Automation is revolutionizing the food and beverage industry. Companies that make the investment in new technologies are seeing improved operations and efficiency, supply-chain collaboration and transparency, and perhaps most importantly, critical gains in food safety.
As seen in the recent post, Leveraging Automation in the Food and Beverage Industry, there are important implications for companies that use automation to ensure regulatory compliance and improved track-and-trace functionality. But there’s more to the story when it comes to automation and keeping the food supply protected and safe. Here are 5 ways automation ensures food safety.
1. Better communication
Food safety is highly reliant on strong communication and controls that allow for internal players to monitor, respond, and record information critical to food safety. Automation ensures that information is recorded instantly, including alerts and notifications that require a response. These tools ensure communication moves quickly and is not subject to bottlenecks or the need for extensive manual actions.
2. Comprehensive understanding
With automation tools deployed in your enterprise, your employee will have a complete, real-time understanding of operations, inventory, production, scheduling, and financial factors. Automation tools help create plant visualizations and color-coded floorplans, automatic scheduling and monitoring, functional checklists, and customizable workflows.
3. Beyond collection
With automation tools deployed, today’s food or beverage company can go beyond the simple collection of data. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform helps organizations interpret the data through detailed reporting, interactive displays, and business insights that are actionable and accessible.
Data assessment of massive amounts of information provided by the machines and tools, packaging, products, and customers can be achieved. Having access to this information is one important goal. But a food ERP can do so much more, allowing your organization to harness the information and opportunity within the data.
4. Detailed documentation
Recent regulatory guidelines such as the Food Safety Modernization Act require more detailed plans and documentation of potential threats, remediation efforts, monitoring, and reporting. With automated measuring, collection, documentation, auditing, and reporting, your enterprise can remain in full compliance with various requirements. In the case of an audit or inspection, your facility will have documentation prepared and ready for inspectors.
Your food ERP can collect and activate food safety plans, regulatory documentation, standard operating procedures, test results, and corrective actions.
5. Productive operations
Automation tools can be deployed to help optimize major components of your food manufacturing business. Run scheduling, recipe management, equipment optimization, and inventory management can all benefit from automation features. Leaving fewer calculations to manual work and calculation results in fewer errors, less wastage, and prompt usage of available ingredients and intermediary products.
When new SKUs or flavors become necessary, automation tools can help determine how to implement these new offerings while not jeopardizing food safety. Even simple tasks like temperature monitoring can be enhanced by automated measurements that can be recorded, tracked, and addressed quickly when discrepancies are found.
At NexTec, we understand the complexities and pressures to address food safety. That’s why our consultants work closely with our clients to understand their automation needs and to guide the selection and implementation of the right food ERP. Contact us to see how NexTec can help improve food safety and operations through the right automation tools.