Predictability in food processing isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have.
And to get there, it’s time for packaging automation.
For years, automation sat in the nice-to-have category to enhance operations. However, with continuing labor shortages and supply chain challenges, automation is increasingly being used to improve predictability and limit disruptions for food processors and manufacturers.
Here are four core benefits to automating your processes.
When we’re talking about the workforce, automation has meant a lot of different things to different companies. In some cases, automated processes replace workers and streamline manual processes.
But when filling enough roles to support your day-to-day operations is difficult, automation allows you to optimize the workforce you have and minimize disruption during shortages.
It builds predictability back into your operations.
A few areas of labor optimization include:
Downtime is a risk of any manufacturing operation.
With the connected data that automation provides, it’s possible to reduce downtime and even plan for it.
For example, remote technicians can offer continuous service and line improvements, and have a log of what’s happened. If a machine goes down unexpectedly, that data is available to more quickly bring things back online.
Connected data and analytics are also essential to predictive maintenance. When you can predict a problem, you’re more able to plan for it and schedule downtime in a way that minimizes the impact on production.
Speed of automation gets a lot of focus, but production consistency is more critical when it comes to overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
Automation allows all the factors that affect OEE—availability, performance, quality, and rate—to be efficiently maximized.
A predictable, reliable throughput reduces your cost to deliver and maximizes the value of automation. When your results are consistent and your speed is optimized, you know your system is running at peak efficiency.
When companies integrate packaging equipment, materials, automation, and digital diagnostics into their operations, it’s often to enhance a process at a single point.
However, the positive impact of automation may expand to upstream and downstream processes as well. Some examples include:
There are a lot of variables impacting the day-to-day operations in food processing. Packaging automation is a powerful strategy to bring predictability back to your business.
Want to learn more about how automation improves predictability? Download our e-book about meat packaging automation. A lot of the lessons we've learned over the years can help food processors of all types improve predictability.