In part one of our new Co-Creating the Future series with GE Digital, we explore why the food and beverage industry is ready for digital transformation and a new era of opportunities
There are few areas of life that haven’t been transformed by digital technology. For several decades, it’s been changing the way we work, shop and communicate. Yet it’s only relatively recently that industrial companies have started unlocking the possibilities of digitalisation and the Internet of Things. Why?
The current period of the digital age is being marked by ever-more powerful software, algorithms and machine learning capabilities that simply weren’t possible or affordable a few years ago. At the same time, many industries are now ripe for digital transformation, particularly the food and beverage industry which is entering a new era of opportunities.
Consumers are increasingly seeking innovative, convenient products that are not only safe and sustainable but affordable and differentiated. Producers, meanwhile, are facing competitive pressures, supply chain complexities and ever-shorter production cycles. This environment is creating an increased need for technologies that enable producers to quickly identify, predict and act on changing consumer and market demands.
“Every industry and sector will eventually be transformed by digital,” says Bill Ruh, CEO at GE Digital – the world’s leading software company for the Industrial Internet. “It will be the critical cornerstone to providing value. We’ve seen it in retail, entertainment and telecommunications, among other industries. And we’re now seeing it in the food and beverage sector.”
GE was an early mover in the digital space, driving digital transformation across a range of industries including power generation, aviation and oil and gas. Powered by Predix, the leading application development platform for the Industrial Internet, GE industrial apps are solving customer challenges, driving outcomes and creating new business opportunities by predicting failures before they happen and optimising the way field service technicians are dispatched. This means companies can improve operations, lower costs and develop and monetize new data-driven services. And it’s having a huge impact – in 2017, GE Digital’s managed services team alone saved its customers over a billion dollars.
A new era of innovation
It’s because of this unrivalled digital expertise that SIG is partnering with GE Digital to power innovation in the food and beverage industry. Together, they are set to deploy GE Digital’s applications across more than 400 customer factories worldwide to drive new levels of efficiency, create intelligent solutions and open up new possibilities in how SIG predicts, manages and services its filling lines.
The new global partnership will see SIG and GE Digital collaborate on a broad range of innovative digital solutions – from offering 3D-printed spare parts to ensuring a fully connected and intelligent supply chain. By automatically collecting and analysing asset data – tapping into billions of data points across real-time operations – SIG and its customers can move beyond traditional asset monitoring and predictive service models to reimagine their supply chain, enhance quality control technologies and evolve their portfolio mix.
“Our ability to harness data is central to delivering on our promise of opening up new opportunities for our customers,” says SIG’s CEO, Rolf Stangl. “By tapping into information in new and innovative ways, we will be able to deliver an unmatched level of performance, security, transparency and creativity across the entire food and beverage supply chain – through to the end consumer.”
In our Co-Creating the Future blog series, we’ll explore how SIG and GE Digital will drive a new era of co-innovation in which manufacturers can reach new levels of data-driven intelligence to transform their business. We’ll examine how businesses can prepare for the digital journey ahead and the key steps to take.
Stay tuned for part two when we’ll look at making the shift from paper to data, the common hurdles and the benefits awaiting those that make this crucial step.