LNS Research, a leading research and advisory firm, has found that since 2013, the issue that has remained at the forefront for the food and beverage sector is compliance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act. Their research states that 60 percent rank this as their key issue along with supply chain issues, customer preferences, raw material prices, among others.

The food industry is addressing these concerns by focusing on improving asset performance in order to increase the efficiency of their manufacturing and improve compliance. With many factors at play, this is no small challenge for the industry. And companies with outdated technology, or even as LNS claims, “spreadsheet-based system,” are at a particular disadvantage.

With older, amended technical framework the challenge of incorporating new applications generates anxiety and unsurety. For example, when a new asset performance application, like an analytics package, shows up there is concern about whether or not it will play nicely with the existing systems.

LNS rightly states that the flip side to this issue is that “no industry stands to gain more than the food and beverage sector, if they focus on the right opportunities.” Removing the “what-if” fear associated with outdated technology allows companies in the food industry to focus on growth and compliance.

We believe that the potential downtime that outdated, or piecemeal technology, will inevitably bring is one of the larger threats to the success of the food and beverage industry. Poor asset performance translates to being unable to produce at a competitive level – undermining profits and upsetting shareholders and investors.

Downtime disrupts the supply chain on the front and back end of the food and beverage industry. Behind the curtain; profits and compliance are at risk when the production floor grinds to a halt. Safety also becomes a concern, since injuries often occur when equipment is down, plant managers have limited visibility or systems are in maintenance mode.

At the forefront, companies who experience downtime risk appearing inept to a customer base that is quick to bring issues to light on social media. Even food giant Hershey learned that downtime can be an expensive exercise in public relations when in 1999 they were unable to deliver $100 million in Halloween candy due to technical issues.

Our previously recorded webinar with Food Engineering media focuses on the asset performance challenges facing the food and beverage industry as well as exploring potential solutions. During the webcast we address how to reduce the complexity of existing, out-moded systems and add built-in redundancies that will prevent downtime.

Additionally, viewers will learn how the food and beverage industry can prepare for the expansion that Industry 4.0 is bringing. This includes edge computing, a concept that is poised for explosive growth in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) world.