Almost every industry is striving to become more efficient and sustainable—and these goals are especially important in the food and beverage sector.
Streamlining operations, reducing waste, and reducing carbon emissions are essential to feeding the world’s growing population, protecting limited resources, and combating climate change. Nearly 40% of decision makers in the food and beverage sector said in the 2022 survey by International Data Corp. that their organizations will prioritize sustainability in the coming year.
These companies cannot achieve their sustainability goals without making digital transformations in every aspect of the production process, from sourcing to manufacturing to distribution.
In the consumer goods sector, companies with advanced digital transformation strategies cut greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water and energy consumption by up to half, according to Clarisse Magnin-Mallez, a managing partner at McKinsey & Company. . By following the same strategy of introducing the right talent and technology, food and beverage producers can improve the bottom line through more efficient operations and contribute to global food security.
Digital Transformation Is The Way To Progress
Digital transformation in the food and beverage sector can take many forms: adoption of cloud-based collaboration platforms, updating of the internet of things (IIoT) infrastructure, and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) to refine processes and better understand customer needs.
The integration of digital technology allows organizations to collect and analyze data to support sustainability in areas that were once a black box. Having visibility into operations and consumer behavior today helps organizations calculate the exact amount and types of resources they use, which helps them better identify ways to reduce waste and energy use. and water.
Maintaining a focus on the human element is critical to the success of digital transformation initiatives. Team members who fear that digitization will make them obsolete can present significant barriers to implementation. Building a culture that empowers employees to see how digital tools can make their work easier and better and that ensures they learn the skills to use new technology is the key to bringing workers on the sustainability journey.
Like many industries, the food and beverage sector is struggling with a shortage of skilled workers. Promoting emerging or newly adopted technology in job descriptions can help recruiters make their open roles more attractive to prospects looking for cutting-edge careers.
Three Leading Places
Food and beverage producers who want to innovate may be stuck deciding how to proceed. Nearly 70% of industrial companies undergoing digital transformation programs report not getting past the pilot phase, according to LNS Research.
As pioneers in the digital transformation of our own operations, Schneider Electric provides our knowledge and experience to promote global sustainability by supporting industry organizations that are embarking on similar efforts.
The digital transformation of three organizations in the food and beverage manufacturing sector illustrates how producers start their strategies to plan, manage, and implement end-to-end transformation projects. end.
In Le Vaudreuil, in northern France, a Schneider Electric plant that produces conductors, speed drives, and soft starters is transforming its operation into a smart factory.
After outfitting its machines with wireless IoT sensors connected to cloud-based digital analytics platforms, the factory unlocks data to help it improve its performance and sustainability, cutting energy and carbon usage emissions by a quarter and its material waste by 17%. The implementation of a zero-reject water recycling station monitored by a cloud-based AI model led to a 64% reduction in water usage at the facility.
In 2022, the factory will join the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network, which recognizes manufacturing facilities that achieve efficiency and sustainability through innovation.
A 65-year-old plant in Lexington, Kentucky, that makes load centers and safety switches is the first Schneider Electric facility to become a global lighthouse, in 2021. By integrating IoT sensors with power meters and predictive analytics, the factory reduced its energy. used by more than a quarter, its use of water by 20%, and carbon emissions by 30%.
For this facility, sustainability goes hand in hand with efficiency. Average repair time fell by 20%, and system downtime fell by 5%. The plant’s investment in its digital transformation paid for itself within two years.
Roadmap to the Future
In March 2023, one of the world’s leading beverage companies launched a digital transformation and sustainability initiative.
The organization collaborated with Schneider Electric’s Industrial Digital Transformation Consultancy Team to develop a vision and road map for becoming a “plant of the future,” laying the groundwork for a two-year implementation period. Embracing innovation helps the company better serve customers and stay ahead of competitors while transitioning to a more sustainable business model.
A Healthier Future Starts Today
Achieving digital transformation can be challenging. It requires the right technology, a cohesive strategy, a skilled workforce, and a good culture. By applying emerging and established best practices, food and beverage companies can take significant steps toward creating a more efficient and sustainable industry.
There is no time to lose. By making efforts today to build the factories of the future, the sector will be better prepared to feed the world and support a healthier planet.
Learn how Schneider Electric’s Industrial Digital Transformation Consultancy Team help your organization reduce its impact on the planet and increase its bottom line.