• Building Efficiency into Assets Management – Can AI help the Process?
    Dr Alireza Shokri

News & Views

Building Efficiency into Assets Management – Can AI help the Process?

Aug 14 2021

“We’re always looking to innovate and partner with similarly minded organisations. This Innovate UK funding enabled us to deepen our relationship with both The NBT Group and Northumbria University in an exciting opportunity to bring together very different aspects of asset management that is only made possible by advancing digitisation of the manufacturing sector." Robert Russell

A feasibility study, driven by supply chain management company The NBT Group, Northumbria University and industrial software developers Senseye, investigating how intelligence-based technologies could connect predictive maintenance software to stock management software has received over £250,000 from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) ‘Made Smarter innovation challenge’ that evaluates emerging smart technologies.

“NBT’s ambition is to utilise automation and Industry 4.0 thinking in all its activities, generating more and better jobs within our business and drive operating efficiencies for our clients and suppliers,” said Toby Bridges, Executive Chair at The NBT Group. “This funding allows us to work closely with a leading predicative maintenance company in Senseye and Northumbria University's Global Operations and Supply Chain Competitiveness (GLOPSCO) research interest group to widen our thinking on how we integrate our own supply chain technologies into other systems and technologies across the manufacturing plant.”

Robert Russell, Chief Technology Officer at Senseye, said: “We’re always looking to innovate and partner with similarly minded organisations. This Innovate UK funding enabled us to deepen our relationship with both The NBT Group and Northumbria University in an exciting opportunity to bring together very different aspects of asset management that is only made possible by advancing digitisation of the manufacturing sector. The feasibility study is accelerating our vision for advanced technologies and generating new business opportunities.”

The study will be assessing the use of intelligence – based systems to connect NBT Group’s stock management software to Senseye's predictive maintenance software - a predictive platform capable of identifying upcoming issues with machinery so that failures can be avoided.

How does the University fit into this partnership?

Explaining Northumbria University’s role in the partnership, Dr Alireza Shokri, Associate Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management and academic lead on the project told Labmate UK & Ireland :  “The University plays a pivotal role as the credible knowledge barer and knowledge exchange platform in this collaborative research project. There are 10 inter-related work packages in this project of which three of them are led directly by the academics in the university. We are providing existing knowledge to this project from recent academic sources to strengthen the theoretical and research pillars of the project.

We are also conducting market research, process and supply chain analysis of the big players to identify fundamental challenges and opportunities for this digital transformation. The final product of this feasibility study is the simulation models to test economic feasibility that is developed by academics in the university. As a collaborative project, we are also closely involved in brainstorming and development of other work packages led by business partners in this project. We have also recruited two part-time research fellows for this project to conduct research studies supported by work package leaders.”

Would the project be open to other existing SME’s? Yes; the two major business partners in this project are SMEs. We also involved an SME in the automotive supply chain as part of our study/data collection in this project. We will involve more SMEs in different sectors including automotive and food for our follow-up relevant funded project subject to success in next round competition,” responded Dr Shokri. “We have already had a strong relationship with one of the major business partners during last few years through other projects. This will continue to build up, inviting new business partners as part of application for the follow-up funded project of this feasibility study project. We are also building more longer term partnership with local businesses and SMEs through our knowledge exchange platform and GLOPSCO research Interest Group.”

Northumbria has a long track record of successfully collaborating with small and large businesses through Knowledge Exchange activities.

More information online

More information online