"Visibility is the key to supply chain excellence" is a mantra among logistics professionals. Visibility in the supply chain is the data that describes the activity that is occurring. But seeing what is happening is not enough, that visibility needs to be turned into actionable insights, and those insights into implemented solutions. And then, to close the loop on improvement and innovation initiatives, implemented solutions need to be measured to ensure that they have had the predicted benefits.
So how best to do this? The legacy approach involved analyzing and collating various spreadsheets, but supply chains are complicated, nuanced structures, with activities and costs occurring in different ways at different times and at different levels. Spreadsheets are just not capable of rendering these extremely complex systems.
The current approach has therefore evolved to model-based engineering using advanced simulation and optimization software. While these tools can render complex systems in great detail and with great precision, a limitation is how they are being used. The classic approach is static and linear ─ mathematical models are constructed to represent some portion of the supply chain, various changes are imposed on the model to project different alternative states, and the tradeoffs (in cost, responsiveness, carbon, etc.) are evaluated in order to come to a decision regarding change. The problem with this approach is that supply chains and the environment in which they operate are extremely dynamic. Once you begin construction on a model, the physical structure it represents begins to change, and the model’s accuracy and usefulness begin to deteriorate.
That brings us to the best-in-class approach – digital twin technology. You may be aware that Gartner has identified digital twin technology as a top ten strategic technology trend (or the desired outcome of one) in each of the last three years; for good reason. Digital Twin technology solves the obsolescence problem – keeping models synchronized with the real-world supply chain – allowing you to fully understand what is currently happening, explore what will happen as change is introduced, and then measure the execution of new supply chain designs once your studies are implemented.
Digital twin technology is revolutionizing supply chain management. And Expeditors’ Supply Chain Solutions group has created a novel approach to digital twin technology, offering it as a service without the need for the potentially massive investments in tools, talent, and process necessary to support internal digital twin competencies. So what are you waiting for? Learn more on how our Living Model Service can help you leverage visibility to transform your supply chain with confidence.