Digitalisation is a prevalent trend in all companies and industries today. The common denominators are that digitalisation is technology-driven, it’s rapid, and it enables predictability based on historical data and artificial intelligence. The differences lie in what companies want to get out of it. At Tetra Pak, we have three main focus areas – all of equal importance – that encompass our objectives and the initiatives we are taking to achieve them.
The first has to do with how we improve our processes and become more efficient, and how customers experience these improvements. For example, when it comes to Industry 4.0, we use a programme in our packaging plants called Smart Factory that optimises production processes. By connecting several data sources to improve the output of our factories from the perspectives of time, cost and quality, we gain better control and predictability.
Augmented reality is another area that enables our factories to connect with one another to solve various challenges. If technicians in one plant have experienced a particular problem, they can help another plant solve an issue remotely and much faster using this technology.
If we are selling a product or solution to a customer, such as a new type of production line, we can use visualisation technology connected to the design software to “walk around” and see the end result on a tablet or laptop. The customer can visualise the actual machines and their placement in the plant before the agreement is made. This changes the entire sales process.
How can we transform our current business models for frequently sold items, such as parts, packaging materials and service hours, in a way that guarantees availability and functionality and moves away from unpredictable and ad hoc customer orders? By using outcome-based business models, for parts for example, we assume full responsibility for a machine’s functionality, providing customers the right parts at the right time to fulfil our agreement.
This is all possible thanks to connectivity. Today, about 60 per cent of the packaging lines we have installed worldwide are connected, delivering data on a daily basis. By understanding this data, we can monitor the wear and tear on parts and accurately predict when they need to be replaced. And we will offer this type of solutions to entire plants, not just on our equipment.
Another area where the use of artificial intelligence will add substantial value is in securing package quality. By understanding how packaging material and equipment work together to produce consistently high-quality packages, we can reduce waste in manufacturing.
“Today, about 60 per cent of the packaging lines we have installed worldwide are connected, delivering data on a daily basis. By understanding this data, we can monitor the wear and tear on parts and accurately predict when they need to be replaced.”
We believe that we can enter new areas that create unprecedented value for our customers and new business for us by using Industry 4.0 to solve challenges, improve processes and connect with end users.
For example, we can help customers reduce waste or product spillage by using sensors to detect the source of the problem in the value chain, and harnessing the data to make improvements.
Connected packages is another area with enormous potential. Each package can be printed with a unique QR code for product traceability throughout the value chain to keep track of stock or of sales. This can also be deployed in consumer engagement solutions towards end users, in which case aggregated data is used to ensure integrity of the user’s personal data. By creating relevant offers and employing data the right way, new business opportunities are created.
Digitalisation is also used to help make our customers’ factories paperless. Paper-based reports and charts are still commonplace in production environments, which is not optimal for accuracy, consistency and archiving. The possibilities available today include reminders, measuring devices and recording tools on smart devices. We adapt these solutions to each customer and production situation.
Our greatest differentiator in the global packaging landscape is that we thoroughly understand the food and beverage industry. By cutting through the digital hype and focusing on what we know about our customers’ challenges and requirements, we can offer digital solutions that take them – and us – into the future.