Supply-chain is the result of a thin balance between offer and demand. Inventory levels are defined through a trade-off between demand, supply lead-time, and the level of acceptable shortage risk to minimize the overall costs. However, most of these optimized models are based on demand predictions, which by essence are false. Therefore, what’s the worst nightmare of every supply-chain manager? Of course, it’s a shortage! Whether on the supply side suffering from a loss of profit, or on the demand one and feel the pain of equipment downtime, shortages certainly have heavy impacts on the company.
Digital inventory is like a digital catalogue of all spare parts. All the spare parts that can be manufactured (additive or subtractive) and stored within the digital inventory. The combination of digital inventory and manufacturing availability makes on-demand production possible. With a simple click, one would be able to order the desired spare parts through the digital inventory when they are needed using a pull vs push system.
To build a digital inventory, first, one must build-up a digital inventory using reverse engineering. This step shall preferably be done before an anticipation of failures but is also possible in recovery, where laser and optical scanners would be used to develop the digital archive of parts with all the details required for manufacturing (3D CAD files, 2D engineering drawings, and metallurgy report). Then, once the digital inventory is created, what’s left is the execution of on-demand production. Here, good industrialization and standardization of the production platforms simplify the work. Finally, the ability to produce at the closest location to manufacture would preferability needs to be arranged beforehand with a number of possible options to allow for flexibility and risk mitigation. In addition to on-demand production, digital inventory shortens the transportation time and consequently the lead-time.