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Digital twins – ensuring high ROI on costly supply chain transformations


Do you like war movies? I’m not a huge fan, but in every one I’ve been made to sit through, the general listens as his officers move models of troops and tanks around a mock-up of the battlefield to illustrate different strategies and potential outcomes before going into battle.

It’s almost a cliché, but it got me thinking about how the battlefield mock-up – and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – enables commanding officers to make scenario-based assessments using information from the field to deliver smart and swift victories.

That’s fine – I hear you say – but how does this apply to the supply chain?

Digital twins – real process change with minimal disruption

We make better decisions when:

  • There is reliable data available
  • It’s possible to test our ideas
  • Possible scenarios can be represented visually.

Before the digital age, people used physical models to replicate larger physical spaces in order to strategize and plan across their supply chain. However, leveraging a digital twin approach enables physical artifacts to be used within a digital environment.

In short, the digital twin drives transformation efficiency by providing you with platforms and technologies that simulate the impact of process change in your supply chain – in a safe, secure, digitally-isolated, environment ­– through real-time scenario modelling generated in parallel with live supply chain operations.

This enables the digital twin to act as your organization’s battlefield mock-up, leveraging a data-driven approach to:

  • Simulate different scenario outcomes within your supply chain
  • Avoid bottlenecks by leveraging better problem prediction capabilities
  • Increase efficiency through improved data processing,
  • Reduce downtime.

Digital twins offer you all this without the risk of losing time or money caused by a variety of costly, unplanned business disruptions that may or may not work and help you transition to – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise.

Less problems, better ops, and data-driven decisions

The digital twin can be leveraged to optimize supply chain operations in a number of ways. Below, is a just a small taste of what digital twins can actually achieve. They can:

  • Locate and eliminate bottlenecks in the master data creation process
  • Track order management operational flows from end-to-end thereby understanding and validating whether all possible exceptions are compliant and justified
  • Ensure logistics operations are also no longer driven by assumption-based decision-making
  • Compare data within logistics operations to identify the root of a problem, and leverage risk visualization capabilities to understand whether certain initiatives make business sense.

Therefore, it is easy to see how the digital twin is founded on the ideas of high quality and data mining capabilities, which are also available 24/7. This means that every possible supply chain variable and alternative process flow can be analyzed in an isolated environment whenever you need them to be. All of which combines to ensure that data-driven decision-making becomes the norm across your supply chain – not just a goal to be reached in the near future.

Start lowering your transformation risks today

You may well not be going to war – but making strategic organizational transformation decisions are a key source of risk and pressure. A digital twin lowers both of these and takes a data-driven approach to important and costly supply chain transformation initiatives – ensuring a high return on investment.

In the next blog in this series, we’ll look at the benefits that can be achieved by implementing a digital twin within your supply chain organization, and showcase how Capgemini helped a client to minimize the friction in its order processing.

To learn more about how Capgemini’s Digital Supply Chain practice  can help your organization leverage a digital twin build a resilient, agile, and frictionless supply chain , contact:

Jörg Junghanns  leverages innovation and a strategic and service mindset to help clients transform their supply chain operations into a growth enabler.