Aug 28, 2020

Digitalising the Supply Chain: The Digital Twin

digital twins supply chain
iot supply chain
Supply Chain Technology
Supply Chain Management
Emily Cook
3 min
digital twins supply chain factory smart factory technology
We take a closer look at how digital twins can be an important breakthrough for the supply chain...

Digital twins have been a talked about topic for the past years but they are often mentioned last on a list of important technologies assisting in digital transformation. This could be due to a plethora of reasons: hard to integrate, not enough knowledge, other technology is more beneficial. We breakdown how digital twins could hugely impact the supply chain and become.

Firstly, digital twins are a digital replica of physical assets, systems, processes and devices. The twins are input with real-world data which allows them to simulate the physical object in real time, offering insights into performance and potential errors. 

Digital twins work closely alongside other high-level technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT (Internet of Things). As everything is digital, IoT plays an important role in keeping all systems connected with data sensors that fuel the digital twins with information in order to run the simulation.

Digital Twins in the Supply Chain

In the current pandemic, supply chain management has become increasingly important and the supply chain has been hugely interrupted. This is due to the multiple layers of the supply chain and the amount of partners that acquire, produce or deliver a product of service.

Digital twin technology has been considered a beneficial way of understanding and managing risk. The complex, data-driven systems can be tweaked and redesigned at will, allowing businesses to better understand how different aspects of the supply chain interact. It can detect points where issues or disruptions are possible and where different plans or tools can be implemented. By using digital replicas, businesses can plan for potential disruptions within the supply chain and overall improve the structure, ultimately increasing reliability, performance and efficiency.

Uses of Digital Twins in the Supply Chain

Although digital twins are considered new technologies as part of digital transformation, some companies have already begun implementing them. 


Global logistics company, DHL, have created a digital twin warehouse used for handling Tetra Pak products. The warehouse is one of the biggest Tetra Pak warehouses worldwide and remains the first smart warehouse as a digital twin for DHL in the Asia-Pacific region. The digital twin is supplied with real-time data from the physical warehouse in Singapore and continually tracks performance to identify optimal storage solutions.


Consumer-goods powerhouse, Unilever have built virtual versions of its physical factories with the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The digital twin was designed to track physical logistic conditions and allow testing of operational changes. Unilever is working with Microsoft Corporation to create virtual versions of over 300 global plants. 

In 2018, the two companies worked together to make a digital twin of a facility in Brazil that makes products such as Dove soap and ice cream. The system took roughly 3-4 weeks to make and was used to set parameters for standards such as the temperature that the soap is produced before being cut into bars

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Jun 18, 2021

New speakers announced for Procurement & Supply Chain Live

2 min
Two leading executives join the lineup for this September’s inaugural supply chain and procurement live event, Procurement & Supply Chain Live

Two leading executives in supply chain transformation have been confirmed for this year's Procurement & Supply Chain Live event. 

Procurement & Supply Chain Live is the perfect opportunity to hear from prominent executives at the world’s leading procurement and supply chain businesses. The event will be streamed live from Tobacco Dock, London via the leading networking platform Brella.

CLICK HERE to sign up for Procurement & Supply Chain Live today and enjoy special early bird rates

The three-day show, running 28-30 September 2021, is an essential deep dive into the industry, with influential speakers sharing insights and strategies from their organisations, group roundtable discussions, and fireside chats. 

We take a look at the latest additions to the already amazing lineup of speakers announced so far, and what they will bring to the flagship event.

Shaun Plunkett 

VP Global Supply Chain at Macmillan Education Ltd

Shaun Plunkett

Shaun Plunkett has over 30 years of supply chain leadership experience in FMCG, entertainment and media sectors, supporting multi-billion euro businesses including Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music, Harper Collins and Associated British Foods. He has a track record of successfully delivering transformational change coupled with award winning operating models and developing and coaching global teams. Plunkett says that challenging the status quo is at the heart of what drives him on a daily basis - and encouraging others to continuously push the boundaries. 

Read more about Plunkett’s involvement in Macmillan Education’s supply chain transformation HERE

Vikram Singla

Digital Transformation Lead, Oracle UK and Board Member, CILT at Macmillan Education Ltd

Vikram Singla

Vikram Singla is digital transformation director at Oracle, UK. He helps supply chain and finance business leaders leverage technology to deliver meaningful business outcomes for their organisations. He also serves on the board if CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) – UK and is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at Anglian Ruskin University. Singla has more than 25 years’ experience in the technology sector, and in global supply chain transformation, including deploying business transformation programmes for Fortune 500 firms. In his spare time, Singla is a passionate brand ambassador for Cancer Research.


Plunkett and Singla join a growing line-up of speakers, including: Sheri R. Hinish, IBM; Robert Copeland, G4S; Daniel Weise, BCG; Mark Bromley, Mastercard; David Loseby, Rolls Royce; and Ninian Wilson, Vodafone Procurement Company. 

CLICK HERE to secure your place at Procurement & Supply Chain Live

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