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Supply Chain Resilience (FL0123)

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

There is increasing concern about modern supply chains which are very complex, with many parallel physical and information flows occurring in order to ensure that products are delivered in the right quantities, to the right place in a cost effective manner. This project is intended to assist organisations to identify and to be more resilient to supply network vulnerabilities. This would take the form of a general framework and a 'tool-kit' for a selection of critical supply networks that will have been tested with appropriate organisations. The output will then be suitable for change managers based in industry or consultancies to use to increase the resilience of critical national supply networks.

  • To raise corporate awareness of the importance of considering supply chain vulnerability in the context of business continuity management;
  • To develop a high level methodology for the management of supply chain vulnerability including the production of a series of management tools which will enable organisations;
  • To understand and map their own supply chains/networks;
  • To understand the critical linkages with other sectors;
  • To identify vulnerabilities in their supply chains/networks;
  • To develop approaches which will enable organisations to take cost-effective actions to increase their supply chain resilience. If it is not carried out then disruption of supply chains is likely with serious political, social and health consequences.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


On the one hand, contemporary developments in business thinking have in many instances reduced supply chain vulnerability to 'everyday' supply chain risks by improving their internal efficiency and the effectiveness. However, these same measures have reduced resilience to 'exceptional' external disruptions.

Whilst many of the concepts behind the trends appear sound in themselves, unintended side-effects again point to a lack of understanding of the true nature of modern supply chains and their vulnerabilities. The findings of this research underline the fact that these increasingly lengthy supply chains are in truth supply networks connecting businesses, industries and economies.

Consequently, the diverse range of effects triggered by even a modest incident can fail to lead to underlying weaknesses being diagnosed if they are considered in isolation and not as part of the wider, overarching system. In effect, current understanding is underdeveloped and only capable of looking at pieces of the supply chain vulnerability jigsaw, without the ability to connect those pieces and see the wider picture.

Policy implications


Key Findings

Sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT) and supported by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, this study explores further the sources and drivers of supply chain disruptions and provide some practical approaches to the management of supply chain risk. Its aims were as follows:

  • To extend awareness of supply chain vulnerability as a threat to business continuity.
  • To develop a high level methodology for the identification and management of supply chain risk, including the development of a managerial tool-kit.
  • To develop approaches that will enable organisations, large and small, to increase the resilience of their own supply chains. Multi modal networks; commercial fleet and public transport operations; transport demand management.

The work included

  • a survey of experienced supply chain management professionals;
  • an in-depth case study of five tiers of a defence industry (aerospace) supply network;
  • in-depth interviews with leading companies in seven other 'critical sectors';
  • the development of managerial tool-kit for the identification and management of supply chain risk;
  • the development of a check-list based workbook for Small and Medium Enterprises;
  • a review of available software solutions; and
  • a review of the impact and after-effects of some high-profile transport disruptions.

This research touched upon the following freight related topics:

  • logistics and supply chain management trends + tools; and
  • efficient market place.

Policy Implications

This project intended to assist organisations to identify and to be more resilient to supply network vulnerabilities by proposing a toolkit for concerned professionals. This research produced a general framework and a downloadable 'tool-kit' for concerned organisations, including aspects of emergency planning. The outputs are suitable for change managers based in industry or consultancies to use to increase the resilience of critical national supply networks.

Recent events, not least those of 9/11 or the UK’s Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak, highlighted that supply chain disruptions have a major impact upon


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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