Leveraging the Power of Information at Your Facility
Automation has been at the forefront of industry since the start of innovation in agricultural facilities 30 years ago. Today, we’ve moved beyond automating the equipment within a facility and are looking for additional ways to increase productivity and efficiency in our facilities. We are doing that by leveraging the information coming from our facilities through our automation programs. A few questions you may want to consider: what are you doing with the information you are pulling through your facility? What data points are you collecting, and do you have an efficient way to analyze those for your profit? There is opportunity in our ability to capitalize on our information.
Automation vs. Information & Why They Are Different
Automation provides the ability to decrease physical labor workload with mechanical and electrical controls within your facility. The return on investment for automation can be measured in the reduction of labor. Information provides the ability to leverage data from your facility to make insights, learn trends, and find areas for improvement. The return on investment for information is compoundable and not measured by one metric alone. How you leverage the information is key to the return on investment. These two components are different; often referred to in our industry as controls (automation) and software (information). Installing a system to capture information and put it into a format that distills it down into the metrics you need is an investment, but possibly the next best one for your facility.
Growing Information Requirements & Traceability
We continue to see the demand for information around traceability and sustainability grow and become required in some sense as it relates to both sides of the supply chain. With the implementation of legislation and voluntary tracing being done by many leaders in our industry, we have seen impacts in our own facilities to date. With the rise of organic popularity among consumers, some facilities have started the process of tracking product journey through the information portion of their automation systems. Having the ability to capture and store this information is necessary, but to take it one step further, the ability to pull this data out and utilize it to be proactive in your marketing and partnerships is an opportunity for each one of you.
Leveraging Information for Business Decisions
The best way to improve something is to start benchmarking and tracking it to get an understanding of what is going on today. Are you currently benchmarking and tracking performance at your facility? Are you able to pull reports to see which errors are occurring throughout the day to work towards reducing them? That’s the power of information for business decisions. When it comes to your facility, being able to first see data on downtime or batching speed throughout the day or week gives you the ability to create trends and make changes to influence those trends. With volatile commodity prices, it is important to understand where your inventory is measuring as you make decisions on buying raw products. Having the ability to look at your performance on-demand, in a customizable format may be the difference between your success and your competitors’.
If you are interested in learning about our automation and information technology, reach out and we would appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information on our customized capabilities.