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REF 2014 Business & Management Studies

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Overview

The focus of the Business and Management submission is Supply Chain Forecasting, Planning and Policy (SCFPP).

Since 2008, work on Supply Chain Forecasting has been augmented by a new stream of research in Supply Chain Planning and Policy. Building on previous research on practices in the wood industry, this research focuses on sustainable international manufacturing processes.

In the SCFPP research group, engagement with users, beneficiaries and audiences has been via:

  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)
    companies’ involvement in externally funded research projects
  • PhD supervision of employer-funded, or employer-supported, PhD programmes
  • organised or contributed sessions in conferences with non-academic audiences
    articles for professional journals.

Strategy

The main objectives for the next five years following this submission include:

  • Develop and deepen our international research network. Many valuable collaborations have been established and led to peer-reviewed publications -it is planned to extend this research network further and for the groups to utilise one another’s networks in order to develop research projects with industrial partners.
  • Pursue projects which cross the boundaries of Forecasting and Planning & Policy. The aim is to conduct research on longer-term forecasting, which informs the planning and policy decisions needed for sustainable manufacturing practices and standardisation. 

Context

The Supply Chain Forecasting Planning & Policy (SCFPP) group has brought together two strands of research activity in Supply Chain Forecasting (SCF) and in Supply Chain Planning & Policy (SCPP).

The main audiences for SCF have been supply chain forecasting companies, supply chain consultancy companies, and distribution and logistics companies. The main types of impact have been:

  • software enhancement
  • improved demand forecasting and consequent inventory savings and service level gains
  • enhanced understanding by users of forecasting methods, accuracy measures and judgemental over-rides of statistical demand forecasts.

These impacts relate to three specific streams of research in SCF at Bucks New University.
The first stream has focused principally on improvements in methods of intermittent demand forecasting and seasonal forecasting (particularly grouped seasonal methods).

The second stream of research relates to evaluation of forecasting methods in terms of appropriate accuracy-metrics and accuracy-implication metrics, where the latter refers to measures which assess the effect of forecasting on such business metrics as inventory investment and stock availability. The final stream of research has assessed the impact of judgemental adjustments to statistical forecasts, particularly in an intermittent demand context.

The main audiences for SCPP have been manufacturing companies, governmental agencies and international funding agencies. The main types of impact have been:

  • increased productivity and new market development
  • development of governmental strategies and policies
  • PR for funding agencies arising from successful case-study projects.

These impacts relate to inter-related streams of research activity in SCPP. Research has been conducted on the relative merits, with particular reference to productivity, of using foreign contract workers or local workers. This has incorporated the examination of governmental policies which support or hinder local employment in the wood-processing sector.

Research has also been undertaken on the new market opportunities afforded by adopting sustainable manufacturing practices and standardised logistics processes, and the new openings for Foreign Direct Investment.
This is a high priority for a number of funding agencies, including the European Union, and the successful conclusion of the research projects further strengthens their agendas to promote environmentally sustainable manufacturing and enhance employability in the region.