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Supply Chain, Operations and Procurement Excellence (SCOPE)


The Supply Chain, Operations and Procurement Excellence (SCOPE) research group focuses upon practice-based research in conjunction with public, private and third sector partner organisations. 

Group members address management and societal challenges using a wide range of research methods and embed this knowledge directly into our specialist degrees and courses.

SCOPE is concerned with addressing the nascent and perennial challenges in three key areas of Supply Chain Management, Operations Management and Procurement.


Public and Private Sector procurement spend is a subject of perennial concern, and one that has been exacerbated in an era of post-austerity economics. Wales is the lowest performing economy in the UK and the work presented here with public and private sector organisations has comprised a range of interventions to improve the effectiveness of procurement and thereby directly contribute to its economic well-being. 

It has initiated policy and practice changes within the Welsh Government to advertise all public sector contracts over £25,000 on the portal Sell2Wales. In 2013 this resulted in a 100% increase in SME involvement in bidding for public sector work and a 400% improvement in their success in winning contracts. 

Our resulting Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Cardiff Council (completed 2014) delivered over £40 million reduction in public sector procurement spend through the implementation of Category Management.

Transferring our procurement expertise into the private sector, through the world’s first Enhanced Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Airbus (completed 2016), the implementation of Category Management generated savings of over €35 million.

The knowledge gained through these endeavours has been shared across other Local Authorities in Wales, with academic and governmental agencies in other countries, and through our educational provision as Wales’ only ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS).

Research projects

As the world become increasingly digitalised so there has been a growing need to critically appraise the potential of information technologies. 

We have undertaken pioneering research into nascent technologies such as Programmatic Advertising, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, the findings of which have profound implications for current and future adopters. 

Our work has also explored the contemporary challenges of maintaining cybersecurity in the under-researched, yet socially and economically important, social enterprise sector.

Our research in this area is supported by our doctoral research community, whose work has extended knowledge of the Stage Models of Technology Adoption, information technology adoption in developing economies, and the impact of Artificial Intelligence upon future work.

Key outputs

Samuel, A., White, G.R.T., Thomas, R. (2020) Programmatic Advertising: an exegesis of consumer concerns. Computers in Human Behaviour, In-Press.

White, G.R.T., Samuel, A. (2019) Programmatic Advertising: forewarning and avoiding hype-cycle failure. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 144, 157-168.

Academics within the SCOPE Group are part of the ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) along with Cardiff University, Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity St Davids, and Aberystwyth University. ASTUTE 2020 aims to strengthen and support industry in Wales by developing and embedding advanced and sustainable Industry 4.0 technologies into manufacturing companies. The project aims to stimulate transformational and sustainable growth by facilitating and de-risking the development and adoption of advanced technologies, increasing competitiveness and future proofing. 

Our academics collaborate with manufacturing firms within East Wales on industry-led projects in manufacturing systems engineering. Since the ASTUTE 2020 programme began in 2010 it has created:

  • 383 products, processes or services launched
  • 42 products, processes, or services registered
  • 10 enterprises created in West Wales and the Valleys
  • 174 jobs created in West Wales & the Valleys
  • Over 250 SMEs benefited from ASTUTE’s assistance
  • Investment induced of £9,256,336
  • Total funding applications submitted as a result of ASTUTE interventions of £49,882,644
  • Potential of savings over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in the UK alone.

Our supply chain management research explores the challenges of achieving social, ecological and economical sustainability. Victoria Stephens' groundbreaking doctoral research moves the entire field of supply chain research beyond its current mechanistic paradigm through problematising its incumbent metaphors. Our other research has explored the means by which organisations can design and develop environmentally-friendly products and systems, and has also examined the specific constraints that exist within food supply chains that service the requirements of religious markets.

Related outputs

White, G.R.T., Wang, X. and Li, D. (2015) Inter-Organisational Green Packaging Design: a case study of influencing factors and constraints in the automotive supply chain. International Journal of Production Research, 53(21), 6551-6566. 

Wang, X. and White, G.R.T. (2014) Lifecycle Assessment for Eco-packaging Design: a hybrid multi-criteria decision analysis approach. Transactions on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing. 1(1), 350-361.

White, G.R.T. and James, P. (2014) Extension of Process Mapping for the Identification of ‘Green Waste’.Benchmarking: An International Journal. 21(5), p835-850. 

White, G.R.T., Lomax, M. and Parry, G (2014) The Implementation of an Environmental Management System in the Not for Profit Sector. Benchmarking: An International Journal. 21(4), p509-526. 

