18 May 2022

£20 million charge to fortify global manufacturing supply chains

Rockwell Automation

In the wake of the pandemic, a new £20 million UK-wide initiative has been launched to tackle challenges faced by the UK’s manufacturing supply chains.

A £10m award from UK Research and Innovation and the Made Smarter Innovation programme will be combined with £10m investment from the private sector to accelerate commercial integration of advanced and emerging digital technologies across manufacturing supply chains in the aerospace & defence, pharmaceutical, fabrication and logistics sectors, over the next four years. 

Made Smarter’s Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hub is led by Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, in collaboration with the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and TWI Ltd. 

The programme partners will work with technology providers, research organisations and academics up and down the country to develop a globally competitive, resilient and sustainable digitally enabled ecosystem of UK companies, uniquely positioned to solve the myriad challenges faced by today’s manufacturing supply chains. The project aims to help manufacturers integrate advanced digital technologies, leading to improved data sharing and more informed analysis, meaning manufacturers are able to spot logjams in supply chains, reduce waste and boost efficiencies.

In partnership with UK manufacturers and universities, the Made Smarter Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hub will deliver a number of flagship projects which will boost existing expertise, create regional centres of excellence and ongoing efforts across the sector to accelerate commercial integration of industrial digital technologies: 

* Last Mile Living Lab: Led by Digital Catapult, to explore and develop delivery resource management infrastructure to tackle the challenging and costly “last mile” of delivery.

* Digital Enabled Manufacturing Sourcing: Led by TWI, to connect manufacturing capacity with emerging manufacturing needs to increase capacity utilisation and boost production flexibility.

* Differentiator: Led by the HVM Catapult and supported by NPL, to develop new supply-chain models to support clinical trials and help get the right medicine to the right patient at the right dose, on demand. 

* Connected Tempest: Led by the HVM Catapult and supported by NPL, to create a collaborative and ultra-secure digital test bed that maximises innovation across multiple tiers of supply-chain networks in the Tempest defence programme.

The programme will also develop a virtual and inclusive hub that coordinates the integration and adoption of industrial digital technologies by establishing a virtual digital supply chain hub, and exemplar projects addressing key challenges within the supply chain through the development, standardisation and sharing of knowledge.