Keeping our supply chains competitive – major focus of latest report from our Observatory

Date posted: July 23, 2021
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Challenges and opportunities for Midlands Engine supply chain resilience and global competitiveness are explored in-depth in a new report commissioned by our Observatory.

Leveraging Supply Chains to Create Competitive Advantage for the Midlands Region: A Systematic Review is a unique piece of research, written by Warwick Manufacturing Group and led by Professor Jan Godsell – it examines our region’s various supply chains holistically instead of as part of a specific sector.

A supply chain refers to the activities an organisation needs to perform to deliver goods or services. The goal of an effective supply chain is to deliver maximum value for customers at the lowest cost.

The Systemic Review aims to understand how supply chains contribute to our region’s economic prosperity, what the ‘vulnerabilities’ are and what can be done about them.

COVID-19 has placed a huge strain on global supply chains and while supply chains in the Midlands Engine have been able to respond to these challenges, there are still issues.

For example, larger companies tend to be more developed and resilient than smaller firms, and there is a shortage of resources like skilled workers, financial investment and infrastructure.

Some firms and supply chains also struggle to make the most of digital technology, finding it difficult to recruit and retain staff with digital expertise such as data interpretation.

The report sets out a range of policy recommendations, including the development of hubs in which a large firm takes a lead role to help address the inequalities in resilience and development between larger firms and SMEs.

The report also found that companies need to be supported by funding and technical training to make the most of digital technology, helping to cut costs and make our region’s supply chains more competitive globally.

This research is just the latest in a series of reports our Observatory has commissioned looking specifically at supply chains.

Each provides useful insights into how prepared and resilient the supply chains are across the different sectors in focus including low carbon, food and manufacturing.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.
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