Digital Twinning: Helping Supply Chains Build Resilience


The emergence of Digital Twinning has opened up the ground-breaking capabilities to plan, track and analyse scenarios in the digital world in advance of incorporating them into supply chains.

What Is Digital Twinning?

As one of the technologies to emerge from the continuously evolving fourth industrial revolution, there is an increasing focus on Digital Twinning fuelled by the relentless progress of the Internet of Things (IoT). More than just blueprints, schematics or pictures, Digital Twinning is the process of creating virtual representations of elements and the dynamics of how physical assets operate in real life.

Once mapped, users can manipulate these assets in the digital world to identify how to best optimise supply chains, maximise efficiencies and plan for real-life scenarios through simulations. In day to day operations, live data from sources such as WMS systems and IoT sensors can feed into the digital twin, creating a visual representation of a live operation, this allows users to test and analyse scenarios as they happen and plan ahead with predictive analytics.

The Engineering, Manufacturing and Automotive sectors have been leading the way in leveraging Digital Twins for a number of years, but yet it is only recently, along with the rise of machine learning and advanced analytics, that Digital Twinning has begun appearing within supply chains.

In an industry that is bound by customers continuously tightening their belts, supply chain companies have struggled to justify the significant investment costs of digital twinning technology that is still in its relative infancy. However in a sector that has to continuously innovate and explore new efficiency measures as a result, it is a case of when and not if digital twinning will work its way into the mainstream. Companies that wait risk falling behind the curve and playing catch-up in the years to come.

Digital Twinning at Unipart Logistics
“At Unipart, our strength is that ‘The Unipart Way’ has created a culture that is curious, receptive and keen to embrace change, evidenced by the 25,000+ problem-solving circles that are run across the business every year.”
John M. Neill, Unipart Group CEO and Chairman

Unipart’s digital and transformation agendas are at the forefront of ‘The Unipart Way’, and as such, Unipart is continuing to invest in digital twinning technologies.

With state-of-the-art scanning technology; 3D modelling tools; augmented, mixed and virtual reality applications; Unipart has been creating digital twins of sites and physical assets in the virtual world across the country.

Through the innovative combination of these tools, Unipart can both visualise and manipulate assets, layouts and processes to maximise efficiency for customers and gather insight from the data it generates through its advanced data science team. Customers can then make proactive decisions to best manage elements of their supply chain when deployed in live situations based on the recommendations that Unipart has provided.

Through digital twinning, Unipart provides complete testing and ‘What If’ risk analysis of these virtual supply chains so that customers are prepared for all eventualities and can ensure business continuity.

This process is just one of the ways that Unipart:

  • Identify bottleneck points in supply chains
  • Analyse resourcing requirements
  • Complete situation analysis for business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Design and optimise the performance of infrastructure projects and operational layouts
  • Optimise routes, delivery networks and supply chain resilience with predictive analytics and AI capability
  • Identify and eradicate errors throughout all steps of the supply chain
  • Identify significant cost savings and safety improvements
  • Create virtual experiences and tours mitigating risks relating to the Covid-19 pandemic

If you would like to learn more about ways to develop and future-proof your supply chain, read more on our Supply Chain Insights page.

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