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Taming extreme supply chain disruptions using next-gen risk assessment

Posted 25 Nov 2020

Supply chain disruptions are one of the most serious challenges faced by manufacturers and retailers on a day to day basis. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic had made the wider population of consumers keenly aware of this problem through the sudden changes brought about by the lockdown that filtered throughout the whole economy and led to shortages and empty shelves at the retailers.

This article will explore the gaps in the industry that make it difficult to assess the risks within a supply chain properly, the business value of mitigating them, and the role that these technologies can play in addressing these problems by making these supply chains more robust and adaptive. The latter is made concrete in the context of an InnovateUK funded commercial R&D project called KnowRisk being undertaken by a consortium of which Digital Catapult is a partner.

KnowRisk aims to serve as a proof of concept for a modern supply chain that utilises advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledger technology (DLT) and geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) to help assess and mitigate risks in a timely manner. The project will also serve as a first step toward building out such a modern system at scale and rolling that out. The partner companies involved in the KnowRisk project are SweetBridge, Engine B, Cystellar, Digital Catapult and Intelligent AI, with Sweetbridge being the leading partner.

As supply chain disruptions become much more severe due as the world grows to be fundamentally more complex and interdependent, alongside the impacts seen due to climate change, these disruptions are likely to be the new normal. There is now an urgent need to upgrade and overhaul how supply chain risks are assessed and mitigated. It is in this situation that technologies such as AI, DLT, GEOINT are coming into their own in the business world, and the KnowRisk project aims to show how these may be used to tame the supply chain disruptions and serve as a first step toward modern, adaptive and robust supply chains.

For the complete story, view the blog on Digital Catapult’s Medium account here.