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GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, a unit of GE Enterprise Solutions, has announced the availability of the Proficy Workflow for food-and-beverage and consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) manufacturers.

By leveraging electronic work instructions and exception management, this software solution is intended to help food-and-beverage and CPG manufacturers to reduce variation in performance, cost and quality.

Simon Jacobson of AMR Research said: ‘The Proficy Workflow product provides a capability to connect multiple systems beyond basic technical integrations.

‘This means harmonising not just information and product specifications required for HACCP [hazard analysis and critical control point], but also the multiple methods and procedures that enforce food safety beyond production at the product supply network level,’ he added.

As a work process management software system, Proficy Workflow enables power users and domain experts to digitise manual and automated processes with one tool, capturing process, traceability and quality data across systems to reduce errors, waste and delays.

Users can manage by exception, orchestrate production and achieve event-based, data-driven results, according to GE.

Food-and-beverage and CPG manufacturers can also track both manual and automated processes in real time, capturing data and creating a critical infrastructure for taking immediate corrective action.

Greg Millinger, product general manager of workflow/SOA for GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, said: ‘Every food-and-beverage/CPG manufacturing environment contains a mix of automated and manual interactions between equipment and personnel.

‘These production processes may not be fully documented and can include extra steps and resources.

‘Therefore, they are difficult to track and trace and difficult to adapt to changing business needs.

‘Proficy Workflow helps make every operator an expert, improving production and manufacturing agility by connecting the equipment, people and systems across the plant and through the enterprise and supply chain,’ he added.

When detailed HACCP procedures and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place, it can be difficult to monitor compliance with them.

New operators may not follow SOPs properly or systems may not be in place that record both automated and manual data.

For example, an HACCP procedure may require an operator to verify an oven temperature or, in another case, regulate oven chain speed if an internal food temperature is not high enough, but the records of the actions may be incomplete.

With Proficy Workflow, operators are guided through the proper procedures and their actions are recorded.

The system guides operators through immediate corrective action when production problems arise.

In the event of a recall, Proficy Workflow enables the availability of historic production data on batches/lots, equipment setup, validated calibrations and operators.

Companies can minimise the impact of a recall and the opportunities for having a recall in the first place by improving production processes.

With GE Fanuc’s Proficy Workflow, food-and-beverage manufacturers can enable electronic work instructions/digitised SOPs.

Instead of using a static piece of paper or a binder at their station, operators follow SOPs and work instructions through Proficy Workflow.

They can accomplish their work with fewer errors and the system records the information.

Food-and-beverage/CPG companies can ensure that production complies with defined processes – with validated entry – capturing data for analysis and historical records.

The system can analyse in real time and document the operator, shift, batch, equipment settings and validated calibrations, equipment serial numbers and product conditions.

This use case decreases costs by reducing errors and waste and increases compliance by enforcing SOPs.

Users can automatically trigger non-conformance workflows to better manage – and take steps to prevent and minimise – quarantines and recalls.

The system guides operators through assignments, inventories, supplemental testing, inspecting, rework and re-dispositioning.

Manufacturers can bracket product batches/lots suspected of sharing a quality problem and manage and track the process of testing and assessing bracketed product for conformance and then releasing, splitting, rejecting or reworking.

This use case closes the loop on non-conformance, reducing costs of product waste and decreasing shipping delays by driving non-conformance to fast resolution.

Users can automate and manage HACCP monitoring, integrating production work processes with real-time QA.

Companies can electronically monitor and record production work processes and compliance, taking immediate corrective action when compliance issues occur.

Teams can ensure that operators are diligent about HACCP procedures and respond faster to HACCP problems.

Users can also react immediately to alarms and process exceptions with best-practice corrective action and exception management.

This use case allows companies to automatically and dynamically respond to production problems and events, monitoring alarms and out-of-spec conditions from multiple systems.

Users can send tasks to people or systems to correct problems in real time and escalate as needed.

Companies can minimise nuisance alarms and ensure proper action on critical alarms.

Proficy Workflow can improve the performance of every operator and decrease costs by reducing waste and labour, downtime through faster response and risk through automatic remediation or escalation, according to the company.

GE Intelligent Platforms

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