I teach, and I spend a lot of time when preparing a lesson. As a result, the teaching period is for me the most stressful, I still struggle in going through it by maintaining my inner balance and self-confidence.
In this brief article, I tried to share with you what I am passionate about in my work as a research fellow (most likely I missed something significant), so that you know (and no, this is not a threat) what you can expect me to talk about in my articles and posts.