Centralized Visualization Platform as the Enabler to Operational Agility
The world we live in is growing at a steady pace. According to the information from the World Bank, the world population just 10 years ago was at 6.76 billion, today it is 7.59 billion.
This presents many business opportunities for the food and beverage industry, however, manufacturers are faced with unprecedented operational challenges. On one end, consumers expect product variety, quality and availability; and on the other end, manufacturers are looking to minimize production losses to continuously lower operating costs. These dynamic market conditions call for manufacturers to be equipped with operational agility to adjust operations and processes quickly and effectively, in order to maximize profitability in the game of supply and demand.
Operational Agility is a Strategic Manufacturing Objective
There are several target areas to consider when setting up to be agile, including people, processes, product, operations and cross-function departments. The LNS Research MOM survey corroborated manufacturers’ call for operational agility as the survey revealed manufacturers’ top 3 manufacturing objectives as:
- ensuring consistent quality of products
- responsiveness to customer order demands
- increasing production capacity and capabilities
Further findings revealed that lack of collaboration across different departments, and disparate systems and data sources ranked the top 2 roadblocks to achieving operational agility.
What can be done to bridge up the lack of collaboration across departments, and assimilate disparate systems and data sources? The answer to this may very well be a centralized visualization platform.
A Single, Centralized Visualization Platform
The Industrial Internet of Things technology offers a competitive edge by enabling easy data collection from disparate sources from within the factory and across the value chain, provide contextualized information in real-time. Even if the plant is running on point solutions, with different equipment brands and processes, it is viable to present a collection of integrated common services including visualization, communication, security, data connectivity, data storage and management into a single platform. This adds to situational awareness and provides a collective oversight of all areas in the site, enabling rapid respond to events in the day-to-day operations, zoom into details to identify root causes and uncover areas of improvement opportunities.
One of our food and beverage manufacturing customers, La Tortilla Factory, is a great example of how they were able to leverage a single operations platform to streamline manufacturing processes and control costs effectively.
La Tortilla Factory Improves Teamwork and Reaction Times
La Tortilla Factory started out with making tortillas at the back of the restaurant in northern California in 1977, to cater to customers who had come by to buy tortillas just as they were. Today, the business has grown to be one of the largest and most popular tortilla brands in existence, with tortillas distributed nationwide at most major retailers.
As with any business, La Tortilla Factory was faced with the challenge of a wide range of disparate systems which previously did not work together to provide accurate performance data. The operations team was unable to successfully achieve day-to-day performance improvements since critical information was not available in real-time.
After an evaluation, La Tortilla Factory implemented a customized solution which provided a cohesive technology foundation which all subsequent applications could easily connect to. These services enabled La Tortilla Factory to build a single, unified plant model that represents processes, physical equipment, industrial systems and legacy equipment, making the design and maintenance of these systems more flexible and efficient.
La Tortilla Factory has since achieved a 5% improvement in yield, and company-wide visualization of operations data has improved teamwork and reaction times.
Furthermore, at the AVEVA World Summit in Singapore, we'll be discussing these topics with industry peers in the manufacturing space. I encourage you to join me at the event from 16 – 18 September 2019.
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.