Chan, H.K., Wang, X., White, G.R.T. and Yip, N. (2013) An Extended Fuzzy-AHP Approach for the Evaluation of Green Product Designs. IEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 60(2), p327-339. 

White, G.R.T., Samuel, A., Zhou, P., Razak, A.A., Thomas, S. (2017) Religious heterogeneity of food consumers: The impact of global markets upon methods of production. Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

Thomas, A., White, G.R.T., Plant, E. and Zhou, P. (2017) Challenges and Practices in Halal Meat Preparation: a case study investigation of a UK slaughterhouse.TQM & Business Excellence, 28(1-2), 12-31. 

White, G.R.T., Samuel, A. (2016) Fairtrade and Halal Food Certification and Labeling: Commercial Lessons and Religious Limitations. Journal of Macromarketing. 

Thomas, A., White, G.R.T., Plant, E. and Zhou, P. (2015) Challenges and Practices in Halal Meat Preparation: a case study investigation of a UK slaughterhouse.TQM & Business Excellence. 

White, GRT and Samuel, A. (2019) Programmatic Advertising: Forewarning and avoiding hype-cycle failure, Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

White, GRT. Wang, X. and Li, D. (2015) Inter-organisational green packaging design: a case study of influencing factors and constraints in the automotive supply chain. International Journal of Production Research. 53(21) 

Eaves, S. Kumar, V. White, GRT and Loonam (2018)  Making IT Happen: The Pivotal Role of Knowledge Sharing for Information Technology Deployment Success during Joint Venture Change. Strategic Change. 27(3) 245-255. 

White, G. (2017) Future Applications of Blockchain in Business and Management: A Delphi Study, Strategic Change. 26(5) 439-451. 

Mohammed, A. White, GRT. Wang, X. and Chan, HK. (2018) IT Adoption in Social Care: a study of the factors that mediate technology adoption.Strategic Change. 27(3) 267-279.  

Francis, M. Fisher, R. Thomas, A. and Rowlands, H. (2014) The meaning of ‘value’ in purchasing, logistics and operations management.International Journal of Production Research. 55(22) 6576-6589  

Burvill, SM., Jones-Evans, D. and Rowlands, H. (2018) 'Reconceptualising the principles of Penrose’s (1959) theory and the resource based view of the firm: The generation of a new conceptual framework'Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 25(3) 

White, GRT; Parfitt, S.; Lee, C. and Mason-Jones, R. (2016) Challenges to the Development of Strategic Procurement: A Meta-Analysis of Organizations in the Public and Private Sectors. Strategic Change 25(2). 

Davies, L; White, GRT; Plant, E and Lee, C. (2015) Measuring Outsourcing Efficacy: An Examination of Performance in the Aerospace Sector, Strategic Change 24 339-350. 

Thomas, AJ; Ringwald, K.; Parfitt, S.; Davies, A. and John, E. (2014) An empirical analysis of Lean Six Sigma implementation in SMEs – a migratory perspective. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management. 31(8) 888-905. 

Deasy, M. White, GRT. Parfitt, S. and Ringwald, K. (2014) Asymmetric Procurement in the Public Sector, Strategic Change. 23 21-29. 


Steffan-James, Business research

Steffan James is a Research Fellow in Manufacturing Engineering Systems at the South Wales Business School. He has a background in industry holding various roles involved with the manufacture of satellites, medical devices, and anaerobic digestors prior to working in academia. He is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

His primary research focuses upon the adoption of emerging technologies in industry to improve efficiency and sustainability, collaborating with manufacturing businesses in East Wales as part of the ASTUTE project.

He has presented his work at the 2020 Society of Open Innovation Conference as well as the South Wales Business School Research Conference where he received the Best Paper Award.

Chris Lee , business research

Chris Lee is a senior lecturer in procurement and supply chain management at the University of South Wales. He teaches many of the specialist international logistics and supply chain management modules, as well as supply chain risk and negotiation on the CIPS diploma. He also manages projects and programmes on the MSc Project Management. 

Chris' current research focus in in complex adaptive supply chains, which explores the role of human behaviour in supply chain management. 

Chris has developed a range of projects and consultancy links within procurement and supply management with business sectors in Wales, UK and internationally, through a number of Knowledge Transfer Partnership Projects (KTPs).

