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Appetite for Production: Making the Most of Enterprise Operational Intelligence

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What if your operators could see how a mixing machine is performing against KPIs just by pointing a phone at it?

Or what if you could be alerted before a food production line produces quality defects?

These aren’t future or theoretical scenarios to ponder. Food and beverage manufacturers have long struggled to understand performance within and across factories.

In our Food for Thought eBook, we showed that by gathering, analysing and accessing data in real-time, workers at any level of your organisation are better able to track and improve production performance.

Now I would like to go into a little bit more detail on how that can impact your facility through enterprise operational intelligence.

By using actionable data, this can help you create consistent KPIs across the products, lines, factories, systems and shifts. It can also help you cut your operating costs and improve your results in areas like asset utilisation, production efficiency, workforce performance and energy usage.

Clear Insights from Complex Environments

Many manufacturers think the major hurdle to enterprise operational intelligence is the diverse ecosystem of different technologies from different vendors that exist in most food and beverage production facilities. Unifying the data from these disparate assets to understand production performance is a complex job, often requiring the special skills of someone like an IT professional.

And usually, after data is brought together, only basic KPI reporting is possible.

Plant managers and production supervisors, for instance, may get weekly or monthly reports. But the reports only provide a snapshot in time. They don’t allow workers to see how a line, machine or plant is performing in real time. They also don’t allow workers to drill down into data to find the root cause of yield, quality or energy issues.

Enterprise operational intelligence solutions drastically improve how you monitor production performance in your facilities.

By unifying data from your installed base of different devices, assets and systems, the solution provides real-time monitoring of your KPIs. These insights are consistent across plants, shifts and products. And they can be customised, so different workers can see – and react to – only the KPIs that are relevant to them.

A change you can make today

Companies around the world are already using enterprise operational intelligence solutions to create more competitive operations.

One large food and beverage producer, for example, is using a solution across dozens of its manufacturing sites. Workers now have role-based access to real-time standardised metrics and information, despite numerous systems. The result? The company has increased productivity by 5-8% in its plants.

This is a perfect example of how an enterprise operational intelligence solution can bring value to your operations today.

The solution doesn’t require an infrastructure overhaul. It can work with your existing systems to give you real-time monitoring of whatever you need to know.

It can also work with new enabling technologies like augmented reality (AR) to help you view your production performance in completely new ways.

In fact, the example of an operator walking the shop floor and reviewing machine performance on their phone isn’t hypothetical. It’s something a European company is already doing by combining real-time operational intelligence with AR technology. Now, workers don’t have to wait days or weeks to see how they’re performing – they can find out at a moment’s notice.

The solution can also leverage machine learning to provide predictive performance analytics. This means no more reacting to performance problems but instead getting predictions of problems that are about to happen, before they impact production. Those insights can even trigger automatic reactions, like maintenance tickets, to help you quickly and correctly resolve the problems.

Simple and flexible

Your team members don’t need IT degrees to implement and manage enterprise operational intelligence solutions. All they need is a basic understanding of a manufacturing process to start creating dashboards and reports using simple drag-and-drop tools.

Also, dashboards and reports can be customised to each user, whether they’re an operator, plant manager or COO.

To learn more about how you can improve your manufacturing through actionable data, visit our content hub.


David Lefebvre
David Lefebvre
CPG Team Leader, Rockwell Automation
David Lefebvre has over 20 years of experience in Food and Beverage processing and industrial automation, including Sales and Business Management and Global Account Management. David’s focus over the past eight years has been to align business strategies and development efforts as CPG Industry Sales Manager coordinating strategy and execution plans in Consumer-Packaged Goods industry.
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