A new partnership between Kent Business School at the University of Kent and Aylesford-based B Corp certified sustainable packaging firm Priory Direct aims to improve efficiency and service levels within sustainable packaging provision to the fast-growing e-commerce sector.
The partnership is expected to lead to an increase in market share and improvements in stock availability, demand forecasting, and logistics carbon footprint through enhanced data handling and supply chain analytics.
It has been made possible by a £265,000 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through Innovate UK.
Managing Director of Priory Direct, Josh Pitman, said: ‘We’re excited to be contributing to, and supporting, our local higher-education organisation to drive innovation forward in the UK’s supply chain. The importance of education is core to our values and, as a certified B Corp, we care about positively contributing to our community and society.
‘The KTP fits in a wonderful crossroads where a deeply commercial aim can be met in a way that supports the University of Kent and our society and provides a valuable innovation that can support improved ecommerce sustainability. The project will allow Priory Direct to accelerate our mission to minimise the environmental impact of ecommerce by intelligently using consumption and manufacturing data to increase supply chain efficiency, minimise wasted journeys and material, and provide outstanding forecasting and continuity of supply.’
Dr Raeesi said: ‘Priory Direct supplies over 21,000 businesses in the UK with sustainable packaging solutions and faces a high level of supply chain volatility and complex customer purchasing behaviour, which in turn significantly complicates demand prediction and inventory management. This KTP will be a key initiative and an important step up for the company to develop its in-house advanced statistical and machine-learning expertise required to develop robust and reliable forecasting tools.’
Dr Raeesi also explained that Kent Business School, through its Centre for Logistics and Sustainability Analytics (CeLSA), will be supporting Priory Direct to provide the missing-knowledge in data-mining and other relevant areas of inventory-control, stock-planning, supply-chain-analytics, modelling and programming ‘to help them develop a bespoke and compatible forecasting model that is capable of capturing the high-level of demand-uncertainty faced’.
Professor Marian Garcia, Dean of Kent Business School, added: ‘Kent Business School is committed to practices that drive sustainable innovation and this partnership with Priory Direct showcases our alignment to climate action and economic growth.
‘Our academics specialising in sustainable supply chain and logistics are leading experts in their field and their knowledge, partnered with the experience of the team at Priory Direct, will drive positive change in an essential area of enterprise.’
The KTP will run for 30 months.