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2023 Report Findings: Smart Manufacturing Provides Stability in Food & Beverage

Food & Beverage
September 12, 2023

Change is scary - something that’s true for individuals as well as manufacturers. In manufacturing, an industry's steady and predictable growth can allow for stable markets, plannable operational strategies, and precise control.

Unfortunately, every industry changes over time, shattering the best of plans. Technology, new markets, competitors, and disruption mean that companies need to occasionally change and adjust to new realities in order to keep up with and surpass the competition. But how are these manufacturers finding stability within a constantly changing world? That is the question answered in this year’s The State of Smart Manufacturing: Consumer Packaged Goods Report.

Massive Changes in Food and Beverage

As difficult and necessary as change management is for manufacturers in all industries, only some must deal with the level and scope of change as those operating within the food and beverage industry.

These companies are under transformational, and even existential, stress from multiple sources, so change has become their only constant. From the still-felt effects of COVID-19 to tariffs and trade wars to a deluge of new government regulations and ESG initiatives, these changes have impacted market tastes and demands.

Urgency in Digital Manufacturing Adoption

The growth in complexity in manufacturing has already shifted most managers and executives to embrace digitization to get the most out of production, control costs, and optimize operations. Recent studies are proving that the reliance on managing the above factors using manual systems is waning.

Within food and beverage, these widely accepted beliefs highlight an urgency as the added layers of regulation and change force leaders to delve further into digital adoption to stay ahead of the added stress. According to the The State of Smart Manufacturing: Consumer Packaged Goods Report, 78% of executives within food and beverage see smart manufacturing as key to their future success. Almost half, 49%, have already adopted a platform for smart manufacturing, with an additional 45% planning adoption over the next year.

The Value of Adopting Smart Manufacturing

These numbers reflect the understanding of industry leaders that smart manufacturing represents the best path to success and competitiveness, considering constant change. Its adoption gives manufacturers holistic, 360-degree visibility not possible with manual control and human analysis. It removes silos within operations to reduce inventory (and, with it, spoilage and expiry issues) for optimized costs. It allows real-time operational and inventory data analysis to increase productivity and optimize processes.

Better Execution and Quality

Smart manufacturing also gives companies better and more precise execution. Many regulatory changes and the constant need to update data for traceability, spoilage, and other time-sensitive information come with planning windows or short notice. In traditional manual systems, discarded products from these changes were almost a given. But now, because products are traced and tracked digitally, waste can be significantly reduced and quality improved despite the stress of rapidly and constantly changing inputs.

Transcending Changes for Better Performance

With a digital grasp on everyday complexity, food and beverage companies can lean into advanced smart manufacturing platforms to rein in the chaos of change specific to their industry. This means staying afloat and current on the changes and gaining ground to enact continuous improvement so that the impact of future changes is mitigated in advance.

Smart Manufacturing's Impact on the Food and Beverage Industry

The impact of advanced smart manufacturing systems is already felt across the industry, as revealed in this year’s special edition of The State of Smart Manufacturing Report. The data shows that 31% of those who have adopted smart manufacturing are already using it to keep pace with constant market transformation.

It also gives them a jump-off point on further deploying and integrating new technology (28%). And many are realizing success in managing supply chain disruption (26%), balancing quality and growth (25%), and addressing the ongoing shortage of skilled workers (24%).

If your company operates within the critical food and beverage industry, it essential to keep up with the trends shaping the sector as well as the strategies your peers and competitors are relying on to ensure stability and growth for their operations. If the only constant in this world is change, then it’s clear these companies are relying on smart manufacturing solutions to help them navigate forward.

For more data and insights compiled directly from surveys of other manufacturers in your industry, click here to download The State of Smart Manufacturing: Consumer Packaged Goods.

About the Author

Plex Team

Plex Systems, Inc., a Rockwell Automation company, is the leader in cloud-delivered smart manufacturing solutions, empowering the world’s manufacturers to make awesome products. Our platform gives manufacturers the ability to connect, automate, track and analyze every aspect of their business to drive transformation. The Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform includes solutions for manufacturing execution (MES), ERP, quality, supply chain planning and management, Industrial IoT and analytics to connect people, systems, machines, and supply chains, enabling them to lead with precision, efficiency and agility.