Taking A Closer Look At The Fast-Food Industry: Reasons Why Automation Matters
As a fast-food industry worker, you are in charge of producing enough food to feed the hungry masses, which is no small chore. In recent news, many fast-food workers have been protesting low wages, which can slow down the production of food. In this day and age, automation in the food industry is more important than ever before for at least a few reasons.
Decreasing Wait Time for Food
In recent years, food production has slowed, especially within certain areas of food production, such as fast food kitchens. The total wait time experienced by drive-thru customers increased from approximately 3 minutes in 2013 to nearly 4 minutes in 2014. When it comes to food production, speed is of the utmost importance, particularly if you wish to keep customers happy, which is where automation comes in handy.
Automation provides a faster, safer approach when it comes to producing food fast enough to feed hungry customers. Fortunately for you, automation is rather simple to implement into your current industry. A programmable logic controller, or PLC, offers just the kind of automation you need. PLCs are industrial computerized control systems capable of decision making input and output.
In other words, PLCs can be used for mixing, baking, temperature control, and even food packaging. By automating at least part of the food process, it is possible to increase food production speeds, thus meeting the demand for food when you have a line of hungry customers to please. Of course, workers, such as yourself, will still be necessary, particularly for the purpose of programming the PLCs and performing necessary quality testing.
Improving Food Quality
Despite the fact that the food industry has made several advancements in terms of improving the safety and quality food, foodborne illnesses are still a source of concern. A foodborne outbreak is defined as two or more instances in which people experience an illness after consuming the same food. There were over 1,200 foodborne outbreaks in 2006, which lead to more than 27,600 illnesses in 2006 alone.
As a fast-food industry worker, you can help improve the safety and quality of food by implementing automated systems, such as PLCs. Since PLCs allow accurate programming, they can improve both the safety and quality of food produced by your place of employment. You can program the PLC to cook food to a specific temperature, which ensures that the food is not over or undercooked.
Human error is a common and unavoidable fact of life. Workers become tired or may gain a sense of overconfidence that can lead to mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes can lead to a loss in the quality and safety of food produced. Automation takes human error out of the equation without making human workers obsolete.
Reducing Employee Injury and Fatality
Although the fast-food industry is not quite as dangerous as several other industries, such as the construction industry, injury and fatality can still occur. In fact, approximately 200 food industry workers received fatal injuries between 2010 and 2013. Injuries and fatalities can occur for any number of reasons, including poor equipment operation and handling.
Fortunately, automation can reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that occur throughout your workplace. By automating the process by which food is produced, workers will experience less hands-on accidents resulting from improper equipment usage. In truth, injured employees can cost a company thousands, even millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Injured employees may have to take time off work, which lowers food production rates. Furthermore, injured employees may also sue the company, which can result in a loss of finances. Therefore, automation minimizes the threat of injury and the threat of financial loss.
If you are interested in learning more about automating your place of business, talk to a company such as Flodyne Incorporated about the installation of Eaton PLCs. A professional can walk you through the various ways PLCs can optimize your business and improve food production standards.