The COVID-19 pandemic initiated a drastic change in consumer confidence and purchasing habits while redefining the approach to how select businesses approach their supply and demand for goods & services. The food and beverage, manufacturing and industrial processing industries continue to experience, respond to and rebound from these unexpected changes all while navigating a yet to be defined new normal. Now, more than ever, consumers are heavily invested in food safety as well as supply chain traceability.
The pandemic has exposed weaknesses across the value chain and many players in F&B that were not looking to invest in technology are now facing the reality that digitizing their operations is the only way to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 landscape.
In a survey of food and beverage industry leaders conducted by PLEX systems, we can see that COVID-19 had a significant, and largely negative, impact on demand and the supply chain. These volatile changes in supply and demand were likely the worst at beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, where uncertainty regarding lockdowns and safety were at their peak. Without the proper technology deployed and the reliance on traditional operating methods having to be redefined, these volatile swings are extremely difficult to rebound from and in effect cause ripples in the supply chain for extended periods of time.
Investing in technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, and more specifically Maestro, to address and stabilize this volatility is pivotal in the future for F&B manufacturers. The PLEX survey also showed that 10% of respondents had a cash flow problem as a result of COVID-19, which is a result of being unable to respond quickly to the unpredictable swings in demand and supply chain shortages. With Artificial Intelligence, corporations are able to be agile and nimble, responding quickly to changes in variable inputs and outputs to optimize operations and remain competitive. It’s clear that the F&B industry understands the necessity of investing in technology for the future.
The PLEX systems survey also shows that 75% of respondents are going to invest in digital technologies as a response to changes driven by COVID-19. The top areas of investment for F&B manufacturers have shifted focused towards e-commerce as the drive for online purchasing has increased as well as supply chain upgrades, due to an increased importance on food safety. Supply chain upgrades, in particular, have been the key to their survival during this time when keeping up with extremely high food safety standards as well as trying to remain profitable has been critical.
Food safety has been a hot button issue, with many corporations like Perdue and other meat processors falling short to meet proper safety for employees, negatively impacting their production. Artificial Intelligence can address many of the safety issues for employees working within the factories as well as the quality of the actual products being produced. An example of this occurred within a poultry processing plant in Georgia, when a liquid nitrogen tank leaked and resulted in the death of six people in the plant. Investigators are having difficulties identifying which part of the operational process lead to the leak, something an end-to-end Artificial Intelligence Platform, such as Maestro, would address by taking into account the entire estate and being able to predict and prevent this events such as this from occurring.
Many F&B manufacturers and processors have been overwhelmed in their response to correct their course as a result of COVID-19. There has never been a more critical time for Artificial Intelligence to address this overwhelming condition as that is the true nature of what AI is capable of. The objective of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to continuously ensure optimized outcomes with certainty, when so many dynamic variables impact operations that point-in-time analysis is irrelevant and the required speed, scale and depth of analysis is beyond human and standard algorithmic capabilities. This is the world we are living in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maestro AI is proven to deliver transformational benefit for the F&B manufacturing industry allowing clients to realize significant savings, while achieving safety and quality standards with unmatched speed to value. To learn more about Maestro AI and Elutions, contact us.
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