Meeting Business Challenges with New Digital Technology

June 3, 2022
We recently talked with Augury’s Eric Campagna about how digital tools are helping food and beverage processors run their businesses – especially as it relates to their supply chains – more efficiently.

When it comes to digital transformation initiatives, have you ever wondered what the top food and beverage companies are doing? Here to help answer that question is Eric Campagna, Food & CPG Machine Health Lead for Augury. Join us as we talk about what’s working – and not working – for the top food and beverage processors as well as the importance of taking risks, particularly when it comes to digital transformation.

We talk about which digital transformation initiatives could provide the most impact as well as how manufacturers can address their current business challenges with new technologies. We wrap things up talking about machine health and how it can increase food and beverage manufacturer’s competitive advantage.


Food Processing: When it comes to digital transformation initiatives, what would you say the top performing food and beverage companies do better than the rest?

Eric Campagna: Being in a position to speak with innovative organizations, even across industries, you get to see what works and what doesn't work. To answer the question around what the top-performing food and beverage companies do, I’ll start with what doesn't work. Technology is a big one. Companies are constantly evaluating and looking at the market, but technology is a tool at the end of the day, right? It's like trying to shop for hammers, but not knowing what kind of house you're building.

Top performers start by defining the problem at hand. For instance, what is the impact of solving that problem? How does taking that step change the organization? How does it transform and change the way they do business? That gives them a compass point telling them where they’re headed. Then they work backward to figure out the best technology to explore and what's going to help them get there the fastest. Two organizations that come to mind that do this well are Colgate-Palmolive and PepsiCo.

FP: Can you explain the importance of taking risks, particularly when it comes to digital transformation?

EC: Risk management is as much an art as it is a science. One of the biggest traps we see enterprises fall into is the infamous analysis paralysis—they're constantly looking at the market evaluating technologies and searching for that perfect solution to solve every problem. All that time spent not taking action can be costing them millions per month. At the end of the day, it's easy to forget with all the technology being showcased, that you're doing business with people, and there will be bumps in the road. So, it's more important to choose a direction, accept that there will be risks, but find a partner who's there and ready to overcome challenges together. And don't be afraid to start.

FP: What are the highest impact use cases to start with when rolling out digital transformation initiatives?

EC: The term “highest impact” should be defined. Going back to the first question, defining the problem at hand, “What is going to provide the most impact?” We find that it is unique to every enterprise. Each company has their own challenges. In today's climate, especially in food and beverage, the common theme we see is that they're sold out, meaning there's more demand than production can meet. If that’s your challenge, focus on increasing capacity with existing assets. Most successful digital initiatives are mapped to top-line revenue.

FP: Can you talk more about how manufacturers can address their current business challenges with new digital technology?

EC: Anybody that's looked at the news lately will notice two common themes: labor challenges and supply chain issues. You've got plenty of news around the “great resignation”, you've got strikes, and you've got supply chain shortages.

Augury is a global leader in machine health solutions. Machine health enables manufacturers to reduce downtime, increase production capacity, optimise the cost of asset care and accelerate their digital transformation. 

Augury’s machine health solutions combine advanced sensors with powerful artificial intelligence capabilities and collaboration tools to help teams understand when machines are at risk. The company also provides expertise so customers know what to do to prevent failures, long before those risks can threaten production or productivity. Learn more by visiting the Augury website

Manufacturers are looking for ways to tackle this by using technology. A survey conducted by Food Processing and Augury asked executives what was their highest priority. We found that 69% of them said increase in capacity and production. And 60% of them called out workforce efficiency. Those two areas are both top of mind.

A huge advantage of digital tools is that they’re really helping supply chains run more efficiently. This ultimately ties to increased capacity, which, as we mentioned, is one of the top concerns. Technology is also a force multiplier, and always has been, because it enables companies to do more with fewer resources as they face ever-growing constraints in the market. The last item to mention too, and I think it often gets forgotten, is around people. When organizations have the best technologies, they often attract and retain the best talent. And this is one way to combat those major concerns that companies are facing in the market today.

FP: Can we talk about Machine Health? What is it?

EC: Machine Health transforms reliability, maintenance, operations, and asset management by using technologies like AI and IoT to prevent machine failure. It also unifies machine data into a single source of truth that manufacturers use to steer their supply chains.

FP: How does Machine Health increase a food and beverage manufacturer's competitive advantage?

EC: Before we can talk about competitive advantage, I think it's important to understand what is currently putting food and beverage organizations at a disadvantage. And right now, the times are unique. There is more demand than supply. Any food and beverage manufacturer that cannot make enough product is losing top-line revenue because the demand exceeds what they can make. And by not increasing capacity, they're missing out on capital and funding that can feed growth initiatives, such as moving into emerging markets, adding new SKUs, and potentially adding production lines.

Machine Health enables organizations to have more efficient production lines, fewer disruptions, and then ultimately more capacity from existing assets. And this, again, ties back to being able to provide more products and getting them to the shelves. Consumers are buying their favorite brands of soda or toothpaste and if they're not on the shelf, and the competitor is, they may be switching to other brands. Now multiply this effect over thousands of instances, and that can move markets. Machine Health can help ensure that organizations can get their products on the shelf, and ultimately, to consumers.

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