Grasping the issues of reshoring: BBA students take part in the “24h pour relocaliser en Hauts-de-France” reshoring hackathon

The Hauts-de-France region hosted the second edition of "24h pour relocaliser en Hauts-de-France" on 17 and 18 November. Using a mix of conferences, speed dating and business cases, this 24-hour event is designed to highlight the economic, political and industrial issues related to the reshoring of the type of products we consume on a day-to-day basis. During the event, some 15 EDHEC International BBA fourth-year students took part in a hackathon organised by the relocalisations.fr think tank, one of the event’s partners. In collaboration with professionals (business leaders, industrial and marketing executives), they tested an innovative working method - ITACC4.0 TM – that can be used to create products that can be made in France in an economically viable manner.

Reading time :
21 Dec 2022

Image : Lemaitre-Demeestere factory

Fostering creativity and innovation

The Hackathon provides a natural extension to the "Marketing, Innovation and Co-creation" course run by Claude Pécheux, Professor of Marketing at EDHEC Business School: “When I was offered the chance to take part in the “24h pour relocaliser” project, I was immediately aware of its strong innovation aspect. If we want to develop and manufacture products in France, we need to come up with new ideas and approach things differently, particularly by re-thinking all the processes concerned”. Before the event, students were asked to conduct market research on the products targeted for reshoring by the people driving the project (backpacks, microwaves, linen, etc.) and then to identify ideas for consideration, which they subsequently presented to their team at the start of the Hackathon. A lengthy period of work that entailed 5 weeks of preparation and required the students to demonstrate their powers of creativity.

“I worked with my group on a linen project with the Jules brand and the linen producer Lemaitre Demeestere. Starting with this material, we had to consider how we could create a fabric that was just as competitive and practical as cotton. We did a sizeable amount of research, especially on technical fabrics like those used in the car industry.”

Hugo Happe, BBA4 student

Rewarding contact with a variety of professionals

Through the "24h pour relocaliser" event, students had the chance to work directly with companies. This provided a way for them to familiarise themselves in a practical way with all the parties typically involved in reshoring projects (project drivers, industrialists, product managers, reshoring experts, etc.), but also to learn about the strategies companies employ in order, say, to set up on new markets or launch new products, and more broadly to enhance their knowledge of the business world. 

The hackathon gave us the chance to work directly with professionals who face reshoring-related issues on a day-to-day basis, such as specialists in textile spinning or design. Working together, we considered problems relating to product development, project costs and, more generally, the opportunities and constraints associated with reshoring. All these exchanges were highly rewarding and made the project extremely practical.

Emma Le Chanoine du Manoir de Juaye, BBA4 student

There were numerous issues associated with the challenge - economic, ecological, political – and that was one of things that I liked the most, along with the exchanges with different professionals. During the hackathon, we had the chance to work with people from Jules or from the linen firm Lemaitre Demeestere. The exchanges with them helped me understand how the different players in an industry work together and the kind of strategies they use. It was really incredible to have the chance to give my opinion and to make an impact on some really sizeable issues.” 

Hugo Happe, BBA4 student

The hackathon was a really interesting exercise. The fact that we got the points of view not only of the manufacturer – in our case a backpack maker – but also of reshoring experts, meant that I was able to attend important discussions, particularly concerning raw material procurement and the know-how of factories in the Hauts-de-France region. For my part, I was able to provide input on points linked to design or product development, thanks to the knowledge I acquired during the market research stage.”

Léa Garçon, BBA4 student

Harnessing the expertise of a think tank

Thanks to the “24h pour relocaliser” project, the students had the chance to benefit from the expertise of members of relocalisations.fr, a specialist reshoring think tank based in France. This expert support helped them grasp the practical consequences of reshoring, whether in terms of job creation, economic sovereignty, boosting the local economy or other aspects. As Carine Guillaud, founder of “24h pour relocaliser” explains: “Through this initiative we wanted to raise EDHEC students’ awareness of the industrial world, by introducing them to all the issues (economic, commercial, political) associated with the sector. By presenting them with different cases, they were able to understand the opportunities and the difficulties raised by reshoring projects in a highly practical way.” This transversal approach to the subject enabled students to gain a 360° vision of the concept of reshoring and to come up with highly-developed and well-argued ideas for consideration through their market research: “The students were fully involved in the analytical and discussion process with the companies. They formulated suitable propositions and each brought a fresh pair of eyes to their subject. By actively participating in the different work groups, they injected fresh impetus into the analytical and discussion process and also enabled the companies to better understand the aspirations of the young and notably their sensitivity to the environmental cause and hence to reshoring!”, underlines Carine Guillaud. 

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