Very, very special and heartfelt Holiday greetings to our EMC Members and Manufacturers in the Food, Beverage, Bio and Ag Industry and to supporting Companies, Suppliers, Community and Academic Partners! Wishing you and yours all the joys and wonders of the Season and an exciting, happy and healthy New Year too!
Can you believe that another year is almost complete? So here we are, with an end at hand and a new beginning just a few short weeks away, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past twelve months and prepare for what we hope is an exciting 2017!Truly, it has been an incredible year of best practices, benchmarking, plant visits, conferences and tradeshows! We have embraced a variety of topics, enjoyed some rather interesting discussions, connected with peers, customers and suppliers, saw new processes, and stepped a little beyond our normal daily routines along the way!
Learning and development are keys to success and our Food Sector Events provide the perfect forum for just that – opening minds, exploring new ideas, chatting with others in industry, sharing experiences, and connecting with those who can help our businesses grow.
Keeping Labour Productivity in mind, Food, Beverage, Bio and Ag Processors across the Province were invited to participate in our EMC GF2 Food Sector Networking Events featuring best practices and subject matter experts who readily shared their thoughts and processes on Food Safety, Innovation in Automation, Energy Management and Sustainability Practices, Exporting, Leadership in Manufacturing and Culture Development.
We are extremely grateful to our Hosts and Presenters this past year including:
Greenfield Ethanol, Chatham
Thompsons Limited, Blenheim
Descon Conveyor Systems, Newmarket
HFS – Healthcare Food Services, Ottawa
Campbell’s Company of Canada, Toronto
Malabar Super Spice Company, Burlington
TMF Foods Ltd., Stoney Creek
City of Hamilton, Hamilton
COEF – Canadian Ontario Export Forum
CMN – Canadian Manufacturing Network
The same momentum and excitement from 2016’s activities continues for the New Year ahead and without a doubt we are looking forward to exploring dynamic opportunities that continue to enable our food, beverage, bio and ag companies to build knowledge and learn from others. We’ll be facilitating a session that reflects these very elements in Chatham-Kent in the Spring bringing together peers and community partners who are there to share their stories, and are ready to offer some insight and support when it comes to business growth.Make sure that you watch our calandar for Food and Beverage Networking Events so that you can join in when we visit with IFPT (Institute of Food Processing Technology) in Cambridge to explore Innovation in Food Packaging and later in the year when we follow the first steps in a Lean Journey with Tradition Fine Foods in Toronto. I am sure that we will also be addressing the topics of leadership, culture development, food safety, exporting opportunities and further exploring energy management and sustainability practices! If you are interested in hosting or sharing your journey to date, I would be delighted to hear from you!
We have also had a stellar year with respect to our GF2 Productivity Workshops and want to express our sincere thanks to all of our Hosts in that regard for their warm welcome and hospitality:
Conestoga College, Stratford Campus, Stratford
Food For Tots, Markham
Quinte Economic Development, Loyalist College, Belleville
Guelph Golf and Country Club, Guelph
Bonduelle North America, Tecumseh
Participants from across Ontario have gathered together to gain insight through training courses on Leadership and Culture for Productivity Improvement, Introduction to Lean Management Systems, Productivity/Lean Tools and an Introduction to Value Stream Mapping. These special sessions were followed up with an opportunity to connect with our subject matter expert via Productivity Action Plan Development Webinars.
Building on the foundation established these past few years, a new roster of awesome training programs has been added to our EMC GF2 Productivity Workshops and we cannot wait to get started! In April and early May, Leadership and Management of Change, Root Cause Problem Solving, Standard Work for Leadership and Accountability and an Introduction to the Kaizen Process of Implementing Change will be offered in various areas of the Province beginning in London followed by Ottawa, GTA and Guelph.
We were also very pleased this year to have launched our new EMC GF2 Self-Diagnostic Productivity Tool. This is an amazing online means for Processors to tap into which is based on 16 sector kpi’s. It is a great way to gauge how you are doing from a continuous improvement standpoint and allows you to benchmark both internally and externally with others in the Sector.
Glancing back, participating in EMC/NRCAN’s Energy Summit in Niagara Falls in early May was one of my particularly favourite activities in 2016. It was three jam-packed days filled with great dialogue, panel presentations, interactive speakers and a busy tradeshow encouraging attendees to reach out, explore and build upon their energy management and sustainability programs. We were delighted to have a busload of eager delegates visit with Stratus Vineyards and Chocolate F/X on our Pre-Conference Tour. What a great day it was to see some of the latest sustainability approaches in play. Of course, with wine and chocolate as key products, sampling was thoroughly enjoyed! We were also delighted to have Canada Bread/Grupo Bimbo and Campbell Company of Canada present on a Food Sector Panel the following day that resulted in considerable discussion and you just wouldn’t believe the long line-ups for questions after our session adjourned!
The Food, Beverage and Ag Sector is particularly active every year with knowledge-based Conferences, Forums and Fairs. EMC has been proud to be a yearly sponsor and regular exhibitor of both the North American Food Safety Summit and the North American Regulatory and Quality Assurance Summit now heading for their 13th and 8th years respectively. These are always great settings bringing the latest in information not only from a regulatory and legislative perspective, but also presenting an opportunity to learn from case studies, panel presentations and real life experience.
We always enjoy participating in tradeshows and forums with processors and those who support the sector providing us with industry insight and keeping us abreast of the latest in trends such as the Restaurants Canada Show, Grocery Innovations Conference (GIC), the Bakery Showcase, Green Living Show, EDCO (Economic Development Council of Ontario), NSF International’s Food Trends and Canadian Safe Food Forums and Provision Coalition’s AGM.
There were some other really interesting activities this past year as well that offered opportunities to connect with peers and collaborate on issues of importance to industry. I was delighted to take part in Food Beverage Ontario’s School to Work Transition Workshop and am also pleased to have joined Durham College’s Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical and Food Science Program Advisory Committee. And, to stay abreast of all that is new and exciting, it was a pleasure to join business owners in AMI’s Food Entrepreneurs Food Safety Workshop this past spring as well.
There were many other activities not the least of which included a tour of a brand new $1.5 million dairy barn build equipped with the latest in technological innovation and processes, a chance to learn and support Graduates representing the Food Industry in the CMN (Canadian Manufacturing Network) Harvard Supervisory Program, and just last week, joining Farm Credit Corporation’s Annual Event in London that brings 2,000 representatives from the Ag Industry together to learn from incredible leaders in business.
Yes, it has truly been a busy, productive and wonderful year and 2017 is looking every bit as exciting! We thank you all for your participation, for sharing your journey’s, for welcoming us to your facilities and for your feedback and offers to Host. We really, really appreciate this!
In closing, on behalf of all of us at EMC, we hope that this Holiday Season is filled with family, friends and lots of laughter and that this happiness sets the course for an incredible New Year too!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage, Bio & Ag Program Canada
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - bdeleeuw .org - 519-372-6009
EMC receives funding under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.