Anheuser-Busch InBev recently got to raise a toast to its team members—not just once, but four times.
After being named a 2022 Manufacturing Leadership Awards Gala winner in three categories—AI and Machine Learning, Digital Network Connectivity and Operational Excellence—the company took home the ultimate prize: the MLC’s Large Enterprise Manufacturer of the Year. (The MLC is the NAM’s digital transformation partner.)
Recipe for success: What’s brewing in AB InBev’s recipe for success? According to Global Vice President of Engineering and Operations Marcelo Ribeiro, a focus on world-class performance in all of the company’s operations.
- This means leveraging disruptive technologies and empowering frontline teams to drive sustainable and reliable performance, all with the dream of “to create a future with more cheers.”
Utilizing AI: One of AB InBev’s award-winning projects was its innovative use of AI to improve utilities performance. The company implemented a set of smart algorithms to optimize the performance of its air compressors and boilers, giving managers and operators a real-time, utilities-performance dashboard that alerted them when a target was not being hit.
- Started as a pilot in just five breweries, the project was so successful, the company rolled it out to more than 30 other breweries worldwide.
- AB InBev plans to expand the algorithm beyond boilers and compressors to provide utilities usage forecasts and prediction models.
Preventing downtime: Another AB InBev winner was the firm’s approach to attaining 100% reliability and optimization of all equipment and processes. This led to the development of a tool that monitors equipment performance and prescribes maintenance actions, both of which minimize downtime.
- The company’s ambitious reliability goal also creates safer working conditions in breweries and maximizes sustainability by reducing consumption of raw materials, packaging and spare parts.
Lessons on digital transformation: While technology can provide solutions to problems, resist the urge to simply “do” technology for technology’s sake, Ribeiro cautioned. First identify a problem, then determine how technology can help fix it. Don’t work the other way around.
- “One thing we have learned in recent years is that future is becoming less predictable,” Ribeiro said. “Manufacturing needs to create an ecosystem in the future where we can learn from each other. And we have to actually enable that to happen as becoming more resilient will require building a collaborative ecosystem.”
Nominations are being accepted now for the 2023 Manufacturing Leadership Awards. Find complete details here.