Retailers Next, H&M (COS brand), N Brown, New Look and yarn manufacturer Laxtons will be part of the initial nine-month pilot of the Sustainable Supply Chain Optimisation (SSCO) project. The initiative has been awarded £1.4 million funding by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, on behalf of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, UKFT said in a media release.
The new technology platform will combine emerging technologies like blockchain, AI and sensors to digitise the key processes in the supply-chain creating a shared system of data that the different parties can trust and easily act upon. The Blockchain technology will enable increased transparency in the supply chain. The AI technology will facilitate the detection and response to supply chain disruption and provide the insights for real-time analysis of current business performance, rapid problem solving and optimisation of business flows. It will be open source and easily available across the whole supply chain, with an integrated visualisation layer as the core innovation focus.
It will be possible to gain a much better understanding of where and how each garment’s fabric was processed and finished, by whom and in what conditions through the platform. It will be easier to spot potential disruptions before they have a chance to affect delivery. It will also be possible to better monitor production processes and flows resulting in a real chance to reduce waste and optimise stock.