Innovate UK funded KTP project a resounding success
The £276k Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project (awarded in 2019) with Clipper Logistics, a logistics service provider, finished in February 2022.
The project was a success, receiving an award of “very good” from Innovate UK making the project eligible for entering the KTP “best of the best” awards. The project was to develop and deploy models, incorporating predictive analytics techniques, that will significantly improve the processing efficiency and reduce the costs involved in handling product returns arising from fast fashion e-commerce transactions. Prof. Chee Yew Wong was the academic lead, Dr Richard Hodgett was the academic supervisor and Dr Sajid Siraj, and Prof. Barbara Summers were academic support. The KTP associate was a previous MSc student, Nitin Jain. Three white papers have been drafted and are expected to be published soon. A journal paper will follow to disseminate the outputs to the academic community.
Professor Wong explains, “the KTP project was designed to develop predictive models for predicting returns of fashion products bought online.” About half of the online shoppers have bought clothes, shoes or accessories and they now regularly return items. The profitability of the fashion industry has been affected by the increased amount of product returns, as they received up to 50% returns for some items. The KTP project is crucial for understanding consumer return behaviours as well as helping the fashion industry and their logistics service providers to reduce the cost of handling returns. The predictive models developed by the KTP project were able to predict return volumes significantly more accurate than forecasts given by the brands/retailers. This has allowed the logistics service provider to prepare for the workforce and improve resource utilisation more accurately.
The KTP project demonstrates to the industry that it is possible to implement a data science project by drawing data science and supply chain expertise from the University, part-funded by Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN, see https://ktn-uk.org/). The project also involved collaboration between the logistics service provider and a client, which led to a closer and stronger win-win relationship. The logistics service provider and its client have received data science training provided by the KTP associate, leading to the development of a new data analytic team.
Moreover, the KTP project provided an excellent opportunity and amble of funding for the KTP associate to gain industry experience and complete advanced training in data science and project management.
If you are interested to know more about the KTP project, please contact Prof. Chee Yew Wong or Dr Richard Hodgett. For general enquiry about KTP funding please contact KTP office at the University of Leeds or go to the University website.