Robert Collins

Professor Emeritus of Manufacturing Management and Strategy

Robert Collins is Professor Emeritus of Manufacturing Management and Strategy. He has published widely in his fields of specialized interest, namely manufacturing strategy, supply/demand chain management, production and operations management, organizational development, and management education. He is the recipient of a Literati Award, as well as nine case writing awards from ECCH, EFMD and POMS.

Collins has acted as a consultant to international companies in the areas of manufacturing practice and performance benchmarking, manufacturing transformation, and supply/demand chain management, as well as organizational development and management education.

After joining IMD in 1975, and in addition to teaching and research, he assumed various managerial responsibilities within the Institute including Associate Dean (IMEDE) 1985-87, (IMD) 1991-92, Director of In-company Programs 1984-89, 1991-92, and Director (M2000) 1995-97.

During an almost 50-year association with IMD, I have never ceased to be amazed by the impact that advancements in technology have had on both teaching and research in the fields of management and executive development. In delivering a meaningful executive learning experience, it is not what we do but how we do it that has been IMD’s key differentiator.

Collins has served as a member of the Advisory Board of European Quality as well as the Board of the Decision Sciences Institute, the European Operations Management Association, the Operations Management Association, and the Production and Operations Management Society. He was a member of the Visiting Committee to the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan since its inception in 1986, and more recently served two successive terms as Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Suleman Dawood School of Business at the same institution.

He has held visiting appointments at ESMT, Berlin, Germany, Babson College, Boston, USA, the University of Calgary, Canada, and Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

Academic publications
Understanding persistently variable performance in plants
CultureOrganizational Design
The purpose of this paper is to document the extent to which the relative performance of plants varies over an extended period of time, with some plants performing persistently well and sister plan...
1 January 2007
An empirical test of the rigid flexibility model
Industry Analysis
This paper summarises the findings of an empirical study to test the validity of the "rigid flexibility" model for manufacturing strategy. The basic tenet of the model is that flexibility in manufa...
1 May 1998
Outsourcing in the automotive industry: From JIT to modular consortia
Supply Chain
The modular consortia approach to production being implemented by such leading-edge automotive manufacturers as Skoda and Volkswagen, is one of the latest experiments in manufacturer-supplier relat...
1 October 1997
Lessons from the 'made in Switzerland' study: What makes a world class manufacturer?
The question of how far companies have moved towards world-class manufacturing is at the heart of the Made in Switzerland project, a major benchmarking study of Swiss manufacturing practice and per...
1 December 1996
Taking manufacturing advantage of Europe's single market
StrategyCompetitivenessMergers and Acquisitions
The ways in which some manufacturers have been able to alleviate the impact downward pressure on costs, to slash excess capacity, and to realize the promised synergies of merger and acquisition ini...
1 September 1994
Achieving rigid flexibility: Factory focus for the 1990s
This article relates that current world-class manufacturers are required to produce at low-cost, to deliver rapidly and frequently, and to be flexible. How is this to be achieved? The authors expla...
1 December 1993
Insight for Executives
Sony broadcast and professional Europe: Becoming a virtual company
Technology ManagementDistribution ChannelSupply Chain
In April 1997, senior management at Sony Broadcast and Professional Europe (BPE) was focused on making the "virtual company" concept a reality. BPE was moving away from a confederation of national ...
1 January 2001
Damit alles wie am Schnürchen klappt
23 October 1997
Pan-regional manufacturing: The lessons from Europe
The single market has forced a rethink of many companies' European operations. Traditional plants typically produce an entire range of goods which are then sold by their local sales force. Pan-Euro...
2 February 1996
Rigid flexibility and factory focus
Simplicity and discipline promote the flexibility, constant adaptation and learning which distinguishes the "world class" factory. Factory focus (typically the isolation of distinct product lines w...
24 November 1995