Consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers typically operate a wide variety of equipment, which is used on one or more production lines and facilities. Connecting with and coordinating among so many assets is a challenge, but solutions are at hand.
In my Machine Design September 2023 article titled Digital Transformation: Guidelines for CPG Industry Implementations, I describe how Emerson technologies are helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), systems integrators (SIs), and end users create seamless Floor to Cloud™ architectures.
Digital transformation is a journey, often consisting of iterative steps as well as advancements. Users want to implement industrial internet of things (IIoT) and other technologies so they can monitor conditions, analyze data, and perform insight-based actions leading to valuable operational optimization and problem solving.
The most effective projects typically start small, and gain momentum as quantifiable successes are achieved. Commonly, little data is originated at edge-
located operational technology (OT) assets—and then transmitted to on-premises or cloud-based information technology (IT) resources—where it can be analyzed to support actions for improving efficiency, quality, sustainability, and more.
For any digital transformation project, answering the following questions will provide clarity to the work:
- What problem is being solved?
- Why does it need solving, and is it worth solving?
- Who is affected?
- Where is the information needed to solve the problem?
Breaking the problem down into smaller pieces—and assessing the people, data, and technology involved—are critical steps. Each operation has unique strengths and weaknesses along the automation maturity spectrum, which can include manual operations, islands of automation, connected automation, enhanced connectivity & analysis, and insight-driven operations.
With all this in mind, and with a long history in the industrial space, Emerson has assembled a comprehensive platform of solutions encompassing field devices, computing hardware, software, and services to help users create digital transformation spanning Floor to Cloud.
Because Emerson PLCs/PACs, edge controllers, IPCs, HMI/SCADA, and more are tested to work together—and are created following a cybersecurity secure-by-design approach—implementors are assured of the best possible development and operational experience.
One palletizing and material handling OEM used Emerson solutions to add analytics capabilities to their equipment, while preserving existing automation investments, so they could offer this valuable option to their customers.
In another case, a food & beverage CPG company wanted better visibility into its operation but could not afford to deploy a massive enterprise resource planning project. By using Emerson solutions and targeting the most important areas first, they progressively and economically implemented projects to collect data, transmit work instructions to the floor, and provide live dashboards showing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and other metrics.
The digital transformation journey is different for each organization, with significant variations among end-user operating companies, OEMs and SIs. But by asking the right questions and then effectively creating a high-level roadmap supported by the answers, digital transformation teams can develop clarity surrounding the goals, costs and expected value of these projects.
Emerson offers a complete portfolio of proven products and services, so developers are free to focus their efforts on optimizing operations. Visit the Emerson webpage for more information on how you can create digital transformation success.