Role of Technology and Automation for Food Processing Industry Discussed: Panel Discussion
Food processing sector is actively acknowledging automation of machine led manufacturing. We are witnessing various facets of food processing sector that have transformed. Robotic and Automated system have become an integrated part of food industry. Almost everyone is moving towards handless manufacturing.
The emergence of technology in today’s business has covered a long way. All the industries, be it be manufacturing led or services led, the role of technology holds relevance at every level.
In the case of Food Processing industry implementation technology has showcased some great success stories. From food processing to manufacturing to packaging and inventory management to retail and even up to the level of customer engagements, technology has become an important component which runs the food processing business operations.
The basic reason why the food processing sector has welcomed technology is that of the simple fact that it has affected positively on the profitability. Discussing the role of technology in the profitability of the food processing industry a panel discussion was organized on the sidelines of Food India Exhibition by SIAM at Pragati Maidan. The topic of the panel discussion was Automation for Food Processing for Enhancing Profitability.
The Panel was attended by Mr. Vijay Kumar, Director MSME –DI, Ministry of MSME, Mr. VK Mishra, Chairman, Agri-Business & Food Processing Committee at PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Director of Lakshmi Energy & Foods Ltd, Dr J.N. Khushwaha, CEO of BTW India Pvt Ltd and President of The Society of Indian Bakers and CA Kunal Singhal, Founder and Managing Director of Eazy ERP. The panel of was moderated by Faiz Askari, Founder & Editor of SMEStreet.
Food processing sector is actively acknowledging automation of machine led manufacturing. We are witnessing various facets of food processing sector that have transformed. Robotic and Automated system has become an integrated part of the food industry. Almost everyone is moving towards handless manufacturing.
Mr. Vijay Kumar of MSME Ministry explained and highlighted government’s commitment towards motivating entrepreneurs of food processing domain to adopt advanced technologies for their respective businesses. And highlighted the relevance of modern day technologies in food processing industry.
Mr. Mishra of Lakhshmi Energy & Foods took an example of innovative Japanese technology for the processing of rice. “We have experienced an immense change in the positive direction in the rice exports and quality. Japanese technology has completely changed the level of quality of Indian rice. This is undoubtedly has become a disruptive technology for this industry.” He also said, “Food Processing technologies have also expanded in the packaging domain. The packaging technologies have ensured a better shelve life as well as better handling of the food product which is kept inside.”
CEO of BTW – New Delhi’s flagship Indian food chain which has grown from zero to 17 outlets in past few years have registered a success story in the Indian fast food chain business. Dr. Khushwaha, while sharing his experience as an entrepreneur in this domain has said, “We have experienced a great change in our business through the application of technology in various business processes. By taking an example of billing and inventory management, he mentioned, “Today when we operate from 17 different locations we can get real-time information regarding our sales and inventory. This is a huge achievement as it gives a great amount of control and understanding of business operations.”
However, in common terms, MSMEs in the food processing sector are still hesitant to invest in computing applications that can allow proper measurement, tracking & analysis of data. Computing applications like ERPs, CRM, Supply chain visibility etc help provide factual data that not only enables better decision making but also lead to better productivity. Few of the companies that have adopted these technologies have certainly benefitted and have experienced a visible enhancement in their profitability.
Discussing this aspect, CA Kunal Singhal of Eazy ERP explained the utility of IT-led automation solutions for the food processing industry. He said, “Technology has the capability to bring transparency and better control on business operations. Today, the food processing industry has state of the art manufacturing machines and handless or no-human touch manufacturing processes are getting followed. All this are examples of technology and advanced technologies that are aimed to strengthen the role of automation in food processing business.”
However, putting across the MSMEs perspective and especially the profitability aspect of technology investments, Faiz Askari of SMEStreet pointed out, “Food Waste is a major challenge that the industry is facing. Technology interventions are needed and must focus on controlling this element. Role of technology is important and must bring its utility in the profitability of the overall business.”
Food automation, robotic system, computing applications, ERPs, CRMs are some key aspects of fast and controlled manufacturing procedures, supply chain consistency, safety, and improved efficiency. And putting everything together these technological advancements are contributing to better profitability.