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Modernizing Food and Beverage Manufacturing with Digital Data

Data generation, collection, and analysis is critical to maintaining an effective manufacturing business in the 2020s. As food and beverage manufacturers, how can we utilize automated production technology to gather digital data more effectively?

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Having access to timely, detailed information is critical to the operation of any manufacturing organization. Now, as Canadian manufacturers continue to integrate automated technology into their production lines, collecting and utilizing this information has never been easier. This is particularly relevant for food and beverage manufacturers — as an industry centred around the management of consumables, thorough data analysis is necessary for creating fresh, healthful products. By effectively using data generated by modern manufacturing processes, food and beverage manufacturers can strengthen efficiency, productivity, and quality throughout their production activities, and maximize the usefulness of their employees and machines.

The benefits of adopting modern, digital manufacturing processes are virtually limitless. Consider your own business processes from start to finish. Where do you see inefficiencies? Where are mistakes being made? Are there opportunities for increased speed or capacity? Automated technology can support every action throughout the production line and, thanks to modern artificial intelligence and data tracking processes, critical information is gathered while doing so. Employers and employees alike can use this data to identify and correct production errors, eliminate redundancies, determine the quality of raw materials and much more, at a level of accuracy far greater than ever possible through manual efforts. Once this data has been utilized, it can be stored for future reference, providing manufacturers with the ability to compare quantitative and qualitative information across fixed time periods and build the foundations for continuous improvement.

Some manufacturers may be wary of adopting automated technology due to perceived costs or risks in employee satisfaction. Fortunately for these parties, the Canadian government offers grants and associated funding opportunities to make purchasing and using digital manufacturing tools feasible for manufacturers of any size. The most notable of these opportunities is likely the Canadian Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), which provides small-to-medium-sized businesses with various grants, loans, and support entities to help overcome common obstacles and ensure automated technology is being employed effectively. Worker concerns surrounding automated technology can be effectively alleviated through continuous engagement with these machines prior to, during, and following their implementation. Manufacturing leaders that communicate frequently with their employees about automation will gain a thorough understanding of their labour forces’ values, and can use this information to maintain a steady workplace culture that’s comfortable with technology. Once employees are secure in the knowledge that automated technology is intended to support — not replace — them, they will have ample motivation to learn about and take advantage of its many features.

Food and beverage manufacturers can empower their workforce by using modern, automated production processes. By being proactive in understanding, purchasing, and utilizing digital technology, manufacturing employees in any role can reap the benefits and create high-quality products expediently and effectively. Remember that good data is one of the most important tools in a manufacturer’s (and business leader’s) inventory, and you’ll find that bringing your production line into the digital world of today is a highly worthwhile endeavour.

To learn more about utilizing digital data in manufacturing processes, contact Leah Nacua, EMC’s Manufacturing Consortium Manager for Toronto and the GTA. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge specialized to Canada’s manufacturing leaders.

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