Rise of the smart factory: Implications for the food and beverage industry

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Categories: ERP, Food and Beverage
March 22, 2018

Food ERPSmart manufacturing has the potential to change dramatically the way that food and beverage companies operate. Fueled by new technologies that provide for more accurate production, efficient manufacturing and use of ingredients, and an opportunity for more safe and compliant operations, smart factories can revolutionize how foods are made.

As seen in the recent post, Rise of the Smart Factory: Evolving at the Speed of Business, companies that leverage the new potential benefits of smart factories can adapt to changing demands and market forces. This post examines how companies can leverage smart technologies and integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to drive leaner processes.

Here are some of the key ways smart manufacturing can impact food and beverage manufacturers:

  • Better information at the right time. In a smart factory, information flows swiftly and seamlessly, giving workers real-time insights that allow for better decisions about production, scheduling, and inventory. Integrated data streams provide for disparate areas of the enterprise to share data, collaborate, and problem-solve.
  • Food safety. With better tracking and monitoring, food manufacturers can accurately track and trace ingredients and products throughout the supply chain. These tools allow for companies to remain in compliance, prepare for inspections, and provide detailed reports. In the case of a recall, this functionality lets companies respond promptly and with more precision.
  • Supply chain seamlessness. As farm-to-fork products continue to grow in demand, smart factory systems allow manufacturers to communicate more clearly and accurately with supply chain partners. Companies can access and source ingredients, create more efficiency in ordering and delivery, and provide transparency that can allow for those same partners to collaborate on solutions that boost productivity and availability.
  • Responsivity. Consumer demands are ever-shifting, with markets emerging often overnight for different ingredients, foods, and tastes. The smart factory allows manufacturers to get new products to market faster by allowing for rapid redeployment of machines, integrated scheduling, and better collection of data about demand and preferences.
  • Customization. While food and beverage companies are in a batch-driven industry, early signs point to the feasibility of more customization with serving size, ingredients, packaging, and labeling. Adaptive systems can bundle foods and beverages for both production, output, and shipping, giving companies more flexibility and offering those options to customers and, ultimately, consumers seeking unique products and experiences.
  • Less waste. Precision scheduling, optimization tools, and analytics allow companies to maximize capacity and uptime, reduce food and ingredient wastage, and reduce remakes.
  • Process improvement. Smart factories produce massive amounts of data that, when analyzed and reported on, provide powerful insights that can allow companies to consider changes to processes throughout the sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution processes.
Food ERP

Smart factories help keep food and beverage manufacturers better connected with their supply chains and their customers.

To drive efficiency, food and beverage companies need a powerful ERP to integrate information and systems. At NexTec Group, we help companies select the right food ERP that keeps companies … and their products … fresh. Our consultants understand the vendors, products, and features, working with our clients to understand their needs and recommend effective solutions. Download the NexTec Food Brochure to learn more about how NexTec Group can be your trusted partner to leverage smart technologies.