RLC Foundation Thought Leadership and Professional Development Event 31 July 2018

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RLC Foundation Thought Leadership and Professional Development Event London – Tuesday 31st July 2018

On 31 July the RLC Foundation held a Thought Leadership and Professional Development event with Ernst & Young and Lincoln University in London. The event was generously hosted by Ernst & Young at their main office in London. The venue was held in their Vista Suite on the 9th floor and offered spectacular views of The Tower of London, London Bridge and HMS Belfast. The theme of the event was “Harnessing Technology in Supply Chain Management – An examination from four distinct operations perspectives: military, commercial, humanitarian and academic”.

Colonel Eddie Corrigan the Assistant Head of Concepts and Force Development, Defence Logistics Strategy gave an overview of the Defence Support Network which focussed on how digital optimisation has changed military thinking when planning end to end supply chain operations. He highlighted the requirement for integrated supply chain networks and our dependence on global and NATO partners to make this work. He emphasised that we must be strategically prepared and precise in our planning when pushing through supply logistics from concept to capability, and be innovative with technology.

Mr Paul Bakstad from Ernst & Young gave an overview on commercial sector digital optimisation/disruption and emphasised how “Data is the defining mega trend of our time” which affects all elements of the end to end supply chain. Digital optimisation involves exploiting multiple new technologies and new and exciting benefit opportunities within the supply chain. He discussed the impact of Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, 3-D Printing, Autonomous Vehicles, Drones and Robotics within the supply chain.

Dr Sarah Schiffling from Liverpool University (formerly at Lincoln) spoke about humanitarian logistic support operations and the technology which supports relief operations. Global humanitarian relief operations suffer from the lack of infrastructure, a lack of funding and humanitarian planners have to deal with constantly shifting situations. They depend heavily on ‘reliable’ data which, when analysed must provide the correct information.

Dr Eliseo Luis Vilalta-perdomo from Lincoln University talked about end to end supply chain logistics from an academic viewpoint. He highlighted the use of digital technologies within materials requirement planning and electronic data interchange across the procurement, transformation and sales and distribution functions. He also discussed the benefits of ‘Blockchain’ technology when dealing with supply chain risks and conversely the concerns inherent when dealing with ‘Blockchain’ risks. It does make the supply chain too transparent and therefore reduces the ability to keep company operating strategy from competitors.


In the afternoon the attendees took part in Syndicate Discussion Groups to evaluate the following discussion themes:

What are the challenges (and solutions) in adopting modern commercial supply chain technology to improve military and humanitarian operational supply chain performance? Facilitated by Professor Martin Hingley from Lincoln University.

  • What lessons can we learn from recent military and humanitarian logistic operations about the use of commercial partners? Facilitated by Dr Sarah Schiffling, Liverpool University.
  • How can data best be exploited in contingent logistic operations? Facilitated by Dr ELISEO Luis Vilalta-perdomo.

After analysis on their discussion themes each syndicate gave a presentation on their findings, which provided for a lively debate.

An excellent event. A big thank you to EY for hosting us all at such a superb location.