6 I.T. Considerations for the Food Manufacturing industry

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The Food manufacturing industry is a time sensitive industry where a delay can cost them significantly. Downtime of production by even 15mins can sometimes turn a food product into a loss rather than a profit.

There are several considerations to make that will reduce your risk of downtime.

Waterproof PC’s

Waterproof and touchscreen PC’s are common place in the food industry for when the factory needs to be cleaned down, the PC’s aren’t affected or they don’t take more time to clean.

There is quite a range available that will suit most needs.

Broadband Connection

Most equipment in the factory relies on an internet connection to link to other systems; usually, the ordering system which may be cloud-based.

We suggest Fibre Business Broadband as the most reliable option. It runs on fibre-optic cables rather traditional copper lines which means it isn’t affected by interference and signal issues that are typically experienced by copper lines.

UPS

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is essential to reduce any downtime if there was a power failure in the area that could cut operations. UPS means that you have continuity in production.

Different UPS products can keep you up and running for an additional 15 mins (time to shut down systems safely) or much longer to continue production. Every UPS comes with a “VA rating” (Voltage-Amps) which tells you how much equipment you can connect to it and roughly how long it will keep running after the power is cut.

You need to think about how much time you’d need in different scenarios before purchasing.

Maintenance, Back-up and Security checks

Regular maintenance, back-up and security checks will minimise the risk of a cyber attack, server issues or downtime in your internal systems. In most cases, you are getting rid of the risk without realising it just by regular maintenance and cybersecurity. If you were struck with an issue, you can minimise downtime by reverting to your back-up.

CCTV and access control for health and safety

CCTV has more use than just being “big brother”, it’s also fairly useful in the Food Manufacturing industry to monitor for health and safety issues.

Most food manufacturing factories have “white rooms” or “clean rooms”, where employees need to ensure they are dressed appropriately before being allowed onto the factory floor.

They also should have access control cards to ensure that authorised parties are the only ones allowed access to the factory as well as certain rooms, perhaps where ingredients are stored etc.

DR/Business Continuity

We also strongly recommend you consider your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan in the event of a disaster. We have written a blog on How to produce a Disaster Recovery Plan.

Do you have a second factory you can move to if the factory had a fire? How about the systems, are they backed up regularly? What would you do if you had an epidemic illness?

We have worked with numerous businesses in the food production industry to work with them to ensure downtime is minimised.

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