Robert H. Hayes

Philip Caldwell Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

Robert Hayes is the Philip Caldwell Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School. Prior to his appointment to the Harvard Faculty in 1966, he worked for I.B.M. and McKinsey & Company. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1966 from Stanford University.

He has published widely, including seven co-authored books. One of these, Restoring our Competitive Edge: Competing Through Manufacturing (1984: coauthored with Steven C. Wheelwright), won the Association of American Publishers' Award for the best book on business, management, and economics published that year. In addition, three of his articles won McKinsey Awards for the best articles published in the Harvard Business Review during various years. Other books include Operations, Strategy, and Technology: Pursuing the Competitive Edge(2004: co-authored with Gary Pisano, David Upton, and Steven Wheelwright), Dynamic Manufacturing: Creating the Learning Organization (1988: coauthored with Steven Wheelwright and Kim Clark), and Strategic Operations: Competing Through Capabilities (1996: coauthored with Gary Pisano and David Upton . Representative recent articles include 'Operations-Based Strategy', coauthored with David Upton (California Management Review, Summer 1998), and 'Beyond World-Class: The New Manufacturing Strategy', coauthored with Gary Pisano (Harvard Business Review, January-February 1994).

Professor Hayes also held a number of senior administrative positions at the School, including Area Head, Program Head, and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Planning and Development. He has lived and conducted research in both Europe and Asia, and coordinated the opening of HBS's research office in Hong Kong in 1998. He is the past President of the Production & Operations Management Society and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Productivity & Quality Center.  He has been selected for listing in Who's Who in America.

Click here for Teaching Cases and Harvard Business Review articles authored by Professor Hayes.

Tel: (617) 495 6330
Fax: (617) 496 4066


Journal Articles

Book Chapters

Working Papers

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Alden Products, Inc.--European Manufacturing

    Robert H. Hayes

    The European organization of Alden Products, Inc. is contemplating a doubling of unit sales over the next ten years. Their largest plant, located in Holland, was set up 25 years earlier to supply all demands of the EEC countries on the continent. It has since expanded six times. Should it expand again? Should it build a new plant in Southern Europe? Or should it increase subcontracting?

    Keywords: Production; Growth Management; Factories, Labs, and Plants; Strategic Planning; Performance Capacity; Business Strategy; Netherlands; Europe;


    Hayes, Robert H. "Alden Products, Inc.--European Manufacturing." Harvard Business School Case 697-099, March 1997. (Revised December 1999.) View Details
  2. Pharma Giants,The: Ready for the 21st Century?

    Robert H. Hayes and Perry Fagan

    Presents the changing competitive dynamics in the global pharmaceutical industry and possible implications for large drug companies.

    Keywords: Transformation; Globalized Firms and Management; Competition; Pharmaceutical Industry;


    Hayes, Robert H., and Perry Fagan. "Pharma Giants,The: Ready for the 21st Century?" Harvard Business School Background Note 698-070, May 1998. View Details
  3. Engineering Inspection & Insurance Company

    Robert H. Hayes

    Engineering Inspection & Insurance Co. (EIIC) is a small but highly successful company that offers machinery and boiler inspection and insurance services. After years of above-average growth and profits, both are retreating toward the industry average, policy delivery times are excessive, and employee morale is low. There is increasing concern that the company's current strategy and organization are no longer working. The problem appears to be that, while the company initially was organized to provide inspection and insurance services for complex equipment, most of its premium revenue in 1991 comes from relatively simple, low-premium objects for which inspection probably is unnecessary. Reconciling the conflicting demands of these two types of businesses with the company's existing structure and value system is the essential issue. Teaching Purpose: To illustrate the basic operations strategy framework in the context of a service company, and to engage students in a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of different methods for refocusing operations.

    Keywords: Service Operations; Business Strategy; Organizational Design; Organizational Structure; Insurance; Strategic Planning; Problems and Challenges; Insurance Industry; United States;


    Hayes, Robert H. "Engineering Inspection & Insurance Company." Harvard Business School Case 695-009, August 1994. (Revised May 1995.) View Details
  4. Medical Products Co.

