Military readiness through supply chain resilience
Disruption has hit defense supply chains hard. With volatility expected to continue, a future of global geopolitical uncertainty requires more military readiness. And more military readiness requires resilient, battlefield ready supply chains across the defense enterprise.
Digital twins are a critical tool in this environment. They can help manage supply chain risk, accelerate reinvention and build resiliency by combining human ingenuity with technologies that fuel end-to-end visibility and AI-powered scenario modeling. Making the most of digital twins involves the entire organization in a deliberate and continuous strategy that aims to set a new performance frontier—Total Enterprise Reinvention.
Our research indicates that the defense community recognizes the applications of digital twins. With the right strategies and resourcing, we believe they can make significant strides in the near team. In some cases, in a matter of months. However, in addition to recognition, there is reluctance about digital twins fueled by common misperceptions and very real barriers.
The war and supply chain problems are now a catalyst. Instead of being like a pet project ‘that would be nice... futuristic digital twin in the factory,’ now it’s an imperative.
While digital twins have been part of the technology landscape for years, they are exponentially more impactful today because they are superpowered by advanced technologies.
Some people think that leading technologies like digital twins only minimally rely on human intervention. Quite the contrary. The value of digital twins is in the combined power of machine learning and human ingenuity to support decision-making. As important as the human side of this human + machine equation is, the defense community is facing awareness deficits, even at leadership levels.
Real-time data is the oxygen for digital twins. Yet some interviewees worry about the quality, volume and complexity of data needed and the time and costs involved in managing it. While some digital twins require a lot of data, defense agencies can build digital twins with the data they have today and evolve models as more data becomes available.
Digital twins deliver more value to the military ecosystem when they extend beyond one organization and integrate with the entire supply chain. However, security concerns can make this difficult to do. Given this and the nascency of digital twin applications in defense supply chains, governance is lagging. The irony? This governance gap only perpetuates fears around security and compliance; this is the security paradox.
Defense agencies and prime contractors choose suppliers based on their compliance with contracting requirements, skills and capabilities and operational performance. As momentum for digital twins grows, defense organizations will need additional criteria around digitalization and data literacy, as well as modernized contracting protocols, to select right-fit suppliers.