January 8, 2021

3 Technologies Impacting Food and Beverage Manufacturing

When it comes to food and beverage manufacturing, producing safe, quality food is of the utmost importance with each and every run. But, when disruptions like a global pandemic or a natural disaster hit, monitoring these lines and ensuring safety and quality becomes challenging.

That’s why it’s critical today’s food and beverage manufacturers implement the latest technologies. It’s emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR), warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resourcing planning (ERP) solutions that help companies measure, improve and elevate the way they get product out the door, especially when employees are removed from the facility and forced to track these measurements from afar.

Here are three technologies projected to catapult the food and beverage industry to the next level.

Augmented reality and virtual reality

AR and virtual reality (VR) deliver more than meets the eye. From glasses to sensors to other wearables, these three-dimensional platforms are expected to register a CAGR of over 65.3% by 2025, with the North American food and beverage market possessing an AI-adoption rate of approximately 29.1%.

AR and VR provides visuals on the product, thus showcasing brand transparency.

It removes the human error aspect of food processing, eases the learning curve and improves employee training. In fact, some adopters of VR-based employee training claim that virtual reality yields up to an 80% retention rate one year after an employee has been trained.

Nearly 56% of business leaders polled said they have implemented some form of AR/VR technology into their organization over the last 12 months, another 35% are considering doing so and more than a quarter (27%) have fully deployed an AR/VR solution.

What’s more, firms looking for more business are implementing AR/VR solutions to create 3D models of their facilities for both potential and current clients It’s these building information modeling (BIM) elements that allow engineers to design realistic models of their facilities, including documenting any out-of-spec measurements, capturing photos in real time, mitigating any re-work and possibly reducing lead time.

Warehouse management systems

WMS solutions prove to be even more essential now, as food and beverage e-commerce continues to shift upwards, with food and beverage e-commerce sales expected to reach 10-30% of total sales growth within the next five years, and retail channels only accounting for 37% by 2025—down from 46% today.

That’s why the WMS market is projected to reach $5.1 billion by 2025.

Many WMS solutions are implemented to help companies with order fulfillment, transportation performance, inventory control, labor management, yard management, dock management and supply chain management, among others.

Several WMS systems even track lots, SKUs and supplier sourcing across multiple facilities and cold storage units, thus improving visibility along the supply chain.

Enterprise resource planning software

The global cloud ERP market is expected to grow 13.6% annually and reach $40.5 billion by 2025.

ERP software is designed to provide a unified portal for the management of general contractors, subcontractors, financial management, construction accounting, payroll and service operations in one central database. That’s why, when a pandemic hits and upends the way companies operate, how they manage the financials of their food and beverage operation is critical.

ERP systems provide greater productivity, increased profitability, improved total product quality and shorter manufacturing and distribution times.

Cloud-based ERP systems also allow companies to cut costs and drive savings, while supporting a remote workforce. A 2020 survey of finance executives indicated that 20% expect to spend more on cloud ERP technologies to take advantage of the platform’s flexibility, functionality and easy deployment.

Regardless of what’s in store for 2021, AR/VR, WMS and ERP technologies help food and beverage manufacturers track, trace, measure and secure safety and quality across the supply chain, whether they’re on site or in the comfort of their own home.

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