    Robert H. Hayes

    In early 1990, the company is contemplating changes in its European plant network for producing hypodermic products, including the total production capacity to be provided, the number and location of plants over which to spread this capacity, and which products should be allocated to various plants (and countries). After years of having too much capacity, the latest sales forecasts indicate that it will soon be running out of capacity, and the company has to decide how to react. In analyzing this decision, students are invited to review the decision-making processes that the company has followed in the past--and that have resulted in too much capacity and high manufacturing costs--and asked to propose changes in the way it approaches such decisions in the future.

    Keywords: Factories, Labs, and Plants; Decision Making; Forecasting and Prediction; Cost; Production; Performance Capacity; Performance Effectiveness; Strategic Planning; Competitive Strategy; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Europe;


    Hayes, Robert H. "Medical Products Co." Harvard Business School Case 694-065, December 1993. (Revised March 1995.) View Details
  5. Cummins Engine Company, The: Starting Up "B" Crankshaft Manufacturing at the San Luis Potosi Plant

    Robert H. Hayes

    Cummins Engine Co. is starting up production of diesel engine crankshafts in its plant in central Mexico. This operation requires much tighter tolerances than any product previously produced at the plant, and the young (recent MBA) manager who is in charge of the start-up is faced with several difficult decisions regarding the equipment to be used for crankshaft machining in Mexico. On the one hand, some of the equipment used for this purpose in Cummins' U.S. plant is inappropriate in the Mexican context. On the other, he has to operate under severe budgetary and supplier constraints. A subsidiary issue has to do with the long-term strategy for the Mexican plant, which has developed into one of the best in Cummins' worldwide network but risks being fragmented by the many opportunities for adding products that are available to it.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Production; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Emerging Markets; Problems and Challenges; Industrial Products Industry; Mexico; Alabama;


    Hayes, Robert H. Cummins Engine Company, The: Starting Up "B" Crankshaft Manufacturing at the San Luis Potosi Plant. Harvard Business School Case 693-121, May 1993. (Revised January 1994.) View Details
  6. Acer, Inc.

    Robert H. Hayes

    Acer is undergoing two major transitions at the time of this case: from a small, entrepreneurially-run company to a large professionally-run one; and from a largely domestic company to a multinational one. After a decade of phenomenal growth, it is now facing a major slowdown in business and has to decide whether to have its first lay-off. In addition, it is contemplating how to manage and motivate an increasingly dispersed and multicultural workforce.

    Keywords: Transition; Motivation and Incentives; Multinational Firms and Management; Business Growth and Maturation; Employees; Resignation and Termination; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Diversity; Computer Industry; Taiwan;


    Hayes, Robert H. "Acer, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 691-104, June 1991. (Revised April 1993.) View Details
  7. Deere & Co. (A): The Computer Aided Manufacturing Services Division - A Window to the World (Abridged)

    Robert H. Hayes

    The Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Services Division of John Deere has just received approval to sell their software and computer systems to external customers. These tools, initially developed for internal use, have been widely used throughout Deere. Still, selling software represents a major departure from the John Deere tradition of heavy equipment manufacturing. Can the technologically focused group adjust to the new demands of external customers without destroying its momentum in developing new products for internal use? What are the potential benefits and costs of this new venture, both for the division and the company as a whole?

    Keywords: Hardware; Software; Machinery and Machining; Technological Innovation; Markets; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Outcome or Result; Computer Industry; Manufacturing Industry;


    Hayes, Robert H. "Deere & Co. (A): The Computer Aided Manufacturing Services Division - A Window to the World (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 693-051, November 1992. (Revised December 1992.) View Details
  8. Altoona Corp.: Computer Products Division

    Roger E. Bohn and Robert H. Hayes

    A relatively small manufacturer of computer memory disks has achieved a major market position through the use of its statistical quality control (SQC) program. It is now expanding the production of a new line of disks and is encountering problems getting the process yield to improve as rapidly as it has with previous products. Invites the student to grapple with such issues as: 1) What can the plant manager do to eliminate the apparent "stickiness" in the yield? 2) What changes should be made in the way the SQC program is managed? and 3) Is an SQC program ultimately viable in an industry which is changing (products and processes) so rapidly?

    Keywords: Factories, Labs, and Plants; Volatility; Performance Consistency; Performance Improvement; Performance Productivity; Quality; Mathematical Methods; Hardware; Manufacturing Industry;


    Bohn, Roger E., and Robert H. Hayes. "Altoona Corp.: Computer Products Division." Harvard Business School Case 688-010, July 1987. View Details