IT Leadership

How India’s Largest Pepsi Bottler is Using IoT to Maintain Stringent Quality

RJ Corp, a multi-business conglomerate, is the largest bottler of Pepsi in India. Being associated with a global and highly successful iconic brand like Pepsi, the quality guidelines are most stringent. Ensuring adherence to these highly stringent quality levels is not only critical to the group’s business operations but also fundamental to ensuring that the Pepsi brand doesn’t lose its hard earned market trust.

With so much at stake, IoT technology has come to the group’s rescue. The group is leveraging IoT to maintain consistent quality control as well as prevent any undue wastage. This is an apt example of ingenious use of technology making real business impact.

According to Kamal Karnatak, Senior Vice President and Group CIO, RJ Corp, the quality parameters of Pepsi are so stringent that if there is even the slightest deviation from the formula in the beverage’s mixture/concoction then the entire preparation goes waste. Earlier the quality-check would be done post the preparation and if any fault found the entire material had to be drained out and the preparation process started again from scratch. Thus, leading to wastage of both time and precious resources.

The company has now embedded IoT sensors into the machinery in which the material moves. These sensors capture various data parameters essential to gauging quality on a real-time basis while the material is being prepared. In case of the slightest deviation, these sensors give an indication that there might be a quality problem or the quality may go bad so that the machine can be stopped and course correction taken right then and then. “Now we need not wait for a post mortem quality report to come after the material is ready and then throwing it away due to quality issues. With help of IoT we are able to consistently monitor and maintain the required quality levels as well as avoid wastage,” explains Karnatak.

The group has extended the use of IoT for quality control in its ice cream business as well, which goes by the brand Cream Bell. Karnatak informs that in order for the ice cream to maintain its consistency, taste and quality it needs to be kept within certain temperature range when transported to the distributor in refrigerated trucks. Any deviation above or below the range will spoil the taste and quality of the ice cream.

To ensure that the right temperature is maintained at all times during transportation to the distributors, IoT sensors have been attached to all vehicles (refrigerated vans) carrying the ice cream. These sensors give real-time feed of the temperature. “Now that we are monitoring the temperature real-time, it ensures that the quality of ice cream is till the time it reaches the distributor,” says Karnatak.

Considering the vast potential that IoT presents, the group is now also planning to experiment with the technology to improve machine efficiency. Two of RJ Corp’s biggest businesses, Pepsi and Cream Bell ice cream, are seasonal in nature. Thus, it’s absolutely critical to not only improve machine efficiency but also ensure zero breakdowns during the season when demand is at the highest and machines need to run 24×7 to their peak capacity. According to Karnatak, the focus is on preventing any possible breakdowns, which requires top quality preventive maintenance.

With this goal, the group is now working on an IoT initiative wherein the sensors embedded into the plant machinery will help proactively track the machinery health. These sensors will alert in advance if any machinery part is likely to have a breakdown in the future. This will help undertake planned preventive maintenance to avoid breakdown later on at critical time. Thus, avoiding any losses.

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