Mike Lindsey, Sr Director of Manufacturing Systems, Perdue Farms
All manufacturing is in the middle of a major transformation called Industry 4.0 and unfortunately a lot of manufacturing plant managers do not understand that a transformation is even happening in industry. But, they do know that they need better information to run their plants. Plant managers are asking for more real-time access to data in order to run the business through the windshield, versus the rear-view mirror. They want low cost solutions that are timely, agile and easy to use. Managers do not want to look at a wide variety of systems to figure out how the plant is running. They desire one single pane of glass to operate the plant. I saw the other day that most plants utilize less than 1% of the data from the plant floor. The question is, how do we provide solutions that are affordable, easy to use, easy to access the data, and has the ability to visualize on the plant floor or in the office, and offers the ability to analyze and change the way we run the floor? Is it traditional MES, is it IOT, or maybe AI and ML? Wow, all great wants, but what does a plant really need and what brings the most value? Technology solutions need to be tied to business strategic goals. We cannot just provide data visibility if it is not going to be actionable and can drive improvement. There must be a defined goal and value.
Perdue has one of the most integrated supply chain systems in the industry and aims to continue to be the most recognized and trusted name in food and agricultural products. We are also 100 years old in 2020, but do we think we will be running the manufacturing facilities the same way in the next 100 years? I venture to say that most will say “no”. But again, what brings the most value or highest returns on investments?
Technology solutions need to be tied to business strategic goals
We all in manufacturing technology groups are struggling with what the changes will bring, if not, you are either not asking the question, or are in the middle of evaluating the myriad of solutions available or maybe you believe you have the right solution?
In any case, the future will include adding almost every type of plant floor equipment to the network, allowing vendors to access the equipment for remote support, simultaneously connecting it to a data collection platform, then to a data historian (either on prem or in the cloud) and then normalizing the data across multiple machine types and versions, then providing enterprise wide visualization of yields, labor and efficiency, then allowing analytical tools to show inefficiency or correlations that cannot be done manually and then finally feeding all of this back to the machine to increase performance, drive yield or loss reductions.
This transformation change is coming, ready or not.
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