L-R: Mark Harrison, MBDA UK; Professor Aris Matopoulos, Cranfield University; Dr. Paul Hacker, Rolls Royce - courtesy of MBDA UK

Learning could see readiness levels in the supply chain measured the same way as technology and manufacturing

As part of its work with Team Tempest, MBDA UK is announcing a new partnership with Cranfield University, supported by Rolls-Royce, to develop a solution to validate supply chain maturity.

“The right level of supply chain maturity is key for the industrial partners in Team Tempest,” said Mark Harrison, senior procurement executive at MBDA UK.  “Research by Rolls-Royce identified that Cranfield University was working on assessing Supply Chain Readiness in the commercial sector, similar to the way we currently assess Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL). So we agreed a contract where the idea of Supply Chain Readiness Levels could be developed and made suitable and appropriate for application in a defence procurement supply chain environment.”

“To enable advanced engineering systems and complex programmes to be developed successfully, there must be a viable means of delivery including a fit for purpose supply chain design,” said Professor Aris Matopoulos from the Centre for Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management at Cranfield University. “The proposed solution builds on the idea that the supply chain cannot be an afterthought in future defence programmes. Developing the product (i.e. technology) and the process (i.e. manufacturing) needs to go hand in hand with the supply chain.”

Supply chain executive for Rolls-Royce Dr Paul Hacker added, “Any successful new product development requires the concurrent design of the product, the manufacturing process as well as the supply chain. Currently, we lack sufficient detail and metrics for the state of readiness of a supply chain. With the support of Cranfield University’s research – which Rolls-Royce are pleased to have identified – we aim to fill this information gap and universally apply findings to programmes in any industrial sector.”

The initial study will be carried out over six month period.

The aim is to develop a new digital toolset that will provide a greater level of granularity on the state of readiness of a supply chain across the programme lifecycle, enabling earlier intervention in future potential supply chain risks.

This digital toolset would be agnostic and therefore, if successful, could be used at any point in any defence equipment programme in the future.