SugarCreek is a 49-year-old processor of bacon, meatballs, sausage patties and chicken for both foodservice and retail. It's just finishing up a gut-rehab of a brownfield plant, a 70,000-sq.-ft. facility acquired from a bankrupt food processor in Cambridge City, Ind., which has been expanded to 418,000 sq. ft. While the new equipment, floors and walls are apparent, less obvious is the considerable investment in technology.
As a result, one of the key architects is SugarCreek's chief information officer. Ed Rodden quickly points out he has spent as much time on the business side as on IT, and that he's no "IT guy."
He does, however, see the huge potential of data gathering and analysis at many more points than are taken advantage of by most companies. And he sees the new Indiana facility as a blank canvas on which to paint his vision of a futuristic food plant, one that uses that catchy phrase "industrial internet of things" (IIoT) to tie together the galaxy of sensors and other devices that make up many modern plants.