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Groundbreaking testbed network applying advanced tech to help businesses navigate increasingly complex supply chains

Posted 5 Sep 2022

Groundbreaking testbed network applying advanced tech to help businesses navigate increasingly complex supply chains

Supply chain woes could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new series of world-first national digital testbeds that will apply advanced technologies to help resolve fractured supply chains.

Digital Catapult is launching the series of national testbeds to trial digital technology solutions to revolutionise supply chain productivity, sustainability and resilience – as part of its Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub. The four national testbeds will act as a proving ground for technologies like blockchain, quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence to help organisations measure supply chain emissions, optimise inventory management, and automate supply chain mapping.

Leading supply chain organisations are now being invited to play a critical role in the testbeds, where they will have an unprecedented opportunity to trial new technologies across their critical supply chains without an impact on live production systems. For example, a food and drink manufacturer could test a combination of  advanced technologies in a live environment – from machine learning to the Internet of Things  – to more efficiently track products from farm to fork, preventing excessive food waste or spoilage. Each testbed will receive investments of £1.5 million, comprising funding from Innovate UK and co-investment from the technology community and partners. 

The Digital Supply Chain Hub is backed by giants in supply chains including Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce SMR, and Sainsbury’s – with the new testbed network focusing on improving sector supply chains including FMCG, electric vehicle batteries and emerging supply chains such as nuclear and hydrogen. The programme is the first initiative of its kind globally to develop testbeds for end-to-end supply chains across multiple sectors.

Tim Lawrence, Director of the Digital Supply Chain Hub said:

‘For too long, many business leaders have been using better technology to run their social lives than to run their businesses. This is leading to breakdowns in these supply chains which everyone is feeling, whether food to consumers, batteries to car manufacturers, or silicon chips to device makers.

‘These testbeds are an amazing opportunity to be at the forefront of the supply chain evolution – working towards net zero, optimising the flow of goods, money and data across the tiers, and making our supply chains smarter.’

A briefing event for organisations interested in getting involved in the testbeds will take place at Digital Catapult in King’s Cross on 5 October. Organisations can find out more information about the opportunity and express their interest here.