University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab: connecting business leaders, policymakers and academics

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Professor Jens Roehrich speaking at the Forewarned event hosted by the HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab

Close to 50 business leaders, policymakers and academics attended the 'Forewarned – an event for the sceptical forecaster'' event in October 2017

Launched in March 2017, the HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab external website is a research partnership between the School of Management and EDF Energy.

The HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab aims to connect business leaders, policymakers and academics. Their goal is to improve the management of supply chains in complex megaprojects, like EDF Energy's Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station.

Mapping supply chains to inform future decisions

Working with HPC/EDF Energy, the HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab will investigate the challenges that come with planning, developing, managing and delivering complex supply chains and megaprojects.

The HPC Lab aims to deliver impactful management and research insights, tools and advice. This will give an insight into decision-making, which will inform future choices both for HPC and other megaprojects.

The construction of Hinkley Point C, the UK's first nuclear power station for a generation, is one of the most complex infrastructure projects in the world.

HPC are committed to finding new ways to work with the huge number of local and international suppliers involved. Although global companies are being used, EDF Energy are working with many businesses in the South West, helping the local economy.

Speaking last year, Ken Owen, EDF Energy's Hinkley Point C commercial director, said:

'EDF Energy's partnership with the University of Bath will enable other major infrastructure projects to learn from our approach to procurement for Hinkley Point C where we have created a global supply chain while still supporting businesses local to the project.

'We have already put £465 million into local and family-owned firms when we could easily have just gone to national companies to take on some of the project's most important contracts.

'Instead, we worked to build-up local companies to do the same jobs, effectively creating national companies from local businesses by helping them work together.'

The HPC Lab will map this complicated network, gathering information on suppliers such as size, type and structure.

The HPC Lab's research will first focus on understanding the journey from contact with local suppliers through to contract signing and working with SMEs to deliver solutions.

Specifically, the work will look at the creation, evolution and management of SME consortia to deliver economic and social value in complex megaprojects.

Bringing businesses together to collaborate on the big challenges

The HPC Lab will be hosting regular events to bring together business leaders, policymakers and academics to share knowledge on the big challenges they face.

They recently organised their first event: 'Forewarned - an event for the sceptical forecaster'. The event explored the difficulties around forecasting and dealing with uncertainties, both key themes in supply chains and projects. Nearly 50 business leaders and leading academics attended.

Practitioners from companies such as EDF Energy/HPC, Lego Group and London Heathrow spoke about how to get the most from forecasting.

Director of the HPC Innovation Lab, Professor Jens Roehrich, said:

'Our first event was a success thanks to engaging speakers from industry and academia as well as a great audience.

'Attendees enjoyed new insights, stimulating discussions and had plenty of opportunities to build new connections with each other.

'We have received some stellar feedback and look forward to hosting our next event in early 2018.

'I would like to say many thanks to my colleague Dr Fotios Petropoulos who has done an excellent job in supporting our first event.

'Please make sure to watch out for future events on our website.'

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General Notes For Editors:

The School of Management is one of the UK's leading business schools. Currently ranked 1st for Student Experience (Times Higher Education 2015) and 1st for Business Studies (The Times & Sunday Times University Guide 2016), we are a leading centre for management research - placed 8th in the UK in the latest REF2014.

We are one of a select number of international business schools accredited by EQUIS, the European Foundation for Management Development's quality inspectorate and the Bath MBA has been accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) since 1976.

The centrality of research to teaching is an essential feature of all our programmes. The School offers a full range of programmes from undergraduate to postgraduate up to PhD level and post-experience programmes including the world-ranked Bath MBA. The School also provides tailored executive development programmes for middle and senior management.

The School of Management has a faculty of over 100 teaching and research staff, including visiting academics, with a professional support team of around 90 managerial and administrative staff. Research income averages £2 million per annum. There are approximately 2,400 students in total comprising some 150 MBA students, over 500 Master’s students, 250 full- and part-time research students, and over 1500 undergraduates following BSc degrees.