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July 20, 2022

3 Real-World Ways to Adapt Digital Twin for the Retail Industry

What is digital twin technology, and how does it work?

Digital twin is a bold replication technology sending waves throughout the global economy. 

For the sake of simplicity, digital twin is a replica of a physical “thing” like a retail store or supply chain. It’s the opportunity to simulate a product or process before it goes live. 

Statista says, “Manufacturing, automotive, aviation, energy, utilities, healthcare, logistics, retail, and other industries have adopted digital twins to boost productivity and efficiency. By 2025, the manufacturing industry is forecast to reach a market size worth over six billion U.S. dollars.”

Digital twin technology can run simulations, provide visibility, and better forecast actions: a trifecta for retailers. 

But how do digital twins help retailers specifically?

Digital twin can help retailers in three main ways:

  1. Supply chain planning
  • Better understanding and forecasting demand
  1. Store operations
  • Online order picking and processing
  1. Demand planning
  • Test competing scenarios and compare plans to meet the demands

What companies are using digital twin?

Recognizable names of enterprises and companies who use digital twins include:

  • Siemens
  • Lowe’s
  • Amazon
  • Chevron
  • Formula 1
  • Cisco Systems
  • Dassault Systemes
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Bosch
  • General Electric Company
  • IBM Corporation
  • Azure Digital
  • NASA

RevUnit Experts talk about Digital Twin:

RevUnit recently hosted a LIVE digital twin webinar. Listen to our experts discuss digital twin and its impact on retail:

🎥 How digital twin can change the face of retail (It’s easier than you think)

Digital twin sounds fancy on paper, but in real life, it is changing the economic landscape by allowing companies to innovate and scale faster than ever before. We wanted to show you several examples of digital twin – starting with retail – and the benefits from which all sectors and businesses can innovate.

Example 1: Retail


Lowes robot moving throughout the store floor

Lowe’s, America’s go-to home improvement store, used digital twin to develop and create what they’re calling “intelligent stores.” This digital model of the store adapts and evolves in real-time. There are 3D store maps paired with e-commerce-style analytics to train AI models within the store. The result? Robots traveling down store aisles that alert when store associates are needed or when an item is out of stock.  

Digital twin retail benefits of 3D store maps include:

  1. Visibility of the entire supply chain in real-time.
  2. Availability of products when and where the consumer needs them.
  3. Overall optimization of in-store processes.

What digital twin could look like for your retail organization:

Digital twin benefits in retail include:

  • Predicting the performance of products or packaging materials.
  • Better understanding of the details involved in a shopper’s project.
  • Uniting employees around the same real-time data (like out-of-stock items and customer activity).
  • Making faster, more reliable financial decisions based on necessary adjustments in real-time.

Example 2: Healthcare

Pharmaceutical Testing & Clinical Trials with Siemens

medical syringe needle, medication pills, and a doctors stethoscope

A digital twin for people? It’s true! Digital twin is able to track a person’s health, diagnosis, treatment plans, and more. It can even plan out preventative treatments for the future and develop vaccines.That is exactly what Siemens, a world-wide automation company, did. Starting with a proof of concept digital twin, they were positioned to develop and manufacture “adjuvant” vaccine additives to assist in boosting the immune system. 

First, the “black box” of adjuvants’ particles were decoded. A hybrid model was used, along with Artificial Intelligence (AI), as it monitored the process. Next, the digital twin linked the process parameters to the quality of the adjuvant. The quality of the product was then predicted with the digital twin sensors.  Any deviation from optimum quality (being anticipated) was made right by the digital twin parameters to meet the health and safety quality requirements.  

The benefits of digital twin in clinical trials includes:

  • Patient Safety: Digital twin can filter out those people who don’t need to participate in drug testing to minimize the dangers of testing that comes with new drugs.
  • Fast Sorting: Digital twin can improve the trial process by providing the availability of patient criteria, like whether or not they should participate in the trial. 
  • Critical Data: Digital twin can produce insights into a broad spectrum of patient characteristics giving the provider a deeper understanding of the widespread impact of the drug.

Patient Care: Digital twin can predict patient response to treatment. This allows the doctors to prescribe the right care with fewer trials.

Case Study: Utilizing Machine Learning in Supply Chain –>

Example 3: Manufacturing

Consumer Goods Manufacturing with Unilever

man wearing a safety vest and hat holding in iPad in a warehouse with goods

Unilever PLC, a multinational consumer goods company, has created virtual versions of its factories using digital twins to make the production process more efficient and flexible. At each location, the IoT sensors feed the real-time performance data of physical conditions of equipment such as temperature and motor speed into the enterprise cloud. 

All in the name of predictive maintenance, the digital twin uses advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms. According to Softeq, Unilever is currently operating eight digital twins across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. 

“The project has saved Unilever about $2.8 million at the site in Brazil, the company said, by cutting down on energy use and driving a 1% to 3% increase in productivity.” 

Additional digital twin manufacturing benefits include: 

  • Identifies the best operational conditions (using complex what-if scenarios)
  • Limits waste as manufacturers use materials more precisely
  • Drastically limits machine maintenance time
  • Improves quality checks and instills confidence in managers and operators

[VIDEO] Digital Twin in Retail: How to visualize, simulate and predict without interrupting store ops

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We can help!

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A digital twin is not reserved for the “big guys”, but for all-sized companies in all industries who use data. Want to know how your company could prototype a digital twin?

‍Let’s start a conversation –>
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RevUnit is a technology studio that helps supply chain clients identify and implement data solutions that actually prove ROI. We help organizations across industries like transportation, freight, logistics, retail, and manufacturing achieve business results through innovative data solutions — powered by AI/ML and the cloud. We’ve done it for clients like ArcBest, J.B. Hunt, and Walmart.

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