A prominent trend in manufacturing and supply chain management technology is one revolving around the implementation of a digital supply chain twin. The leading analyst firm, Gartner, describes a digital supply chain twin as “a digital representation of the physical – often multi enterprise – supply chain. It is the basis for local and end-to-end (E2E) decision making that ensures that all decisions are aligned horizontally and vertically throughout the supply chain.” Yet despite only recently appearing as an emerging technology, it’s not exactly a new concept.
The desire to build a digital twin in supply chains has actually been around for quite some time. And many companies have successfully been able to replicate aspects of their agile supply chain using supply chain network design and modeling tools. However, these models have historically relied on datasets around freight routes and rates, regional labor costs, and demand signals within a particular demographic or geography. These tools have helped companies determine what to make and where to make it. But it’s only a small piece of the puzzle.
So with that in mind, the digital twin has actually been relevant since the invention of the barcode and has mostly lived in spreadsheets. Only it’s a fraternal twin, not the identical one that you really want. You have all the exact pieces laying around like buckets of mixed legos, and when it comes to indirect materials, they’re literally in bins across your network storerooms. You have the parts and the corresponding data, but now you need to build your digital identical twin.
Identifying the right digital twin technology for your business
Many vendors or third-party project teams will tell you this requires a complete overhaul of your tech stack, master data governance, and business processes. But what if there’s an easier way? What if there was a purpose-built solution that you could plug into your existing system and watch it put the pieces together right before your eyes? For indirect materials and inventory management, this solution exists.
And the solution doesn’t require data changes, or system overhauls. It lets you adjust processes on your schedule, your terms, under your guidance, all to do what’s best for your business, not your vendor’s. It’s easy to say “this sounds too good to be true.” But truthfully, it’s more realistic than you think. But you need to start somewhere, and indirect materials like MRO is where you can lay the foundation for your digital twin. Having a strong foundation allows for scalability and maturity into other areas of your business.
Start your digital twin transformation with your MRO supply ecosystem
It’s always best to optimize the four walls first, and achieve material truth across your organization and its internal networks between sister facilities. This then allows you to connect to supplier data in order to streamline your sourcing processes and move closer to a state of autonomous procurement.
By building your digital twin for materials management, lacking visibility across your enterprise supply network officially becomes a thing of the past. You learn what duplicate materials exist, where shortages lie, and what materials can be transferred or shared across your enterprise, allowing you to achieve the perfect balance of working capital and risk.
It’s time to move your materials data out of spreadsheets and ERP tables and into a purpose-built solution designed to build the identical digital twin your organization needs to have the right materials in the right place at the right time.
Get a firsthand look at ways to optimize your digital networks for indirect materials today.