Digitalizing Construction - Key Organizational Capabilities for Digital Twin Production

Yuveelai Bunjaridh, Rahimi A. Rahman, Liyana Mohamed Yusof

Digitalising Construction: Key Organisational Capabilities for Digital Twin Production in the Construction Industry.

1. Overview of digital twin
    The emergence of new digital technologies now impacts most business sectors, which may ultimately lead to significant intentional or unintentional changes in organisational governance. However, the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO) sector is acknowledged as one of the most challenging in many nations. Digital twin, which provides the best decision support for enhancing structure management, dependability, and sustainability, is one of the rapidly developing digital technologies that allow the digital transformation of structural engineering. Figures 1 and 2 below explain the general concepts of digital twins and the primary applications of digital twins within the construction industry.
Figure 1. Digital twin concepts
Figure 2. Primary applications of digital twin

2. Challenges to producing accurate digital twins in Malaysia’s construction industry 

   On the other hand, Malaysia's current situation still presents challenges to adopting digitalisation, such as a lack of technology infrastructure, an uncoordinated democratic accountability system, limited capacity and competency, and difficulty getting digital services at a reasonable price. These difficulties have hindered the growth of the digital economy and widened the digital divide. As a result, organisations in the AECO sector need to be knowledgeable and prepared for the issues during the development of digital twin technology. 

   The use of digital twin technology in the construction industry in Malaysia is still in its infancy. However, there has been progress in recent years where construction companies and stakeholders recognise the potential benefits of digital twin technology. Examples of digital twin technology progress in Malaysia’s construction industry are shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Digital twin technology usage in Malaysia’s construction industry.

3. Key organisational capabilities to produce accurate digital twins

   Additionally, without the right organisational attributes, digital twin production cannot be done efficiently. The assessment must be backed up by a management tool that pinpoints the readiness gap and has a crucial element that establishes the necessary organisational change. There are challenges related to the insufficient creation of a digital twin that is unfit for use and maintenance. An effective digital twin reduces the waste of resources used for operations and maintenance.

   However, the construction sector must evaluate organisational capabilities using attributes and strategies to produce digital twins. Organisational capabilities are the ability of an organisation to produce significant organisational results. The talents and skills of an organisation's employees form its organisational capabilities, which are significant immovable assets. New operations strategies contribute to the augmentation of organisations, necessitating considerable adjustments to the processes and interactions between the various divisions.

   Nevertheless, many variables are involved in assessing organisational capabilities. Figure 4 below summarises a conceptual framework for evaluating organisational capabilities within the AECO organisations.

Figure 4. Organisational capabilities conceptual framework

Figure 4 summarises the four main capabilities for a successful AECO organisation to produce digital twins: People, Technology, Process, and Policy. In the following subsections, the capabilities are discussed further in depth.

3.1 People

   People factors significantly impact digital twin productions within the AECO organisations as it involves investments in employment, training, remuneration, communication, and other human resources. It also involves how the leader of the organisation will lead the innovation effort. People are also reluctant to embrace changes in working cultures which may further hinder innovation efforts as this is involved in transforming attitudes and actions. Despite that, the people factor required further development in skills and knowledge towards digital twin production.

3.2 Technology

   Technology contributes to the efficiency of how the work will be managed and delivered. Technology impacts performance within organisations. Technology helps to optimise work processes which can be conducted through good compatibilities between software and hardware, and undeniably good networking systems enable the collection and integration of data. Technology helps in establishing the maturity levels needed. Also, good operational data accessibility is crucial for producing digital twin technologies.

3.3 Process

   An effective working process will improve workflow and optimise work outputs. To begin, operational changes at the grass-roots level may be required to improve crucial organisational processes and develop talents. The organisation's enhanced delivery performance will also be aided by proper personnel competence and project planning execution. New initiatives will probably be carried out in cultures that embrace change and have common values and goals. Infrastructures such as data storage, usage, and collection are also important for efficient work processes.

3.4 Policy

   The policy is a principal factor that leads the organisation. A policy also acts as a push factor to boost an organisation's agility from conventional working systems to producing digital twin technology within the construction industry. State regulations may help to set a standard guideline that may help to lead construction practitioners and stakeholders towards one direction and a common set of values. Policy for reliable data security needs to be enhanced further to prevent cyber-attacks. Nevertheless, back-to-back procedures within departments are also important in effectively calibrating the output and meeting deadlines.

4. Conclusion

   In conclusion, an accurate assessment of organisational capabilities is needed to produce digital twins within the AECO industry. Digital twins for organisational evaluation must be built on studies detailing the necessary organisational attributes and strategies. ‘To understand the organisational attributes contributing to digital twin capabilities, variables used in organisational capability assessments must be strategically explored. Moreover, this may be done through modelling between organisational attributes and strategies. This model may enhance the effectiveness of construction professionals' strategic planning, evaluations, and comprehension of the use of digital twins in their future practices.



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