Procter & Gamble uses artificial intelligence to build the future of digital manufacturing

Over the past 184 years, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has grown into one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, with global revenue exceeding $76 billion in 2021 and employing more than 100,000 people. Its brands are household names, including Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Febreze, Gillette, Olay, Pampers and Tide.
In the summer of 2022, P&G entered into a multi-year partnership with Microsoft to transform P&G’s digital manufacturing platform. The partners said they will use the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), digital twins, data and artificial intelligence to create the future of digital manufacturing, delivering products to consumers faster and improving customer satisfaction while increasing productivity and reducing costs.
“The core purpose of our digital transformation is to help find exceptional solutions to the everyday problems of millions of consumers around the world, while creating growth and value for all stakeholders,” said Vittorio Cretella, P&G’s chief information officer. To achieve this, the business uses data, artificial intelligence and automation to deliver agility and scale, accelerating innovation and improving productivity in everything we do.”
The digital transformation of P&G’s manufacturing platform will allow the company to verify product quality in real time directly on the production line, maximize equipment resiliency while avoiding waste, and optimize the use of energy and water in manufacturing plants. Cretella said P&G will make manufacturing smarter by delivering scalable predictive quality, predictive maintenance, controlled release, touchless operations and optimized manufacturing sustainability. According to him, to date such things have not been done on such a scale in production.
The company has launched pilots in Egypt, India, Japan and the US using Azure IoT Hub and IoT Edge to help manufacturing technicians analyze data to improve production of baby care and paper products.
For example, manufacturing diapers involves assembling multiple layers of materials with high speed and precision to ensure optimal absorbency, leak resistance and comfort. New Industrial IoT platforms use machine telemetry and high-speed analytics to continuously monitor production lines for early detection and prevention of potential problems in the material flow. This in turn reduces cycle times, reduces network losses and ensures quality while increasing operator productivity.
P&G is also experimenting with the use of the Industrial Internet of Things, advanced algorithms, machine learning (ML) and predictive analytics to improve efficiency in the production of hygiene products. P&G can now better predict the length of finished tissue sheets.
Smart manufacturing at scale is challenging. This requires collecting data from device sensors, applying advanced analytics to provide descriptive and predictive information, and automating corrective actions. The end-to-end process requires several steps, including data integration and algorithm development, training, and deployment. It also involves large volumes of data and near real-time processing.
“The secret to scaling is reducing complexity by providing common components at the edge and in the Microsoft cloud that engineers can use to deploy different use cases in specific production environments without having to build everything from scratch,” Cretella said.
Cretella said that by building on Microsoft Azure, P&G can now digitize and integrate data from more than 100 manufacturing sites around the world, and enhance artificial intelligence, machine learning and edge computing services to achieve real-time visibility. This, in turn, will allow P&G employees to analyze production data and use artificial intelligence to make decisions that drive improvements and exponential impact.
“Access to this level of data at scale is rare in the consumer products industry,” Cretella said.
Five years ago, Procter & Gamble took the first step towards the development of artificial intelligence. It has gone through what Cretella calls an “experimental phase,” where solutions grow in scale and AI applications become more complex. Since then, data and artificial intelligence have become central elements of the company’s digital strategy.
“We use AI in every aspect of our business to predict outcomes and, increasingly, through automation to inform actions,” Cretella said. “We have applications for product innovation where, through modeling and simulation, we can reduce the development cycle of new formulas from months to weeks; ways to interact and communicate with consumers, using artificial intelligence to create new recipes at the right time. channels and the right content convey the brand message to each of them.”
P&G also uses predictive analytics to ensure the company’s products are available across retail partners “where, when and how consumers buy,” Cretella said. P&G engineers also use Azure AI to provide quality control and equipment flexibility during production, he added.
While P&G’s secret to scaling is technology-based, including investments in scalable data and artificial intelligence environments built on cross-functional data lakes, Cretella said P&G’s secret sauce lies in the skills of hundreds of talented data scientists and engineers who understand the company’s business. . To this end, P&G’s future lies in the adoption of artificial intelligence automation, which will allow its engineers, data scientists and machine learning engineers to spend less time on time-consuming manual tasks and focus on areas that add value.
“AI automation also allows us to deliver consistent quality products and manage bias and risk,” he said, adding that automated AI will also “make these capabilities available to more and more employees, thereby enhancing human capabilities. industry.” ”
Another element of achieving agility at scale is P&G’s “hybrid” approach to building teams within its IT organization. P&G balances its organization between central teams and teams embedded in its categories and markets. Central teams build enterprise platforms and technology foundations, and embedded teams use those platforms and foundations to build digital solutions that address their department’s specific business capabilities. Cretella also noted that the company is prioritizing talent acquisition, especially in areas such as data science, cloud management, cybersecurity, software development and DevOps.
To accelerate P&G’s transformation, Microsoft and P&G created a Digital Operations Office (DEO) comprised of experts from both organizations. The DEO will serve as an incubator for the creation of high-priority business cases in the areas of product manufacturing and packaging processes that P&G can implement across the company. Cretella sees it as more of a project management office than a center of excellence.
“He coordinates all efforts of various innovation teams working on business use cases and ensures that the proven solutions developed are implemented effectively at scale,” he said.
Cretella has some advice for CIOs trying to drive digital transformation in their organizations: “First, be motivated and energized by your passion for the business and how you can apply technology to create value. Second, strive for flexibility and real learning. Curiosity. Finally, invest in people—your team, your colleagues, your boss—because technology alone doesn’t change things, people do.”
Tor Olavsrud covers data analytics, business intelligence and data science for He lives in New York.

Post time: Apr-22-2024