CarbonVue - Transforming Supply Chain Innovation and Technology for More Sustainable Practices
The world is facing a global climate crisis, and the manufacturing sector is one of the industries with the highest carbon footprint. As consumers become increasingly conscious of the impact of their actions on the environment, businesses are facing pressure to reduce their carbon emissions and operate sustainably. One way to achieve this is through supply chain management, and the development of innovative supply chain technology.
SupplyVue is at the forefront of this movement, attending the Made Smarter Innovation Showcase Event on collaborative R&D for digital supply chain projects. The UKRI and Made Smarter invested £50 million in funding for smart manufacturing and connected supply chains, of which £10 million was awarded to the new Made Smarter Innovation Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hub. SupplyVue received £1.5 million of this funding and is working with industry, technology, and academic partners to develop a new digital platform, CarbonVue.
Andy Birtwistle, CEO of SupplyVue, notes the importance of measuring carbon impact in supply chains, stating that “Traditionally, supply chain decisions are based on the three pillars of cost, quality, and service, but if manufacturers are to meet the challenges of delivering Net Zero, they need to add another pillar: carbon footprint.” He notes that while some businesses incorporate carbon measurements, it tends to be done for annual reports or certain aspects of production. There is currently no capability for measuring carbon in a joined-up way through a whole supply chain.
CarbonVue aims to make carbon a central tenant of supply chain management. The platform will provide visibility of carbon through a supply chain, enabling integrated real-time carbon and productivity management. The project builds on SupplyVue’s technology, which builds a digital twin of a supply chain. By modelling different scenarios, businesses can identify opportunities for efficiencies and make more informed decisions about future strategies.
“With CarbonVue we are building the capability to add carbon impact to our technology platform, enabling the measuring and modelling of each individual supply chain activity, such as the energy used by a particular machine or a lorry delivery to different destinations,” says Birtwistle. “It will generate an absolute measure of carbon per kilogramme of product – much like the calorie measure of food.”
Real supply chain data from partners Tata Steel and aerospace supplier Moveero (formerly GKN) are being used in the project, while defence company Babcock International is providing specific insights for product development from their sector and position at the top of a supply chain. The team also worked with the University of Warwick to create algorithms for analysing and modelling the supply chain.
“Incorporating data from the whole chain may also facilitate better collaboration between supply chain partners,” says Birtwistle. “Trust – or lack of it – is a major issue in commercial relationships, particularly around sensitive information. CarbonVue is a measure of efficiency that could enable conversations on how to re-configure the supply chain without having to share sensitive cost information.”
At a time when customers are calling for greater transparency about environmental impact, alongside government targets, CarbonVue has the potential to put carbon management at the front and centre of decision-making in a supply chain. Birtwistle notes that “The need for the UK’s manufacturing sector to be more productive and to reduce carbon emissions is a clear imperative but improvement is slow. CarbonVue could provide the catalyst for change.”
SupplyVue’s participation in the Made Smarter Innovation Showcase Event highlights the importance of digital innovation in supply chain management and the need for collaboration between industry, technology, and academic partners to drive change towards more sustainable practices. By integrating carbon impact into their supply chain technology, SupplyVue is leading the way in transforming supply chain’s future.