Consumers expect higher standards in safety, sustainability, and affordability. F&B and CPG companies dedicate themselves to meeting these expectations, but they can only succeed when projects to implement new digital tools involve representation across the whole team. Collaboration during digital step change can accelerate projects and expand opportunities for success. As each company moves through its own digital evolution, having the right digital tools allows teams to visualize data, collaborate across departments, make better decisions faster, run a leaner operation, and rise to their customers’ demands.
Digital innovation used to be the responsibility of a small, dedicated team within an organization. Now, it touches virtually every department and every role.
GE Digital teamed up with one of its partners, AutomaTech, to help a major fruit processor accelerate its digital transformation. Knowing that sustainable progress depends on incremental step change, the company was ready to build upon its existing iFIX HMI/SCADA system. Focusing on overall equipment efficiency (OEE), a mainly IT-staffed team implemented the Proficy Plant Applications efficiency management module to improve OEE. However, they soon realized that project progress was slower because they had not engaged operators and engineers at the front end.
Looking back, we recognized how engineers weren’t fully represented in the initiative,” the process engineering manager said. “And three-fourths of the team was IT who didn’t understand the key outputs we wanted to measure.
Process Engineering Manager
By narrowing their focus to throughput, and making the data and results easily accessible, the team uncovered excessive downtime on conveyor lines that they quickly fixed by changing the loading process. Soon, other coworkers developed ‘metric curiosity:’ they wanted to see the data too, so operators would be more interested in their performance. The momentum of these wins prompted wider buy-in across teams which positively impacted the company’s year-over-year growth.
The importance of cross-team input was a key takeaway from this collaboration. The story of this major food processor’s success with digital step change has many lessons for others in the F&B and CPG space.
GE Digital empowers teams in the F&B and CPG category to work together, identify successes, and spot areas for improvement. Every day our solutions help our customers monitor production lines, evaluate equipment performance, quantify scrap rates, optimize energy usage, and solve quality-control problems. Insights can be shared with everyone from operators on the plant floor to key management decision-makers, enabling them to have conversations that lead to improved quality and product consistency for their customers. They are better able to meet their consumers’ standards and stay on top of the digital curve. GE Digital can also help you reinvent your everyday operations with innovative solutions that prepare your company for the demands of tomorrow.
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How do you start the digital transformation process?
This is particularly difficult for industrial organizations due to legacy automation devices, disparate software applications, and the constant need to keep up with ever changing customer demands. Fortunately, proven solutions and processes provide the foundation for creating digital, optimized plants.
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