In my new role in leading Siemens U.S. Digital Factory Food & Beverage vertical, I’m excited about the challenge it affords, and it brings to mind my days serving as a volunteer coach for youth football in my hometown of Clarkston, MI. Organized chaos! Take a group of people, get team buy-in, instill a process and culture for success, then work together as a team to reach our desired outcome. Throughout the season you come across obstacles that are difficult to overcome, but your determination does not waver.
With the vast barriers facing the U.S. food and beverage industry, like a youth football team, companies are showing resiliency and an unwavering commitment to transformation – a digital transformation that is resulting in more productivity, more up time, greater efficiency, more flexibility and the ability to meet customer expectations for quality and safety.
In the 20+ years I’ve spent working in the automation and information intelligence sector, I have never seen a greater influx in the use of technology and innovation by food and beverage companies than today. While many are taking a phased-in approach to modernization, whether that’s updating a filling or bottling line with advanced automation, managing recipes with software or gathering and analyzing OT data for efficiency and productivity measures, it’s happening, and this is what’s important to remain competitive.
A recent study on digitalization by London-based Longitude Research on behalf of Siemens revealed that, among F&B companies
- 50% have adopted cloud computing, additive manufacturing and connect sensors in plant operations;
- 60% have used digitalization to add new revenue streams from the provision of services, such as track and trace, and
- 67% are encouraging suppliers to provide them with data from their operations and production processes to improve supply chain visibility.
Yet, with this progress, there is still room for improvement. Less than half are using advanced data analytics, about 85% have a lag of more than 24 hours between data collection an analysis and more than a quarter do not have a fully defined data management strategy.
The report details the top five reasons for digitalization, and all were deemed almost equally important, including improving up time, the penetration of new markets, increasing productivity, meeting industry regulations and standards and reducing time to market.
As the pace of digitalization continues to increase across the sector, procrastination simply isn’t an option.
To see where your digital path ranks against industry peers, download the main digitalization report and take the benchmark survey, or look specifically at the food and beverage segment.
Published On: March 1st, 2016