The food industry is undergoing significant changes with the digitalization of increasingly more processes. Digital transformation in this sector accelerated over the past few years to integrate technology in every aspect of the supply chain, from food production and processing to distribution and consumption.
ResearchAndMarkets recently published a study estimating that the global food automation market will reach 15,1 billion dollars by 2030, growing at a compound annual rate of 4,9% till the end of the decade. The Food Automation market in the U.S. is estimated at US$3 Billion in the year 2022.
Same study is saying that, for the years to come, food companies will prioritize automation at plants to stay competitive, that we will be facing preventive maintenance driving adoption of IoT, artificial intelligence will be on the rise and that companies will focus on automation of process control for largely manual processes.
It’s a massive opportunity that highlights the benefits of digitalization in an industry where maximizing efficiencies can be crucial during volatile times.
Process automation has many advantages and these are particularly important in this industry, ranging from improving operational efficiency and product quality to better workflows and internal processes, more flexibility, and cost reduction.
Here are the 5 steps needed to achieve excellent automation process management and boost your digital transformation journey:
Step 1 – Assessment of needs and goals
You can’t improve things you don’t understand, so the first step is to assess existing processes and pinpoint the areas that will benefit the most from automation. That will allow you to set clear and precise goals and make sure that digitalization will benefict your business the most.
Step 2 – Process identification
The next step is identifying and analyzing processes, followed by a determination of which ones can improve with automation. This calculation should be made taking into account different criteria such as production volume, safety, quality, and complexity. No two processes are alike and what works for one area might not work for another one. In the end, there must be a win/win correlation between the work you have done and what you get from it.
Step 3 – Choosing the right technologies
What fits your business needs and goals better? The most suitable technologies must be chosen after a careful review of cost, ease of integration, and technical support. Throwing tech at problems won’t automatically solve them. Tech solutions should be aligned with the business goals, and one of the ways to ensure processes will become more efficient by using a cloud-based business management software that integrates CRM, ERP, DSD, and WMS. Talk to the right IT partners as they really know how to help you moving forward on the path.
Step 4 – Planning
Successful implementation requires careful planning, aligned with the rest of the company’s processes. Plan makes success a sure thing to achieve. That’s where business management software can also help, as it allows for the flexible management of tasks, people, vehicles, stocks, etc.
Fifty-year-old food company Mrs. Gerry’s is a case study of how migrating to innovative solutions can revamp operations and significantly improve efficiency. After adopting a new ERP solution, the company was able to streamline inventory management, optimize rebates, and improve batch planning.
Step 5 – Monitoring
Through the digital transformation journey, it’s important to continuously monitor the system’s performance and look for ways to optimize processes, by identifying areas of improvement and defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Monitor the way things go will help you minimize mistakes and get to the end in a more efficient way.
As digitalization in the food industry matures, these five steps can make a difference both in gaining a competitive advantage and in better operational efficiency.
However, all internal digital transformation processes can be simplified through the support of an external partner – one that has know-how in specific tech solutions and a problem-solving team that will ensure quality delivery in real time. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, this is the time to find the right partner.