3 Benefits to Leveraging the Cloud in F&B Manufacturing

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In some of my past blog posts I’ve touched upon the importance of the cloud and how it enables digital transformation of manufacturing operations. This blog will present a deeper dive into cloud technologies, and the benefits they can bring to the F&B industry.  There are three factors that make F&B manufacturers ideally suited to take advantage of the cloud. First, F&B companies operate heterogenous manufacturing facilities that are geographically dispersed. Second, many F&B manufacturing facilities are only semi-automated, or even manual operated, providing limited infrastructure for data collection and storage. Finally, tight margins and the market dynamics means F&B companies are looking for a solution that doesn’t need highly skilled staff on site to install and maintain, with a lower total cost of ownership and quick return on their investments. All of these make cloud-based operations management solutions an excellent investment for F&B companies.

Multi-site MOM scalability

Most F&B companies today were built through mergers and acquisitions, so their facilities and equipment are widely disparate. The cloud’s storage space and computing power makes it almost infinitely scalable. This allows for rapid deployment across multiple sites from a successful pilot deployment to a complete, multi-site enterprise deployment. The cloud’s open connectivity and rapidly advancing IIoT technologies enable integration with existing investments, meaning F&B companies can build on top of existing equipment and systems, without having to rip or replace what they have. In fact, for automated and fast-moving goods operations the best configuration is a hybrid deployment. In a hybrid deployment mission-critical information is captured and managed on-premises. Meanwhile, production response and performance KPI information is pushed to the cloud in standardized form for storage and consistent monitoring, reporting and analyses across the plants.

The cloud’s data consolidation breaks down operational silos. An open, central cloud solution enables easy collaboration between disparate teams and locations. This allows organizations to increase the efficiency of manufacturing operations by standardizing operational best practices across multiple sites.

See how to best leverage the cloud in our latest webinar

See how the cloud enables digital transformation in our webinar with LNS

Expand capabilities to smaller or manual operated facilities

The cloud makes it easy to advance the capabilities of small, manual or semi-automated facilities without the burden of establishing and maintaining a complex IT infrastructure. The cloud means companies can capture data from IoT-enabled sensors or mobile devices and send it directly to the cloud. This means companies can bypass the complex site-wide networking layers typically needed to feed data to a site-wide MES/MOM solution. I have often talked about “island of automation” needed to be bridged in a plant. However in the same manner that the cloud bridges across multiple sites, it can connect those islands within the plant.

This is especially useful for geographically remote areas where on-site IT support may be difficult to deliver or establish. Cloud technology makes it possible to deploy advanced capabilities such as performance monitoring for operator empowerment and continuous improvement in areas where such deployments previously would not have been economical possible.

Quick payback

By deploying operations management solutions such as OEE monitoring in the cloud, F&B companies can make an immediate investment that pays quick dividends. With cloud solutions F&B companies can explore subscription based SaaS offers, which offer improved business flexibility. This can take the form of either a SaaS offer, or offering enterprises the license to run it on their own private cloud (in essence, creating their own SaaS offering to plants within their enterprise). This has several benefits. First of all, cloud solutions do not require the same level of on-premises software and IT support, meaning a reduced total cost of ownership. Secondly, cloud solutions can be quickly and easily configured, meaning fast time to value. Finally, and most importantly, companies can immediately see the benefits of improved operational performance and reduced downtime.

In addition, performance monitoring implementations often serve as the entry point of a larger digital transformation. The insights gained from this initial deployment often reveal additional areas that would benefit from more digital transformation and automation.

See how cloud-based digital transformation puts you on the path to MOM 4.0 – read LNS’ ebook to learn more.

Improving profitability with the cloud

By implementing MES and digital transformation of operations, F&B companies can optimize their operations for improved profitability. Cloud architecture is an important component enabling that transformation. This especially true across multi-site operations where the cloud’s scalability makes global standardization easy.

To learn more about digital transformation and the cloud, join our webinar on 5/22 with LNS on “Achieve Operational Excellence through Digital Transformation.” You can also see us in person at our talks at the Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and the IMPACT Manufacturing Summit.

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