Micro Scheduling AI: Unpacking the True Benefits of Scheduling for F&B Manufacturing

“Time is money!” Who better than a businessman to know the weight of those words written by Benjamin Franklin in an essay titled Advice to a Young Tradesman? To expand on the thought—poor planning and lack of time management come at a cost. Wise business gurus have stressed the importance of reducing non-productive time to minimize the amount of money lost in pursuits that do not deliver on results or goals. 

Of all the businesses, food manufacturing, processing, and packing factories are the most time-sensitive enterprises. As delivery time and shelf-life are crucial goals for the F&B industry, production planning, and scheduling forms the backbone of the high-risk business. Yet, we all know how traditional scheduling methods have failed the F&B manufacturers, time and again. 

The Business Challenges That the Food Manufacturing Factories Face:

Food manufacturing companies strive to provide consumers with the most delicious, fresh, healthy, and convenient foods. However, they face several challenges in their endeavours and deal with uncertainty. Factories need to ensure every product gets packed and delivered as per schedule. However, orders could change as per weather, season, or other market variations. In case of a sudden spike in demand, production planners need to be prepared to alter the processes and increase the yield within a short time, or they face the risk of losing out on the opportunity. All the products must be packaged and shipped quickly to avoid spoilage. Scheduling at such times needs to be precise to leave enough time for inspection and sorting of the products. Inventory also needs to be tracked and managed to avoid shortage or overstocking. 

A wide range of food products and drinks are made from fresh raw materials and packed in appropriate food-grade containers or wrappers for storage, distribution, and sale. Besides the packaging material, the production process and finishing time also play a vital role in preserving food quality, protecting from external elements during packing, storage, and transportation, guaranteeing safe shelf life until consumption. 

The production and packaging processes of these food and beverages require skilled workers to be involved, who must deliver perfection every time. As it employs human expertise at different stages of production, there is more scope for error and lapse in food safety. Factories need to establish a clearly defined system and provide proper training to the workforce. The workforce may still find it hard to identify why there is a deviation in the workflow. Pending WIP or accumulated inventory of perishable items could mean wastage, which can spell disaster for the manufacturer.

It can also get humanly impossible to assemble subject matter experts at the last minute to solve manufacturing problems. Avoiding failure at maintaining delivery schedules can seem like a superhuman feat.

Fortunately, Artificial intelligence (AI) has made planning possible, even when variables change. Machine learning (ML) algorithms or Reinforcement Learning (RL) can help with scheduling to save time and money by optimizing the workflow through a plant or factory. Micro Scheduling with our AI app can enable the food processing and packing industries to ensure efficient production, optimized yield, and timely output. 

Let’s look at how F&B manufacturing today is revolutionized by AI/ML technologies.

The Advantages of Switching to Bodhee® Integrated Micro-Scheduling AI App:

Micro Planning is defined as the planning and implementation of goal-oriented processes that get influenced by the decisions of the production planner. Our Bodhee® Integrated Micro Scheduling AI app is a data-driven problem-solving technological innovation for production planners with an interactive inquiry process and real-time actionable insights.  

Ithas an extremely user-friendly interface with readymade production models. However, your synchronized production plan can also get customized to suit your plant size or production volumes. 

  • Recommendations for the Current Plan 

Our AI app monitors manufacturing events—LIVE—to not only show what happens on the shop floor but indicate the impact too. It then provides recommendations for actions almost instantaneously.

The Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithm is a powerful machine learning tool that enables a process improvement strategy based on accomplished tasks. It leverages the data acquired from the food sorting, filling, packing, sealing, etc., and recommends changes based on the results. Backed by RL, our AI app guides production managers to make better, informed decisions for future action. 

  • Rescheduling Your Campaign

Due to the convenient and simple User Interface, what might have otherwise been a daunting task becomes as easy as drag-and-drop. Rescheduling or planning a production campaign is always a multi-team activity. You have to work in coordination with the supply chain team, logistics team, production team, maintenance team, quality management team, and the HR management team also, in some scenarios. With our AI app, you can get asset-level planning, quality-level planning, and, if required, human resource planning too.

  • Optimized Delivery Target

The production, processing, and packing of various food and drinks— whether dry foods, dairy products, fresh produce, or meats— follow different procedures and scheduling. The production processes may vary, but accuracy and delivery adherence remain crucial for all. Our AI App helps you define critical orders so that you do not miss out on delivery dates.

RL algorithms utilize historical production data for scheduling micro-tasks of multiple steps. For predicting and solving specific manufacturing problems, our AI app uses the data information of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as processing times, setup times, breakdowns, etc. That substantially improves the scheduling process, outperforming the manual practices in most food processing, production, and packing companies.

  • Optimizing WIP Inventory

Our AI app helps you set capacity constraints to avoid under or overutilization of assets. Avoiding overutilization will save you from a surge in investments. Avoiding underutilization of capacity prevents the idling of resources that turn the cost curve upwards.

The RL algorithms have end-to-end visibility on every step in the production process—from receiving the raw materials to delivering the finished goods—providing transparency on the inventory. Our AI app will give a complete visual of all the stock levels, the overstocked and the under stocked WIP, as per the consumption, typically your demand plan or sales order. Thus there is clarity on what alterations in the production parameters would be necessary. You could also create daily, weekly, monthly, or even long-term production schedules accordingly to minimize wastage or prevent incurring extra production costs due to pending inventory.

The True Benefits of Bodhee® Integrated Micro Scheduling AI App

As a production planner in the F&B manufacturing industry, you can become the wizard of Industry 4.0 by implementing the Bodhee® Integrated Micro Scheduling AI app.

Then, sit back and watch as, within just 8-12 weeks, the Bodhee® AI App delivers—

● 8-10% Capital Reduction

● 5-7% Improved Capacity Utilization

●  3-5% Reduced Batch Cycle Times

Unpacking the Intelligent F&B Manufacturing and Packaging System!

The best production systems can fail to meet their manufacturing goals when there is a gap between the planning and shop floor reality. Invest in data-powered AI/ML initiatives for the benefit of your business as you scale. A Smart manufacturer can achieve transparent and efficient manufacturing, maximizing resource utilization and reducing human error. 

“A plan is what while a schedule is when; it takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.”

Peter Turla, author, president of National Management Institute

Contact us to book a demo or for more information on implementing intelligent food processing and packing in your manufacturing.