October 2021 | Commentary | Checking In

Twinning Your Supply Chain from Google

Tags: E-commerce, Cloud Computing, Technology

Keith Biondo is the publisher of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Google once again is helping to democratize business solutions that were previously available only to the Fortune 1000. Its two new supply chain management solutions—Supply Chain Twin and Supply Chain Pulse—provide a powerful business tool for small and mid-size enterprises.

"Siloed and incomplete data is limiting the visibility companies have into their supply chains," says Hans Thalbauer, managing director of supply chain and logistics at Google Cloud. "The Supply Chain Twin enables customers to gain deeper insights into their operations, helping them optimize supply chain functions from sourcing and planning to distribution and logistics."

Digital twinning in manufacturing was an advancement beyond the initial wire frames to solid 3-dimensional representations or a "digital twin" of the product. It was, and still is, an effective manufacturing tool for product development, improvements, or "what-if" scenarios.

Five years ago, twinning evolved beyond products to processes—including creating digital representations that model running supply chain operations. That evolution required sophisticated and expensive hardware and software to manage the number of moving variables in supply chain operations, and the added complexity of adding a 4th dimension (time) to the process.

The expense and investment was worth it to those that could afford it because having a twin of your business operation gives you the ability to stress test your supply chain in advance of any imaginable disruption. You also get a way to suss out incremental improvements without disrupting your current running operations.

The pain of pandemic disruption, e-commerce growth, consumption explosion, supply shortfalls, ghosted workforces, and cost and scarcity of transport lift has motivated many to explore twinning their supply chains, and now, thanks to Google, they can afford it.

More companies will soon be able to build digital supply chain twins by assembling and organizing data to get a complete view of their suppliers, inventories, weather and more. Supply Chain Twin is partnered with the Google Supply Chain Pulse module. Used together with Twin Pulse, users get live dashboards, analytics, alerts, and collaboration connections in Google Workspace.

Gaining greater insight and optimizing functions is not all this offering will do. Allowing you to stress your operations and come up with preemptive plans and workarounds can mean the difference between shutting down and survival.






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