Innovative Talks on the future of FMCG in Australia
The fourth industrial revolution has certainly made its way to the doorsteps of the Australian manufacturing industry and the future of our local FMCG manufacturing has never been brighter for businesses that dare to think differently and apply innovation via advanced manufacturing techniques and technology to compete on a global scale.
Vative has been supporting Australian manufacturers in deploying Continuous Improvement strategies and driving operational excellence since 2006. Over the last 15 years of business transformation, we have seen firsthand that without the innovative thinking and adaption to change within the mindset of the key leadership, a business will struggle to shift towards becoming truly innovative. Vative discussed this recently with a Melbourne Food Manufacturer who have their eyes set on growth and expansion not only in within the Australian market but heavily into the export market where Australian quality is in high demand globally. NMPS Food Group are a family-owned business currently in its second generation of management. We spoke with Managing Director, Evan Tsioukis, about the future of advanced manufacturing for Australian businesses setting their sights on implementing transformative technologies. Here is what Evan had to say:
How is technology shaping the manufacturing industry and what does Industry 4.0 mean to your business?
“Our recent exponential growth has pushed us to transition from a family owned and operated business to a corporate enterprise and with this transition we know we that to survive we need to invest in incorporating advanced manufacturing techniques. With this evolution we have come to the realisation that to continue to capitalize on our growth we must embrace technology and enter the 4th industrial revolution of competitive manufacturing. We know that if we do not think innovative, we will be left behind and our growth will stifle, so over the last 6-7 years we have been focused in capturing relevant data across our business so we can now systematise and automate our manufacturing volumes, quality, defects, weight and throughput.”
What strategies are you currently applying in your business to ensure process controls through the use of technology and how is this implemented and adapted to the wider team members?
“The use of technology is allowing us to improve as a business, and we need to continuously be improving otherwise we just fall behind very quickly in this industry. Our journey into the 4th industrial revolution required us to analyse our current state and ensure our business is not only technologically ready though we need to ensure our people adapt a mindset of continuous improvement otherwise adding technology speeds up inefficient processes. Our vision is to drive process improvement through strategy, leadership alignment, analysis and training as we have invested significantly to apply Continuous Improvement across our entire business and ensure it is sustained for the long term, this strategy will inevitably support our plans to use technology for the betterment of our future and give us the capacity for growth.”
You’re quite the mover and shaker in business, particularly with the implementation and use of technology such as the performance monitoring sensors you are testing and trialing at the moment. What will this type of technology do for your business?
“We are in the midst of optimising our entire operations to make processes simpler and make data capturing easier. Food manufacturing in Australia particularly when you are supplying the major supermarkets is highly focused on maintaining quality manufacturing practices and equally as important with keeping up with delivery and supply. Machine downtime and changeover is typically our biggest opportunity to improve and with the implementation of IoT technology we can measure and act on optimising it to service our customers with greater speed which in turn gives enhances our profitability. The implementation of data measuring technology has typically been a high cost, high complex strategy though with devices such as Vative’s PeformHub we now have a ‘plug and play’ solution giving me and my management team instant transparency on machine effectiveness and measuring throughput. With greater optimisation on our machines and better transparency on productivity on the production lines, we can continue to meet our global demands particularly in the meat-free product range. Together with PerformHub we are investing and trialing Artificial Intelligence systems as a means to manage quality control, this allows our human resources to be better deployed within the business.”
You’ve travelled a lot overseas to Europe and other parts of the world (pre-COVID) to see what others are doing in the space of advanced food manufacturing and technology. How do Australian food businesses compare to those manufacturing in other counties?
“Australia is far enough from the rest of the world which in today’s climate gives us a great sense of protection for our industry though the distance also does inhibit our capacity to stay in touch with the latest technological advancements that come out of Europe and America. Having sourced many of our machinery from Germany, I have found that technology that was released to market 3-5 years ago over there has not even made its way to industry here in Australia, granted though our population also contributes to the lack of opportunity as it does not attract foreign markets to sell here. The Australian Government really needs to support and prop up advanced manufacturing otherwise just like any business that fails to innovate it continues to fall behind until it becomes irrelevant and that would not be good for our industry. Australia has quite the reputation for food quality and is continually growing its attraction to export markets around the globe, with competitive manufacturing practices coupled with technology we can truly become a nation of producers again.”