Food and beverage manufacturers, like manufacturers in other equipment-intensive industries, are anticipating continued growth in 2015. Within the food and beverage space, this is thanks to the positive momentum of the manufacturing sector overall and to strong consumer demand for new and healthful products. The Institute for Supply Management named food and beverage one of 15 manufacturing industries "expecting revenue improvement in 2015 over 2014." And while higher revenue certainly brings potential for business growth, profits must be managed effectively for process manufacturers to be able to sustain long-term benefits.
Rising energy costs and equipment prices as well as government regulations and penalties pose a great threat to food and beverage manufacturers' profitability. Energy-related expenses often have the largest potential impact, as even the slightest shift can dramatically influence revenue. Simultaneously, lack of compliance with government standards can lead to hefty penalties. To secure the best return on investment and capitalize on potential for increased revenue, organizations must rely on advanced enterprise asset management (EAM) systems to monitor and manage operations and energy consumption.
EAM technology helps process manufacturers achieve the greatest ROI by:
- Providing the ability to manage equipment in real time. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) allows computers and equipment to communicate directly, so food and beverage manufacturers now have the option to create an environment that can continuously report activity.
- Facilitating greater agility. Decision-makers are able to react quickly to issues pertaining to energy use or environmental and safety thresholds, helping to save the organization money and mitigating the development of further threats to profitability.
- Improving quality control. Users have visibility into all assets within a facility, helping them detect energy waste or inadequate scheduling through data provided by the system, ultimately creating cost savings for the organization because issues are detected as they occur.
- Enabling superior decision-making. With unified insight into equipment and predictive maintenance, strategic choices can be made to accurately balance production scheduling with preventative maintenance, helping minimize downtime.
When decision-makers are considering implementing or upgrading existing EAM technology, there are numerous factors to consider. Allocating budget for asset management systems means more than simply investing in equipment maintenance – it means investing in strategic objectives and resources that will promote future success for the organization. Key performance indicators (KPIs), such as safety incidents per hour or energy costs per volume of output, should be established from the outset, as these help extend the system to something that promotes tangible goals for the organization. Engaging employees who work closely with assets to create or alter processes also is critical. These individuals have the most insight into daily activities and can help develop best practices designed to increase efficiency and productivity.
As thought leaders continue to predict positive results for the food and beverage market, the time is right for manufacturers to consider implementing EAM technology as a critical component of day-to-day operations. Reinvesting profits back into the business to facilitate sustained growth is essential for long-term success, and effective asset management represents a viable means to ensure the highest ROI is achieved in terms of energy consumption and asset use.