Australian manufacturing performance software company OFS and US brewery data management firm The 5th Ingredient have partnered to help expand themselves in each other’s home markets.

OFS’s software uses sensors to draw real-time data from a brewery’s packaging line to identify and reduce inefficiencies and waste while San Diego-based The 5th Ingredient’s Beer30 brewery software assesses data from the moment raw ingredients are purchased to when the can, bottle or keg is sold.

The 5th Ingredient has already deployed its software in more than 10 per cent of the Australian industry, while OFS, having recently launched in the US, has already signed its first three US breweries including Pelican Brewing Company. They now aim to expand their footprint across both countries’ entire industries at a rate of 100 breweries a year.

OFS said the integration of their software with Beer30 will “provide unmatched visibility into yield, covering losses from every step of the brewing and packing process in real time”.

“For example, OFS could capture a series of downtimes on the filler correlating to a CO2 quality issue captured by Beer30, which has affected a portion of the product,” OFS CEO James Magee said. “If the overall problem is related to raw ingredients, it could also identify the relevant batch and which products were affected, preventing a larger-than-needed product recall.

“Importantly, both OFS and Beer30 are viable solutions for brewers of all sizes where efficiency is seen as a must have rather than a nice to have, dispelling the myth that these kinds of systems are only used and of value to large companies. Depending on the size, even 10 minutes of downtime solved could equal thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in gained production.”

James added that OFS conducted an industry report last year that found craft brewers typically spend more than half their time not making beer.

“That’s a data problem,” he said. “Paper-based processes, not knowing where the issues that halt the line are coming from, or how much downtime or waste they’re causing. The combination of OFS and Beer30 software will bring full integration and automation of all data points into any brewer’s hands. More importantly, it will help them make more beer, in less time, with less waste.”

The 5th Ingredient CEO Pulkit Agrawal added: “There’s such a sense of passion, pride and community in the craft brewing industry. They just want to make great beer, and more of it. Our entire focus is on enabling that through what we see as the often-missing ingredient from beer production – data.

“Many decisions in breweries are made based off anecdotal evidence that emerges on day six or seven of production. Together with OFS, we can highlight the issue on day one or even zero, before production begins. This helps craft brewers change from being reactive to predictive and proactive.”

Pulkit said the sense of community, camaraderie and local business support in the craft brewing industry had helped both companies quickly expand.

“There aren’t many industries where, if you do a good job and show value to a customer, that customer will recommend you directly to one of their competitors,” he said.

“They help each other out, but they also hold each other to a high standard to keep customers satisfied.”

James said the companies’ dual expansion and more craft breweries leveraging the software will lead to enhancements and improvements over time.

“We can anonymously use data from breweries in both countries to continually iterate and upgrade our software. We can add more modules, more sensors that show new data streams and maximise beer production. This data can not only make beer producers’ days easier, but enhance their business more broadly.”

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