Crossword Cybersecurity research into supply chain risk

UKRI-funded research project by Crossword Cybersecurity and Liverpool John Moores University digs into the causes of supply chain risk.

Crossword Cybersecurity, the technology commercialisation company focused on cyber security and risk management has discovered new shortcomings to current supply chain risk assurance processes as part of a research project conducted in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University.

The joint research project was undertaken to investigate the underlying problems and causes of failures in supply chain risk and assurance.

The research project was awarded a £233K grant by the Made Smarter Innovation programme, delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The award was made through the digital supply chain competition, which forms part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Made Smarter Innovation programme.

Between April and September 2021, the project team analysed around 118,600 data points collected through 26 enlisted UK manufacturing businesses to underpin the new, original research, which includes an in-depth analysis of the Nuclear and Automotive industries.

One of the key findings from the research is that the approach to most supplier assurance programmes is fundamentally broken – namely, that businesses haven’t standardised what information they ask for, how they ask it, and how they share it. This leads to a huge amount of duplication and supplier assurance fatigue and ultimately a lack of supply chain transparency.

Prof Claire Hannibal of Liverpool John Moores University said: “The research delivered offers a contemporary investigation of current challenges to sharing information in multi-tier supply chains.”

As part of the project, leading third-party risk assurance thought leaders, Crossword Cybersecurity and Liverpool John Moores University collectively used the £233K grant to develop a new digital supply chain risk and assurance method that can address the underlying problems and causes of failures in supply chains. The knowledge acquired from the research and new concept design will provide new thinking in approaches to improving supply chain resilience.

Lola Adeyemi, Research Project Manager at Crossword Cybersecurity added: “Imagine a single supplier receiving a request for information from multiple organisations, each using slightly different wording and slightly different methods. This requires a lot of effort. Standardisation is a great solution in this situation and can be the innovative breakthrough in quite a challenging space”.

Ken Fraser, Rizikon Assurance Product Manager at Crossword Cybersecurity commented: “The study shows that information standards to improve the efficiency of information exchange are the key to supply chain resilience. This is something we have designed and are adopting in Rizikon.”

Liverpool John Moores University and Crossword Cybersecurity are currently writing up the complete set of findings for publication.

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