Research Projects

Create knowledge. Make an impact.

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Current projects

EPSRC: Balancing the impact of city infrastructure engineering on natural systems using robots

14 January 2016 - 3 January 2021

To tackle the Grand Challenge “Zero disruption from Streetworks in UK Cities by 2050” this project relies on an interdisciplinary team to conduct pioneering scientific research (and research methods) into: autonomous systems for minimally invasive infrastructure sensing, diagnosis and repair; development of advanced robots for deployment in complex live city environments; and the socio-technical intricacy of the robot - human - natural systems interfaces. The project will develop pioneering robot designs, technical implementations and socio-economic impact cases linked to specific application requirements, starting with three case-study systems.

Project members: Dr Gary Graham

For more information, visit the project page.

Innovate UK: Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Southerns Office Interiors (Yorkshire) Limited

This project aims to develop Supply Chain Management expertise, systems and tools that will both enhance the efficiency of the business and create new business opportunities through the provision of managed services.

Project members: Professor Chee Yew Wong, Michael Park, Tim Worne

EPSRC: Zooniverse

EPSRC funded Zooniverse aims to establish why people give up their time to help scientists better understand some of the biggest mysteries, from searching for the cure for cancer to trying to understand the galaxies that fill our universe. The project will also investigate ways in which volunteering can be optimised and sustained through strategic interactions and interventions on the part of the managers of these resources.

Project member: Dr Gary Graham

For more information, visit the Zooniverse project page

Future cities and community resilience network

This Future Cities and Community Resilience network brings together researchers and practitioners from various research institutions to conduct research on smart cities, communities and resilience. The network is working on community and resilience; ICT, smart city and big data; and supply chain and logistics sustainability.

Network coordinator: Dr Gary Graham

For more information, visit the project webpage.

Supply Chain Council: End-to-end supply chain collaboration

This is a series of projects that bring together buyers and their selected suppliers to jointly improve specific performance of the supply chain. The project develops methods and processes for effective collaboration engagement among the buyer and their suppliers.

Project members: Professor Chee Yew Wong

For more information, visit the Supply Chain Council webpage.

The 21st Century quality challenges for top management

Find out more and take part in our global survey of top managers in large businesses to determine a benchmark of leadership in quality, supply-chain management and procurement practice.

Postgraduate research projects

Triggers of supplier development initiatives in dynamic buyer-supplier relationships: A supplier’s perspective

Patrick Hennelly

Most research on buyer-supplier relationships has taken a static (snapshot) view of relationships and does not take into account dynamics in a relationships trajectory. This research takes a longitudinal approach that explores the impact of the dynamic nature of buyer-supplier relationships in order to understand the process of developing successful buyer-supplier relationships.

It provides insights on the triggers for entering each relationship stage and developments in relational characteristics that foster supplier development initiatives across the relationship life cycle.

The project aims to illustrate how different stages of the buyer-supplier relationship life cycle moderate the buyers supplier development initiatives. While many studies focus only on the buyers perspective, this research will collect dyadic data (ie both the buyer and suppliers view) on the evolution of the relationship to gain a deeper understanding of buyer-supplier relationships as well as the performance outcomes of supplier development initiatives.

Capabilities to mitigate disruptions from natural disasters

Raveekarn Aiemwongnukul

Nowadays natural disasters are occurring with increasing frequencies. This brings big challenges for businesses and global supply chains.

The way that businesses operate has to change due to the devastating impact of natural disasters. Organisations need to develop their capabilities to adapt and respond to disruptive events from natural disasters for their survival. This research focuses on natural disasters and their effects on businesses operations and supply chains.

The research aims to develop a new construct called the capabilities for mitigating disruptions from natural disasters based on a dynamic capability framework (sensing, seizing and transforming/reconfiguring). At the same time measurement of mitigation performance will be developed as an approach for evaluating the performance of such mitigation capabilities, by considering both disruption reduction and responsiveness dimensions.

Several case studies will be conducted in Thailand, involving qualitative data collection by interviewing relevant senior managers whose businesses had experienced natural disasters such as flooding. A more nuanced and in depth understanding of the relationship between mitigation capabilities and the firms mitigation performance on operations and supply chain management will be created to enhance businesses preparedness and proactive in planning for future disaster events.

Unravelling employee engagement for environmentally sustainable supply chains

Savita Verma

The objective of this study is to develop a framework that would unravel the engagement behaviour among supply chain employees for achieving environmental sustainability in supply chains. The framework theorises employee engagement as a crucial element in gaining voluntary efforts from employees within organisations.

This study argues that better understanding of employee engagement will help organisations to stretch their environmental management goals and even achieve competitive advantage. Employee engagement is a relatively new concept in the sustainable supply chain management literature; by examining the various individual, organisational, task related antecedents and the interplay between them to conceptualise their behavioural engagement, this study aims to add new knowledge to the sustainable supply chain literature.

Based on a multi-theoretical perspective, the framework may prove helpful for organisations for introducing a basic rubric of targeted approach which is effective in engaging their employees for mitigating harm caused by their operations. The contribution is to provide an integrated theoretical framework for an environmentally sustainable supply chain to help businesses operate responsibly and mitigate climate change.

How do firms produce, transform and exploit supply chain knowledge to achieve process innovation?

Nasia Nalmpanti

Today’s companies are under pressure to innovate in their supply chain processes by acquiring useful knowledge from their supply chain partners to leverage, transform and exploit it. However, it is unclear how firms can source and produce the knowledge within their supply chains for this to be transformed through different innovation processes (ie open, closed and collaborative innovation), and subsequently exploited to generate added value.

This study aims to develop and test a conceptual model that explains how firms produce, transform, and exploit knowledge within their supply chain. Drawing on absorptive capacity theory, the model focuses on how acquiring and assimilating supply chain knowledge (SCK) can help firms transform and exploit it through open, closed and collaborative process innovation.

The findings of this study will have important implications for theory and will provide valuable guidance to practitioners on managing the tensions created between allocating resources to externally explore new, or internally exploiting existing knowledge processes for innovation success.

Impact of sustainable procurement: complexity introduced and how companies build the capabilities to overcome it

Kim Urbauer

In the past decade globalisation has led to an increase in global supply chains, exposing companies to increased reputational risk as their end customers increasingly hold them responsible for the social and environmental impact of all stages of the supply chain.  One way companies manage this risk is through implementing sustainable procurement. However even companies committed to sustainability find that overcoming the increased complexity brought from including sustainability in their procurement is beyond their capabilities.

This research will examine the complexity introduced into the procurement function when companies include sustainability in their procurement and seek to understand how companies build the capabilities needed to overcome this complexity.

Completed projects

ESRC: Green Supply Chain Integration

This ESRC funded research project aims to identify effective practices of Green Supply Chain Integration (GSCI) that can simultaneously improve operational, environmental and financial performance of firms from developing and developed countries (eg China, Thailand and the UK).

Project members: Professor Chee Yew Wong