The Cranfield PhD - Supply Chain Design Co-ordinated with Product Development

Cranfield School of Management

Visit Cranfield School of Management's main website

PhD Opportunities

Supply Chain Design Co-ordinated with Product Development

Supervisor: Heather Skipworth 

It has been observed in a number of industries that supply chain management is a late consideration in the product design process. Far from being a co-ordinated or concurrent process of supply chain and product design, considerations, such as where components will be sourced and the logistical implications of manufacturing location, are after thoughts. This leads to poor component supply, excessive transportation of materials, long processing lead-times and ultimately unresponsive supply chains that fail to meet end customer needs in an efficient and responsive manner. There have been many recent calls for research addressing concurrent product and supply chain.

Potential research topics in this area, which is of particular interest to manufacturers of more complex and/or customised products, include:

  • Evaluate the deficiencies in supply chain operations arising from the lack of co-ordination between the supply chain and product design. Which sectors or products would benefit most from increased levels of co-ordination?
  • How are supply chains designed in practice and to what extent is this co-ordinated or concurrent with product development? What are the common principles and key differences across a variety of sectors?
  • For particular sectors or product types understand how the co-ordinated supply chain design process can be improved in practice to maximise operational supply chain performance possibly through the identification of process deficiencies, barriers and enablers.
  • A key aspect of supply chain design is deciding which activities to outsource and which to develop internally. But how is the strategic make or buy decision made in different real life situations, or is it more commonly a tactical decision made on the basis of speed and price?

For an informal discussion, please contact Dr Heather Skipworth, tel +44 (0)1234 751122 ext 4515 email:

home about mba msc doctorates executive development research information contact us