Ways to reduce social inequality in the West Midlands and boost productivity will be researched thanks to an £800,000 research project, led by Warwick Business School with WMG at the University of Warwick, and City-REDI at the University of Birmingham.
WMG and Warwick Business School from the University of Warwick and City-REDI at the University of Birmingham will examine the factors that constrain firm-level innovation and productivity across the region, with a particular focus on the role of skills shortages, the importance of supply chains and impacts of foreign direct investment.
They will also work in collaboration with regional stakeholders, including the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Midlands Engine, five Local Enterprise Partnerships and private sector firms including Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin. More widely, the project will connect with the CBI - building on their recent productivity work- the Chambers of Commerce, TUC and Unite.
As well as contributing to the local industrial strategy the research team will examine trade-offs between policies and practices which target improvements in productivity against other development goals.
In particular, understanding how productivity improvements and related policies can contribute to inclusive growth which reduces inequalities within and across regions, or heighten such inequalities is a central aim of the research.
Professor Nigel Driffield, the leader of the project from WBS, University of Warwick said:
“This is an exciting project that will look to feed into the region’s industrial strategy. The West Midlands is known as the manufacturing hub of the UK, but it needs to build on this reputation, attracting more investment and more jobs to the area, particularly with the threat of Brexit looming.
"This project has three stands: researching regional Differences, skills and inclusive growth, plus investigating investment decisions, foreign investment and trade; and finally evaluating analytics enabled supply chains and operational productivity.”
Professor Janet Godsell of WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“For over 25 years it has been recognised that supply chains compete and not individual companies, but the focus has remained on company productivity.
"This project provides an opportunity to create a step change in productivity, by working with end-to-end supply chains supporting the regions automotive and infrastructure sectors, to improve end-to-end supply chain productivity.”
Director of City-REDI and project lead for Birmingham, Professor Simon Collinson, said:
“I am very pleased to be working with our partners at Warwick University on a project that is so critical to the future economic well-being of the region. The UK lags behind other countries in terms of average productivity and the West Midlands lags behind the UK average.
"But we cannot focus on productivity in isolation of other challenges. By contributing to a reduction in social inequality, alongside promoting economic growth, we are continuing the legacy of the University of Birmingham as a long-standing anchor institution in the Birmingham city-region.”
Professor Anne Green from City-REDI said:
“The foci of the research at City-REDI on skills and inclusive growth issues is in line with key concerns with regional policy makers.”
A report by WMG Supply Chain researchers, and JDA Software Inc, has revealed that manufacturers are still struggling to effectively integrate and analyse supply chain data, with many still only in the very early stages of digital supply chain adoption.
The report, ‘Delivering the Digital Dividend,’ benchmarked the digital supply chain readiness of 179 European manufacturers, revealing that only 13 per cent currently have a ‘prescriptive’ supply chain (categorised as level 3, out of a scale of 1-4, with 4 being a self-learning autonomous supply chain).
However, crucially, the report does reveal that manufacturers are keen to digitally transform their supply chains, with almost one third (31 per cent) predicting they will have a prescriptive supply chain in place by 2023.
Professor Godsell, who was nominated for the award by our Chairman Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, impressed the judges with the way that she puts practitioners, policy makers and the public at the heart of her scholarship, and her innovative approach to building impact through storytelling, poems, physical artwork and the media.
The Real Impact Awards celebrate the commitment to impact by the research community across the globe, honour the change-makers, and bring together key stakeholders in the impact debate.
The awards aim to raise the profile of individuals, teams and institutions that have placed real impact at the top of their agenda; recognise innovative approaches to impact; celebrate interdisciplinary research; bridge the gap between research and practice; and tell real impact success stories and showcase those driving the debate.
Three senior figures from AstraZeneca, JLR, and Associated British Ports grapple with Brexit’s impact on global supply chains at special WMG event
Three senior figures from Jaguar Land Rover, AstraZeneca, and Associated British Ports will be giving their views on Brexit’s potential impact on Global Supply Chain at a special WMG debate and event at the University of Warwick on Tuesday 8 May 2018.
The confirmed speakers and panel members at the event include:
- Tim Sherwell from AstraZeneca, Regional Supply Director for Europe, and key member of the AstraZeneca Brexit team
- David Leighton from Associated British Ports, Group Head of Corporate Affairs, and a leading player in discussions with government in the UK and Brussels about the UK’s role as a Maritime Nation and the impact of Brexit
WMG gives free access to tool for companies preparing for Industry 4 – enabling the next generation of manufacturing
WMG researchers, at the University of Warwick, have worked in conjunction with Crimson & Co and Pinsent Masons, to produce a free to access “Industry 4” readiness assessment tool. It is designed to provide a simple and intuitive way for companies to start to assess their readiness and future ambition to harness the potential of the new cyber-physical age
The term Industry 4 originates from the high-tech strategy of the German government, which soughtto re-define the role of manufacturing post the global economic crisis. It suggests that we are on thecusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution, a cyber physical age, which will be realised over the next 20years.
The first two Industrial Revolutions saw significant expansion and development for Coventry. But its success also made it vulnerable. It’s expertise in the automotive industry and in manufacturing made it a bombing target in World War II.
What’s more a reliance on these heavy industries further exposed the city to decline as the UK’s manufacturing sector was largely decimated with the Third Industrial Revolution during the latter part of the 20th century. This has left the area with a range of employment challenges and industrial relations issues between large and small companies.
WMG’s Supply Chain team, led by Professor Jan Godsell, is looking to understand the readiness of industry to embrace the opportunities of the cyber-physical age. To do this SMEs are invited to take part in a short survey that will assess your organisation against a range of different dimensions. The results will be aggregated to identify the readiness for Industry 4.0 of different countries, industries, and business types.
The results will be discussed at a special Supply Chains in Practice (SCIP) networking event on 20th June. Company specific results will also be available after the event.
The term Industry 4.0 originates from the high-tech strategy of the German government, which sought to redefine the role of manufacturing post global economic downturn.
Bridget Jones first showed us her “absolutely enormous panties” 15 years ago - and since then, global sales of support pants have soared, according to joint research by WMG at the University of Warwick and the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka.
Support underwear is currently so popular that the supply chain involved in making of a typical pair covers almost 71,000 miles and 16 different manufacturing sites, across three continents.
The research shows that this massive growth in sales is a direct result of manufacturers making significant investments in the design and production of shapewear over the last few years.
Professor Godsell will join other experts in the field to discuss priorities for the UK food supply chain including issues of integrity and assurance, and how best to ensure a fair price for suppliers to large supermarkets. Also up for discussion will be improving awareness, of and compliance with, the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
The two-day Backing the Future of British Farming conference takes place from 23-24 February at the ICC in Birmingham. Professor Godsell is joining speakers including George Eustice MP on the Wednesday, to take part in a special workshop entitled: “Working together; where next for farming businesses?”