The food and beverage sector is heading towards a strange and difficult impasse, according to Zebra Technologies.
Last year in December of 2021, the industry was only one of fifteen others that reported growth during the last month of the year–– however, the food and beverage manufacturing segment also reported a decline in employment levels.
With most manufacturers reporting labor as their number-one obstacle for 2022, fast-moving consumer goods companies need to find an alternative to maintain or even increase their output, even when falling short of their hiring goals… especially as the holiday season kicks off in earnest.
According to Zebra’s Industry Principal of Manufacturing, Transportation, and Logistics John Wirthlin, the production line is not the only place that manufacturers should be looking to add automation into their processes.
Even if production lines in these facilities become fully-automated, food or beverage processing plants can still encounter bottlenecks if their human workers are the only ones responsible for depositing raw materials on the lines to begin with… or for picking and loading those materials once they’ve been fully packaged.
Wirthlin shares: “Unless inbound logistics teams are working as fast – or faster – than manufacturing lines are moving, production or processing will stop until raw materials can be unloaded and moved.”
Because food and beverage is one industry guaranteed to never become obsolete, companies in the sector NEED to increase their flexibility every year, in order to continuously adapt to fluctuating demand cycles and lead times.
While Zebra Technologies recommends adding AMRs to every possible automatable task, they also offer real-world pilot programs that can begin by simply applying one single robot to an area of your facility. After that, growth and scaling is just a matter of responding to whatever peak seasons or trends may be coming next.
Food and beverage plants interested in learning more are encouraged to visit Zebra.com.