Automation’s Impact on the Food and Beverage Industry
The COVID-19 health crisis continues to significantly disrupt all stages of the global supply chain. Countless industries are still struggling to mitigate the pandemic’s profound impact on their daily operations.
Few areas of the supply chain, however, have been hit harder than food services. At the outset of the pandemic, local curfews, social distancing, and decreased indoor capacity requirements forced bars and restaurants to operate with reduced staff, if they didn’t close entirely.
Analysts at EZSoft, a full-service Systems Integrator of Process Control Systems estimate that six out of ten restaurants that shuttered in 2020 will never reopen again. This phenomenon instigated a domino effect in the entire food services industry, causing a shortage in the supply chain along with steep increases in the cost of food.
Responding to these challenges, many companies turned to digital transformation solutions, namely investments in artificial intelligence and automation technology. Most business leaders were already committed to industrial automation solutions to some extent. COVID-19 only enhanced their pledge to increase robotics technology at their sites.
In the analysis to follow, we’ll explore the benefits, and a few drawbacks, concerning how automation impacts the food and beverage industry today.
Quality control is central to the agriculture and food industry. Even before the pandemic, leading companies were already waged and staked in the development of robotics. Not only does automation increase efficiency to better meet demand, it helps meet critical quality control metrics with better accuracy.
The workers, processes, and touchpoints along the food and supply chain are as numerous as they are diverse. The vast complexity of the supply chain makes it difficult to facilitate both inventory and quality control. Yet withal, minimizing safety concerns remains critical. Automating company procedures is proven to be one of the best ways to reduce human error while simultaneously maximizing efficiency.
Food recalls are on the rise, sound end-to-end traceability through modern analytic tools is one of the best ways to guard against this problem. Automation tools can be deployed at any given moment, from any wifi-connected location, to pinpoint a contaminated order and identify its concise destination.
The ability to immediately isolate a contaminated food order is crucial. At a given moment, companies can protect their brand with automation tools by halting bad food from finding distribution to the public. Automated tools can also reduce compliance costs because they offer increased transparent visibility into your supply chain and its core processes.
While the primary criticism of automation in business is that it is fundamentally labor replacing, the safety improvement benefits to current staff are typically overlooked. Workers who perform monotonous, repetitive motion tasks near heavy machinery over long hours are more prone to injury. A meat-packing company that deploys robotics to make difficult cuts of meat is far less exposed to workplace injury than one that doesn’t.
Likewise, the high costs of safety gear and personal protection equipment are substantially reduced by automating a site’s most repetitive and mundane procedures. Relegating these basic tasks to robotics allows managers to dedicate their human talent to more complex and rewarding duties like project management and product development.
Considering the clear benefits of automating, you might be wondering, “Where can I find industrial automation companies near me?” Is your company is located on the East Coast? If it is, EZSoft Pennsylvania-based, premier full-service Systems Integrator of Process Control Systems offering industrial automation solutions to several leading food and beverage companies in the US.
Connect with EZSoft today to discover all your industrial automation solutions. Fill out the online form or call (484) 568-5040 to start your company’s digital transformation now!