Regardless of how many times I visit the Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology (CRIFPT) in Cambridge, I know that as soon as I walk through those doors that it is bound to be a great day of learning at this one of a kind facility!
Our "menu" for this special EMC Food Sector Networking Event, as expected, was certainly tantalizing and offered a breadth of courses (if you will) for the morning's activities:
- An overview of CRIFPT's programs and facility tour;
- A processor's view on the importance of building academic partnerships and taking advantage of student related programs to improve company processes and competitive abilities; and
- An in-depth look at leadership development, employee engagement and the importance of creating a culture of motivation.
The Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology
Luis Garcia, Chair
The CRIFPT hosts a suite of programs from Food Safety and Food Operators to Maintenance Assistants. They are home to an 8,000 square foot pilot plant which provides an excellent learning environment for their students. The Team at CRIFPT works diligently at promoting the food processing industry as an interesting and challenging career path to today's prospective students. They actively speak to teachers, parents and guidance counsellors to engage potential applicants in the programs offered and connect with Processors throughout the Province who are interested in learning more about partnering for student placements.
Process Operator - Food Manufacturing (Apprenticeship) - 3 Yr. Ontario College Certificate Program
Food Processing Techniques - 1 Yr. Ontario College Certificate Program
Food Processing Technician (Co-Op) - 2 yr. Ontario College Diploma
Food Processing Supervisor (Part Time)
Food Processing Advanced Sanitation Practices (Part Time)
Food Safety Level 1
Part time students can study programs leading to Certification as a Food Processing Supervisor or in Advanced Sanitation Practices. Full time students can take Food Processing Techniques (non-paid placements) or Food Processing Technician (co-op placements). The Food Safety Program allows for both in class and on-line components and features Level 1 of food safety - all in all encompassing 87 hours of learning. The Process Operator, Food Manufacturing has three levels which equate to 300 hours of in-class plus 4000 hours of on-the-job training to complete.
A pilot plant was designed and developed specifically for student training and features three production lines - bakery, fresh vegetables and beverage bottling.
There are incentives for Employers and also for Students including tax credits, signing bonus' and completion grants. Students have scholarship and loan monies available among other incentives for tool deductions etc.
If you are interested in learning more about the Programs at the IFPT, please access their website at www.ifpt.ca and to learn more about Apprenticeships in general, you may download the Guide on Apprenticeship Training in Ontario from the Employment Ontario website.
Opportunities and Academic Partnerships
Greg Merlihan, Director of Sales, Karma Candy
Karma Candy is located in Hamilton, Ontario and produces a variety of chocolate and candy products (including Christmas Candy Canes)! They were the second candy company in Canada to become BRC certified and are the only North American organic candy cane manufacturer. Keeping with evolving customer needs and dietary restrictions, Karma is now a peanut free facility as well.
Like many companies, access to people and money is becoming more and more of an issue leading Karma to search for ways and means to be creative and innovative with the staff they had and the existing relationships developed over the years with organizations promoting business growth - such as OMAF/RA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food/Rural Affairs), academic institutions, economic development, EMC and so forth.
From an academic standpoint, they were able to tap into three key programs enabling their company to move forward in "idea generation" while simultaneously boosting employee morale resulting in efficiency improvements and subsequently market competiveness:
1. Co-Op Programs
These programs are 4-8 months in length. Karma decided to deploy students to review their quality manuals - writing and validating steps. Greg noted that this project proved to be a great help particularly when undergoing their HACCP and BRC certifications. They also found Students from this program useful for mocking up marketing designs. Our Speaker emphasized what a wonderful opportunity this type of program presents because students are full of new ideas and eager to share them.
There are financial incentives available for those interested in Apprenticeship Programs. Currently Karma Candy has 10 registered for the Food Operator Apprenticeship plus other candidates who are interested more specifically in the Millwright and Electrical Programs. The average seniority at Karma Candy is 29 years. Equipment and candy-making methods have changed considerably over those 29 years. This plant is eager to become more modernized: in equipment, in robotics, in computers and so forth. With seniority and technology in mind, Apprenticeships seemed to be a good transition piece to help the company keep up with current methods of production.
3. Project Teams
There are a couple of ways in which to approach Project Teams which in essence has a much more focused and specifically oriented objective.
Utilizing McMaster University in this instance, a specific problem was described and the participating students were divided into three teams - one with no budget, one with a limited amount of funds ($20,000), and a third with an entirely unlimited budget. They were provided with complete access to the project area and at the end made a presentation to the management team - essentially building a business case in their team's favour. The ideas were incredible - from adding labour to modifying jigs to state of the art capital investment. Karma received hours and hours of analysis and many of the suggestions generated inevitably became part of their capital plan.
Process Compression and De-Bottlenecking:
This case involved Sr. Industrial Engineering students and two professors. A time line start of September was provided with reporting to be in November. It is important to note that these types of projects work within the academic cycle, so your task needs to be timed as such. Because this particular project involved the people on the floor, Management deemed that it would be good to have the reporting provided at the same time for both groups (Management and the Floor).
