Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Role of the manufacturing hub in supply chain management, and its effectiveness

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The manufacturing hub is part of NNB’s arrangements for supply chain management.  The hub exists to coordinate various control and oversight activities required by NNB for equipment supplied to it. These activities contribute to nuclear safety.

The purpose of the intervention was to understand what the hub is intended to do, both in principle and in practice; and to understand their current arrangements and the plans for enhancing the hub as part of their transformation plan.

Intervention Carried Out by ONR

ONR held a discussion around the hub’s purpose, organisation, operation and development led by NNB with contributions from other key parties required the deliver the capability. Two case studies of live contracts were provided to demonstrate the processes that the hub is intended to coordinate, and drew out how management of the contracts informed development of the hub’s arrangements.

ONR also engaged with NNB’s Internal Nuclear Assurance function, who had carried out an inspection of the hub’s arrangements separately during the previous week.

Key Findings, Inspector's Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made

There is a clear strategic need for the development of the hub approach, to effectively coordinate and control various oversight and management activities required by NNB for the equipment supplied, carried out by various parties associated with the hub.

Since January 2019, there has been effective leadership to set up the hub, to articulate its purpose, philosophy and ways of working, and to document them. There is a coherent transformation plan to progress that work and sponsorship from senior managers within NNB.

The case studies provided evidence that NNB was managing contracts through the various parties in the supply chain, and that the hub approach and experience had been used to inform the development of the hub, and could be adopted and applied to contracts already underway.

The hub is in an early phase of development. It is not yet fully functional. There is evidence of ongoing leadership, resources and support from the NNB senior team for the hub to become embedded and effective during the forthcoming period when more equipment will be supplied to the site.

As part of this intervention we interviewed representatives of NNB’s Independent Nuclear Assurance function, who had conducted an intervention on the Hub. The outcome did provide increased confidence in the capability of this function that was identifying similar findings and observations as the ONR intervention. 

Conclusion of Intervention

Overall, we acknowledge the manufacturing hub is still under development and that when it becomes fully functional it is likely to provide NNB with the appropriate capability to effectively coordinate the various control and oversight activities required by NNB for equipment supplied to it, and therefore secure that aspect of nuclear safety management.

This intervention occurred towards the end of the development phase of the hub and whilst a transformation plan was underway. When the hub becomes fully functional, a follow up inspection, in conjunction with Internal Nuclear Assurance of NNB, should be undertaken, around Q1 2020.

In the intervening period, ONR will use the routine liaison meetings to monitor progress and a Level 4 ONR issue has been raised for this purpose entitled Monitoring progress by NNB in developing the functionality of the manufacturing hub for surveillance of equipment supply.