Innovation, Supply Chain Management, Sustainability, Recruitment and Retention, Food Safety, Legislation and Regulations, Continuous Improvement and Lean... just a few of the topics that have been foremost in mind and discussion during the past year and promise to be equally relevant as 2013 begins to unfold!
Our Food Sector Networking activities have continued to grow year over year offering amazing opportunities for processors to meet others in industry - exploring solutions to challenges, taking in plant tours and learning from those who have experiences or processes to share! With close to 20 events this past year plus active participation in a variety of sector focused conferences, summits and forecasts - the year has been busy to say the least!
First and foremost, very special thanks to our 2012 hosts who so warmly welcomed EMC Members and Guests to their facilities across the Province - your hospitality was so very much appreciated!!
Pactiv (Summerstown), Karma Candy (Hamilton), The Stirling Creamery Ltd. (Stirling), Les Cruchons Jugs (Hawkesbury), Hartmann Canada Inc.(Brantford), Kellogg Canada Inc. (Belleville), Cavendish Appetizers (Wheatley), Greenfield Ethanol (Prescott), Club Coffee LP (Rexdale), Blommer Chocolate (Campbellford), Ivanhoe Cheese - Gay Lea Foods (Madoc), Dart Cup (Campbellford), DC Foods Inc. (Waterloo), Parmalat (Winchester), Bonduelle (Tecumseh), and Sleeman Breweries (Guelph).
We also extend our appreciation to two great Community Partners who hosted special Food Sector related events this year as well - Nottawasaga Futures on Sustainability and Lean, Green and Energy Management Initiatives and the IFPT - Institute of Food Processing Technology at Conestoga College in Cambridge where we focused on Building Collaboration and Partnerships between Industry and the College and the benefits of engaging Apprentices and Co-Op Students through their new Food Apprenticeship Programs. (We also toured their 9,000 sq ft pilot plant - which is absolutely amazing - and we promise to revisit in 2013!)
Perhaps more than anything else, we are so very fortunate to have a Membership that openly welcomes the opportunity to benchmark and speak to best practices with one another - and we are truly thankful for that willingness to share! Networking has the capacity to "build bridges of knowledge", if you will, between companies attending! It brings people together with a common interest and pushes our thoughts and perceptions from thinking to possibility to actuality. When we put aside the actual product we produce and our own individual day to day activities - networking with other Manufacturers (even beyond the food industry) affords us the chance to recognize that any number of elements in the business and process may apply to our organizations.
Again, our heartfelt thanks to the following companies who so freely shared their stories in 2012! There were times this year that we had standing room only at sessions - and then there were Members who were up at 4:00 am to attend events several hours from their home facilities - truly awesome!
Pactiv - "People Involving People Program"
Karma Candy - "Utilizing Engineering Students, Apprenticeships and Generational Workplace Issues"
Kellogg Canada Inc. - "Leveraging Opportunities Through Apprenticeships"
Cavendish Appetizers - "Building a World-Class Safety Program"
Dart Cup - "Plant Communications"
Parmalat - "Health and Safety Best Practices"
Sleeman Breweries - "Lean Journey - 5-S"
Bonduelle - "Onboarding and Orientation"
Supply chain management, Lean, recruitment and retention, legislation and compliances, certification and expansion, culture, generational differences, health and safety, forecasting, scheduling and trends - these are just some of the topics that we tackled this year during our peer networking sessions!
Keeping abreast of an ever-growing and evolving Sector has kept us busy in terms of learning about new products and innovations, supply chain and value chain opportunities, the latest in regulations, legislation and certification requirements, and learning from industries best practices, tours and sectoral, provincial and global perspectives! Just to give you a bit of flavour for the buffet of activities that we attended, here is the menu for 2012:
Ivey Idea forum - Water and Agri-Food Innovation Summit
GFTC - Growing Markets Breakfast and Food Trends Forecast
Canadian Gift Show
Economic Development Conference Ontario
Canadian Food Summit
Food Safety Summit
Canadian Club - Maple Leaf Foods
Value Chain Innovation Forum
WFIM - Cadbury Tour and Roundtable Networking Academy
Bakery Showcase 2012
ASQ Hamilton - Kraft Foods
Grocery Innovations Forum 2012
BLOOM Sustainability 2012
Food Regulatory and Quality Assurance Summit
CIFST Table Top Tradeshow
Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference
Institute of Food Processing Technology, Conestoga College - Innovation in the Food Industry
Food Sector Advisory Panel
So, with 2012 at a close and 2013 just beginning - I see the year ahead as one of building collaboration and partnerships. It is a good time to look at ways in which we can all work together to enable us as Canadians to be more innovative and efficient on all fronts.
The Schedule for 2013 is being developed and we welcome your participation whether as an attendee, a host, a best practice you would like to share, a tour you would welcome or a Member with a topic that you would like to see addressed!
Just as an example, this coming March so far presents two great peer networking activities! We are thrilled to have our newest Member in Ottawa - HFS - hosting and sharing best practices on their Incentive, Reward and Bonus Programs followed by a plant tour. This is a fairly new facility and is an excellent plant to visit! In the latter part of the month, Lance Canada in Guelph will be engaging Members in discussion on Continuous Improvement issues with CI and Senior Managers and following will be an opportunity for those with an interest in Health and Safety to look at how to evaluate your Personal Protective Equipment.
On the conference side of activities, we are also equally excited to be working with the Strategy Institute once again and are partnering on the North American Food Safety Summit which will be held in Toronto on March 6th and 7th, 2013 - mark your calendars - it promises to be a very informative Conference!
Finally, a note of recognition to thank our Community Partners who have been so extremely supportive over the years - in particular - the OMAFRA Team - who from a food industry perspective have so much valuable information to share with processors across the Province. They are wonderful and enthusiastic individuals and it is always a pleasure working with each and every one of them!
So too are those who represent our Economic Development Departments right across the Province and Coast to Coast! I would encourage you to connect with your Economic Development Representative if you have not yet met them, as they too can provide you with a wealth of information for your own particular region.
We have many, many, many other Community Partners as well and every one of them can contribute to the success of your business in one way or another. I truly believe it is a year of collaboration and partnerships and special thanks to our Community Partners who have been so supportive of our initiatives and endeavours not only in Ontario but across Canada.
In closing, thank you again every one for an absolutely TERRIFIC year! It has been AMAZING! If there is ever anything that I can do for you or you have a company that would like to know more about EMC involvement and would like me to visit, please feel free to touch base at any time (email@example.com).
The whole EMC team and I wish you the very, very best of the holiday season and an exciting New Year full of possibilities and excitement!!
All the best as always!