Majans is aiming to create a ‘factory of the future’ and to this end is adopting Microsoft’s Azure IoT suite to streamline the Queensland-based snack food company's manufacturing processes.

Majans is best known for a variety of snack foods carrying the Bhuja brand, the co-opted generic name for a popular spicy Indian snack mix of crackers, dried noodles, dried peas, peanuts and other dried nuts.

The Azure IoT implementation is part of Majans’ digital transformation that has seen it replace its SAP Business One ERP system with Microsoft Dynamics365 running in Microsoft’s Azure cloud, along with SharePoint, PowerApps and Power BI.

It’s using the Azure IoT suite to dramatically accelerate the collection and analysing of data for quality control.

Food and beverage manufacturers traditionally collect data from the machines producing the products either manually or using legacy systems and, for quality control, collect information from laboratory instruments that monitor key quality control parameters.

Majans is working with Microsoft and factory systems specialist Omron to ingest operational data from its machines and instruments and push this to the Azure cloud to provide end-to-end supply chain visibility and real-time reporting.

“In simple terms we’re talking about every data point we have across our supply chain, whether it’s our demand forecast, warehouse inventory, customer distribution centre inventory or the purchase point at store level – all of these data points we currently have access to, but they’re all in disparate systems all over the place,” said Majans director Amit Raniga.

“In real simple terms, the value driver here is the ability for the cycle time around any given process to be compressed … Eighty percent of our time is spent collecting and analysing information, so by the time you gain insight, to have that light bulb moment to act, we typically experience action fatigue.

“What digitisation allows you to do is automate the whole collect and analyse part, so if you can collect and analyse using emerging cloud toolkits and IoT you can spend more time on insight and actions, which is where the value drivers are. The value drivers aren’t in collecting and analysing – they’re in insight and actions.

“The traditional approach in manufacturing involves collection of data on paper, whiteboards and legacy systems. As a business we’re asking, how do we use emerging toolkits to help us gain an edge.

“We’re a high velocity, high quality manufacturer with a diverse range of stakeholders through our supply chain.  Whether you’re in the manufacturing, logistics or part of the sales teams, we needed a comprehensive information solution that could meet the needs of the entire business.”