The group conducted extensive research, utilized time studies, employed camera's, etc. and at the end provided very detailed summaries. In the first year alone, Karma Candy was able to find $250,000 in savings through implementation of their project ideas. The students approached their work objectively and based on facts - so there is no bias in their suggestions for improvement. From a culture standpoint, this worked very well and those on the floor had nothing to fear but rather exhibited pride in the artisan work they perform.
There are lots of funding opportunities to tap into to help support these projects and the academic institutions provide much of the work to get this lined up.
Greg concluded his presentation by noting again that there is never enough time, money or people but through utilization and partnerships with academic institutions like the CRIFPT and the Food Operator Apprenticeship or local Co-Op Programs, there is ample opportunity to create a win-win environment and results for the student and for the participating business. At the end of the day, anything you do in this regard can only help "up" the motivation and engagement and lend to more work dialogue as employees start putting their ideas on the table.
Leadership and Engagement
Chad Metcalf, President, Value Stream Solutions
Lending to the theme of idea generation and creating environments of trust especially in light of embarking on change initiatives within our organizations, we were pleased to welcome Chad Metcalf, President of Value Stream Solutions to the "table" to share his insights and experiences on Leadership and Employee Engagement. Chad is a Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Enterprise Master Trainer and Business Transformation Consultant.
One of the very first things that Chad noted was the importance of going beyond your sector to benchmark - regardless of your product, in the end it's all about processes!
What is leadership?
Leadership is not about position or title - it's about actions and behaviours. For some Leadership just comes naturally and for others it is a learned behaviour. Being a Leader naturally implies that there is some kind of "followship" so to speak. The question then becomes whether you would you rather have followers because they have to or because they want to?
There are countless excellent quotations with respect to leadership and one that Chad felt echoed the sentiments above follows:
A leader is someone you choose to follow to a place you would not go by yourself. -- Joel Barker
Workplace culture is created by collective behaviours and actions of all the people in your company - and regardless of whether we try to shape the culture or not, it will happen.
Consider for a moment - what type of culture do you have?
|Blame and Justify||No blame/safe to participate|
|Individual Efforts||Team efforts|
|Silo's of Islands of Excellence||Value stream oriented|
|Lacking in Vision and Values||Clear values and vision|
With thoughts on leadership and culture in mind, Chad outlined the importance of establishing a corporate "Vision". Essentially, a "Vision" is a picture of the preferred future. He noted that in the book "7 Habits of Highly Successful People", Stephen Covey talks about "being proactive, starting with the end in mind" and that is essentially what visioning entails.
Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision passes time. Vision with action can change the world! -- Joel Barker
We then enjoyed an opportunity to look at some companies in particular who had rather interesting visioning statements:
|Mondelez Manifesto - October 2012|| Create delicious moments of joy.|
That's our dream.
It's what guides us.
The way we look at it, it's
not just about lifting a
moment with flavor,
It's about lifting the spirit.
|Coorstek||We make the world measureably better|
Vision is just the starting point - it creates "conversation" if you will and helps align actions for the long term.
With Vision also comes consideration for Values. Values such as honesty, integrity, commitment, respect and trust determine how we are going to treat each other and these will act as our moral compass when tough decisions have to be made. Having a declared set of values can be very effective tools when it comes to directing behaviours.
As with Visioning, Chad shared some examples of companies who clearly communicated the "Values" their organizations represented:
|Vector Aerospace||Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Excellence, Teamwork|
Act like owners
Keep it simple
Be open and inclusive
Tell like it is
Lead from the head and the heart
Discuss. Decide. Deliver.
|Coorstek||Whatever words say - make them meaningful by using them|
Having and/or finding/hiring the right people is a leadership activity and defining their roles (or seat) and the responsibilities within that position is a management activity.
Everything we do as a leader has an impact on culture. In essence, creating a culture of "Motivation" requires two things:
-Inspirational leadership - where leadership activities align with values and vision
-Process discipline - where the value chain helps in planning and orchestrating of positions to collaborate effectively
One of the most important things that we can do as Leaders is to demonstrate consistency in our actions - this helps shape the culture and has a direct impact on desired results.
In summary, Chad reiterated that Leadership for some is natural and for others is a learned behaviour. He mentioned that essentially everyone has to practice their skills in this arena and that every leader must change or be changed to ensure the development of a culture of motivation so to speak. He left us with a couple of thoughts:
- Remember who has an influence on the culture of the company and use your organization's values and visions to guide decisions and behaviours
- Ask yourself - are the roles, methods and measures within our organization aligned with our values and vision - and are you aligned as a Leadership Team?
We finished our session off in true team work spirit as everyone present worked in tandem with a Helium stick. The task was to lower it together - and as easy as it sounds, it proved to be a bit of a challenge. The lesson learned was that there has to be a plan and someone has to take a lead role to get the group to work together to accomplish the goal!
Special, special thanks to our friends at the CRIFPT for hosting this excellent session - and to our Guest Speakers - Greg Merlihan, Director of Sales with Karma Candy in Hamilton, and Chad Metcalf, President of Value Stream Solutions!
All the best as always!