Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Production as a New Year Resolution: Digital Transformation Can Help

Not “make more with less”, but “work smarter”. This is where food and beverage manufacturers can take advantage of advanced technologies to transform the way business is run.

Posted: January 18, 2019

Food and Beverage, CPG

Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Production as a New Year Resolution: Digital Transformation Can Help

As we embark on a fresh new year, I took a moment to reflect on the conversations I had with food and beverage industry peers over the past months and look at what one of the new year resolutions could look like for the industry.  Perhaps not “make more with less”, but “work smarter”.

Adopting advanced technologies as the way forward

Several long-standing manufacturing key performance indicators (KPI) such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness, plant downtime, and asset utilisation remain constantly top of mind. It is interesting to note that food and beverage manufacturers are adopting advanced technologies as the way forward to continuous improve these KPIs.

As mentioned in my previous blog, we can think of digital transformation as a maturity model to align people and processes with digital technologies. Using information technologies and software applications to measure and improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes and activities can bring phenomenal results - reduction in operating costs, shortened time-to-decision and increase in productivity. 

If we are to classify broadly how digital transformation drive operational and business improvements for food and beverage manufacturers, I would sum it up as:  

  • Improve operational performance
  • Safeguard quality, safety and compliance
  • Maximise asset utilisation and reliability
  • Increase recipe agility
  • Enhance energy management and sustainability

Getting to the crux 

Another observation I gathered is the common occurrence of what I call the “vicious cycle of production” among food and beverage manufacturers that does not improve performance and may even result in a dip in plant efficiency although they work harder or put in more resources.

Often, while the demand is growing, manufacturers find themselves in a challenging situation where they need more production capacity to fulfil customers’ orders in full and on time. An immediate remedy is to add production overtime and delay or shorten planned maintenance. Although this opens up more production capacity, it can lead to a higher probability of human error due to workers fatigue and equipment breakdown due to less reliable equipment which may eventually write off the efforts of opening up more production capacity. 

At the same time while carrying out more rigorous continuous improvement activities, stretching the limits may just result in more efforts required to handle a higher volume of data and distracting new causes of performance losses. Without an effective information management system which enables ad-hoc problem solving and meaningful continuous improvement decision making, production performance takes a hit. Faced with a tight schedule and production volume commitment to adhere to, the pressure on production operations increases. And so the vicious cycle of production continues.

This is where food and beverage manufacturers can take advantage of advanced technologies to transform the way business is run. Advanced line performance management enables manufacturers to have visibility into causes of production losses and areas for improvement. Workers can take corrective action in real time and optimise resources utilisation in the aspects of human, equipment and materials - a short interval control concept from Lean Manufacturing. For multi-site operations, a Model-driven MES approach allows capturing of best practices and standardises KPIs for rapid deployment across the business. This enables consistent performance sustainability through operation governance, workforce empowerment and accountability. Only by addressing the crux of the problem can we break the vicious production cycle.

Ultimately, digital transformation is all about people, process and technology. It is not only about optimising equipment effectiveness, it is also about optimising operational efficiency enabled by people empowerment and collaboration across teams, systems and functional domains. 

To learn more about how to uncover untapped line potentials to optimise productivity and capacity, join our webinar on March 6 with Food Engineering. 


Written By
Keith Chambers

Keith Chambers is responsible for strategic direction, commercialization and development for AVEVA's operations management portfolio globally. Keith has over 20 years’ experience in the automation, software and MES business with a focus on manufacturing operations software in the food and beverage, CPG and life sciences industries.

A Solution That Provides Rapid ROI  Discover the line performance management and OEE solution that is powerful,  easy to use and that continues to add value year after year. Download the Whitepaper  

Related Blog Posts

Stay in the know: Keep up to date on the latest happenings around the industry.

Food and Beverage, CPG
MES Powers New Era in Cosmetics Operations

The cosmetics industry is evolving and with digital operational excellence and data-driven insights, manufacturers can help meet the demand of their consumers.

Food and Beverage, CPG
Centralized Visualization Platform as the Enabler to Operational Agility

Centralized Visualization Platform bridges collaboration across departments, and assimilate disparate systems and data sources.

Food and Beverage, CPG
How Making Your Machine Learn Patterns and Infer from Data can Change the Manufacturing Shop Floor

Analytics and Artificial Intelligence-driven processes, supported by Machine Learning, will revolutionize the manufacturing shop floor.

Massive Steel Structures, Heavy Fuel Oil Engines & Large Crews: Why Digital Technology is Driving Innovation in Marine Design and Build Now

Few things have fundamentally changed about how ships are built and operated since the industry adopted containerisation in the 1970s. Why has the Marine ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Capitalize on Big Data to Drive Operational Excellence in Food and Beverage Manufacturing

The use of big data to analyze and address performance gaps is fast becoming an industry norm as manufacturing companies seek to achieve operational excellence ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
How New Digital Capabilities Can Transform Legacy Operational Technology

Food and beverage manufacturing plants may not have to rip and replace existing systems to capture the benefits of Industry 4.0. Instead, consider a digital ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Production as a New Year Resolution: Digital Transformation Can Help

Not “make more with less”, but “work smarter”. This is where food and beverage manufacturers can take advantage of advanced technologies to transform the way ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
What IIoT Means for the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Scoreboard

IIoT implementation is increasingly prevalent in the food and beverage industry. It's easy to see why the pick-up has been so swift. The food and beverage ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Improve Food and Beverage and Consumer Packaged Goods Operational Efficiency with Predictive Analytics and Augmented Reality

To exceed reliability, safety and performance goals, food and beverage and consumer packaged goods manufacturers are implementing AR/VR, Mobility and Analytics ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Food and Beverage Manufacturers Can Now Decipher the Energy Code

Coca Cola Swaziland believes that energy can be seen as a lever for positive growth and change within the business, and not simply a cost.

Food and Beverage, CPG
IIoT Best Practices for ‘Smart’ Factories and Cities

For Smart Factory and Smart City alike, the biggest benefit is that IIoT, cloud and advanced analytics solutions offer the ability to transform data into ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
How F&B Manufacturers can benefit from 4 New Technologies

Discover the extent F&B manufacturers can benefit from some of the top strategic technologies and transform the way manufacturing plants are run.

Food and Beverage, CPG
Improve on Asset Reliability in Food and Beverage

Implementing a best fit asset management strategy can be challenging, and which is why an APM assessment can be very helpful. APM assessment recommends how to ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Henkel’s Sustainability Success is not by Coincidence

Defining a clear focus and measurable targets is vital in driving a successful sustainability initiative. Henkel is one of the first multinational companies to ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
How do you get the most out of your equipment and increase your OEE?

In a competitive food and beverage market, companies can boost their equipment utilization and overall operational performance by implementing monitoring and ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Two Major Food Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2018

There are two food manufacturing trends that will be extremely important for F&B manufacturers in 2018 across a variety of markets and end-users – ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
Two Steps to Handling a Recall

A recall is the nightmare scenario for any F&B manufacturer, and when a recall is necessary manufacturers must react swiftly and effectively. This blog post ...

Food and Beverage, CPG
3 Benefits to Leveraging the Cloud in F&B Manufacturing

The cloud enables digital transformation of manufacturing operations in a variety of industries, but it is particularly relevant in F&B. There are three ...

previous next

Sign up for our newsletter and get all the latest information straight from the source.