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A Transformation Focused on Automation in the Food Industry

Kevin Lobo, FB Tech Review | Wednesday, January 13, 2021

To remain competitive, food processing industry players must apply automation solutions.

FREMONT, CA: Agribusiness is battling with rising labor costs, labor turnover, and increasing costs from food waste. The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, including virus outbreaks in processing and packaging and the related shutdowns, have intensified these hurdles. Meanwhile, food prices have not increased to cope with higher costs, resulting in compressed margins. A transformation focused on automation and AI is taking center stage. It is also effective than implementing traditional lean methods that capture only incremental enhancements in process efficiency. With the thoughtful deployment of automation and AI, agriculture companies could see results within a short period. Learn more here.

The pandemic has accelerated efforts to address hurdles to keep operations profitable and keep them open for firms. Digital technologies, especially automation, offer effective solutions. The reduction of manual work optimizes processes, reduces waste, and enhances safety. It also enables companies to deploy people to more value-adding tasks. The amount of capital investment required for digital technologies is lesser than what is needed for a full-scale redesign of operations, and the time frame for attaining a return on investment is measured in months. Lean methods can lay the groundwork for implementing automation and AI by driving process efficiencies.

An implementation program begins with a compelling vision that navigates the development of agribusiness solutions and a digital operating model. New potentials and talent are essential to help the effort. Establishing an ambitious but achievable vision and combine it across functions. A successful vision can express several objectives—such as allowing a broader strategy, attaining a competitive advantage, enhancing customer service, increasing speed and resilience, or mitigating costs—for transforming operations.

The challenges of automating food processing are significant, but so too are the payoffs from getting it right. Having already applied conventional levers, firms must turn to automation to unlock the next wave of needed enhancements. Today’s unique hurdles demand nothing less than immediate actions to explore the potentials and implement solutions.

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