Step 1 for Operational Excellence in Food, Beverage, & CPG Manufacturing – Automating Data Collection

Last week I posted a blog that highlighted 7 steps that you should consider to achieve operational excellence if you are within Food, Beverage, or CPG manufacturing. I want to make this a series of blog posts, diving into each step to talk about why it is important towards overall success. This week we will dive deeper into the first step – Automate the collection of manufacturing data.

The overall goal for any operational excellence program is to drive incremental improvement in the business. However, this action becomes such a challenge if you don’t have visibility into your plant floor performance. Effective decisions should always be based on data analysis and information, not speculation or conjecture. This is essentially what the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0, or any other marketing term you want to use is aiming for – better decision making through increased plant floor connectivity. In fact, in a recent report by the Genpact Research Institute, 81% of industrial companies stated that they believe the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things is the key to future success. That is why the first step every company should take (no matter the industry) if they truly want to achieve operational excellence is to get control over their manufacturing data. We know that automated data collection and the IIoT are the basis for creating the real-time enterprise, but can it significantly differentiate Food, Beverage, and CPG manufacturers? The answer is yes.

In a recent Aberdeen group study, it was found that Leading F&B manufacturers were 79% more likely than their poorer performing peers to automatically collect manufacturing data (Figure 1).

Getting Control of your Manufacturing Data

Advances in technology now allow for new levels of connectivity that were not economically viable before. Sensors can be easily incorporated onto assets and equipment that are decades old, providing connectivity and control that has always been desired but rarely achieved. This level of automation allows manufacturers to improve the validity of collected data, more effectively use historical data to optimize current decision making, and deliver data in real-time to decision makers as actionable intelligence. In a manual data collection environment (like poorer performing manufacturers are more likely to rely on) the data can be old and inaccurate, calling into question the validity of conclusions drawn by the analysis. This automated data collection can be further utilized as well. Statistical analysis can be applied to this manufacturing data to turn it into insight. Analyses like statistical process control (SPC) or failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) can be undertaken in real-time to improve the reliability and predictability of Food, Beverage, and CPG manufacturing processes.

Clearly, there are many ways that manufacturers can benefit from utilizing their plant floor data. The operational excellence program that leading Food, Beverage, & CPG manufacturers rely upon aims to arm their decision makers with the information they need to maximize productivity, ensure product safety and quality, and limit sustainability costs. However, it requires the important first steps… Getting Connected.

This is the 2nd blog in a series around OpEx, the next blog will dive into step 2 – Build compliance and traceability into your processes.

Read the first blog in this series, 7 Steps for Operational Excellence in Food, Beverage and CPG Manufacturing.

To find out more now on how you can achieve operational excellence, the benefits of such an approach, and the role that GE can play, please visit the GE Digital F&B/CPG webpage.

F&B Leaders are those manufacturers that outperform F&B Followers on Production Compliance, OEE, On-time and Complete Shipments, Non-Conformance Response Time, and Operating Margin.

About the author

Reid Paquin

Industry Analyst, Food & Beverage/CPG, GE Digital

As an industry analyst at GE Digital, Reid Paquin applies his extensive manufacturing knowledge to help food, beverage, & CPG companies apply best practices from a people, process, and technology perspective to drive improved performance from their operations.  Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.