Friday, December 15, 2017
The food production and supply sector has never been so dynamic with a wider range of product offerings than ever before coupled with manufacturers increasingly being asked to increase productivity while keeping costs down. In the not so distant past, the normal reaction would be to increase production, but times have changed. Consumers are now demanding a wider variety of products – be it new flavours, low salt or sugar, or even gluten free varieties, or even different portion sizes. The upshot being that increasing production is not the simple solution that it once was.
Accordingly food and beverage manufacturers have had to adapt production lines to satisfy such consumer demands. Hence some manufacturers are looking to install smaller, dedicated lines while others are trying to ramp up production by adding new lines. Either way, the amount of testing required increases as a result, plus when coupled with an increased need to transport smaller amounts of product around the factory, creates a problem with traceability.
To address this issue plus maintain all important efficiency, many food producers are upping their investment in automation significantly, with automated guided vehicles (AGV’s) for instance becoming an increasingly common sight on shop-floors.
In short, the winners will be those producers who are able to release manpower from the repetitive jobs while being able to provide fully automated traceability.