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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

You're Being Left Behind!


We're still discovering new ways to make research, production and sales more efficient, more profitable and more sustainable in the food and ingredients industry…

And whilst outsiders might think the Food and Ingredients industry isn’t known for being on the cutting edge of technology. They would be wrong! With the constant introduction of new food technologies and the rise of Industry 4.0, it’s easy to say that we are indeed operating at the very edge of technology, boasting one of the lowest technology gaps known.

This week we have got the inside line on how Industry 4.0 is affecting the food and ingredients industry from one of Europe’s leading Microsoft Azure partners, Codit. These guys have been unlocking business insights for manufacturing companies for decades. Stephen McCormac is heading up the UK office but also collaborating with the larger Codit group across Europe on various other projects in helping manufacturers gain deeper insights into their businesses and processes.


Revolutionizing the Production Process

Widespread adoption of IoT technology has led to the rapid digitalization of the food and ingredients industry and not just manufacturing but across the board. The scale of real-time monitoring and control of the production process, from the raw materials to the finished products has led to improved efficiency, reduced downtime, and enhanced traceability, all of which can be critical in ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. According to a recent survey, using IoT technology in the production process can increase efficiency by a margin filling 87%, reduce downtime by 92%, and improve traceability by 96%. With IoT, executives can monitor and control the production process in real time, giving them insights that were previously impossible to access.

On a recent project, Codit combined Microsoft Azure and IoT technologies to form a comprehensive solution that was able to scale worldwide seamlessly. Older equipment was retrofitted in order to capture data and deliver indispensable knowledge about every step in the production process for maximum efficiency. In just the first phase of the project, our client cut 15% of the food waste, labour costs were reduced by 30% and energy costs were also reduced by 5%.

Optimizing Supply Chain Management

Staying informed in today’s world includes the use of data analytics and AI. Cloud technologies and IoT is being used to analyse data from the production process and predict future demand. They are also being used to optimize production processes, predict maintenance needs, and improve quality control. According to a recent survey, data analytics and AI can predict future demand with an accuracy of up to 89%, optimize production processes by 95%, and improve quality control by a staggering 98%. With these technologies, food and ingredients businesses can analyse data from the production process and predict future demand, allowing for more efficient management of the supply chain.

Off-the-shelf…

Executives don't have to be tech geniuses to make this happen. There are off-the-shelf systems and custom-built solutions that can identify business outcomes and make operations run like a well-oiled machine. These systems are designed to be user-friendly and easy to implement, so even the most technologically challenged among us can get in on the action. ADVACTORY is a company that specializes in Industry 4.0 solutions for the food and ingredients industry offering exactly this solution.

Decentralized production

Digitalization is also driving changes in the way the food and ingredients industry operates, with a growing trend towards decentralized production. This means that small-scale factories are located closer to consumers, reducing transportation costs and increasing the speed of delivery. This is made possible by advances in automation and robotics, which allow for smaller factories to produce goods at a scale that was previously only possible in large-scale factories. According to a study, decentralized production can reduce transportation costs by up to 80% and increase the speed of delivery by up to 90%. This not only makes the industry more efficient but also more environmentally friendly.

Now tell me, where is the food and ingredients industry on this journey?

Inventory Management

Products are now packaged, priced, tagged, moved, and get their status updated on the cloud with the use of IoT, making inventory management cloud-based and all the more effortless.

"Major success stories are from automated data analytics, AI-based product improvements, and cloud-based training and human-machine collaboration apps. We were able to predict specific equipment issues and downtimes with a near 100% success rate enabling us to replace fixed maintenance intervals partially with data-based predictions obtained from sensors measuring temperature and vibration profiles." Says the vice president of Tetra Pak Services and Industry 4.0 Solutions, Sasha Ilyukhin.

Tetra Pak is a Swedish–Swiss multinational food packaging and processing firm that has been incorporating the advances of IoT inclusive of sensors, data analytics, management tools, sustainability, and quality control operations. They have been advancing with these operations at 53 of their manufacturing units. Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and Power BI data visualization are some of the platforms where Tetra Pak hosts its operations with efficient checkups on quality conditionings.

As Codit are a specialist Microsoft Azure cloud service provider we thought we would ask them of the real benefits of implementing these technologies into a food and ingredient manufacturing facility…

Manufacturers who implemented these technologies gain significant advantages such as greater operational efficiencies, factory output, customer loyalty, and net profits. They quickly adapt to new challenges – including the unexpected, like COVID-19 – because these technologies empower them with capabilities such as; visibility and agility across the entire supply chain, the ability to make quick, data-backed decisions by rapidly simulating alternatives and identifying patterns in large data samples, and the ability to ramp-up production at pace.

Well, the progressiveness is mind-blowing. The future of this technology is based on robotics and artificial intelligence; that the food industry 4.0 is looking forward to escalating into a much smarter 5.0 that is now in talks.

Anyone wondering what 5.0 would look like – think Will Smith’s I-Robot then throw in Elon Musk’s warning about the power of AI and you have yourself a horror movie!


Competition in the Industry

The Food and Ingredients industry is becoming a real-life version of the NBA. With Advactory leading the way with off-the-shelf solutions and Codit building out custom Azure systems to help organisation breakdown data silos. The technology is out there and accessible to all. Businesses just need the leadership in place necessary to bring about transformation and drive into the future with data-backed confidence.

Meyrick Consulting place executive leaders in the food and ingredients industry

So, whether you have a plug-and-play need, or a bespoke and scalable Azure cloud solution requirement like what Codit provide, it's important to keep pushing the boundaries, finding marginal gains and securing that competitive edge in the Food and Ingredients industry. After all, a rising tide lifts all ships, and we're all in this together.

The food and Ingredients industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution; with the help of Industry 4.0 solutions and digitalization, companies can expect to see a significant boost in efficiency, profitability and sustainability if they invest in this area. Executives in the Food and Ingredients industry can navigate this revolution with confidence, ready to take their companies to new heights.

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