Alex Smith |
Osem-Nestlé, a subsidiary of Swiss multinational Nestlé, is one of the biggest food manufacturers and distributors in Israel. Three years ago, the company decided to extend its operations innovation by moving towards Industry 4.0 solutions.
“We realised we needed to enhance our ability to tap into innovation in areas relevant to our production,” says Gofna Liss-Rubin, open innovation manager at Osem-Nestlé. “Coming from an operations background, I was able to look deeply into operational innovation to find unmet needs and opportunities.”
As Osem-Nestlé investigated the technologies that could help to improve its production, it became particularly interested in the idea of predicting machine failures before they could cause disruption.
“The world is moving towards collecting and analysing data, creating insights into where we are, and predicting what will happen in the future,” says Liss-Rubin. “When starting this process, we identified start-ups who could help us predict and prevent failures in our production processes. That’s where Augury came in. The organisation was already known to our parent company Nestlé, who recommended it as one of the known partners to start working with us in this area.”
Noting that a challenging part of adopting new technology is in convincing internal decision makers of its value, Liss-Rubin says: “You can calculate a return on investment, but you have to make assumptions, which feels like more of a risk. However, the positive recommendation we’d received from Nestlé helped to reduce this hesitation.
“Once we had made those internal decisions, we had a very easy process. Augury is very experienced, so it could tell us immediately which types of machinery we should look at and how we should prioritise them. The team was very flexible with us, allowing us to start using the technology in a way that was acceptable for people within the company.”
Augury’s Machine Health solutions quickly delivered on the promise that Osem-Nestlé had seen. Within a week, the factory team had visibility on data showing the status of the machines, allowing it to identify any potential issues well ahead of time and enabling the operations team to move from an unplanned to planned approach.
“In one instance, Augury monitors predicted a rare type of failure in a vital machine,” said Liss-Rubin. “Because of the early warning, we were able to plan for and tend to what was a complicated issue in a calm way. It saved us repair costs but also helped us avoid the inefficient use of other resources.
“Whenever we prevent a failure, we reduce the amount of labour time, machine time and inputs that are used in our operating machines, including energy, water and gas emissions. Any improvement we have in operation and the reduction of the inputs helps us meet our sustainability goals.”
Since its implementation in 2020, Augury has helped Osem-Nestlé avoid unexpected downtime and other costs caused by machine failure. With the saved production hours, Osem-Nestlé has been able to increase capacity and better meet consumer demand.
Osem-Nestlé was also impressed by the way Augury supported the company in achieving internal buy-in to its approach by demonstrating the worth of the new technology to its teams.
“Augury has always been very accessible and professional in keeping everyone engaged with the technology, presenting its results clearly to our factory managers and operational management team so that they are onboard with the approach we’re taking,” says Liss-Rubin.
In May 2022, Augury acquired Seebo, a company that delivers process-based insights using artificial intelligence, which helps manufacturers optimise processes as they handle competing objectives. Liss-Rubin is excited by the prospect of these new capabilities surrounding process intelligence.
“We’re very excited about the potential that the acquisition of Seebo brings,” she says. “Our ambition is to create a truly smart factory, both from the maintenance and process control perspectives. There is so much more that we can do together as we develop new ideas and approaches that extend beyond predictive maintenance into overall production health.”
Learn more about how Osem-Nestlé used Augury’s Machine Health Solutions.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.