When the UK stood in the face of a rapidly escalating COVID-19 outbreak and thousands of people were being admitted to hospitals daily, the British Government feared an impending shortage of machines vital for treating critically ill patients. So, the UK Prime Minister called on industry to manufacture new ventilators to help meet the unprecedented demand.

Responding to the call for assistance, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult CEO, Dick Elsy, pulled numerous leading aerospace, automotive and engineering businesses - including Smiths Group, Penlon, Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace, McLaren, DHL and Accenture – together to form the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium.

Pooling skills and cross-industry expertise, the consortium evaluated ventilator designs, choosing ones by Smiths Group and Penlon to produce and deliver to hospitals nationwide.

What Accenture did

Given our long-standing relationship with Rolls-Royce and close collaboration with companies involved with UK Made Smarter, Accenture was asked to oversee and support execution of the supply chain for the Smiths Group ventilators.

Managing the ordering process, our teams are helping to source & stock the right amount of product at the various assembly locations. Rolls-Royce identified more than 100 suppliers, providing the 292 unique parts, and our role is to precisely coordinate the order and shipment of some 3.4million parts.

Working with Avanade, our joint venture with Microsoft, we deployed and now support an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP), Dynamics365, and implemented a Procure-to-Pay accounts cycle. With the supply chain control tower, enabled by PowerBI and E2Open software, Accenture provides oversight and governance from start to finish.

People and culture

Addressing a potentially critical shortage in supply of ventilators in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, VentilatorChallengeUK is a direct response to a global humanitarian health crisis.
Given the urgency, Accenture dedicated a team to help resolve the UK’s ventilator supply shortage. We are ensuring all actions are completed swiftly and are upholding efficient practices including making all payments in a timely manner.

Every morning and evening, we report into Government COVID-19 meetings to update them on the supply chain and production progress. Plus, co-lead twice daily governance meets with the consortium members.

RELATED: VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium

Value delivered

Just two days after being asked for assistance, Accenture started issuing new purchase orders. Within ten days, Accenture and Avanade had designed the supply chain processes, establishing protocols for the flow of information, product and payments across more than 100 organisations globally. And after five weeks, we had 100% of the parts needed to build the first batch of ventilators.

We quickly set-up a system that orchestrates the movement of all 3.4 million parts to the three different manufacturing locations where they are being assembled. With the control tower, we monitor and manage the process end-to-end, with new digital dashboards showing real-time metrics and providing visibility. A ventilator was built in 47 days through the new additional supply chain team, and the consortium is now working at full speed to deliver the units to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as soon as possible.


days from being asked for assistance, Accenture started issuing new purchase orders.


parts moved to different manufacturing locations.


days for a ventilator to be built through new supply chain team.

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