SWITZERLAND – The World Economic Forum (WEF) has flagged Danone’s infant nutrition factory in Opole, Poland, as a transformation leader for the other 39 Danone plants in Europe and the top employer in the local market.

As an advanced Fourth Industrial Revolution Lighthouse for adopting cutting-edge technologies at scale, Danone in Opole has engaged its whole workforce across functions and levels into a digital transformation journey to deploy connected shopfloor, artificial intelligence, and automation at scale.

The Swiss international non-governmental and lobbying organization added that the company improved costs by 19%, and efficiency by 12% while improving quality and reducing GHG emissions by close to 50%.

In addition, the company has become a transformation leader for the other 39 Danone plants in Europe and a top employer in the local market.

Overall, the factory has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and cut its energy consumption by 23%. Other sustainability initiatives include reducing water usage by 25%.

According to Danone, the site in southern Poland has been central to its Digital Manufacturing Acceleration Program since early 2021.

The program is headed up by global digital operations transformation director Giovanni Pacini, who explained: “The digital tool, which is connected to every piece of equipment in the line to record its status, can capture every micro stoppage.”

Before installing this tool, Danone was not recording any stoppage lasting less than one minute in duration. Now, we track every single hiccup in the line, even one that lasts just a few seconds. On top of that, we have mounted a speed camera solution that records what is happening [in the line] at the moment of the breakdown.”

The Global Lighthouse Network is a community of manufacturing sites and value chains that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the cutting-edge technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

WEF awards those leveraging Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to ‘transform’ manufacturing with entry into its Global Lighthouse Network.

Lighthouses apply Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, and big data analytics to maximize efficiency and competitiveness at scale, transform business models and drive economic growth, while augmenting the workforce, protecting the environment, and contributing to a learning journey for all-sized manufacturers across all geographies and industries.

Up until now, 103 manufacturing Lighthouses had been selected by WEF, but the organization has announced 11 more lighthouses have been added – including Danone’s baby food and infant formula factory in Opole, Poland.

The Global Lighthouse Network is a World Economic Forum initiative in collaboration with McKinsey & Co, factories and value chains that join the Network are designated by an independent panel of experts.

The global manufacturing community is ‘lagging in its adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). With more than 70% of companies ‘stuck in pilot purgatory’, only a ‘select few’ are deploying advanced manufacturing at scale.

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