As a Simpsons fanatic, I can’t help but think of Homer Simpson and his beloved Duff on National Beer Day (April 7th). This year, I’m reminded of “Duffless,” an episode that sees Homer and dipsomaniacal friend Barney Gumble take a tour of the Duff Beer factory. One stop introduces Barney and Homer to “the most important man on the tour,” an employee named Phil who’s responsible for quality control.

With robotic precision, Phil spots bottles containing foreign objects (mice, rats, a nose) and removes them from the conveyor belt. It helps keep Duff-lovers safe and helps maintain Duff’s strong reputation. Then, Barney introduces himself to thank Phil for all the hard work. As Phil and Barney trade pleasantries, a number of dangerous foreign objects and defective products pass by unnoticed.

While the Duff factory is an extreme example, it’s also an illustrative cautionary tale. Relying on the human eye alone leaves organizations vulnerable not only to errors, but to related consequences including fines and reduced consumer confidence. 

Plainsight’s end-to-end vision AI platform enhances the tracking and monitoring capabilities of customer organizations to optimize quality control processes and reduce their reliance on error-prone, manual approaches.

Image via GIPHY.

Quality Control in the Duff Factory

The Cost of Food and Beverage Recalls 

Food Safety calls recalls the food industry’s single biggest threat to profitability. While the average cost of recalling a contaminated product is difficult to quantify, even companies who execute successful recalls in a matter of weeks can expect costs to total in the millions. That figure includes myriad direct and indirect costs, including: 

  • Product disposition fees
  • Lost sales
  • Diminished consumer confidence
  • Legal, public relations, safety consultant, and other ‘crisis management’ fees
  • Costs associated with introducing corrective processes
  • Damage to corporate reputation
  • Fines

Recalls are on the rise too. In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration reported that product recalls saw a quarterly dip for the first time in five years. Why? Because the longest government shutdown in history occurred during that period, resulting in fewer quality inspections. Though the majority of recalls affect small manufacturers, name brand products like Skippy have already disappeared from store shelves this year.

Computer Vision for Quality Control and Assurance

The sheer number of recalls that occur each year suggest that typical best practices for identifying, tracking, and remediating hazards simply aren’t working well enough. Plainsight can help businesses of all sizes ensure the quality of all types of products by expediting and simplifying the process for creating and deploying custom AI models for proactively identifying risk factors, tracing contamination to the source, and identifying impacted process stations and equipment. 

Plainsight improves processes for promoting product quality and safety by making it easier to: 

  • Identify hazards like foreign objects in real time 
  • Monitor facilities round the clock for process adherence
  • Introduce automated alerts to bring attention to potential foreign objects and contaminants
  • Establish an auditable record of visual data for quick remediation and ongoing model training
Plainsight’s models for identifying foreign objects have applications for food and beverage manufacturers of all types. They’re useful for agribusinesses too!

Further along in the production process, Plainsight offers resources to create models for ensuring the quality of packaging, labels, and more.

Why Plainsight?

Avoiding the costs and headaches of a product recall doesn’t need to mean adding more complication and stress to your processes. Plainsight slashes time to value for computer vision projects and expedites AI automation, often allowing for deployment in just a few days.

  • Easy Integration: Plainsight is flexible, capable of working alongside your existing management systems for video feeds and other visual data.
  • AI Automation: Plainsight’s unblinking eyes continually monitor for relevant objects, situations, and events to continually improve while reducing the costs and inaccuracies of manual processes.
  • Informed Decision Making: Plainsight offers insights into your quality assurance and quality control processes to enable better, more strategic decision making in the short and long term.

Make a New Commitment to Quality with Plainsight

Schedule a call to learn more about making computer vision the catalyst for your digital transformation.

However you’re celebrating, avoid following Barney and Homer’s example and remember to drink responsibly.

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