As food and drink manufacturing faces a new assortment of challenges in labour and productivity, Stephen Hayes, Managing Director of Beckhoff UK, explains why now is the best time to adopt automation.In August 2021, a partnership of food supply chain organisations, including the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Farmers Union (NFU), laid bare the scale of one of the UK food industry’s largest challenges: labour. In their labour availability report, the organisations painted a frank picture of an industry seemingly headed for breaking point.The report’s executive summary synopsised: “Severe disruption in the availability of workers, impacted by the reduction in free movement of people – coupled with the unprecedented disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic – has created a chronic labour shortage across the whole supply chain.” This shortage is exacerbating productivity challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, while also rekindling a long-standing discussion around the automation adoption of UK food and beverage manufacturers...
Read the full article in PBSI's November issue
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