The Modern Manufacturing Expo brought together leading companies in the field to share their insights and ambitions.
Beak & Johnson (B&J) technical director Gerrit Pool told attendees at the expo’s Smart Food & Beverage Manufacturing Panel about the ready meal maker’s business model was central to its growth and success.
Being commercially led and heavily reliant on consumer insights shaped the design of B&J’s operations.
Pool also described the company as ambidextrous – equally focused on the future through R&D and NPD and current operations. It has seen B&J change its factory design four times in the last six years.
At the Industry Experts Panel, looking into the Modern Manufacturing Crystal Ball, Mitsubishi Electric executive director and GM – Commercial and Corporate, Meighan Heard, spoke about the importance of supporting young people entering the field by creating opportunities and structures for them.
Looking at encroaching ESG targets and expectations, Heard said it was important to look at each customer individually to design a change process that was achievable and sustainable to their situation. Small change was better than no change she said.
Tom Goerke, managing director of Trestle Digital echoed Heard’s comments, adding there was an increasing squeeze on manufacturers. While targets were being applied by governments and other bodies, consumers and customers also have increasing expectations on the industry when it comes to decarbonisation and corporate responsibility.
In the exhibition hall, SMC ANZ global account managing – Digital Transformation Jozef Ceh told Food & Drink Business the automation company is seeing a large-scale movement from the earlier stages of Industry 4.0 to applying the technologies.
“We are now in the second and third phase of implementing Industry 4.0. While everyone has gained sufficient experience, Covid has also played a major part in accelerating the adoption of new technologies and automation in manufacturing,” Ceh said.
Reflecting on the impact of Covid, Ceh said the global pandemic also provided the opportunity for some companies to “catch-up” while also highlighting areas of business that had been overlooked.
“Automation enables manufacturers the speed, flexibility, and agility needed to be competitive and successful,” he said.