Tired of Warehouse Whac-A-Mole - try a Digital Twin

Warehouse and distribution center managers are under constant pressure. The labor market is tight. Customer expectations continue to grow. Some companies, like Amazon, continually push the boundaries for warehouse operations, raising the bar for others. Automation equipment suppliers are constantly innovating with new technologies. Is your head spinning yet? Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. Will you be prepared?

Have you ever said “ok, that didn’t work, what should we try tomorrow”? Experimenting with an actual facility is expensive, risky and slow. Learning at “real time” is no longer enough. What if you could have a virtual model of your operation that you could use as a test bed for changing processes, staffing, or technology. That is what a Digital Twin could do for your operation.

The concept of Digital Twins was first described in 1991 by David Gelernter in his book Mirror Worlds. The idea is to build a digital “replica”, or twin, of a physical system to help gain better insight and understanding. One can look over, under, through, and zoom in to understand the details of how a physical system works. A simulation based Digital Twin also includes the ability to jump forward in time to see what the system might look like tomorrow, next week, or next year. Future events can be predicted using historical data and real world randomness built into the twin.

To get started on the Digital Twin journey, Roar Simulation usually begins with:

    • Objectives - what goals should the model address
    • As-built CAD drawing of the facility
    • Performance of the resources (lift truck speed, picker rates)
    • Transactional data from the WMS or WES
    • Any ideas for change - technologies or process change stakeholders are considering

Using this information, Roar Simulation will build the first version of a warehouse model and will perform analysis with that model to address the objectives. The model results will be compared to the actual facility to assure the team that the model is accurate. The idea behind the first phase model is to add model detail incrementally as determined by the goals.

At Roar Simulation, we have been building accurate simulation models of warehouses and distribution centers for years. Recently we have been using models of pallet and tote shuttle systems to help improve system performance and test that the equipment can handle anticipated peak volumes. Our experts have years of simulation modeling experience, and can help clients determine the appropriate level of detail at each phase of the project.

We use our client’s customer order and product data to evaluate how the warehouse will perform on a peak day, or a peak day two years into the future. Working closely with our clients, we implement changes to the process and evaluate new technologies, and use models to demonstrate benefits and identify constraints. As anyone running a warehouse or distribution center knows, the moles move around.

If you are interested contact us and we can set up an online Digital Twin Evaluation. Looking at your operation and data, we can assess whether your warehouse managers could benefit from a Digital Twin.