IoT and Food Manufacturing: The Power Couple


4 Reasons IoT and Food Manufacturing is A Powerful Duo

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that food safety has become quite the hot-button topic in mainstream news recently. Mexican natural fast-food behemoth Chipotle, recently infamous in the news as the source of multiple and unrelated norovirus and E. coli outbreaks, has seen it’s stock plummet almost 13 percent since that first outbreak. Officials acknowledge that their policy of fresh, often locally sourced ingredients and employees making food by hand according to traditional processes. No doubt the fast-casual giant is facing a long hard look at its traceability strategy and supply chain in order to get back into customer’s good graces. It’s a harrowing sign that food safety is becoming more crucial than ever for food and beverage manufacturers and suppliers to consider.

Add the recent news to the new overhaul of food safety and traceability standards, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), it’s become harder than ever for a food and beverage manufacturer to keep up with stringent government requirements and discerning consumers with a lot of other options. That’s why many are turning to the latest technology sweeping the enterprise world; the Internet of Things (IoT). The basic concept: connecting devices beyond tablets, phones and computers to the internet so that you can manage their operations and subsequently gather and analyze their data. Much of the current IoT hype surrounds the ‘wearables’ industry; things like the Apple Watch or fitness monitors that can amalgamate heart rate data and sleep patterns to let know the magical formula to weight loss. However, you shouldn’t only be getting excited over the latest innovative wearable; the Internet of Things can truly transform the food and beverage manufacturing world. By connecting all of your shop floor production spaces through the web to a enterprise resource planning system, you can have unprecedented access to shop floor production data and process management. Read as we got more into depth on 4 reasons you need to pair up IoT and Food Manufacturing in your business!

  1. Leaverage IoT and Food Manufacturing for Complex Production Analysis

 Data analytics can be a big hassle; it’s one of the clouds hanging over the promise of ‘the concept of big data; it can quite simply be too prohibitive for small and midsize businesses to donate time and investment towards analyzing data from every single one of their production lines and operational processes. However, using cloud-based analytics means that you can outsource the management of your data to multiple team members and multiple devices through the Internet of Things. Manufacturing managers can keep a hand on their lines, and shipment and processing employees can record your raw materials as they come in, all team members passing data and insight down the chain right up to your C-suite. Instead of lugging data analysis onto one person who is tasked with collecting all your data into an Excel sheet for analysis, let your IoT enabled ERP system do that for you.

  1. Unparalleled Traceability

When you connect the IoT and food manufacturing processes you can leverage the multitude of data to provide exceptional traceability for your food and beverage products. Every work station can require scanning of ingredients and batch numbers. This provides ‘end-to-end’ traceability that means you know, at every stage, the history and of an ingredient or product and where it was moved to—invaluable information should you need to locate the source of a pathogen outbreak or a recalled ingredient.

If you locate your connected machines within an ERP system, you can then enforce checkpoints; certain items must be scanned through or a temperature must be checked, for example. If some aspect of your product doesn’t pass that checkpoint, production stops. You can then be notified immediately of the problem through that ERP software and get the quality problem fixed as soon as possible. Your IoT and food manufacturing strategy doesn’t have to be just about powerful data analysis; it can also bolster your food safety immeasurably.

  1. Give Customers Insight

The modern customer wants to know where their food comes from—from the farm right through to their table, and they inherently trust brands that can volunteer this information. Implementing a structure of interconnected enterprise systems allows you an insight into every step of your product’s life cycle. One only needs to look to the Barilla Group, makers of the well-known pasta and pasta sauces, who recently partnered with Cisco to pioneer a ‘digital passport’ for its products that allow consumers to trace their products from growth to the shore shelf. If this is only the beginning of the partnership between the IoT and food manufacturing industry, it’s clear that the possibilities are endless for the manufacturer willing to traverse the leading edge of technology trends.

  1. Marketing

 The knowledge provided by IoT won’t only appeal to your existing customers. You can also leverage it to widen and target whole new audiences and key groups. For example, once you know the sources for your raw materials and how they are handled through your facilities, you have the nexus of a brilliant, millennial focused marketing campaign based on company transparency and the pride you take in your product. You can determine which quarters and segments you need to focus your marketing efforts on, based on Insight into your seasonal production and demand data. Truly, the possibilities are endless. Imagine the power such a complex knowledge about your product and its consumers can provide to your marketing team, and you will know how powerful combining IoT and food manufacturing technology can be.

Wrap Up

 The partnership between IoT and food manufacturing companies is just beginning, but it’s already very clear that the possibilities are endless. From the ability for powerful and speedy data analysis to end-to-end traceability on all your production lines, any modern food and beverage manufacturer should be seriously considering a move into the Internet of Things if they want to stay competitive both the world of both the factory and store floor.

For more information on IoT or if you are a food and beverage manufacturer looking to become a web-based powerhouse, get in touch with an expert at Datix today!

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