By Pervinder Johar, CEO

More than ever, companies are prioritizing how to best carry out and meet ESG goals—but that is often easier said than done. For those traditionally focused on maximizing efficiency and profit are finding difficulty in modifying improving the environment while ensuring their supply chains are balancing healthy profits. However, digital twin technology is a promising solution for companies aiming to achieve their sustainability targets.

Digital twins are quite simple; they allow users to do more with less. As a “virtual twin” of an object, person, or process, it can create simulations of various behaviors to better understand its real-life application and use live data to constantly refine and update itself. Supply chain digital twins promote sustainability, examples spanning from designing, and production manufacturing of a new product all the way to repairing, recycling and transparency with tracking carbon emissions.

Here are some additional ways in which supply chain digital twins contribute to sustainable practices:

• Environmental Impact Analysis: Supply chain digital twins enable companies to analyze the environmental impact of their operations comprehensively. By integrating data from various sources, including energy consumption, emissions and waste generation, companies can assess their carbon footprint and identify areas where they can reduce their environmental impact. This can also include assessing options for sustainable packaging solutions.

• Resource Optimization: Through real-time monitoring and analysis, digital twins help identify inefficiencies in resource utilization. This includes optimizing transportation routes, reducing energy consumption in warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and minimizing water usage in production processes. With access to real-time data and scenario simulations, companies can evaluate the environmental impact of different supply chain decisions, empowering decision-makers to choose more sustainable options, such as sourcing materials locally, reducing air freight, or opting for more eco-friendly packaging materials.

• Selecting Sustainable Suppliers: Digital twins facilitate a thorough evaluation of suppliers based on sustainability criteria and can assess their environmental policies, social responsibility initiatives, and adherence to ethical practices.

• Waste Reduction: By providing insights into the supply chain processes, digital twins help identify areas where waste can be minimized. Whether through better demand forecasting, optimizing production schedules, or reducing excess inventory, companies can implement measures to reduce waste generation and improve resource efficiency.

• Compliance and Reporting: Companies can monitor/report sustainability initiatives and compliance with environmental regulations. This provides transparency to customers and stakeholders.

How is Blume using Digital Twins?

Blume Maps is Blume Global’s digital twin of the supply chain hosted on the Google Cloud Platform. Blume’s digital operating platform and solutions are used by some of the largest freight railroads, container steam-ship lines, logistics service providers and shippers in the world to manage and track the movement of freight and transportation assets around the world. Blume Maps is modeled after Google Maps. Consumers use Google’s map tool to find locations, generate directions and provide feedback on each journey. With Blume Maps, planning a freight shipment’s route, tracking the shipment’s progress and ETA, and changing course during the journey if problems arise, is as natural as using Google’s navigation app during a family road trip. The solution allows customers to generate accurate lead times, real-time shipment location, and ETAs for road, ocean, air, and railroad. Blume Maps can also provide alternative modes, carriers and routes when shipments are behind schedule, enabling unrivaled supply chain agility.

A supply chain digital twin can play a vital role in promoting sustainability. Embracing this technology can help businesses move towards more environmentally responsible and socially conscious supply chain operations.

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