Recently Bjorn Thumas, TOMRA Food’s vice president of mergers/acquisitions and partnerships, discussed how processing machinery is becoming more interconnected and new business partnerships are making day-to-day operations easier at processors and packhouses as the partnerships accelerate the development of new solutions.
A July 18 release from Belgium-based Thumas said, “Machines on food processing lines talk to each other. Not in a fantastical way, like something in Toy Story or sci-fi movies, but by silently exchanging data while the line is operating. This is what enables different kinds of line equipment from different manufacturers to work together. But this also raises questions.
“For instance, why don’t machine manufacturers communicate more with each other when designing their machines to ease the integration of their various line solutions? Could non-competing manufacturers go further than this and collaborate when designing and developing solutions to ensure perfect machine compatibility? And could larger manufacturers – those with the greater resources and wider international presence – work together to provide their machine users worldwide with faster-responding parts supply and technical support?”
In its role as a leading designer and manufacturer of sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions for food production, TOMRA Food started asking these questions years ago. The release said the questions “go right to the heart of TOMRA’s business philosophy of customer-centricity through ‘trusted togetherness.’”
And it said that “trusted togetherness” is “a term used inside TOMRA Food to define its goal of collaborating so closely with processors and packhouses” that they become trusted allies, enabling TOMRA to “tailor each customer’s sorting and grading solutions by first acquiring a detailed understanding of the customer’s unique operational challenges and priorities.”
Explaining that when “two technical solutions providers work together closely, with a formally agreed understanding of each other’s capabilities and responsibilities, they can support customers better than when working alone.”
The partnerships are worldwide and encompass the food industry from A-Z – fresh fruits and vegetables, processed foods, meat, poultry and seafood and even pet food.
“As a result of the trusted togetherness between TOMRA and its business partners, there are many benefits for processors and packhouses,” the release said. Among the benefits are
- Various line solutions are better integrated, improving line performance and reducing downtime. This ensures every piece of produce acquires its full value, while also reducing food waste, rework, and energy consumption.
- Machine data can be accessed (via TOMRA Insight) and acted upon to improve efficiencies on the line and in the supply of raw materials. Objective data also empowers businesses to make better-informed operational and strategic decisions.
- It’s simpler for processors and packhouses to work with their solutions providers when they can deal with one contact rather than two or more while still being able to tap into the providers’ expertise and knowledge.
- Solutions, service and support are supplied with a consistently high standard of professionalism for a broader range of line solutions.
- Sales and support are provided in the customer’s native language, wherever they are in the world. And there’s a good understanding of customers’ local needs and requirements, knowing that small nuances can make all the difference in the world. The greater global coverage improves the availability and speed of delivery of spare parts.
- Support is available 24/7 because of the ability of TOMRA and its partners to log into machines remotely, and if there should be issues between equipment from different manufacturers, those manufacturers will work together to fix them.
- Machine operation and in-house maintenance training can be integrated and streamlined. By combining their expertise, TOMRA and its partners can bring new or updated solutions to market faster.
The company has more than 13,800 units installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world for confectionery, fruit, dried fruit, grains and seeds, potatoes, proteins, nuts and vegetables.
These solutions include advanced grading, sorting, peeling and analytical technology to help businesses improve returns, gain operational efficiencies, and ensure a safe food supply.
TOMRA Food regional offices and manufacturing locations within the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.