Centre for Intelligent Supply Chains

Industry 4.0 and digital technology are rapidly transforming logistics and supply chains. Specialising in disruptive technologies and data analytics, the Centre for Intelligent Supply Chains brings industry and academia together to enable organisations to improve strategic decision-making through data-driven competitiveness, growth and efficiency.

The research centre combines leading-edge academic expertise with practical relevance to benefit organisations through contract research, consultancy projects, and advanced training and development services. Our research is published in top-ranked scientific journals and developed in partnership with industry to solve real-world business challenges.

As a part of the School of Economics, Finance and Law at ARU, we offer a variety of taught programmes including MSc Supply Chain and Logistics (with placement), degree apprenticeships, executive short courses, and customised training programmes. Our industrial partners include Felixstowe Port (UK), Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Simarco Logistics, Wincanton Logistics and Oracle.

Our core areas of expertise are machine learning, data mining, sustainability and circular economy, multicriteria decision-making, supply chain modelling and simulation, fuzzy sets and theory and process management. We have industry expertise across the healthcare, automotive, and transportation sectors.

Knowledge transfer is at the core of the Centre’s development - even the launch of this Centre was funded by Innovate UK and Hexcel Composites Ltd. We have successfully delivered several Knowledge Transfer Partnerships funded through Innovate UK and ERDF, and working in collaboration with NHS, Felixstowe Port (UK), Simarco, Hexcel Composites Ltd, Essex County Council, and Chelgate Ltd.

The leading research and consultancy advice provided by us creates significant impact for various stakeholders. We are working with Felixstowe Port to improve the utilisation of rail transport from the port to inland destinations. By implementing a Big Data-driven optimisation tool, we are able to improve forecasting accuracy at container level by 70%, which leads to significantly improved port operational productivity and economic and environmental efficiency.

Our collaboration with Hexcel Composites Ltd developed more integrated processes including key supply chain-wide policies, procedures and service level agreements for use across 24 manufacturing plants in nine different countries. This resulted in better information flow, communication and process efficiency. A scalable and adaptable end-to-end supply chain management framework was created, which was flexible for future growth.

The collaborative forecasting led to significantly more accurate forecasts, enabling more focus, alignment and synchronisation between demand and supply. The availability of 24/7 powerful, real time access to key performance data and metrics with drill-down capability for better visibility and decision-making is used by 250 key personnel across the business – a first for Hexcel. Active Service Management was implemented, which increased the on-time despatch by 13%, which led to a speedier realisation of £13m revenue.

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