What Do We Mean by a Supply Chain R&D Gap?

Synthesis Partners’ supply chain assessments start with a customized focus on R&D Gaps for VTO. Our specific definition of supply chain gaps, and our conversations with sources, flows from this starting point. We define an R&D gap in the North American (NA) supply chain as a constraint or bottleneck that significantly limits the growth of technology development or manufacturing capacity. Such gaps are based on factors that are largely under the control of advanced manufacturing, R&D and technology investment organizations (i.e., the gaps are susceptible to be addressed by targeted technology or manufacturing process development investments, factors or collaborations). Our focus is not on external market factors (e.g., demand weakness, currency valuation, trade agreements or foreign government investments) – even though these are significant variables in NA supply chain developments. For example, in the context of our VTO-sponsored work a gap may be a technology performance limitation or an engineering design issue that can be addressed by NA suppliers with specific research, development, testing and engineering (RDT&E) assistance. Solutions that can boost the NA supply chain’s capacity, increase the competitiveness of American firms and accelerate high-value US job creation are of high interest. Our research identifies concrete opportunities for US-based R&D and technology investment organizations to accelerate the development of specific technologies, processes or systems needed to catalyze NA renewable energy supply chains.