Before becoming an academic, Chris spent 21 years working within the UK Defence Sector at Royal Ordnance / BAE Systems in a diverse range of management roles including operations management, production control and master scheduling, sales and marketing and also in purchasing and supply chain management. 

Stuart Milligan, business research

Stuart Milligan is the course leader for the MSc International Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Alongside teaching, Stuart studies for a PhD. His research is based on the impact of adopting an omni-channel strategy. His wider interests include the impact of technology upon supply chain strategy and sustainability in the supply chain. 

Prior to teaching, Stuart worked in a number of roles in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector, gaining experience in road freight, retail supply chain management and inventory management. 

Since joining the University of South Wales, Stuart maintains close links with key organisations in the logistics sector. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and a regional committee member pf the Freight Transport Association. Stuart also uses his expertise to advise Welsh Government on matters of road freight safety. 

Scott_Parfitt, Business Research

Scott Parfitt is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) a Full Member of The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (MCIPS) and also a PRINCE2 Practitioner.

His main area of interest is public sector procurement and undertakes regular work with Welsh Government (Value Wales) and Cardiff Council. Scott works closely with Cardiff Council’s Commissioning and Procurement Team and acts as a “Critical Friend”. Scott is also a project board member for Source Regional (evolved from Source Cardiff). Source Regional contains representation from Cardiff Council, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Value Wales. Scott is also a member of Welsh Government Creative Procurement Forum.

Scott’s current areas of research interest are:

  • Public Sector Procurement
  • SME Third Sector and Social Enterprise Barriers to Public Sector Procurement
  • Procurement Skills
  • Social Value in Public Sector Procurement
  • Procurement Maturity

Professor Hefin Rowlands

Professor Hefin Rowlands is Professor of Quality Management at the University of South Wales, South Wales Business School, UK. He is a full member of the EPSRC peer review college and has acted as an evaluator and rapporteur for EU research projects.

He has been working in the field of Quality Engineering and Quality Management for over 30 years. His research publications cover Quality Engineering quality improvement, AI applications to quality tool and techniques. His current research interest is in quality improvement methods applied to Industry 4.0 developments.


Victoria Stephens is a doctoral candidate and lecturer in the field of sustainable supply chain management at the South Wales Business School. She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her primary research focuses on sustainability in the supply chain with a particular emphasis on alternative methodological approaches to understanding and developing supply chain capabilities for sustainable development. Her doctoral research is exploring the role and uses of metaphors and metaphorical imagination in theorising supply chain sustainability, and her recent work on sustainability and the innovation ecosystem has been published in the Journal of Open Innovation: Technology Market And Complexity.  She has presented her research at a range of local national and international business and sustainability conferences.  

Dr Gareth-White

Professor Gareth RT White is  Professor of Operations Management at the South Wales Business School. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Incorporated Engineer and is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal ‘Strategic Change: briefings in entrepreneurial finance’.

His primary research focuses upon the adoption and management of information technologies. Recent projects have explored the issues that surround the application of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and cybersecurity systems in collaboration with organisations that include British Petroleum and Social Enterprise UK. He also studies the challenges of food supply chains, sustainable supply chains, and social enterprises.

His work has been widely published in leading journals including IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Production Planning and Control, International Journal of Production Research, and Tourism Management.


Carl Singleton is a lecturer in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

His research interests include supply chain management within the manufacturing sector, global sourcing and the management of global supply chains.

Carl is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a Full Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (MCIPS).

Before becoming a lecturer, Carl enjoyed a 15 year career in procurement and supply chain management, specialising in strategic procurement with a number of multi-national companies including Bosch and GE.

Visiting staff

Dr Ahmed Abdullah is a business lecturer at the University of South Wales.

Dr Ahmed Abdullah is a lecturer at the University of South Wales.

He has substantial commercial experience in operations management, quality management and information technology management roles, and is a member of the International Council for Small Business conferences (ICSB) reviewer team. 

Ahmed's research interests include e-business and ICT adoption in developed and developing countries; information systems and development; Quality 4.0, cyber security and lean production.

Dr Ademola Afolayan - visiting lecturer, Business Research

Dr Ademola Afolayan is lecturer in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Birmingham City University.


Dr Robert A Allen is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Defence Management and Leadership (CDS, Shrivenham Campus) and Deputy Director of Masterships in Management and Leadership (School of Management, Bedford).

Dr Allen holds a PhD and Master’s of Science from the University of South Wales. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. Prior to joining Cranfield he was Academic Lead for Procurement and Supply Chain at the University of Gloucestershire.

