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Digital Perspectives
New views. Applied now.

Digital Perspectives

New Views. Applied Now.

March 15, 2018
Industry X.0: A new digital platform for the Food & Beverage industry
By: Justin Lamb

In my previous blog, I looked at how Industry X.0 can help Food & Beverage manufacturers respond to the transformational pressures of increasing consumer demand for healthier products, new taste experiences and greater transparency. As I explained, Industry X.0 provides a framework by which manufacturers can be ready for any change; providing the right mix of technologies to respond to shifting consumer demand and other market pressures. But how exactly does Industry X.0 work in practice? Over the next two blogs in this series, I’m going to illustrate some of the ways in which this framework for change will enable dramatic transformation for Food & Drink manufacturers.

Giving customers what they want

Let’s take one of the key drivers of change in the industry as our starting point. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the key challenges facing Food & Beverage businesses is that consumers’ purchase decisions are increasingly based on quantitative nutritional facts, plus product claims, allergens, specific ingredients, where the ingredients came from, how the product was made and where it was made.

This is a big deal for the Food & Beverage industry. Many firms are having to revisit their recipes to replace ingredients and redesign cleaner labels; while redesigning packaging to make labels clearer and more informative. This is a massive task that involves complex interaction and collaboration from Marketing to R&D and Engineering to Procurement and Suppliers to Manufacturing.

Enter Industry X.0

This is where advanced digital tools come into play. New digital platforms are emerging with the sole purpose of enabling seamless collaboration across the Food & Beverage supply chain. These platforms will build an essential digital connection between the operations of the Food & Beverage manufacturers and those of their ingredients suppliers.

In addition to enabling far superior supply chain collaboration, the power of these platforms will lie in their ability to bring to bear transformational technologies such as machine learning and digital twin to the R&D and manufacturing processes.

Enabling product innovation

Take the development of a new product as an example. Today, manufacturers often develop through trial and error, combined with focus groups, to understand which healthy ingredients can be used to successfully replace less healthy predecessors. It’s a process that can take time, effort and much money to complete.

A digital collaboration platform, on the other hand, would use advanced analytics to predict which replacement ingredients would work best, based on scientific data on the physical qualities of the ingredient, combined, for example, with sentiment analysis taken from social media and sales impact on similar past reformulations. This approach dramatically narrows the field of options for new ingredients and significantly reduced the time and cost associated with product reformulation.

Data-driven industry

Accenture is currently prototyping just such a collaboration platform, so watch this space. It is an approach that essentially lies on advanced data processing to deliver results; a quality that runs throughout the Industry X.0 framework. In my next and final blog in this series I’ll take you through one more example; showing how Industry X.0 approaches can provide a way of enabling supply chain transparency to reassure consumers that their products are safe and sustainable.

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