Like other industries today, food and beverage manufacturers are looking for every advantage they can get, in how to operate more efficiently, lower their operating costs, and deliver faster and better customer service.
One way they’re doing it is by increasing automation beyond the production and packing line, where they’re using emerging technologies such as Zebra’s MotionWorks to help automate and streamline receiving and replenishment, inventory management, work-in-process tracking, and cold storage and temperature monitoring.
Zebra’s MotionWorks is a location-based software platform that works with RFID, Bluetooth, and other tracking technologies and sensors to capture the real-time location and status of business-critical goods, assets, and people. Using MotionWorks, food and beverage manufacturers can track and locate assets, work in process, and even the movement of people, to better manage and control everything that’s happening in their operations.
For example, with MotionWorks data and insights, you can:
- Trace food and beverage ingredients, products and assets with precision accuracy
- Locate and track virtually anything from receiving and put-away through production, packaging, bottling, and shipping
- Monitor temperatures and cold storage environments in real time, receiving automated alerts when issues or risks emerge
- Maintain an auditable chain of custody for any product or asset
- Track inventory and work-in-process to ensure uninterrupted efficiency
- Make sure the right ingredients and goods make it to the right place at the right time
- Validate shipments and distribution against electronic manifests for greater accuracy
- Use location data and insights to optimize processes and drive continuous improvement
- Monitor the movement of your workforce and access points to ensure safety and compliance
It all happens thanks to the MotionWorks platform, which collects the data, location path and status of each asset, good, or person you need to track. The software does this by communicating with one or more types of sensing and data collection technologies, including temperature and other types of sensors, ultra-wideband active radio frequency identification (RFID), active RFID, Bluetooth low energy beacons, passive RFID, and more. MotionWorks can also collect data from mobile devices you may be using throughout your operations, such as barcode scanners and mobile computers.
Unlike barcode-based technologies, MotionWorks uses wireless technologies that can locate, sense and track assets remotely, without needing line-of-sight or physical access to barcodes. This helps eliminate much of the manual labor that’s still involved in many so-called “automated” tracking systems, and it enables the ability to locate items and track them on the move, which isn’t possible with other technologies.
As it collects location, temperature and other data, MotionWorks aggregates it, securely stores it, and makes it accessible through web data services that present it in easy-to-use dashboards, reports and alerts for better decision-making and workflow optimization.
MotionWorks also has an application layer that integrates or interfaces with third-party and other enterprise applications so you can share its cloud-based data and insights through open standard protocols and APIs.
This allows managers and decision makers to get unprecedented visibility and insights into their food and beverage operations, and the same data can be used to automate transactions, work-in-process tracking, and inventory for better efficiency and accuracy.
Location-based data and sensing technologies represent a major departure from manual and paper-based processes and even from barcoding systems that have typically been used for tracking and automation in many manufacturing operations. But the benefits for food and beverage production are virtually limitless, and as the cost of RFID, Bluetooth and other sensing technologies have continued to come down in recent years, more and more businesses are exploring the potential opportunities.
If the prospect of expanding automation in your operations and streamlining your food and beverage manufacturing sounds like a win for your business, connect with our team at TPI to learn more about MotionWorks. We’ll be happy to share more insights and use cases about the technologies involved, how they work, and help you decide if location-based tracking is the right fit for you.
Call us now at 888-488-4244 or email us through our website to schedule a discovery call, and let’s get started.