For nearly a decade, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies have focused on ways to take advantage of IT/OT convergence, IIoT platforms and other digital technologies to improve operations. No doubt, digital transformation holds great promise for driving speed-to-market, manufacturing agility – and lower costs.
But what success have companies achieved to date? What have they learned – and what challenges and opportunities still await in their digital transformation journey?
These are the questions we posed at our recent Food & Beverage Forum held during Automation Fair. I had the privilege of moderating the discussion featuring representatives from Kraft Heinz and AB-InBev. Here are some key insights I took away from the event.
The “Experiment Phase” Is Over
Like many CPG companies, our panelists began evaluating digital transformation years ago, and are now ramping up investment in related technologies. For many still early in their transformational journey, the primary question is how to get started with the systems and data they already have in place.
As Scott Ingles, head of international OT and automation at Kraft Heinz explained: “We sat down and evaluated the major pillars of our organization: quality, safety and production. And we looked at what we needed to do, what data we have today, and what data we still need to close gaps.”
For Charles Tisdell, global director of connected brewery IIOT & automation, tech supply, AB-InBev, transforming how people work is first and foremost. In other words, as Tisdell said: “Once we have transformed our work processes, what are the data gaps – and other gaps we must close – to automate those processes.”