Industrial Automation

7 Ways Connected Manufacturing Reduces CPG Costs


In the world of manufacturing, consumer packaged goods (CPG) is an extremely competitive sector. Customers can easily switch from one brand to another as options grow wider every day. Prices are becoming more aggressive, and the market is highly saturated.


CPG manufacturers need to take advantage of every opportunity to gain an edge—and connected manufacturing can help plants do just that.


While it may seem like a big (and possibly unnecessary) leap forward from where you are now, history makes a startling prediction: The manufacturers that adapt to disruptions are the ones that will succeed. Those that opt out of change when the industry demands it will eventually close their doors. This holds true for connected manufacturing: In the near future, plants will find it very difficult to thrive without it.


The value of connected manufacturing for CPG translates to big savings potential in seven important areas.


1. Inventory management


Connected manufacturing can improve your inventory planning process and fill rates to reduce costs. By connecting your people, processes and supply chains, you gain better visibility into and control over your inventory and carrying costs. For example, connected devices with built-in analytics can help your CPG plant adjust production levels based on real-time consumer behavior.


2. Labor productivity


Reducing non-value-added manual effort, such as recording output, maintenance data, etc., is another benefit of connected manufacturing. It also helps identify productivity concerns in real time so action can be taken. In fact, a report from McKinsey estimates that connected manufacturing has the potential to unlock productivity boosts of between 20% and 30% when it comes to collaboration-intensive work processes like supplier management and maintenance. When labor productivity improves, CPG plants can produce more product in less time—without negatively effecting quality.


3. Machine downtime


By monitoring machine health, status and performance 24/7, connected devices let you know when things are running smoothly—and when they aren’t. Through connected sensors that detect and report on vibrations and sounds, for example, the status of a machine’s performance is always known. The right people can be notified about problems immediately before they lead to lost revenue, quality issues or equipment damage. In addition, connected devices can streamline maintenance tasks by automating the ordering of replacement parts and scheduling repair at a time when production will be minimally impacted.


4. Throughput


Connected manufacturing can help you better and more accurately track production, pinpoint and eliminate bottlenecks, and tweak processes so you produce more products with existing resources in the same amount of time. Real-time information fed to dashboards makes it easy to see what’s happening at any and every point during production to monitor throughput—whether you’re working remotely or on the plant floor. This constant observation translates to data that offers insights into key parameters and KPIs to measure important production targets, such as cycle time and defect rates.


5. Scheduling accuracy


With accurate data, managers and supervisors can make educated, confident and timely decisions to optimize plans and schedules. For example, based on changing consumer requirements or operating conditions, connected manufacturing provides valuable insight about what to produce, when to produce it and where to produce it.


6. Communication


Connected manufacturing reduces the potential for conflict and confusion on the plant floor, which negatively affects productivity. By embedding digital collaboration into CPG workflows, connected manufacturing supports real-time status updates and streamlines complex handoffs. It supports collaboration and coordination among workers for workflows ranging from root-cause investigations to problem resolution. It can also enable secure remote access to make it faster and easier to share information with remote workers and third parties.


7. Employee enablement


Existing employees often have lots of experiential knowledge to share—but they lack ways to share and document it. Connected manufacturing can help capture and systemize this irreplaceable information while also reducing training demands on new employees. It also provides supervisors with insight into individual operator performance so they can see—and reward—teams that perform the fastest or have the fewest errors (and maybe gather best practices or tips from them, too).


Connected manufacturing translates to reduced expenses and better cost control across the plant floor, which boosts competitiveness—something every CPG manufacturer is looking for.


Belden can make your CPG plant’s digital transformation journey simple and stress-free. Although our roots are in OT, we also know and understand IT. We’re fully staffed with a team of in-house digital transformation experts and solutions consultants. Together, we can build a blueprint that acts as your guide to meeting your CPG plant’s goals.


Related Links


Why the Data Ingestion Phase Is Critical to the CPG Sector

Solutions to Unlock Recurring Benefits for the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry

A Formula for a Digital Future: Connected Manufacturing for CPG