Tomas Harrington


  • 1.30 Thomas Paine Study Centre

Personal profile


Dr Tomás Harrington is Associate Professor in Digitalisation and Operations Management within the Innovation, Technology and Operations Management Group at Norwich Business School. Prior to joining the Faculty of Social Sciences at UEA in August 2017, Tomás spent eight years at the University of Cambridge, Institute for Manufacturing (IfM).

His research focuses on industrial systems transformation, enabled by the adoption of advanced manufacturing and digital technologies. In this domain, he has co-developed a number of successful grant proposals and led a series of research workpackages at Cambridge, for example: CMAC EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation - £6 million initial funding (2011-2017); CMAC Future Manufacturing Research Hub - £10 million initial funding (2017-2021); ReMediES BIS Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative in Reconfiguring Medicines E2E Supply - £11 million initial funding (2014-2018); EIT Food European Institute of Innovation and Technology Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) in Food - access to €400 million total funding (2016-2023). Industry matched funding for these research programmes is estimated to be > £150 million.  

At UEA, Tomás continues to collaborate with the University of Cambridge as a Co-Investigator on TIGR2ESS: Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies, supported by the BBSRC/RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) in 'Growing Research Capability to meet the challenges faced by developing countries' - £7.8 million initial funding (2017-2021).

In terms of practice outputs based on his research, he has been significantly involved in consultancy projects with leading multinational companies and SMEs, and developed the multi-organisational network (MON) suite of management tools that contributed to the University of Cambridge’s REF 2014 impact case studies submission on 'Manufacturing Networks'.

Previous senior roles in industry have encompassed new product development, process design, and big data analytics - most recently with Intel Corporation. As a Senior Design Engineer at Littelfuse Inc. (formerly a GE business unit) he conceived the MHSTM series of electronic components for mobile devices, and led multi-disciplinary project team activities in going from concept development and manufacturing scale-up, to market launch and sales exceeding 500 million units within 2 years. At Intel Corporation, Tomás also led a series of large-scale design and process engineering programmes, resulting in $52 million cost savings in capital equipment investment.

He holds Bachelor’s and PhD degrees (Chemistry), and an MBA (distinction) for which he received a Chartered Management Institute Award in 2008. 

Tomás serves as Associate Editor for the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management and the International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management

Key Research Interests

Digitalisation and next-generation supply networks

My research examines radical transformation and the emergence of new types of supply network.  A common thread here is a need to connect, network and collaborate across the supply network, whether through enterprise-wide IT integration at one end of the spectrum or by targeting engagement with supply network partners and customers at the other.

Four key – and connected – areas for focus have emerged from my research: in developing a ‘cleverer together’ philosophy; designing more agile and customer-focused supply chains; addressing the environmental impact of supply network activities; and exploiting the potential of 'Digitalisation'.

*Harrington TS, Joglekar NR, Srai JS, (2018) ‘Digitalisation of Development and Supply Networks: Sequential and Platform-Driven Innovations’, SSRN Working paper, August 25. Available at SSRN: 

*Harrington TS, Burge TA (2017) ‘Connecting digital pharma and e-healthcare value networks through product-service design: a conceptual model’, Int. J. Electronic Healthcare. Vol. 10, Nos. 1/2, pp. 96–129. DOI: 10.1504/IJEH.2018.10013369

*Expert contributor to 'Next generation supply chains: making the right decisions about digitalisation', an executive briefing by the Centre for International Manufacturing, at the University of Cambridge.


Multi-Organisational Networks

In recent years, many global manufacturers have added a service dimension to their business model and thereby introduced new challenges for network design. These product-service supply networks often involve multiple ‘primes’ that need to be highly integrated to enable effective product-service delivery. In some cases, product-service activities may take place on a single customer site, which will require a shared ‘concept of operations’ to be established for the participating organisations. In many cases, service delivery is needed at the point-of-use, which can mean multiple, geographically dispersed locations all requiring differentiated location roles for lead sites and local support operations.

My research in this area focuses on new strategic approaches to help configure and integrate these extended product-service networks.

* Harrington TS, Srai JS (2016) ‘Designing a ‘concept of operations’ architecture for next-generation multi-organisational service networks’, AI and Society: J. Knowledge, Culture and Communication. DOI: 10.1007/s00146-016-0664-5

*Harrington TS, Srai JS, Kumar M (2019) ‘Knowledge management in SMEs and
MNCs: Matching knowledge mobility mechanisms to supply network configuration profiles
’, Production Planning and Control. Vol. 30, No. 10-12, pp. 971-994. DOI: 10.1080/09537287.2019.1582103




Industrial Systems Mapping: nascent and emerging supply networks

Advances in process and information technologies have changed the physical and information characteristics of components and products, and viable production economies of scale. Furthermore, the emergence of new specialised companies fulfilling key research, production or service roles has changed industry structure and operations, and the conventional model of value creation.

My research explores different ‘modes’ and 'stages' of supply network emergence that may exist in the process of technology commercialisation, and examines how new and existing actors and enterprises design and re-configure their emerging and legacy networks.

* Harrington TS, Phillips MA, Srai JS (2017) ‘Reconfiguring global pharmaceutical value networks through targeted technology interventions’, Int. J. Production Research. DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2016.1221541

* Harrington TS, Srai JS (2017) ‘Understanding stages of supply network emergence in technology commercialisation’, Int. J. Manufacturing Technology and Management. DOI: 10.1504/IJMTM.2016.10000001

* Srai JS, Harrington TS, Tiwari MK (2016) ‘Characteristics of redistributed manufacturing systems: a comparative study of emerging industry supply networks’, Int. J. Production Research. DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2016.1214765



Teaching Interests

 UG Teaching Responsibilities 2019-2020

  • Operations Strategy and Management (NBS-5010Y)
  • Project Management (NBS-6018Y)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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