5 Digital Solutions that Counter Primary Issues in Food and Beverage Manufacturing
January 31, 2023
Consumer spending hit an all-time high in the third quarter of 2022, simultaneously 58% of Food and Beverage manufacturers are understaffed, and 70% of processors have added overtime for existing employees. Evidently, Food and Beverage Manufacturers face an incredible number of challenges today. Nevertheless, technology companies, like Symphony AI Industrial, seek to minimize these challenges, by implementing digital transformation solutions such as Proceedix – A Connected Frontline Worker Platform.
Digital transformation has rapidly become a priority for food and beverage companies; This article aims to advance your digital transformation journey, regardless of where you find yourself in that journey. We will explore five, of the many, challenges that food and beverage manufacturers face today. More notably, let’s discover available solutions that address these challenges and provide benefits such as 100% traceability, audit trails, and increases onboarding efficiency for seasonal and temporary workers.
1. Dynamic Consumer Demand
Today’s reality for Food and Beverage manufacturers is anything but status quo; Shifting realities within the supply chain, dynamic consumer demand, consumer preference, and labor shortages can make a competitive edge seemingly elusive. Consumer demand remains at the top of mind for Food & Beverage Manufacturers, and they understand it can be difficult to meet expectations, but it is also lucrative. In hindsight, it is not surprising, but baking mix sales grew by 107% year-over-year in 2019-2020. Veterans of manufacturing know all too well how difficult this is to predict and painful to react to.
The baking mix sales growth during the pandemic is a great example of the dynamic consumer demand that manufacturers are facing today. These fluctuations in demand are often difficult to predict and tricky to manage with traditional systems. However, efficiency and flexibility can be obtained through digital transformation software such as Proceedix. With features such as line changeover guidance, conditional workflows, and action management, Proceedix facilitates today’s flexibility requirements. Simple step-by-step digital guidance and traceability data ensure line changeover and the workflow completed are done correctly and at the correct revision. Ultimately enabling Food and Beverage Manufacturers with flexibility while ensuring traceability and maximizing efficiency.
2. Production Uptime
Uptime is not only a measure of your efficiency, or a KPI for managers to embellish, but it has direct and even unanticipated impacts on various key aspects of a business. Such as reputation, waste, and the bottom-line figure. According to Feeding America “commercial food waste makes up about 61% of all food waste or 66 billion pounds of food waste.” Organizations like Feeding America help offset that waste by rescuing food that would otherwise be sent to the trash. In fact, Feeding America rescued 3.6 billion pounds of groceries last year.
Rescuing this excessive waste and redirecting it to people facing hunger is certainly a noble cause but imagine using digital transformation to reduce waste at the source. The benefit of such technology is not only waste reduction, but also efficiency, profitability, and sustainability. A connected worker platform, like Proceedix, enables food and beverage companies to benefit from these improvements by providing operator guidance to assure things are done right first time.
The very essence of the Proceedix app is designed to be frontline-worker-focused and efficiency-enhancing. Workflows can be conditional and dynamic and all of it in bite-sized steps (complete 1 step at a time) so operators remain focused instead of faced with a 3-page PDF and 50 tasks; This is how steps are missed, mistakes happen, and you end up with waste.
3. Communication and Feedback Delay
How often do your operators stand by idling for a maintenance technician or inspector? How many walkie-talkie blips must go unanswered before someone decides to walk around thousands of square feet of concrete grey factory floors to find someone who can help? Is “Its always been done this way” the standard operating procedure?
What if I told you there is a better way? Proceedix offers solutions to all these problems and more. With real-time action management, users can launch actions with their device of choice (tablet, smart phone, smart glasses, desktop, etc) to the appropriate personnel. Recipients open the action with the appropriate procedure queued and get to work on the problem without delay. At any time throughout the process, feedback can be attached to a step; Pictures, videos, audio clips, or text. This feedback is the bridge that your teams have always needed. Communication gaps between operators and maintenance, or technicians and engineering are essentially eliminated through workflow digitization tools, like Proceedix.
4. Lack of Sustainable Practices
“Americans now use about 31.5 million tons of printing and writing paper each year, equaling about 660 pounds per person. This requires 535 million trees and 12 billion gallons of oil.” (source: formstack.com). As manufacturing begins its fourth industrial revolution, sustainability is at the forefront. Consumers and executives alike demand more sustainable practices today.
Digital transformation is a pivotal way to not only improve efficiency but to do it sustainably. Using a digital workflow platform, such as Proceedix, eliminates our centuries-old reliance on paper. For example, inspectors can collect a PEM sample swab, scan the barcode of that collection tube, send data, receive lab results, and even automate the appropriate action(s) without ever printing a single piece of paper. To learn more about how Proceedix can help you achieve your sustainability and ESG goals, read this article.
5. Ensuring 100% Compliance
Who did what, where, when and how? Can you reliably and efficiently answer these key questions throughout your manufacturing process today? Compliance and regulations can be quite stringent throughout the food and beverage industry. We have all seen the recall headlines or the latest salmonella outbreak. It is safe to say we would like to avoid being part of that headline.
Traditional systems can make traceability and credibility a challenge. However, a digital workflow solution, like Proceedix, automatically logs execution data ¬¬¬gathered from a user’s procedure execution. This data is stored in a database, made available to the client, and can be translated into information (via reports, and/or BI tools such as Microsoft Power BI or Tableau) that can enable businesses to make data-driven decisions. With this highly detailed and reliable data, companies can maintain compliance, precisely track efficiency, improve employee productivity, and consistently minimize risk.
Proceedix is a Symphony AI solution delivering a digital transformation tool that connects the frontline worker and digitizes their work processes. If you are interested in learning more about leveraging Proceedix, please schedule a demo.
Manager of Solution Engineering at Symphony AI Industrial