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Innova: improvement opportunities and accelerating progress

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In the food industry, there are immense opportunities for digitalization. Although progress has been underway for many years, the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the rate of change. Smart solutions have been key in responding to the rapidly changing environment, and most businesses have ramped up their investments accordingly.

Posted on Aug 24 ,04:33

Innova: improvement opportunities and accelerating progress

Adopting new technology, for example by integrating food processing software across your production line can give you a competitive edge, whereas delaying necessary changes leaves you at risk of being left behind. However, digital transformation does not mean impulsively throwing technology at problems. On the contrary, a successful digital journey requires a clear vision and purpose, supported by in-depth expertise. As Innova Sales Director René Kjaer advises: “Be well-prepared before embarking on digital transformation and don’t underestimate it. Succeeding in this transformation takes clear objectives and well-thought-out planning.”

The idea of digitalization might seem daunting, but the nature of the food industry—accustomed to constant change and the need to adapt—means that processors are ideally situated to take on the challenge and reap its rewards. With a proper understanding of your company’s goals and the technology that can support them, your digital journey can bring enormous benefits.

Meeting growing demands for traceability, transparency, and compliance

Today, both consumers and regulatory bodies demand complete transparency and the highest food quality. They want to understand every step of a product’s journey: where all its ingredients came from, how it was made, its nutritional value, and if it was ethically sourced. This is why it’s essential to have a digital system that records every step of a product’s journey.

For the consumer in the supermarket, this means that you can easily include detailed information on every label, and the shopper can see all the information they need to make their selection. This can increase the value of your product and give you a competitive edge.

Thorough data collection also supports paperless traceability, which is vital to minimize the risks of contamination and costly product recalls that can damage your brand’s reputation. By the time a protein lands on a consumer’s plate, it’s undergone multiple steps of production, risking chemical, physical, and biological contamination along the way.

Without the benefit of digital data collection, tracing back through multiple steps can be a slow and difficult process, prolonging the time it takes to identify and address the issue. Fortunately, with the right software you can store this information and have it ready at your fingertips, so that products can be traced instantly if needed. In practical terms, this could mean the difference between a fast and easy resolution and a costly and embarrassing recall.

Detailed monitoring and data collection are also crucial to meet the industry’s strict regulatory demands. In fact, compliance is one of the most valuable uses for digital transformation, yet it’s an area where many food producers fail to make use of the available solutions. This is largely due to a lack of awareness of how sophisticated digital solutions have become. Rigorous data collection can help your operation at every stage, allowing you to monitor products closely and ensure compliance with ever-increasing food safety regulations.

Automation is vital

The food industry has already invested heavily in automation, with far-reaching benefits across multiple levels of production. Processors are under constant pressure to produce food in greater amounts and variety, and it’s no secret that automated processes can perform tasks faster and more accurately than their manual counterparts. Moreover, food safety concerns are greater than ever following the pandemic, and minimizing human contact and human error in processing can have substantial benefits for food hygiene.

Labor shortages and worker engagement are another huge concern, especially as we enter a post-quarantine reality where fewer people are willing to return to onsite work doing repetitive and potentially dangerous tasks. Digital technological therefore plays a pivotal role in filling this gap. Food producers benefit immensely from lower labor costs and immunity to labor shortages, and employees benefit from safer work environments, more options for remote work, and more fulfilling roles.

It’s important to note that automation isn’t solely about digitalizing individual processes. Connecting all automated processes across the entire company creates an integrated, centralized approach. Process- or machine-level automation certainly yields benefits, but connecting all those processes amplifies those benefits to boost production, streamline processing to reduce waste, and ultimately support a better way of working. It is therefore worth investing in a full production control system such as Innova, which gives you a real-time overview of the entire enterprise.

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