For the second time in just a few short weeks, Icicle creator Steven Burton was featured in Food Safety Tech magazine’s FST Soapbox for an article on the necessity of automation for the food industry. This editorial follow’s February’s piece on the potential of blockchain technology to enable FSVP compliance and achieve greater traceability (in fact, we have an event coming up on April 12 with the BC Food Processors Association and the University of British Columbia on a similar topic).
This month’s article, “Automation is Happening—Don’t Miss the Boat,” emphasizes the importance of embracing automation technology in a fast-paced industry with narrowing profit margins and an increasingly global market. Burton lays out the case for why automation – and specifically IoT (Internet of Things) – is now a necessity for food businesses. It is also becoming increasingly visible for regulators, which are adapting to the market as it shifts to new technologies. The fact is, that these changes will only benefit the companies that do the work to adapt and grow.
But doing that work can be hard – and scary. Burton asks: why are some companies reluctant to adapt, even when they know it is crucial to a successful future? He reveals some key things to look for in software to help the nervous executive or the struggling employee to make the right choice:
- User-friendly so that employees, new or existing, can hit the ground running
- Capable of building upon an existing food safety program and continue its success
- Able to improve existing food safety programs to ensure updated compliance
- Cost-effective and a good business decision when compared to the cost of manpower and recalls
Furthermore, it is critical for companies to know that governments are on their side through these changes. There is funding available for companies to modernize and improve their food safety and traceability operations, and even to help them achieve compliance in other countries so that they can better market their products abroad.
Regardless, automation is happening and taking industry after industry by storm. Burton ends on the following note:
It took centuries for the writing of letters to be replaced by telegrams. It took only 130 years from the invention of telegrams to the use of email. A farmer with a shovel is now a robot, with the agricultural robot market expected to increase by more than fivefold to $12.8 billion over six years. 94% of packaging operations use robotic technology today. A recent survey found that half of the food companies interviewed plan to increase their use of automation in the next two years.
Where will food production be in 2020? And where will your company be in that near future?
Check it out: Automation is Happening—Don’t Miss the Boat >>
Steven Burton is a technology expert who, in addition to being the CEO and President of Icicle Technologies Inc., developed and continues to build Icicle, a comprehensive food production management platform offering the food industry creative and dynamic solutions for better production, better business, and better public health. Follow him on LinkedIn to hear more about the future of tech, or check out his other articles in leading industry publications.