By Adrian Swinburne, Head of Consumer sector at 42 Technology
42 Technology is regularly asked by FMCG brand owners to help develop new manufacturing processes or to improve existing ones.
For example, to enable the manufacture of new product variants. Or to accommodate changes to product recipes or new materials that can introduce unexpected challenges to existing production lines.
But these projects often come with one major restriction: that any new processes proposed should involve minimal changes to the company’s existing high-value manufacturing assets. Although at first glance this might seem to be an almost insurmountable barrier to innovation, in reality it can be transformed into a highly potent catalyst for the innovation process.
In a previously published article (see below) Adrian Swinburne shared insights on why Gemba walks are an essential first step when starting out on any asset-constrained innovation programme.
One outcome of considering manufacturing assets in this way is that any new concepts or process improvements are much more likely to make it all the way. They will be supported from the start by the brand owner’s marketing group and the engineering team in the factory. Also, its existing equipment suppliers.
For example, in one project, 42 Technology worked closely with the manufacturer of a client’s existing process equipment. A theoretical model of how it could be improved to reduce processing times was created. Following successful simulation, the supplier was able to evolve its existing equipment design to deliver a significant increase in production throughput rather than completely re-designing it from the start.
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