Projects and funding - Centre for Supply Chain Improvement - University of Derby

Projects and funding

sci-projects-header Find out more about our case studies of projects currently undertaken within the Centre.

CSCI members are actively involved in leading and contributing to research and commercial projects funded by various government and private institutions. These are some examples of recent and current projects led by members of the CSCI.

Adoption of Green Technologies and Sustainability Standards for Emerging Economies: the case of Mexico

Sustainable development has become a major challenge for governments, companies, and all stakeholders involved. Concerns about negative impacts of industrial activity on the environment, society, and the economy have led to an international debate of what should be done to tackle these problems. Emerging economies are reported to be some of the main areas of opportunity to mitigate social inequality, greenhouse emissions, and to foster economic development. Under this context, the objective of this project is to conduct an investigation of the adoption of green technologies and energy sustainability standards in Mexico, considering best practices in the UK. There is little research documenting these adoptions in the Mexican industrial environment and its benefits to economic development. Thus, the adoption of such technologies and energy sustainability standards are key factors that can foster regional development, help to mitigate social inequalities, and provide a better quality of life.

This is a three years project funded by the British Academy under the Advanced Fellowships scheme and is carried out in collaboration with the Instituto Politécnico Nacional of Mexico.

Developing Food Security and Water Conservation for Economic Growth in Mexico - A Smart Monitoring and Control System (SMCS) Agro-Technology for Sustainable and Efficient Farming Operations 

Food security and water conservation are arguably two of the biggest challenges currently faced by humankind. These have therefore emerged as major concerns for many developed and developing nations. In addition, developing countries are facing challenges linked to economic growth and creating sustainable livelihoods. In this context, more efficient and environmentally sustainable farming operations can emerge as one of the potential strategies to address these challenges. Thus, addressing inefficiencies, wastes, and excessive consumption of natural resources in farming operations will provide direct benefits to nations, e.g., by reducing crops and food waste, increasing the efficient use of natural resources (i.e., water, energy and land), and reducing CO2 emissions and potential pollution of the environment/land created by the excessive usage of fertilizers. These benefits can ultimately assist farmers in improving the productivity and sustainability of their farming operations, resulting in food security and water conservation. This will consequently aid communities by benefiting socially, economically and environmentally in both the short and long terms.

This research project will bring researchers and industrial experts from both the UK and Mexico to a common platform to develop a Smart Monitoring and Control System (SMCS) agro-technology to enable more efficient and sustainable farming operations and hence address these challenges. The initiative will also provide valuable knowledge and lessons learnt for developers, users and communities in regards to the improvement of farming operations and the development, testing, and implementation of agro-technologies in developing countries. Therefore, the systematization of these forms a key element of the project to build local research capacity and support policy makers in the formulation of effective policies and/or strategies to facilitate the development of agro-technology.

This is a one year project funded by the British Council under the Institutional Links scheme and is carried out in collaboration with the College of Engineering & Technology of the University of Derby, the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes of Mexico and La Huerta.

Sustainable Development - Exploring Energy Efficiency Opportunities through Supply Chain and Operations Innovation

As concerns regarding climate change, long-term availability of energy and fuel prices increase, an opportunity exists to explore energy efficiency strategies in two of the most pervasive places where it can be conserved: industrial supply chains and operations. Mexico has a lot of potential to develop energy efficiency strategies as it is one of the countries exhibiting keen initiatives for sustainable development, but not yet succeeding. This project will provide collaboration between UK and Mexican researchers in order to share their expertise and jointly explore how supply chain and operations innovation can support organisations in the formulation and implementation of energy efficiency strategies in their supply chain and operations. Reducing industrial energy consumption will help organisations to remain globally competitive and to support the government’s national plan for development, resulting in a more equitable society.

This project was funded by the Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT)  under the Researcher Links scheme and was carried out in collaboration with the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes of Mexico.

Managing Business Excellence and Adapting Innovation Systems for Supporting a Sustainable Transition towards a Low Carbon Economy

Modern economic and production systems have helped humankind to survive and develop prosperous economies. They continue to do so, but at a severe price for the environment and societies. Since the mid-1800s when the industrial revolution took place, more natural resources have been destroyed than in all previous history. While our industrial activity has increased providing wealth to societies and economic progress, natural capital on which our civilization depends not only to create economic prosperity but to survive is rapidly declining. In this context, the high-intensive production of goods has led economies to increase consumption and become dependent on fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, sending tons of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, and overall pollution. In this way, reaching equilibrium with the exploitation of natural resources, social equity, and economic progress has become a major challenge for governments, companies, and all stakeholders involved.

In this way, Business Excellence Models (BEMs) seek efficiency and effectiveness in operations for any kind of companies and organisations by using managerial models, process improvement methods, and tools that help to sustain efficient operations and production systems. Several BEMs such as the Baldrige model, the European Foundation Quality Management model, the British Excellence Award (UK), and the National Competitiveness model (Mexico) to mention some, have provided helpful guideless for companies (large and small), hospitals, and universities. On the other hand, the context in which companies and organisations operate is important for the competitiveness and sustainability of an economy and innovation systems represent an opportunity for a region to facilitate a sustainable transition towards a low carbon economy. Such innovation systems can help our industries to become efficient and to use natural resources in a more rational way. In addition, the adoption of new technologies at an industrial-level and society-level can help to reduce CO2 emissions, and in the medium and long term to achieve a low carbon economy.  In this way, the transition to a low carbon economy depends on several factors that must be integrated into the full economic system with a triple bottom line perspective (economic, environmental and societal).     

Thus, this project aimed at exploring whether (and how) business excellence and innovation systems concepts, models and approaches can support societies, governments and organisations, either in an individual or integrated form, in the transition towards a low carbon based economy.

This project was funded by the British Council under the Researcher Links scheme and was carried out in collaboration with the Instituto Politécnico Nacional of Mexico. 

Other projects include:

  • Encore Environment - Development of an evaluation framework and tool for sustainable waste management (KTP Project)
  • Toyota - Stillage Sourcing
  • Collaborative Purchasing Group - a group that comprises Toyota, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce and East Midlands Trains aimed at sharing best practice and supply chain expertise within ‘Indirect Purchasing Services’
  • Bombardier - Data Analysis
  • CoMech Metrology - Business process improvement
  • Krantech Holding - Business process improvement