IV Value for Business

The Digital Twin Combined With Real-Time Performance Measurement in Lean Manufacturing

Mira Holopainen,Juhani Ukko, Minna Sannila, Tero Rantala and Hannu Rantanen

13.1 Introduction

Lean production refers to a business philosophy that aims at eliminating waste and creating value (Womack and Jones, 1996). According to van Assen and de Mast (2018), visualization plays an important role in Lean production. In fact, in their article they say that the application of visual controls and techniques is a marked feature in Lean. One of the most prominent visualization techniques used in modern production is the digital twin, which is a digital replica of a product, process, or system. Effective application of modern visualization techniques such as the digital twin can improve the transparency of manufacturing processes, influence peoples behavior, enable continuous improvement, encourage shared ownership, and support management by providing more accurate information (Tezel et a!., 2009).

The rise of new visualization techniques such as the digital twin provides new platforms that can also enable performance measurement systems to react more rapidly (cf., Horvath and Szabo, 2019;Yin and Qin, 2019). Other studies have focused on the importance of visual performance measurement to lean manufacturing and continuous improvement (Eaidgah et at., 2016; Bititci et al., 2016; Tezel et al., 2009). The utilization of visualization as a part of management activities of companies also promotes communication (Larsson et al., 2017; Bititci et al., 2016; Eaidgah et al., 2016) and can enhance information flow (Eaidgah et al., 2016). In addition, the utilization of visual management systems can support ongoing strategy development and implementation, facilitate performance measurement activities, and enhance collaboration (Bititci et al., 2016).

Implementing digital twins offers a number of advantages that can improve the management practices of manufacturing companies in general (Liu et al., 2019; Min et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2019; Zhou et al., 2019). However, research into the advantages that digital-twin-based real-time performance measurement can bring to lean processes is lacking. Thus, the purpose of this chapter is to explore the benefits of digital twins and real-time performance measurement in the lean processes of a manufacturing company. By examining the processes of an assembly manufacturing company as a contextual example, this chapter focuses on the potential benefits of using digital twins from the perspectives of the subject case company’s maintenance services process and its stakeholders. Looking at the empirical real-life case will make it possible to gain an in-depth understanding of the advantages that the utilization of digital twins and realtime performance measurement provide.

The rest of the chapter is structured as follows. First, the contextual background of the chapter is presented including literature from lean management and lean processes, as well as from performance measurement and the utilization of digital twins as a part of performance measurement activities. Presented next are the empirical examination of the digital twin and real-time performance measurement application and the methodological choices and data gathering. Finally, the results are presented and discussed before offering conclusions.

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