Malaysia is striving to become a leading F&B exporter through Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) that would attract established brands and with the provision of right support for local companies in meeting global standards. Foreign companies that are seeking to set up their export hubs in Malaysia will be drawn to an ecosystem which has the right infrastructure in place, and where production cost can be reduced while productivity increased – outcomes that can only be achieved through the power of digitalization or smart manufacturing.
And in this effort to integrate digitalization into Malaysia’s F&B industry, multi-national conglomerate Siemens Malaysia collaborated with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) for the first-ever ‘Recipe for the Future 2018’ event organized today at MIDA’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur here. The event was held for an audience of 250 participants and customers comprising industry players and F&B manufacturers to gain insights and find opportune possibilities on the solutions and services that could be catered to their specific needs and requirements. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Siemens Malaysia and MIDA to signify the collaboration between both parties in improving the capacity and competitiveness of the industry through the adoption of digitalization and technology.
For manufacturers, they are guided by new set of expectations like having to consistently push out a high level of product quality, to ensure maximum plant availability, to have optimum resource efficiency, and to increasingly offer the greatest possible flexibility in developing products for their end customers.
These defined standards for manufacturing operations of the future are compounded today by some of the biggest challenges facing the food and beverage sector, namely a fragmented manufacturing environment and aging infrastructure that inhibit productivity. From incompatible equipment by the different vendors across different generations, mismatched proprietary interfaces and standards, to deteriorating machinery that increases the risk of downtime, the implementation of high-tech automation is seen as the answer to enabling maximum plant-wide interoperability. This would encompass concepts like an intuitive, uniform interface, a single engineering platform for all tasks, an integrated and real-time system diagnostics as well as integrated, built-in safety that guarantees customers with better machine uptime.
At Siemens, the proposed single solution of a Plant Wide Automation (PWA) concept would thus offer features like a plant data interface for fast and standardized integration of machines, as well as line monitoring and controlling system to offer real-time acquisition and analysis of production relevant data for the customer to continuous supervise over the plant performance and its optimization. Additionally, the PWA will help to address significant improvements in speed, flexibility and efficiency – serving to reduce time-to-market with shorter innovation cycles to beat volatile markets, generating individualized mass production with greater transparency, as well as keeping energy and resource efficiency to the optimum with higher productivity.
In factory automation, the Optimized Packaging Line by Siemens will enable for a modern filling and packaging solution through the integration of a Totally Integrated Automation concept. This means that a wholly integrated automation along the entire production line – like the goods receiving area, the processing and production aspects to the finished goods warehouse – is now possible through perfectly coordinated range of hardware and software that can communicate with each other.
The half-day F&B event was jointly graced by Siemens Malaysia President & CEO, Mr Indranil Lahiri and Mr Ahmad Khairuddin, MIDA’s Executive Director who represented Dato’ Azman Mahmud, CEO of MIDA. According to Indranil, the extensive know-how and established portfolio for the different verticals and market knowledge meant that Siemens is able to support its customers of this F&B sector in Malaysia to make the digital leap and bring value to any parts of the supply chain process.
“With digitalization, manufacturers can meet the global benchmark for productivity and consistency and soon, Malaysia would become the export pull hub for mass production. This partnership with important government agencies like MIDA will facilitate the support system required for the adoption of digital technologies and reach out to the larger base of MIDA customers,” added Indranil.
Following the MoU signing ceremony, speakers from MIDA and Siemens shared on topics such as the Future of Manufacturing in F&B, and Government Facilitation with Funds and Incentives. A marketplace showcase was also held featuring various solutions by customers, a simulation demo kit on Industry 4.0, and individual business consultation sessions. Dato’ Azman, in his speech which was delivered by Mr Ahmad Khairuddin, highlighted that in Malaysia, the F&B industry has developed significantly over the years with new technology and innovations in tandem with global economic growth. As at March 2018, MIDA approved a total of 2,153 F&B manufacturing projects with investments of RM51.2 billion. While the food processing industry is growing, it only accounts for about 10% of the manufacturing output. To seize growing opportunities, MIDA encourages more companies to work with technology solution providers such as Siemens and invest in technology, upskilling of talents and R&D activities to create new growth opportunities and maintain their competitiveness. Manufacturers that focus on optimising their operations and innovating products to offer new value to their customers will end up becoming true winners.