While many food and beverage manufacturing companies have successfully undergone digital transformation initiatives, countless others have faltered, failing to get their industrial automation projects off the ground. Recent surveys reveal that only 30% of all respondents successfully implemented their automation plans because of financial constraints and lack of available resources.
Fortunately, the industry is adapting and evolving beyond many of its most common missteps. After more strategizing and preparation, advancing your objectives for developing a data-first manufacturing facility should be relatively simple. With the help of a proven industrial automation software and information controls provider, you can launch a successful digital transformation initiative that supports positive change throughout every aspect of your organization.
Furthermore, automating your operations means you’ll have developed a solution that is flexible enough to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable food and beverage manufacturing industry in a constant state of flux. This article discusses a few reliable approaches for relieving several common headaches associated with industrial automation projects and how to avoid abandoning them entirely by building a data-first manufacturing facility.
What is a data-first manufacturing facility?
A data-first manufacturing facility foremost makes use of analytics and case-specific requirements before generating valuable operational data that reflect and support them. Before launching any sweeping digital transformation, it’s important that most of your existing food manufacturing equipment and processes will have been at least partially re-engineered to support a facility that can generate production data in real-time.
Your manufacturing execution system (MES) software assembles essential data that helps you calculate key performance indicators (KPIs) to gain further insight into your production and make process improvements where necessary. The additional visibility improves decision-making, and the process is entirely centered around data aggregation. In a nutshell, a data-first manufacturing facility begins and ends with live-time access to critical operational information.
How does a data-first approach benefit your production?
A data-first production approach to manufacturing is more than just access to additional information about your manufacturing workflow. The enhanced visibility and traceability of a data-first manufacturing facility grant you the ability to separate and analyze the specific information required to keep your production equipment functioning optimally and your operational processes uninterrupted.
All information a data-first manufacturing plant generates corresponds with the analytics and insights you select. This helps your company efficiently and reliably gain more visibility into your floor-level production, allowing your operations managers to assess core performance metrics across your entire operations. Real-time access to maintenance data means that you’ll eliminate unplanned system downtime because you can detect equipment problems before they completely malfunction. The enhanced insight into your organization lets you discover process inefficiencies and correct them in ways you couldn’t before. This gives you more opportunities to boost productivity at your plant while increasing production capacity.
When you take a data-centric approach to the food and beverage production business, you reduce your operating costs through waste reduction and more efficient management of your food production materials. In addition to this, you’ll have access to more flexibility that allows you to customize your products and lower your materials consumption. If you need to adjust your equipment in live-time, programming the appropriate information controls lets you accomplish this. And an automated food manufacturing plant gives you all the tools to compare data analytics across multiple sites using actionable real-world information.
Above all, a data-first manufacturing facility improves management by enabling better decision-making. You’ll no longer find yourself reliant upon outmoded clipboards and paper-based tracking methods to estimate your best practices. The comprehensive and continuous supply of data you now have access to means you can always support your production strategies with palatable up-to-date information. Finally, a data-driven approach fosters accurate forecasting through streamlined access to historical information. This data helps predict revenue streams, growth opportunities, operational inefficiencies, and more.
Some examples of the types of data an automated food production plant collects are:
- Cycle times
- Production counts (both positive and negative)
- Temperature values
- Draw values
- Operator performance metrics
- Real-time draw values
- Shift and scheduling information
- Vibration values
- Fault and alarm information
What’s the best approach for analyzing this data for process improvement purposes?
The aggregate data is collected by analytics algorithms that provide increased visibility. In turn, this additional insight helps your management teams make reliable decisions that translate into actionable tasks. You will have access to real-time plant information to make data-driven assessments about product quality and accuracy while, at the same time, these newfound insights help to optimize your broader business operations and processes.
This data-driven approach to quality management allows you to leverage statistical process control charts to identify operation points that exceed normal thresholds and control limits. Access to this unique function means you can keep a close eye on unusual trends and system anomalies to ensure an uninterrupted manufacturing workflow.
Implementing a data-first food and beverage manufacturing plant
If you’re currently evaluating process control systems integrators and wondering where to find industrial automation companies near me, consider partnering with EZSoft. We have decades of experience serving the food and beverage production industry and can guide you through the entire implementation process. We’ll help you devise a plan to integrate your local applications and build a data-first manufacturing facility. Connect with the automation experts at EZSoft today by filling out our online request for contact form or dialing (484) 568-5040 now.