Today, delivering more products faster, with flawless execution and minimal business interruption defines supply chain success. Closing loops, redefining boundaries, and keeping simple principles in mind were all hot topics at TM’s Supply Chain 2014 Future Factory conference in London this week, The Manufacturer reported.

In fact, Coca Cola Enterprises’ (CCE) Operations Director Trevor Newman’s corporate social responsibility structure is driving innovations for sustainability throughout its value chain at Coca Cola. The company is targeting the total carbon footprint of its products, which has prompted packaging and refrigeration innovations. For instance, an average can of coke weighs over 16g less today than it did ten years ago due CCE’s “Delivering for Today, Inspiring for Tomorrow initiative.”

In addition, Newman shared his insight into the supply chain partnership CCE has built with waste management company Ecoplastics. A joint venture recycling facility at the Ecoplastics site enabled CCE to recycle plastic bottles vended at the Olympic Park in 2012 and return them back to new customers at the Games in an impressive logistical feat.

Dominic Brown of GROW: Offshore Wind discussed a detailed view of the opportunities for many manufacturing subsectors, to supply to the UK’s nascent offshore wind industry. In fact, the UK has one of the biggest installed bases for offshore wind power generation but uses less than 10 percent of UK-made content to support it.  All that is about to change, according to Brown, who plans to achieve 50 percent UK content in new installations in the next few years. Brown said that supply opportunities lie beyond the visible part of a wind turbine and urged electronics manufacturers, cable makes and those with the capability to fabricate large platforms to consider how they might feed into offshore wind infrastructure.

Building on this theme, Stephen Barr, head of the Manufacturing Advisory Service with responsibility for the establishment of ReshoreUK – a government initiative to support the return of offshored manufacturing contracts to the UK.  He said, “We’re increasing acting in a supply chain advisory capacity. And this means being aware and involved in national supply chains, analyzing capability gaps and preparing UK manufacturers to fill them.”

Mike Osborne, operations director at missile manufacturer MBDA Systems, focused on the importance of structured relationship management in building effective supply chains. His methodology for developing MBDA’s supply chain relationship is based on the SC21 program structure, but builds on it with a number of analytics tools. Osborne expressed his intention to present these analytics tools back to the SC21 board, so defence manufacturers should keep their eyes open for these tools in future.

Strong supply chains are not just built on relationships – the importance of smooth financial transactions were recognized by Chris Findlay, founder of the Supply Chain Finance Community.  Offering a view of the ways manufacturers can be innovative to drive profitability, he discussed the impact of servtitization, modeling trends in margin, cash flow and value add at manufacturer who embrace advanced service systems.

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