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Convinced that it is not only technological innovations that make the difference in your organisation, but also - and above all - your people? Are you looking for tools to digitisalise your organisation in a people-oriented way? Find out how to evaluate the impact of (digital) technology on employees and the workability of their jobs, and learn about digital tools to help employees and teams work (together) more efficiently.

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Why this project?

Digitalisation is moving forward very quickly in the food industry, which entails quite a few challenges. The digital transformation goes hand in hand with a skills revolution. In this skills shift, the combination of soft skills and digital know-how takes centre stage. 

After all, new technologies require employees to adapt. The relationship between various tasks in an organisation will change and digitalisation requires more than simply implementing a particular technology. It is therefore essential to include the human factor in this process. There are two crucial questions here.

  • How will digitalisation influence the tasks and well-being of the operators on the shop floor? Which stress factors play a role here and how can we implement technological innovations to support operators and eliminate stress/tension caused by changing tasks and expectations?
  • How can digital tools be implemented to ensure that unskilled employees function optimally in an increasingly complex production environment? How can this address the lack of technologically skilled profiles on the labour market?

Methodology and results

In 2020 Flanders' FOOD, together with Workitects, Sirris, ILVO (Food Pilot) and Alimento, set out to answer the following question through this project: ‘How can we prepare food companies for the shift to the factory of the future?’. Various food companies were visited and supported. In addition, workshops and events were organised, a toolbox (mobile demo) was developed, methodologies were devised and tested. Below you will find an overview of the project results and you will discover how we can help you in your shift to people-oriented digitalisation.

Operator 4.0 toolbox

A toolbox was developed by Sirris within the Operator 4.0 project. This toolbox is mobile and modular, meaning that based on a company's challenges and needs, a demo can be held for specific technologies. The demo can be used to encourage both managers and operators to test certain technologies.

Food Pilot digitisation story

The Food Pilot is a pilot factory that functions in many ways like a manufacturing company. It has food processing machines, labs and nutritionists food companies call upon to develop new products, improve processes and identify the shelf life, taste and allergens of their products.

In recent years, the Food Pilot has focused heavily on digitalisation, which also has an effect on its operators. Therefore, the Food Pilot was included as a demo to show companies how operators can be supported.

Eventually, the Food Pilot partnered with Ikologik, which installed a central data platform to monitor and adjust both utilities and production machinery. This way, the operator only needs to consult one platform only. In a later phase, multiple machines and utilities will be linked to the platform.

Do you have any questions about the Food Pilot's digitalisation story or would you like to call upon its services?

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Inspiration guide: ‘Samen Digitaal’ (‘Let’s go digital together’)

We have summarised our insights and case studies on person-oriented digitalisation in an inspiration guide. The main aim is to inspire and help stakeholders in the food industry - from company managers and business owners to HR and production managers, IT and technical experts. In this guide, you will learn how to look at and evaluate the impact of digitalisation in different ways. You will also discover some challenges encountered in the food industry and how food companies have dealt with them.

Price: 30 euros excluding VAT and shipping costs

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Access to the project results

The project ended in June 2023, but we have compiled the main results in our inspiration guide. In this guide, you will learn about the principles of an innovative work organisation combined with digitalisation. You will also discover the digitalisation story of several other food companies, along with their experiences.

Project partners

This project was coordinated by Flanders' FOOD. Together with the project partners listed below, we worked to provide insights and inspiration on how changes in work organisation or the use of digital tools can improve cooperation between operators and technologies.

Logo workitects
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alimento logo
Flanders' FOOD logo

Follow-up actions

  • Are you a plant manager, HR manager, production manager, executive, IT or technical expert in a food company, and are you interested in getting started with these insights yourself?
  • Are you looking for (suppliers of) a specific technology solution?
  • Would you like a scan to check what the opportunities and areas of concern are in terms of technology and organisation?
  • Perhaps you are keen to test out certain tools yourself?
  • Would you like to hear how other companies handled a digitalisation campaign?
  • Are you looking for appropriate training for your employees, or guidance in reviewing your work organisation or certain job profiles?

Then take part in the activities of Flanders' FOOD and its partners. In addition, you can always contact us if you would like to develop an innovative idea.

Training and advice on digitalisation

When implementing new technologies, employees and managers often need support. Knowledge and skills need to be refined, job descriptions need to be reviewed and ergonomic impacts need to addressed. Staff may also be reluctant to jump on board, which needs to be tackled.

Alimento therefore helps food companies with training and advice on the human aspects of a digitalisation campaign. There is a training offer and budget for training on basic digital skills or digital tools, communication skills and dealing with resistance, for example. Moreover, you can make use of a consultancy budget to prepare the transition to digital work instructions, map digital competences within a team, address ergonomic aspects or support changing job descriptions and work organisation.

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Lars Roba
innovation manager
February 2024

Gratis webinar: anders organiseren

February 2024

Innovatielab: anders organiseren

February 2024

Webinarreeks: anders organiseren

April 2024

Experience-dag: mensgericht digitaliseren

Cobot - Poortakkerstraat 92 9051 Sint-Denijs-Westrem