Mars sweetens supply chain with digital twin

The confectionery, pet care, and food company is partnering with Microsoft to replicate its manufacturing operations digitally, a twinning task designed to optimize its supply chain.

Mars sweetens supply chain with digital twin

In the race to optimize manufacturing capabilities, more companies are turning to digital twins. These virtual clones of their physical operations can help them simulate scenarios that would be too time consuming or expensive to test with physical assets. On that score, Mars is working with Microsoft to craft a digital twin of its manufacturing supply chain in support of its confectionery, pet care, and food businesses.

A key ingredient of Mars’ strategy hinges on implementing Microsoft Azure cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) software to process and analyze data generated by production machines in manufacturing facilities, says Sandeep Dadlani, Mars’ chief digital officer, who is leading a transformation that includes democratizing access to AI and other digital capabilities to help employees work more efficiently.

“We see digital as a massive business accelerator,” Dadlani says of the strategy to digitize operations for the $40 billion maker of M&Ms, Snickers, and dozens of other products. “We’re not doing digital for digital’s sake.”

Digital strategy requires reliable partners 

Mars’ play with Microsoft is the latest in a long line of strategic deals — Land O’Lakes and Johnson Controls recently forged similar ties with Team Azure — that have traditional enterprises partnering with cloud providers to modernize their operations. The collective thinking is: Done properly, the cloud can afford greater agility to make critical changes while decreasing the need to rack and stack hardware.

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