12 Benefits of Smart Manufacturing

By: Sasha Ilyukhin, Vice President, Service and Industry 4.0 Solutions, Tetra Pak Americas

Digital technology has revolutionized manufacturing and ushered in a myriad of changes that boost efficiency and growth. The processes and technology are customizable, empowering every brand to create a roadmap for achieving its business goals. 

​Smart manufacturing refers to this cluster of technological improvements. We've seen an array of ways food and beverage manufacturing can benefit — and there are many different points of entry. Because smart manufacturing relies on digital technologies to create efficiencies and flexibilities in machinery, data, supply chain, personnel and more, a brand can focus on solving any one of many pain points. 

​Here are 12 ways smart manufacturing can benefit your brand:

​​1. Better collaboration and knowledge sharing

Smart manufacturing improves productivity and engagement by making it easier for employees to communicate and develop their competence. Information can be personalized and customized to better align with the company and manufacturing goals. 

2. Improved data insights

Digital information means better resource usage and optimized operational plant performance. You get more data —and you get it faster. Real-time reporting means better problem-solving, improved productivity, and more uptime.

3. Maximized plant efficiency

The smart factory reduces manual handling by leveraging automation. The factory becomes more efficient because production can be real-time responsive in terms of materials, sourcing, production, and human resources.   

4. Faster issue resolution

Because everything is in real time, smart manufacturing allows for faster problem-solving and decision-making when they matter most. This boosts productivity with easier calls for help, new kinds of communication channels, and easy access to digital records. 

5. Tracking products across value chain

Processing and packaging have been digitalized, too. Every element of manufacturing can be tracked and analyzed, from raw materials to manufacturing to delivery. The ability to track these elements means more efficiency and less waste, plus the ability to be absolutely specific and tactical with intervention.

6. Seamless data exchange

You can operate your plants as one integrated system. Smart manufacturing means you can capture data from inside the plant and integrate different systems that used to be isolated.  

7. Better safety and quality control

Since smart manufacturing systems capture data automatically, you can use data to increase safety and quality. You can customize automatic reporting structures and build quality control routines into the system. Data analytics can improve actions, including training staff and creating immediate feedback loops.

8. Continual production improvement

Plants can boost productivity because reliable real-time data provides the ability to predict failures. EDigitalized production environment facilitates implementation of Prescriptive Maintenance and Total Productive Maintenance techniques.

9. Ensure on-time delivery

Smart manufacturing optimizes asset utilization, providing greater certainty about on-time delivery. With comprehensive data, you can modify delivery methods for greater efficiencies. 

10. Minimize human errors

You can secure food safety and quality by using digital technologies that improve working systems. Easier and more-direct machine instructions, inline quality checks, and real-time monitoring can reduce the number of human errors to nearly zero.

11. Maximize energy efficiency

In a smart manufacturing operation, all parts of the system can be analyzed for maximum energy efficiency. Everything from turning the factory's lights on and off to deciding when to produce can be based on real-time data about energy consumption.

12. More-secure production

Information and operations converge in smart manufacturing. A virtualized IT/OT infrastructure secures production and improves corporate security because it's seamless and protected. Instead of having vulnerable silos of information, a unified production environment allows for more information security and better protection of information and intellectual property. 

The benefits of smart manufacturing are enhanced by human ingenuity. While smart manufacturing increases efficiency and productivity, its ultimate success relies on human creativity and knowledge to work and grow in a sustainable way.