For multinational companies, and for governments and policymakers looking to support thriving industrial sectors, the effective design and management of global operations networks is a key challenge and one that is becoming increasingly complex. While it has long been understood that making the right things in the right places is critical, companies now also need to design and manage an effective supply network which relies on large numbers of specialist firms providing key components and technologies, often spread around the world. Furthermore, many companies are developing a service component which brings with it further complexity and new delivery partners. New technologies are emerging to transform whole sectors and the business models of companies within them. Companies and their governments want to ensure they benefit from these technologies and in order to do so they need to understand the new industrial landscape and act accordingly. All this must be achieved while ensuring that supply chains have sufficient resilience to withstand unpredictable shocks from world events, whether natural catastrophes or political developments. Equally, many companies, often in response to customer expectations, are now looking to ensure that both they and their supply networks are demonstrably sustainable, which poses another challenge for network design. This report describes a set of approaches developed by researchers and industrial practitioners at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing that can help companies and governments understand and navigate their way through these complex issues.
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