Department of Engineering / Research / Strategic Themes / Uncertainty Risk and Resilience / Projects / Engineering-Driven Sustainable Supply Network Design

Department of Engineering

Engineering-Driven Sustainable Supply Network Design

Engineering-Driven Sustainable Supply Network Design

Principal Investigator: Professor Sir Mike Gregory

This is a UK & India Advanced Manufacturing Research Challenges project seeking to investigate engineering-driven sustainable supply networks in four industries of national importance, – Aerospace, Automotive, Pharmaceutical and Food.

The design of supply networks is traditionally driven by operational drivers of cost, quality, and timely/dependable supply. However, sustainability considerations in network design are now becoming increasingly critical and this project seeks to integrate capabilities in the simulation and modelling of operations (Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar and Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow) and industrial supply network design (University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing) toward the development of a new capability in the engineering driven design of sustainable supply networks.

The research partnership involves a wide group of established university researchers, PhD researchers and industrial partners. Together, they seek to develop an understanding of industrial sustainability in the context of global supply networks from ‘product design,’ ‘production’ through to ‘product services’.

Global supply chains have become increasingly lean, fragmented and geographically dispersed, resulting in increased dependencies which may also compromise their resilience to disruptions. Existing approaches based on mathematical modelling appear to be too simplistic to be of practical benefit for complex network design challenges; on the other hand qualitative methodology based network design theories can benefit from rigorous quantifiable testing to support suggested network configurations. This partnership proposes to integrate these alternative approaches by combining qualitative network design methodologies to generate configurations, identify inter-dependencies and potential trades-offs, with mathematical modelling techniques to support the quantification of potential implications, predict requirements, and better understand supply network dynamics.