Mitigating Ingredient Variability Risks with Smart Manufacturing
Frank H. Riddick, Evan K. Wallace, Jim Davis
Managing the design of products and the efficient execution of the manufacturing processes needed to produce them is an endeavor fraught with all manner of risks for manufacturing enterprises large and small. In certain industries, such as the food manufacturing industry, the problems and risks can be even greater. This is because the processes necessary for a food products manufacture must be designed not only to meet quality, cost, and efficiency targets, but also to have an innate flexibility to cope with the unavoidable variability in the characteristics of the ingredients used to produce the desired product. In the food manufacturing industry and in related industries such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, the problem of identifying sources for ingredients that have acceptable characteristics, managing the acquisition of those ingredients, and then modifying the manufacturing process to cope with the inherent variability in ingredients acquired at different times is an ongoing concern that can expose a company to severe risks. In this paper, a case study will be presented that illustrates how smart manufacturing (SM) approaches can be applied to reduce the risks due to ingredient variability to, and increase the efficiency of, a food production network. Smart manufacturing, where best of breed solutions from manufacturing and non-manufacturing arenas are integrated to solve manufacturing problems, offers hope for addressing many manufacturing problems. The SM solution described in this paper is built upon what is called the Smart Manufacturing Platform, which is a software and services platform being developed by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition.