Increasingly, companies are utilizing the digital twin concept to create an end-to-end model of their supply chains for more accurate planning and timelier decision-making.
By Sara Pearson Specter
To date, digital twin technology has been most often applied to physical objects—that is, a virtual representation of assets such as machinery, material handling equipment or facilities that enables predictions, planning and forecasting about how the system will work when subjected to different scenarios.
But increasingly, companies are utilizing the digital twin concept to create an end-to-end model of their supply chains for more accurate planning and timelier decision-making. What does this mean, exactly, and how will the technology benefit operations like yours? MHI Solutions posed these questions (among others) to three digital supply chain twin experts to help our readers gain a better understanding of the technology and its anticipated impact on organizations in the years to come.
Q. What is a digital supply chain twin?
In its annual identification of top supply chain technology trends for 2019, Gartner defined a digital supply chain twin as “a digital representation of the relationships between all physical entities of end-to-end supply chain processes—products, customers, markets, distribution centers/warehouses, plants, finance, attributes and weather. They are linked to their real-world counterparts and are used to understand the state of the thing or system in order to optimize operations and respond efficiently to changes.”
Tim Payne, research vice president and lead analyst for supply chain planning technologies at Gartner, further explained that the goal of utilizing a digital supply chain twin is to support and improve the quality of decision-making within the supply chain.
“Planning is essentially one of the core decision-making capabilities for the supply chain,” he explained. “For example, planners think about how much of a given product the company is likely to sell? How much should be made? When should it be made? Where should it be stored? When should it be put into storage or into inventory? All of these questions can be better and more accurately answered with a digital representation of the physical supply chain.”