From Coast to Coast, Canadian Food and Beverage Manufacturers enjoyed three excellent days filled with learning opportunities at this year’s EMC National Advantage Through Excellence Conference in Hamilton, Ontario!
A Conference presents the perfect venue to participate in workshops that intrigue, enlighten and educate you. They provide you with creative thought inspired by others travelling a similar journey to yours, perhaps stimulating ideas or providing suggestions for dealing with challenges - or better yet those "opportunities for improvement" - that we might encounter along the way. Above all, a gathering of this nature opens the door for creating relationships with participants and speakers that transcends the four walls and the few days that brought us together in the first place. This setting, as in our previous Conferences, also provided us with the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our peers and through them our own individual journeys resonate as we too prevail on the interesting and never-ending path of continuous improvement!
Within the Food and Beverage Stream of Conference activities, we were delighted to welcome Manufacturers and Growers from British Columbia through to Nova Scotia! Representation by our Community Partners working within the Industry on a daily basis coupled with participants from a variety of other Sectors beyond Food and Beverage processing provided us with an enthusiastic, well-rounded, inquisitive and informative audience! This type of opportunity for our Workshop Presenters and Participants certainly supported the fundamental values of EMC Canada and networking in general - in that there are always opportunities to learn from each other regardless of organization, product or service and size of company!
Day One presented two excellent tours - Nestle Waters Canada in Puslinch, Ontario and Karma Candy Inc. in Hamilton. Our Hosts were very welcoming and shared overviews on their companies, their best practices, and the opportunities ahead. These tours afforded participants to learn more about Sustainability and Environmental issues, see and appreciate the investment in state of the art Capital Equipment designed to produce in a manner to increase competitiveness, take in some unique production processes, observe forms of visual communication, and, of course, a wee bit of product sampling too! We were an awesome looking group all garbed in white, hair nets, safety shoes, glasses and sans jewellery - and some of us learned just how tight our rings really were!
Workshops, Best Practices and Panel Discussions set the tone for Day Two and Three - and without a doubt - every session provided a learning opportunity! A recap of our Food and Beverage Stream Presenters follows below…
Creating A Sustainable Improvement Culture - Doug Harper, General Manager, Blommer Chocolate and Jim Morris, President, Bristlecone Learning
Driving Productivity Improvements on a Budget - Greg Merlihan, General Manager, Karma Candy
Capacity Through Excellence - Michael Barrett, Chief Operating Officer, Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative Ltd.
What it Takes to be Competitive in Canada - Ryan L'Abbe, VP Operations and Human Resources, Ice River Springs
Generation "Y" - Finding and Keeping Tomorrow's Leaders - Jocelyn Moyer, Production Supervisor, Maple Leaf Foods
Food Sector Panel Discussion - OMAFRA, Hamilton Economic Development, Guelph Food Technology Centre, The Garlic Box and Karma Candy Inc.
Sustainability - What is Your Green Footprint - Laura Rourke, EMC Canada, Environmental, H&S Manager
Each of our speakers spoke with passion and a willingness to share about their companies and the services they supplied, their journey ahead and the lessons they have learned! Culture, employee involvement, partnerships with others within and supporting industry, creativity, innovation, and leadership were common intertwining themes when it comes to business success.
As one tiny glimpse of the potential from our EMC Advantage Through Excellence Conference Events, I wanted to share with you some fundamental elements of leadership that Michael Barrett, Chief Operating Officer, from Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative addressed so well in his presentation that regardless of sector or organization are applicable to us all:
* Don't judge too quickly - what we look at and what we view are two different things;
* Leadership does not always know where we are heading - demonstrating the need to make use of employee ideas;
* Facilitate transferable skills - our most important role is to create future leaders;
* Develop the capacity for change;
* Capacity rests upon the art and skill of all communication attributes - ensure the message received is the same as the message given;
* Are all of the answers meaningful;
* Don't take everything too seriously;
* Provide useful guidance by providing the right message;
* Change has to be both public and private - need to say and do the same things - accountability and responsibility are in every role you take;
* Inspire success - "failure is not an option" - build on the power of a team to accomplish success
* Let the student be the teacher;
* Know when to be silent;
* Ask nothing of others that you would not be prepared to do yourself;
* Know your team - what motivates and inspires them;
* Work on those things that make a difference;
* Show appreciations, recognize talent, and know that you are developing capacity - we are all leaders;
* Learn to follow;
* Compromise but not on your principles; and
* Know your limits.
Thank you to everyone who participated as Tour Hosts, as Presenters and Panelists, as Conference Attendees and Sponsors - we greatly appreciated your involvement in making these excellent, informative and interactive sessions!
Finally, just a note that an On-line Conference Feedback Form has been set up on our website (http://www.emccanada.org/emcconf201/feedbacksurvey) and if you wish, we would most certainly appreciate hearing from you anytime!
Our next networking Events are officially just around the corner - please mark your calandars and Register for:
June 9th, 2010 - JD Sweid Foods, Waterloo - "Sustainability: What is Your Green Footprint?"
June 17th, 2010 - EMC's Annual Golf Tournament!! Owen Sound Golf & Country Club, Owen Sound, ON
Have a terrific week!