How digital twin technology is transforming supply chains

Travelmate

The topic of today’s interview with Daniele Nonnato, CEO of Multimac, is digitalization and supply chain management innovation as key for empowering greater reliability, transparency and efficiency. Since 1972, Multimac implements those principles through real time traceability services and technological solutions for creating digital twins.

 

Topics of the interview

0:00 – Intro 

0:19 – Presentation

02:11 – What is a Digital TWIN ?

04:00 – The 5 domain adopting smart supply chain solutions

04:26 – Explanation of the Industry 4.0 and its advantages 

08:00 – Barriers to innovation and how to overcome them 

10:26 – The role of technology for a circular economy

14:18 – The Tricky Question: “if you had a magic power, what would you do to make the fashion industry more technological?”

 

Interview

Could you tell us about Multimac and the work you are doing in the field of digitalization and supply chain management? 

 Multimac works in these areas: production, logistics, transports and point of sale as well as in reverse logistics. Therefore, in the context of the flow of material, Multimac creates a so-called Digital Twin giving back a perfect correspondence of what is happening in the real world on your PC, in order to have the maximum visibility and transparency of the flows. How are we doing it? We do it using technologies that are among the best known, including the barcodes rather than the RFID or automatic localization systems based on various technologies like computer vision systems and systems related to intelligent mobility. Our goal is to make the entire production flow easily visible from any digital device.

 

Which are the main domains in which smart supply chain solutions are useful? 

Along these five stages of management (production management, logistics management, transport management and of the point of sale) we monitor the raw material or the semi-finished good throughout the transformation process which uses production machinery clearly aided by workers and in this area we deal with what the concept of Industry 4.0 in order to have real-time visibility on what the various machines are doing in the production field. All this is summarized with the world MES (manufacturing execution system). 

In doing this we must keep in mind that there may be simple supply chains, but there are also very complex supply chains that need not only a production plant but hundreds of production plants which are producing a single piece of the final product. Therefore, having the visibility of all these micro passages is essential especially for what is happening now. Let’s see the container ship which was stuck in the Suez canal leading to significant delays in delivery.  Knowing in real-time what is happening in the factory and the material flow allows each player to put in place the necessary measures to reschedule the route and prevent risks. Also concerning particular geopolitical situations as we are seeing during the pandemic that is hitting us .

So the more I know about every single movement in my supply chain and in the processing of materials, the more I am able to accumulate data that allows me “to take the next best action”.

 

What are the difficulties and challenges you have encountered while working with your customers in digitizing supply chain processes and innovating? 

 In general, when we try to innovate, when we try to train people, when we try to modify working routines, then we must make an effort to change how we work when there is a technological change. But in the next future the innovation of the production processes will be something that anyone has to do. What I fear the most is that people of many companies think that technology can solve any of their problems, in reality technology does not solve anything, it only supports us if we are ready to make a change happen.

For instance, if we talk about sustainability and everything I have said about traceability, I can gather all the traceability and sustainability data but as long as the database is mine and I am alone, I can play with it and change the data. That is not real sustainability then. While  the Blockchain technology, the data cannot be changed and are, thus, even more transparent and reliable. This technology is protecting the end users and what it is saying is true, it is not only marketing. Blockchain is a tool for guaranteeing the truthfulness of the data.

 

Speaking about technology as an enabler of change, could you explain to us your project with zebra technologies focused on the circular economy ?

When the courier comes to your home to deliver a product, typically in his hands he has a terminal by Zebra Technologies to scan the package and to track it. There are companies that go further and further forward adopting new hardware and technologies, but there are companies that still need regenerated products and adopt older technologies, thus we keep the old products in the loop by regenerating them and giving them back to the companies which need them. 

Another example is what we are doing for the management of the loading on trucks, we are using computer vision and “special cameras” to detect the remaining space on trucks and avoid empty spaces that lead to higher CO2 emissions in transports. The system knows the size of the packages that I am going to load and helps operators to completely fill the container. 

 

If you had a magic power, what would you do to make the fashion industry more technological?

 I think that the fashion industry, especially in Italy, has reached really high levels of technological advancement and branding, however I think in the future physical stores will gain a new life thanks to an omnichannel approach, the point of sale will become a showroom and at the same time it could be a logistic point, a pick-up point and much more.  

 

Thank you Daniele for sharing your experience with us, it was extremely interesting.

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Traceability Journey is a project by The ID Factory. Our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of traceability for sustainable value chains. We are doing this by engaging with ESG consultants and sharing best practices from the fashion supply chain.

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