Making Sense of Digital Threads with VP of Product Greg Heartman

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This is the latest blog post where Vice President of Product Greg Heartman discusses the role of digital threads.

TraceGains: What’s a digital thread? Or a digital twin?

Greg Heartman: Digital threads, in our case, represent the flow of information for a component you’re using in the manufacturing process to produce a finished good. Digital threads encompass all the necessary data points a manufacturer needs.

Headshot of Vice President of Product Greg Heartman
VP of Product Greg Heartman

The critical component is that the digital thread is a single, connected strand back to all the various data sources. So, when something changes, that automatically flows back and users can track it.

It allows for a high degree of visibility, and it allows for automation. As a result, you’re no longer doing any dual-key entry, which introduces human error. And you no longer miss what’s changed and what’s affected downstream. In addition, having the digital thread allows customers to set up their notifications for any step of the process.

TG: What about the “twin?”

GH: TraceGains provides a lot of value on the ingredients you’re using in the manufacturing processes. As you bring in the data for an ingredient you need that information for each ingredient to understand the finished good, and what digital data needs to follow that.

Unlike a digital twin for an airplane, in the food industry, it’s less about a digital representation of the physical object and more about its qualities.

It’s about the qualities of what’s inside the box that you’ll ingest. Are you going to cause food allergies? Are you going to poison people? You can have a digital representation of the box, what that allergen warning says, and what your facts panel needs to say as it sits on the shelf. Then a consumer picks it up, looks at the back, and it shows the ingredients statement.

That’s how I see the digital thread of these component ingredients transform into a digital twin. Not only can this be used for compliance but also transparency.

And as more food commerce starts to take place digitally, having a digital twin of that product lets it sit on a virtual shelf. That’s where the consumer can see the imagery, read the product description, and ingredient statement. The digital twin metadata powers that, which enhances the consumer’s experience as they search for products online.

I see the digital twin powering the ecommerce experience while bolstering compliance in the physical experience.