Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Smart Systems Implementation in UK Food Manufacturing Companies – A Sustainability Perspective

Version 1 : Received: 21 November 2018 / Approved: 23 November 2018 / Online: 23 November 2018 (03:31:24 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 6 December 2018 / Approved: 11 December 2018 / Online: 11 December 2018 (07:31:51 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Thomas, A.; Haven-Tang, C.; Barton, R.; Mason-Jones, R.; Francis, M.; Byard, P. Smart Systems Implementation in UK Food Manufacturing Companies: A Sustainability Perspective. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4693. Thomas, A.; Haven-Tang, C.; Barton, R.; Mason-Jones, R.; Francis, M.; Byard, P. Smart Systems Implementation in UK Food Manufacturing Companies: A Sustainability Perspective. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4693.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2018, 10, 4693
DOI: 10.3390/su10124693

Abstract

The UK food industry faces significant challenges to remain sustainable. With major challenges such as Brexit on the horizon, companies can no longer rely on a low labour cost workforce to maintain low production costs and achieve economic sustainability. Smart Systems (SS) is being seen as an approach towards achieving significant improvements in both economic and environmental sustainability. However, there is little evidence to indicate whether UK food companies are prepared for the implementation of such systems. The purpose of this research is to explore the applicability of Smart Systems in UK food manufacturing companies and, to identify the key priority areas and improvement levers for the implementation of such systems. A triangulated primary research approach is adopted and includes a questionnaire, follow up interviews and visits to thirty-two food manufacturing companies in the UK. The questionnaire and interviews are guided by the development of a unique measuring instrument created by the authors that is focusses upon SS technologies and systems. This paper makes an original contribution in that it is one of few academic studies to explore the implementation of SS in the industry and, provides a new perspective on the key drivers and inhibitors around its implementation. Findings suggest that the current turbulence in the industry could be bringing food companies closer to the adoption of such systems, hence it is a good time to define and develop the optimum SS implementation strategy.

Subject Areas

food manufacturing; digital hub; sustainability profile; smart systems; survey

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