Supply chains get a digital makeover

Posted on 17 Aug 2022 by The Manufacturer

Digital Catapult has announced five new projects joining its Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub, tackling the major challenges within supply chains.

With sponsorship from organisations including BAE Systems, the Food Standards Agency, Nissan, Schneider Electric and Sainsbury’s the hub will drive adoption of advanced digital technologies to create more efficient, resilient and sustainable supply chains. This digital innovation ecosystem will help empower cross-industry organisations to work together and share learnings.

After being brought to the brink by COVID-19, supply chains are now receiving a digital makeover thanks to five projects being onboarded to Digital Catapult’s Digital Supply Chain Hub

The hub is awarding £320,000 in total to two research projects and three technology focused projects aiming to understand, predict and adapt to the pressures facing supply chains today. The programme will allow organisations and research bodies to trial and test the use of digital technologies to better prepare for the many factors that can destabilise a supply chain and have a severe impact on the coordination of materials and goods, such as economic instability and unexpected interruptions, natural disasters and the outbreak of war.

The projects will use advanced digital technologies to address supply chain issues that have severely impacted UK industry. The projects will be addressing issues including supply chain collaboration, resilience, mapping and sustainability, along with supply and demand imbalances.

Participating organisations and projects include:

WMG - University of Warwick

A research and education group, WMG is transforming organisations and driving innovation through a combination of collaborative research and development, and education programmes. The Supply Chain Research Group at WMG is helping to develop and apply innovative supply chain strategies and practical solutions to boost resilience, increase productivity, improve sustainability, create value and digitally transform the manufacturing supply chain.

WMG aims to provide a synthesised definition of supply chain resilience, develop a framework for assessing supply chain resilience and identify appropriate mitigation strategies to improve end-to-end supply chain resilience via academic research and industry engagement.


Infoculture offers disruption through data. It assembles fit-for-purpose interdisciplinary teams of specialists to provide solutions to the business challenges and opportunities, where data plays a relevant role.

The ambition is to contribute to the broader MMS roadmap in terms of proposing actions and mechanisms that support greater and enhanced collaboration amongst supply chain partners partly, but not exclusively, through the secure permissioned sharing and exchange of data. The aim is to develop a concept framework and model for effective governance of UK supply chain collaboration. These objectives will be captured in a roadmap, a proof of concept demonstration, and testimony from participants in workshops and related projects delivering solutions in this vein.

Versed AI

Versed AI provides companies with multi-tier supply chain visibility, surfacing previously unknown supply chain relationships down to tier-n. Using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning technology, Versed AI is able to identify multi-tier supply chain relationships, analyse complex networks to identify risk concentrations, and support intelligent decision-making.

For the Made Smarter Innovation Digital Supply Chain Hub, Versed AI will build on its existing capability to identify supply chain relationships, and develop a methodology to present relevant supply chains to clients based on bill of materials (BOM) as a starting point.

Data Catalyst

Data Catalyst is an Innovate UK funded start-up helping SMEs, large enterprises, and government to connect to sources of smart, open, personal, and commercial data, simply and securely, with crystal-clear privacy and managed consent.

Smart ESG is Data Catalyst’s low-friction ESG product for SMEs, powered by connected data from apps and services that businesses already use, without expensive manual data gathering. This innovation programme will help us expand our offering to tackle the essential but complex problem of scope three emissions in the supply chain.

Singular Intelligence

Singular Intelligence offers Artificial Intelligence products and platforms enabling better commercial decisions at scale for consumer goods companies – manufacturers, retailers and online. The company has global and regional FMCG and retailers as its customers and is funded by Oxford University and Innovate UK, the UK innovation agency.

The project will help develop a cost-effective AI-driven supply and demand sensing solution for SMEs that can accurately anticipate market signals (at macro and micro levels) and reduce the risk of supply-demand imbalance. SMEs can integrate this demand-sensing solution with their existing and future demand planning solutions.

Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult, said: “With supply chain challenges so often in the news these days, Digital Catapult is proud to fund a fascinating range of innovation projects to help tackle the challenges associated with advanced technology adoption within supply chains.

“Our first tranche of projects as part of the Digital Supply Chain Hub demonstrates the breadth of expertise and technology available to start to solve some of these challenges around sustainability, resilience and efficiency.”

Chris Pett, Head of Supply Chain at BAE Systems, added: “The Digital Supply Chain Hub is helping identify and address some of the current supply chain challenges that UK industry is facing.

“The hub is made up from a wide ranging list of different industry members  and yet the supply chain challenges we face are all very similar; through the leadership of the Digital Catapult along with close working with industry we are looking for technological solutions and accelerating our learning so that we can help deliver digital capability to bridge these challenges with pace. ”

To read more stories on Digital Transformation click here.