Three dimensions of readiness required to achieve future state, technology enabled manufacturing supply chains

Michael Ward, Steven Halliday

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The particular challenges associated with supply chain application of emerging manufacturing technologies are increasingly recognised in industry, academia and government. The problem is often described in terms of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), with the particular challenge relating to the stages between proof of concept and initial adoption in the factory environment. In the UK the government has established the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a network of manufacturing innovation centres brought together with the objective of addressing the so called ‘valley of death’ between traditional academic research and industrial needs across a broad spectrum of manufacturing process technology. This is achieved through demonstrating manufacturing technology at full scale, in factory representative environments in terms of equipment, process control and operation. This provision helps to address the key gap of full scale pre-production capability demonstration and can be seen to de-risk investment in new manufacturing technology. This paper argues that addressing this particular gap is entirely necessary but not sufficient to drive exploitation of the full potential that is available from the latest manufacturing technologies. A three dimensional readiness based framework is proposed which in addition to considerations of technology demonstration, also allows the position of the target product application in its product lifecycle, and the readiness of the supply chain to receive the technology to be taken into account as success factors in the potential for industrialisation. Case study examples, both current and historical, are used to illustrate the need for such an approach in achieving future technology enabled supply chains.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2015
Event23rd Computer-Aided Production Engineering (CAPE) Conference - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Nov 20154 Nov 2015
Conference number: 23


Conference23rd Computer-Aided Production Engineering (CAPE) Conference
Abbreviated titleCAPE Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • technology readiness level
  • supply chain
  • technology management


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