Business Situation

As tens of thousands of UK residents fell sick at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hundreds were being admitted to hospitals across the country every day. The most seriously ill required ventilators to help them breathe. With only 5,900 ventilators available within the National Health Service (NHS) and a projection that nearly five times that number could be needed in the months ahead, the British government needed a rapid homegrown solution to make up for the global demand cutting off the supply from overseas.

Thousands of leading organisations from the aerospace, automotive, engineering and digital technology industries were brought together – branded as the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium – with a shared goal to manufacture more than 10,000 ventilators in 12 weeks.

“Our clients often say we’re able to do the impossible. At the outset, this seemed impossible, but we were up for the challenge.”

Thomas Nall Global Manufacturing Lead, Avanade


Avanade quickly dispatched a team from across Europe and India to help deliver multiple digital solutions to support the supply chain and ventilator production. We implemented Industry 4.0 technologies, including business applications, data analytics, AI and mixed reality for:

  • Rapid supply chain management: A Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution allows Consortium members to order, track, receive and pay for all ventilator components.
  • Ventilator assembly line training via mixed/extended reality (XR): Digitised ventilator blueprints and assembly guides, along with Microsoft HoloLens 2, provided an XR training experience for 3,500 assembly line workers from multiple companies.
  • Control tower dashboarding: A unified, control tower-like dashboard using Microsoft Power BI provides a single source of truth and analytics for ventilator production.


Over the course of the initiative, 15 million parts from 88 global suppliers flowed through the Dynamics 365 supply chain solution, and the Consortium produced 13,437 ventilators. That’s 20 years’ worth of typical ventilator production in just 12 weeks. With ventilators available to those who need them, the NHS now has the critical equipment needed to continue its fight against COVID-19.

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