Have you wondered how digital twins can be scaled up for use in complex supply chain environments? The complexity of managing a supply chain system using digital twins requires a set of rules. A framework is needed to monitor digital assets in a similar manner as physical assets are managed. This article looks at how a framework can help realize the benefits of digital twins in a complex supply chain for all stakeholders.
In a complex supply chain environment, the flow of information to digital twins extends over a product’s lifecycle, including traditional pre-sales manufacturing and after-sale, including:
- Transfer of ownership of the physical and in turn digital asset
- Continuity of service when an asset is transferred across owners
- Data flow from a digital twin to the different actors in the supply chain
- Data flow from a digital twin depending on the role of the stakeholders
- Building of a larger physical and digital twin system from a smaller one
- Definition of business processes for a digital twin over its lifetime
- Synchronizing physical and digital twin system over their lifetimes
When ownership is transferred from one owner to another, these key questions arise:
- Who created the digital twin?
- How is the digital twin transferred when a physical twin is sold?
- How do you handle the continuity of service and the data flow of the digital twin to switch to a new owner?
- How do you handle the data flow requirements of the various stakeholders who use the physical/digital twin, e.g., a repair company needs to access to data points as does a product’s an owner?
- How do you keep the digital and physical twins in synch over a lifetime?
In virtual ownership, a stakeholder owns digital assets. Virtual ownership is best managed by a framework called identity, process, communication, and transaction (IPCT). Identity (of organizations, people, things) is important for the digital twin and its data. By process, we give digital stakeholders a way to use data for interactions and transactions between them. Communication is an important messaging service that enables transactions and processes between different digital and physical stakeholders.
As digital systems mature, data ownership will become a critical part of the value model. In the future, data, and its use, will need to be monetized for the owner who generates data. Without a framework of virtual ownership and IPCT, regulating the use and benefits of digital twins can be difficult.
Virtual ownership establishes clear rules for data and digital twin ownership and an IPCT framework establishes rules for interactions between stakeholders and digital twins. For digital twins to be used for 95% of a product’s supply chain and lifecycle, a framework of virtual ownership based on identity, processes, communication, and transactions is a must have.
About the Author
CEO and Founder, GEOOWN Consulting