He entered academia from the UK Ministry of Defence where he served in various posts in the UK and Germany over a 24-year period.  

Claire Clement, Visiting Staff, Business Research

Claire Clement is a cloud evangelist who has worked for and with global enterprises on business transformation programmes.  

Her research explores future professional work alongside technological change such as artificial intelligence, digitalisation and automation.  

Dr Naveen Madhavan, visiting prof, Business Research Group

Dr Naveen Madhavan is a Senior Product Specialist (Pathology) at the NHS Wales Informatics Service, an organisation that provides over 70 national healthcare systems and services to the NHS in Wales. 

His research has focused on user perceptions of the value of information systems, particularly clinical information systems used in healthcare. 

The research approach has involved a synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data using factor analysis and multiple regression analysis to identify key system-related value-attributes that are essential to clinical users. These findings have been published at an international conference and the magazine of the British Computer Society (Chartered Institute of IT).

Steve Robinson, visiting staff, Business Research

Steve Robinson is Head of Commissioning and Procurement at Cardiff Council and has expertise in procurement, project and change management and management accountancy. Steve led the adoption and implementation of category management within the Council delivering a step-change in procurement performance. 

Research students

Lilong Zhang, MPhil/PhD

Thesis title: Exporting barriers facing small and medium sized enterprises in china

Supervisors: Dr Rami Djebarni; Paul Peachey

Martin Njihia, MPhil/PhD

Thesis title: Dynamic capabilities and competitive survival: redirecting strategy from resource dependence to capability confidence within the aviation sector

Supervisors: Professor Hefin Rowlands; Professor Gareth White

Lara Audu, MPhil/PhD

Thesis title: Factors that influence the development of public procurement policy in Nigeria

Supervisors: Professor Hefin Rowlands; Dr Ama Eyo, Bangor University

Azley Abd Razak, PhD by Publication

Thesis title: the triple helix model of innovation 

Supervisors: Professor Gareth White; Dr Simon Thomas

Emison Chitsa, DBA

Thesis title: Investigation Aviation Cyber-Security and Cyber-Resilience Management Challenges and Countermeasure on security flaws and vulnerabilities about unintelligible information operations systems impeding delays and economic development

Supervisor: Professor Gareth White

Florian Tobias, DBA

Thesis title: Business model innovation based on software robotics for mobile network operators

Supervisors: Professor Hefin Rowlands; Professor Thomas Peisl (Munich University of Applied Sciences)

Wolfgang Ertl, DBA

Thesis title: How does the strategic human resource management process has to change during the transit into smart industry

Supervisors: Professor Hefin Rowlands; Professor Dominik Hammer, Munich University

Gwyn Mapp, DBA

Thesis title: ptread – model refinement and well-being diagnostic tool development.

Supervisor: Professor Gareth White

Melanie Wilkey, DBA

Thesis title: Exploration into the implications for leaders of impostor phenomenon amongst employees.

Supervisor: Professor Gareth White

Martin Reina, DBA

Thesis title: Global innovation network: the influence of knowledge management in the co-creation and co-innovation based on knowledge transfer between innovation networks.

Supervisor: Professor Gareth White

Christian Schneider, DBA

Thesis title: Dynamic capabilities – agile innovation in organisational design

Supervisor: Professor Hefin Rowlands, Dr Christian Greiner, Munich University of Applied Sciences 

Matthew Stolzenberg, DBA

Thesis title: Understanding the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on UK manufacturing SME and identifying how it can prepare for and implement change.

Supervisor: Professor Hefin Rowlands, Andre Clark 

Ian Lyne, DBA

Thesis title: towards anticipatory urbanism: the development of theory in anticipatory dynamics and assessment of futures awareness in cities for the development of a framework of capabilities for the application of urban corporate/strategic 1 foresight

Supervisor: Professor Hefin Rowlands; Dr Louise-Jayne Edwards

Martin Crilly, DBA

Thesis title: information warfare services

Supervisor: Professor Gareth White

Lee Morgan, DBA

Thesis title: what are the important questions from the patient’s perspective that need to be answered to inform decision-making when accessing elective healthcare services and is this information readily available to the patient?

Supervisors: Professor Gareth White; Dr Gina Dolan

Christine Owen, DBA 

Thesis title: value based health care; an empirical study of requirements and components for implementation at organisational level in Welsh healthcare systems

Supervisors: Professor Gareth White; Dr Caryn Cook