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Plenary Session: Rethinking Global Supply Chains

Day 1 - 17 September

START 14:00
(UK Time)
14:10 – 14:55 Plenary Session: Rethinking Global Supply Chains
14:55 – 15:50 Open Discussions on Industry Challenges
15:50 – 16:00 Closing Statement & Day 2 Briefing

The plenary session will explore the implications of new challenges facing global supply chains and the ‘rethink’ currently underway in both industry and government driven by new resilience, sustainability and trade imperatives.

Introductory inputs will draw on the key trends that are requiring a revisiting on how global supply chains are configured, namely;

- Lessons from COVID-19 and main takeaways for future operating and business models 
- Moving to a reconfigured Globalisation – future scenarios in response to current trade tensions, new net-zero carbon commitments, and the accelerated adoption of advanced manufacturing and digital technologies
- Reflections on Symposium Day 2 themes, regarding the future role of China in global supply chains, building supply network resilience, and new thinking on resource efficiency and sustainability

The session aims to explore future evolution paths for manufacturing supply chains taking both industrial and academic perspectives on emerging challenges as well as the opportunities emerging from the adoption of advanced manufacturing and digital technologies.

Does the COVID disruption to manufacturing operations challenge the current dependence on distant global supply chains? Will protectionism become a dominant driver in future developments? How should companies respond to these new global realities?

Keynote speakers

In order to facilitate discussions, the focused session will have introductory contributions from leading speakers to introduce their latest research in this area, and share their perspectives on the future evolution of global manufacturing and supply networks.


Differentiating operating and business models and observations from COVID-19

Professor Geoff Parker is a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College where he also serves as Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program. In addition, he is a research fellow at MIT’s Initiative for the Digital Economy where he leads platform industry research studies and co-chairs the annual MIT Platform Strategy Summit. He received a B.S.E. from Princeton and M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT. Parker has made significant contributions to the field of network economics and strategy as co-developer of the theory of “two-sided” markets. He is co-author of the book “Platform Revolution.” His current research includes studies of platform business strategy, data governance, smart cities and energy systems, financial services, and electronic healthcare record systems. Parker won the Thinkers50 2019 Digital Thinking Award, along with Marshall Van Alstyne, for the concepts of the inverted firm, two-sided markets, and how firms can adapt and thrive in a platform economy. In Spring 2020, he was elected as a Fellow of the Production and Operations Management Society. Parker is a frequent keynote speaker and advises senior leaders on their organizations’ platform strategies. Additional information can be found at, @g2parker, and Google Scholar


Failures in Operating and Business Models during COVID-19 

Professor Nitin Joglekar is on the faculty at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. His interests involve Digital Product Management Thinking (DPMT), agility and machine learning techniques in data products and innovation processes, and digitization of production and supply chain processes. He was the founding director of his schools’ online micro-master’s programs in Digital Leadership and Product Management. His consults and conducts funded research in the energy, healthcare, IT and high technology sectors. Prior to his academic career, he has overseen product management and supply chain functions at established firms and founded a venture capital backed software startup. He has served as an NSF expert panelist, and as a research lead on advanced manufacturing, supply chain and design issues for the World Economic Forum. He has been an editor for entrepreneurship, innovation and technology management departments at top journals. Currently, he is a department editor for industry studies and public policy at the Production and Operations Management Journal.


Successful strategies deployed during COVID-19 and observations from leading businesses on potential responses to the combined challenges presented by the Pandemic, current Trade tensions and Net Zero sustainability targets

Dr Jag Srai is Head of the Centre for International Manufacturing, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge. He has Director/Investigator roles across several major multidisciplinary research projects, bringing an engineering and strategic operations management perspective to the design, analysis and operation of international supply chains. Research projects explore the disruptive impacts of new production and digital technologies on supply chains involving close collaborations with industry, academia, and public bodies. He also advises multinationals, governments and international institutions including UNCTAD, UNIDO, and World Economic Forum where he co-Chairs the Council on Advanced Manufacturing. Previous roles were in industry with Unilever working as a Supply Chain Director of a multinational regional business, Technical Director of a national business and other senior management positions. Jag holds a first-class honours degree in Chemical Engineering (Aston), and a PhD in International Supply Networks (Cambridge), is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers. 

24th Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium goes online: 17-18 September 2020


This year’s Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium will be an online and interactive event. It will take place as previously scheduled, on 17-18 September 2020. We will take the opportunity to extend our international keynote contributions and broaden access to offset current restrictions on travel related to COVID-19.

The new, redesigned format will feature facilitated and interactive discussion sessions. Two days of focused discussions will ensure the live engagement of participants from both industry and academia on the future of manufacturing supply networks.

We are not seeking academic paper submissions this year.

An overview of the programme involving main plenary sessions on Day 1 and specialist thematic topic discussions on Day 2 is available here.

Jagjit Singh Srai
On behalf of the organising committee