Ensuring Food Safety With AI, IoT, And Process Automation

For years, food ingredients temperature check was conducted manually using a thermometer, with findings logged by employees and reports shared at the end of each day.

Overview

In the food industry, a mandatory requirement has always been for restaurants to ensure ingredients are stored at the correct temperature range.

For years, food ingredients temperature check was conducted manually using a thermometer, with findings logged by employees and reports shared at the end of each day. This process was error-prone and demanded comprehensive training for every new employee.

Our Client, a leading American fast-food brand, identified the need to digitize the process, make it faster, more accurate, better controlled, and ultimately integrated into a larger workflow scope that monitored and visualized the process in a centralized place.

Challenges

1

Lengthy Manual
Process

The traditional process for ensuring food safety compliance was time-consuming. Besides taking the temperature of each ingredient, findings also needed to be manually logged per item, with reports produced and sent to management daily or weekly depending on the requirement.

2

Human Factor
Risk

As with any manual process, there was always a degree of unreliability because of human error. The process may be potentially ignored, documents subsequently fabricated, or simply submitted with honest mistakes on the part of employees.

3

Better Process
Governance

Our Client’s management identified the need for the process oversight and data visibility from a centralized location, with the ability to produce reports and ensure all safety and compliance requirements are met, and corrective measures are implemented.

What We Did

Process Redesign And Integration With Larger Workflow

First and foremost, we reviewed existing processes in their entirety, identifying weaknesses to gain a clear understanding of the changes that needed to be implemented before taking the required next steps. When completed, processes were re-engineered to become part of a larger supply chain management workflow.

Ai-based App And Smart Thermometer

We designed a solution based on a mobile application and a smart infrared thermometer hooked on a mobile phone and connected via Bluetooth to the application. Users scan the ingredient with the phone, a food ingredient AI-based classification model recognizes the scanned ingredient, and the infrared thermometer takes the temperature. The app is lighter than regular image recognition apps, working from the client’s side rather than the server’s side.

Images Library Supported By Deep Learning Capabilities

We created a library of images for each ingredient and ensured that AI knew what each captured image represented and to which group of ingredients it belonged. The memory and intuition of Artificial Intelligence ensured that the difference between food ingredients and categories was identified and understood in each case, using a food ingredient recognition model based on convolutional neural network image classification technologies.

Corrective Actions Implementation

After scanning the ingredient and capturing its temperature, data is stored, and the mobile app provides corrective action to be taken should temperatures not align with the required standard. These steps are then logged into a live report.

Smart Sensors For Fridges And Freezers

We created smart sensors to be installed in restaurant refrigerators and freezers, allowing temperature monitoring at the right level around the clock. Sensor setup can be conducted through the mobile application, while the data history of each device is saved and stored on the server.

The Impact

Guaranteed compliance

Manual processes are removed from the equation, resulting in a new era of sustainable, reliable processes that are more controllable and integrated within a larger scope and pipeline of data. At the same time, corrective actions are provided along with explanations whenever necessary, and data and actions history are logged and accessible through a centralized management point for further control and compliance regulator verification.

Optimized productivity

Time to completion is drastically reduced, alleviating time consumption which allows employees to concentrate on other aspects. Every process related to food temperature and logging have become more efficient and have integrated into larger workflows. AI, IoT, and image recognition are also optimized and embedded within the mobile app, meaning operations will not be interrupted by internet outages.

Preventative maintenance

Smart sensors installed in fridges and freezers can detect any potential sign of future misfunctioning, with alerts sent along with required corrective action recommendations in the event of faults or incorrect temperatures. With integration with a larger workflow, maintenance schedules can be planned, and mistakes or accidents prevented.

Enhanced visibility

Reporting being transformed from manual to automated resulted in better visibility for all concerned parties, with a centralized management point to ensure seamless access with secure data and information.

Employee training solved

The solution helped solve the issue of employee turnover, because comprehensive training for manual processes is no longer necessary. A quick onboarding brief is only required whenever a new employee joins the restaurant staff. 

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