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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Data Collection and Analysis Strategies for Small and Midsize Food Manufacturers

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(This article was originally published on Food Safety Tech on March 25, 2024)

Generating, collecting, and utilizing process data is essential for maximizing the efficiency, quality, and profitability of any manufacturing operation. However, this is a daunting task for most small and midsize food and beverage manufacturers who may not know where to begin with such an initiative or feel as though they don’t have the resources or expertise to use process data effectively. Here we will explore some of the challenges associated with data collection and analysis, what makes the undertaking worthwhile — specifically for small food and beverage manufacturers — and introduce some tools that make collection and utilization of data easier than you might imagine.

How Do You Make Decisions?

We often assume that every business owner has heard the phrase “transforming your business through the power of the cloud” enough times to make their heads explode. And, that anyone who has heard the phrase must understand the value that information brings to businesses of every size and type. I am not of the opinion that this is a valid assumption. So, let’s start from the top.

Food manufacturing facilities, even small ones, must make countless decisions. From production scheduling to workforce allocation, raw material procurement, and process parameters, the decision-makers in any size operation are always running at full throttle.

How often are decisions made? At least every day, and some of these decisions are made multiple times per day. For process or machine parameters, decision making may even be continuous. What is the basis of these decisions? From personal experience, “how things usually go” or “gut feeling” are typical answers. Who makes these decisions? Often it is the owner or CEO, a manager or supervisor, or the person who has been there the longest.

Read the full article here