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Brian Colgan

Site Lead, Little Island, PepsiCo Ireland

Vincent Goggin

Site Lead, Carrigaline, PepsiCo Ireland

A food and drink multinational has been optimising its operations through a programme of digital transformation while implementing eye-catching sustainability initiatives.

To get ahead in today’s competitive manufacturing landscape, companies must be prepared to set new standards for flexibility, efficiency and sustainability. That’s what multinational PepsiCo has done, says Brian Colgan, Site Lead at the Ireland manufacturing operation at Little Island, Cork, which produces a range of beverages including Pepsi, PepsiMax, 7up and Gatorade.

Advantages of a digital transformation system

Recently, the Little Island plant transformed its operations by successfully piloting a digital factory system. “Digital transformation was vital for us because the complexity of our business is growing fast,” says Colgan. “Our volumes are climbing, new product ranges are expanding and regulatory challenges are increasing. Using devices rather than paper-based systems gives us access to meaningful real-time data from the production process, making our operations more flexible and helping us achieve the fastest possible response times.”

As a result, the plant is better able to quickly absorb supply bottlenecks and shortages — and react speedily to fluctuations in demand. “Digital transformation has also enhanced our quality control,” says Colgan. “Plus, it’s supporting volume and planning efficiency and inventory management.” He advises businesses starting a digital transformation journey to have a strong change management focus, including training and competency development for all its people.

PepsiCo is working to have net zero emissions by
2040, and Ireland is at the forefront of this initiative.

Introducing record-breaking sustainability improvements

PepsiCo is working to have net zero emissions by 2040, and Ireland is at the forefront of this initiative. In November, its manufacturing operations at Carrigaline, Cork, became fossil fuel-free. “We’re proud to be one of the first fossil fuel-free PepsiCo sites across the globe,” says Vincent Goggin, Site Lead, Carrigaline. “The key is Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), which we’re using to power on-site boilers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.”

The Carrigaline facility is investing in heat-pump technology and on-site renewable generation, too; and it’s working on energy partnerships with other local industries to pool resources against their climate goals. It also broke records when it opened Ireland’s largest rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) installation in May.

“We make a lot of investments in our site,” says Goggin. “But solar PV generated so much excitement among our employees and garnered a huge amount of interest in the local community. It also caught the attention of applicants who tell us that they want to work in a place that is making a real effort to be more sustainable. So, apart from being good for the planet and people, sustainability is a competitive advantage.”

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