Mars taps Accenture to roll out digital twins across global business

Three mars bars stacked on top of one another, each with their logos facing upwards towards the camera
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Accenture has partnered with American multinational Mars to transform and modernise its global manufacturing operations using artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, edge technology, and digital twins.

The two companies have been trailing digital twin technology since late 2020 and hope to harness it in manufacturing plants. It will be used to simulate adjustments to factory operations and validate the results before making any material changes.

One digital twin test involved reducing instances of over-filling packages, a common problem in the food industry. The twin fed sensor data from manufacturing machinery into a predictive analytics model, which allowed factory line operators to monitor events in real time and adjust the filling process.

After the successful test, Accenture and Mars introduced the solution across the US and developed similar solutions for its pet care business in Europe and China.

In the new agreement, Accenture and Mars are set to work together to apply digital twin technology and models to the company’s manufacturing facilities globally.

The pair hope this will give Mars factory line operators real-time insights into current and predictive performance. Mars plans to apply them to dozens of use cases over the next three years.


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“Our collaboration with Accenture, combined with our partnership with Microsoft, enables us to scale digital twin technology to reach this goal, delivering not just significant cost savings and sustainability, but preparing our manufacturing operations for the future of work,” said William Beery, vice president and global CIO at Mars Wrigley.

Mars has been working with Microsoft since 2021 on a digital transformation project that involves the use of Microsoft Azure to optimise its operational speed and intelligent manufacturing supply chains.

Accenture will bring cloud, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain capabilities to the project, it said. It will also work closely with Microsoft to leverage the Azure platform and its proprietary edge accelerators.

Additionally, the two companies will create a new cloud platform for manufacturing applications, data, and AI. They hope the new platform will provide next-generation robotics, AI, and automation capabilities at the edge to make Mars manufacturing operations significantly more efficient.

The ambition is to also address essential sustainability goals such as water stewardship, waste reduction, and total greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.