How federal agencies can Xcelerate reshoring to reduce external dependencies and increase economic resilience


Gregory Bowman, Chief Innovation Officer of Siemens Government Technologies, discusses how government organizations can leverage digital twin and digital thread technologies to overcome challenges of reshoring advanced manufacturing supply chains.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed global supply chain flaws. While elected leadership is signaling broader structural reforms aimed at both reducing supply chain risks and mitigating manufacturing job losses, there is a critical need to accelerate reshoring—especially for federal agencies.

Over the past several years, the defense sector, as has been the case with many other sectors, has faced challenges accessing the essential components – including microelectronics and chipsets for high technology systems – exacerbated by the recent global COVID-19 pandemic. While the Defense Department is increasingly focused on safeguarding critical nodes in its supplier base, reshoring manufacturing is key to building greater logistical resilience.

Federal agencies can leverage these capabilities through Siemens Government Technologies, the federally focused U.S. arm of Siemens, to maximize reshoring success, improve manufacturing planning and operations, and reduce logistical costs and carbon footprints.

Maximize reshoring success

In a recent article published by Siemens through a partnership with Deloitte, Gregory Bowman, Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Innovation Officer of Siemens Government Technologies, discusses the importance of reshoring and how manufacturing companies can leverage digital twin and digital thread technologies to overcome localization challenges and gain greater control over their supply chains.

The article explores the role of comprehensive digital twin and digital threads—created and supported by the industry-leading technologies and capabilities enabled by Siemens Xcelerator — to help companies successfully reshore in an innovative, affordable, and non-disruptive manner. Combined with the expertise of Deloitte and its Industry 4.0 consulting, no other team offers this level of manufacturing expertise. Whether a manufacturer’s pain points are digital, organizational, or both, this strategic relationship unlocks new capabilities, data, and innovations.

“While localization/reshoring has its share of challenges, the good news is that a comprehensive digital twin of the product, production method, manufacturing line, and structure can dramatically reduce costs, risks, and time,” says Bowman. “Moreover, the data generated will allow key leaders to make critical decisions faster and more accurately before ever bending metal or pouring concrete. Simply put, it allows targeted investments, increased predictability, and maximized flexibility.”

Federal agencies are under mounting pressure to accelerate product innovation, adhere to strict regulatory requirements, optimize resources, and maximize global supply chain effectiveness. Just as in other industries, government organizations can only achieve the required efficiencies, cost reductions and production and procurement speeds through the digital transformation of their manufacturing systems, processes and supply chains.

Optimize facility design and construction

Digital twins and their associated digital threads can revolutionize how federal agencies design, engineer, and manufacture equipment, vehicles, and systems.

  • Digital twins – Virtual representations of a physical object, system, or facility that is updated from real-time data, and uses simulation, machine learning and reasoning to drive and improve decision-making.
  • Digital thread – A data-driven architecture that links together all of the digital twins’ capabilities, such as designs, performance data, supply chain data, and simulations, to provide an integrated view of everything, improve communication, and optimize traceability.

“These comprehensive digital models assist with both “greenfield” projects begun from scratch and “brownfield” projects that re-use existing facilities and must be completed while considering existing site constraints,” says Bowman. “Engineering executives can explore multiple “what-if” scenarios when using a simulation of their digital factory.”

For example, if a company in the Defense Industrial Base is constructing a new manufacturing plant to reshore a component of its supply chain, digital twins can be used to optimize facility design and cut constructions costs. Digital twins allow thousands of experimental trials to be run simultaneously. Engineers can change the layout of machines, simulate the impact of these changes on electrical cabling costs, and determine the optimal design for ventilation and physical and network security.

The upshot is not only a speedier, more transparent design and construction process, but the ability to study and optimize throughput, costs, material handling, inventory, and other operational parameters before a single dollar is invested.

Improve manufacturing operations

“The best part is that the benefits of a comprehensive digital model don’t end once the factory is up and running,” says Bowman. “Companies can compare real-time data from the actual factory with digital simulation data. They can then spot anomalies and schedule predictive maintenance at the right time. This gives manufacturers a considerable advantage when it comes to keeping production at peak performance.”

For instance, as part of its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, the U.S. Navy is using modeling and simulation tools from Siemens at the nation’s four public shipyards, to more efficiently maintain and modernize the submarines and aircraft carriers relied on for national security missions around the world.

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Create a robust, resilient and secure industrial base

SGT illuminates the value digital acceleration brings to federal agencies. As integrators of Siemens’ comprehensive portfolio of software and services for government agencies, we leverage technology that seamlessly delivers the data and insight federal customers need to reshore and modernize their manufacturing facilities and supply chain operations.

From artificial intelligence and autonomous production systems, to additive manufacturing and cloud-based services and data management, we help our federal customers become more efficient, sustainable, and ready for every mission, every time.

Learn more about how SGT is guiding federal customers to quicker actualized outcomes with the power of this digital transformation here.