Digital twins can give manufacturers the flexibility and agility they need to build truly resilient supply chains. But are they ready to implement it?
How can I guarantee my suppliers are functioning? How can I liaise with my factories? How can I guarantee access to facilities, and procure essential materials and parts? Unsurprisingly, questions around supply chain security and resilience are at the forefront of the minds of manufacturers looking to deal with the disruption dealt by the global pandemic.
Digital twins – known as virtual twins when data is communicated via a scientifically accurate 3D model – can offer constructive answers to these questions. Creating a virtual version of the entire product lifecycle, from procurement and planning to tracking and distribution, enables a business to simulate and test the performance of products and processes before doing so in the real-world. By combining real-time operational insights with cloud-based collaboration across the value chain, logistical obstacles can be identified and prepared for, waste can be reduced, and greater flexibility developed.
In this era of extreme disruption, where demand for resources and assets across multiple industries has dramatically shifted, digital twins can help businesses identify shortfalls or surges ahead of time and adjust their activity to better accommodate these changes.
For example, for manufacturers making vital PPE equipment, digital twins can be used to not only optimize virtual product design but enable them to model and simulate the impact of spikes in demand on their operations, improve supply chain resilience and predict potential logistical hurdles.
And when it comes to successfully navigating a competitive and challenging post-pandemic landscape, those business who can adapt quickly and transform their supply chains and facilities to meet the new normal will thrive. Digital twin software, with its ability to collate and represent data from a diverse set of systems and stakeholders and turn it into actionable insights, can be a key tool in achieving this transformation.
However, despite the business continuity benefits, effective implementation of digital twin technology continues to lag. In a survey of more than 25 engineers carried out by Dassault Systèmes in partnership with engineering.com, only 14% of respondents indicated that they were currently using digital twins, and 65% reported that they were unprepared to launch them.
There are a number of reasons for this shortfall. One is the lack of effective documentation to map and trace the original product requirements to the final features. Another is the failure to collect the necessary data needed to fuel digital twin systems – particularly incorporating GD&T (geometric dimensioning and tolerancing) data. The more detail that is included, the more realistic the final product will be.
There is, finally, a more general lack of awareness around the range of benefits that digital twins can provide, and a skepticism about their ability to provide them, leading decision-makers to disregard their implementation entirely.
Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform can help engineers overcome these concerns, providing an easy-to-use scalable, cloud-based software that helps you develop the virtual twin solution, the 3DEXPERIENCE Twin, for your specific needs and requirements. And, ultimately, giving key decision-makers the insight and confidence to rapidly and effectively respond to an ever-changing business landscape.
Want to explore what is the best solution for your company? Speak to one of our experts to tailor it to your specific needs.