Why You Need a Supply Chain Digital Twin (And Maybe Even a Triplet)

The Resilient Enterprise | The riskmethods Blog
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August 20, 2019

A supply chain digital twin sounds fancy, but it’s not quite as exotic as you think—and it’s probably a whole lot more valuable than you realize. Are you up to speed on supply chain digital twins? In this blog post, you’ll learn what a supply chain digital twin is, why you need it and how to get it.

by Sam Hall

Here’s a fun fact: I’m a triplet. I’m sure this was a lot for my parents to handle, but for me it was the best—my brothers were the backup I needed, whenever I needed it. Whether it was having built-in friends while on family vacations, lending a hand when one of us needed help or just learning from each other’s mistakes, being a multiple gave me a support system that any person would be very lucky to have.

Well, guess what: The same is true for your supply chain. Just like me, your supply chain needs a sibling. Specifically, a digital twin.

digital-twin

What’s a supply chain digital twin?

A supply chain digital twin is a digital version of your physical supply chain: your suppliers, but also your own assets (like manufacturing facilities, for example), supply paths and more. Your supply chain digital twin is going to provide a visual representation of where your supplies are coming from, where they’re going to and—ideally—any obstacles that are going to prevent them from getting there.

Why do I need a supply chain digital twin?

The ability to visualize your supply chain on a world map, especially for businesses with global suppliers and complex supply chains, is a critical element of maintaining supply chain visibility. Without an understanding of your supply paths, you’re not going to have the necessary insight you need to mitigate problems when they occur. But with the help of a supply chain digital twin, you’re not only going to have the information you need to address issues—you may even be able to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Imagine, for a second, that a major hurricane is in the news. A good supply chain digital twin is going to enable you to see exactly what supply paths will be impacted based on the hurricane’s projected path—so you can take action that will prevent this from becoming a major problem for your business. (By the way: Do you know the 3 things you should be keeping an eye on for hurricane season?)

What’s more—not only can a supply chain digital twin represent your current supply chain, you can also use it as a tool for visualizing changes in your supply base. What if you were using a different supplier, or multiple suppliers? You can use your digital twin to map out these potential supplier switches, and get an understanding of how they affect your supply paths, as well as what kinds of events might impact these new partners.

Now imagine that you could even use functionality within your digital twin to directly contact your suppliers. Maybe you see that a node of your supply chain is suffering from a disruption, and you want to reach out directly to that supplier to find out what’s going on. With the right technology, you can do it.

How do I get a supply chain digital twin?

Here’s the good news: I can help. Not because I’m a triplet—but because that’s my job. So if you have any questions about how to get yourself a supply chain digital twin, and why that’s going to make your supply chain better, I’m the Hall brother you need. Ask away! You can find me at sam.hall@riskmethods.net.

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