Coca-Cola talks factory digitisation at Gulfood Manufacturing in Dubai

Digitisation, Artificial Intelligence and next-generation technologies came to the fore at the Gulfood Manufacturing FoodTech Summit, as key industry experts discussed the future and transformation of F&B manufacturing facilities in the region.
Image for illustrative purposes only.
Image for illustrative purposes only.

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While Summit delegates heard throughout conference sessions at Gulfood Manufacturing of the need to collect, analyse and utilise data across the entire manufacturing supply chain, global industry leader Coca-Cola revealed how it has invested in digitisation to its advantage.

Amer Hussain, VP, Integrated Supply Chain, Hindustan Coca-Cola, revealed how his plan to automate a bottling plant, based in the Indian state of Gujarat, has had immediate, measurable results in greater efficiency and a reduction of costs – turning the plant into a benchmark for digitisation across the F&B manufacturing sector.

“We are producing 35 million cases a year using two lines and 67 people in the factory,” said Hussain. “Our aim was to be a lean organisation, be a benchmark of productivity and ensure gender diversity in the workplace.”

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Digitising the workplace means Hussain and his team have improved the life expectancy of the plant, increased equipment availability, and improved planning and cost optimisation.

“We have gained real-time machine insights and enjoy predictive maintenance and analytics. We have a far more accurate grip on inventory, and have seen an improvement in material yields, with a lean inventory,” said Hussain.

Other benefits enjoyed by the sate-of-the-art factory include real-time energy management, inventory management, stronger and easier management of QSE systems and a holistic view of activity over the fully connected, paperless factory.

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The key takeaway from the session was that digitalising operations has resulted in a 30 per cent saving on fixed costs. “This creates a very clear business case for digital transformation,” Hussain, “we are seeing higher volumes at a lower cost.”

But the success came with a caveat. Hussain warned: “In order for a digitisation strategy to succeed, you must have leadership buy-in, and the right team and tools. The benefits only really come in when you have these three things in place.”

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