Tyson Makes Push for More Automation

Company plans to boost capacity, enhance process effectiveness to meet protein demand
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Tyson Makes Push for More Automation
Tyson, which is planning new investments in automation and plant expansions, also reported that it expects a 5%-7% recovery of its chicken business by mid-2022.

Tyson Foods detailed plans for increased production capacity and a new productivity program during its virtual investor event this week.  Among other updates, company leaders revealed a $1.3 billion capital investment in new automation capabilities over the next few years, improvements designed to ease persistent labor challenges and improve yields.

In addition to pursuing automation for processes like chicken deboning, the company is targeting volume growth across its segments. To meet demand in an operationally efficient way, Tyson aims to open 12 new plants over the next two years, a move that could boost capacity by 1.3 billion pounds. Within those plants, Tyson expects to make about half of its products value-added by the end of fiscal 2024.

“By focusing on our product portfolio and by adding capacity to meet demand, we expect to outpace the market,” said Donnie King, Tyson’s CEO, adding, “We are focused on improving our process effectiveness across our broader operations and functions. Our new productivity initiative is designed to drive a better, faster and more agile organization that is supported by a culture of continuous improvement and faster decision-making.”

Technology is part of the corporate growth plan as well. Tyson officials noted that the company hopes to save more than $250 million by leveraging digital solutions like artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to drive efficiencies in operations, supply chain planning, logistics and warehousing.

While Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson is investing in automation, it also continues to invest in its workforce. Earlier this month, the company said that it's rewarding front-line and hourly employees with about $50 million in year-end bonuses. The one-time awards will be based on tenure and range from $300 to $700.

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