Technology has allowed us to surround ourselves with tremendous capacities to source and find answers beyond our wildest dreams. For EMC Canada, transitioning to a Web 2.0 Platform has enabled us to provide a variety of means in which to reach out to peers for assistance – one of these to definitely explore and to begin utilizing is our Forum Area.
A "Forum" is no different than a bulletin board may have been in days past - in this case - it is a virtual area where one can post topics of discussion and promote an exchange of ideas all online in a safe, secure manner.
On the EMC Homepage (www.emccanada.org), you will see maroon coloured tabs on your right hand side. If you select "Forums", you will be automatically directed to a page that highlights these discussion areas. You must be logged in to participate in the comment sections. There are five forum areas full of topics of interest - and our focus today of course will be on the Food Sector!
1. Food Sector
3. Member Needs Help
4. Safety Group
5. Energy Group
After you click on the Food Sector link, a new page will open up displaying key subject areas. At the moment, we have opportunities to discuss issues relating to:
* Continuous Improvement Initiatives
* Environmental Activities
* Food Safety and Quality Control
* Human Capital and Leadership
Select an area of interest and simply click on the Forum name to access the directory of current issues…
Anyone is welcome to participate, and we certainly encourage you to do so. This is your opportunity to share some of your experiences, highlight in plant activities, promote articles or readings of interest, potential contacts that might be made, proffer some of the challenges that have been your greatest educators and so forth.
Within each directory, as mentioned above, you will find a list of current queries… click on any of them to open up the question. To Comment, simply click your cursor in the "Reply" box - type your thoughts and click the box at the bottom of the screen that says "Reply"… you are good to go then!
With all of that in mind - we would encourage you to log on to the website to see if you might be able to assist in any of the following areas with the questions currently in our Forum section!
Together with OMAFRA, we are looking at the possibility of putting together a focus group to look at 'multicultural issues' in the workplace. This would look at ESL plus other multicultural issues that are common place in the workforce.... particularly in the larger centres and with larger companies. We are looking for about 5 or 6 senior people from companies that are experiencing these issues to come together for a short focus group meeting that will be hosted by OMAFRA to discuss these issues in the hopes of determining if there is something that can be developed for some possible solutions or programs.
We have a company who takes their Management Team on "retreats" so-to-speak - away from their regular day to day environment - to focus on the business issues at hand. This company has about 8-10 Managers who attend and would be interested in visiting manufacturing facilities, in lieu of hotel rooms, wherein they could perhaps visit the facility itself and utilize the boardroom for the day for their own Management discussions. In turn, they would gladly reciprocate, and would welcome those interested in a similar endeavour to utilize their facilities. True networking - and certainly a savings from renting hotel meeting rooms!
To be successful in any area of business, good leadership is imperative. What are your thoughts on what it takes to be a good leader? What types of skill sets should be demonstrated?
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish." - Sam Walton
The ability to communicate well and to work with people are certainly necessary skill sets... What others are imperative?
If you are about to undergo a major change initiative within your building, certainly having the people behind your company's goals are paramount to success. As such, how do you honestly assess the culture within your building? How do you know that your people are engaged and motivated and working towards a common goal? Have you ever used an Engagement Survey of any kind? How can you successfully take the findings and implement a plan that creates engagement and leads the organization to success in a given opportunity - whether that be for continuous improvement initiatives, sustainability planning, new procedures or processes, etc.? What are your key learning experiences in this area? What are some of the pitfalls a reader should avoid?
Food Contact Packaging and Food Safety - HACCAP/SQF/BRC Differences:
I work for a flexo printing manufacturer and we service the food industry. We extrude and print mostly on polyethylene that comes into direct contact with food. We are an ISO 9001 and 14001 registered company. We've implemented HACCP and are compliant with this standard but have not been registered. We are a packaging company and have not identified any CPP's within our manufacturing processes.
I've been receiving more and more questions from our food customers asking if we'll implement either or both SQF and BRC/IOP. My question is this, are there major differences between HACCP and SQF and BRC/IOP? Are there any other packaging manufacturers on this list that have implemented HACCP and SQF or BRC/IOP that are also ISO registered? I'm hoping between HACCP and ISO we have all the bases covered. Appreciate any feedback on this topic.
I recently had a conversation with an SME on Risk Management and food safety recall programs. In light of the focus on food safety recall plans, I wondered if this might be a topic of interest to network on and to invite an SME in to speak to? Do you have a food safety recall program in place? What does it look like? Are you interested in benchmarking with others on this issue?
Recycling - Burlap Bags:
We have a company interested in knowing what applications might be available for recycling burlap bags. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
According to Wikipedia - a Sustainable Business has no negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society or the economy.
There are four indicators that a business is "green":
1. Sustainability is incorporated into all business decisions;
2. The production/supply of greener products/services replacing demand for those not produced with sustainability in mind;
3. They are greener then competitors; and
4. The committment to the environment is ongoing and resonates through all areas and aspects of the business.
Are there other qualifications that you think should be considered when looking at the overall "picture" of what it takes to be green. If you were to look at your own business, where on the continuum might you be in your progression to achieve a Sustainable Business? What might some of the roadblocks be that could prevent you from achieving success in this area?
Sustainability Programs - Where to Start - Energy and Climate?:
If you were beginning to look at implementing some sustainability initiatives in the area of Energy and Climate - What type of things would you want to look at? What kind of data should you track? What are some realistic goals to consider? How might you engage your people to see this as an opportunity for growth and development? Where have you seen results?
Communicating Corporate Sustainability Goals:
I am just back to my office from the CRFA Show yesterday. This year, Sustainability was very much a topic of interest. A showcase of products with Sustainable initiatives in place was set up for interested participants to view. While there, we had the pleasure of speaking with representatives from Coca-Cola and learned about their committment to Sustainability. They have set up quantifiable long-term goals in the areas of water stewardship, sustainable packaging and recycling, energy conservation and climate change, product portfolio and well-being and diverse and inclusive culture.
Communication is key to the success of any initiative and through a one page (front and back) summary, they describe where they have been and where they hope to be by 2020. An interesting, to-the-point, communication that provides customers, suppliers, employees and the general public with a view of their Corporate Sustainability Program. Do you have goals for your organization mapped out regarding Sustainability? How have you communicated those targets?
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint:
Many companies are now seriously looking at the ways in which they can reduce their impact on the environment. What are some the processes that you have put in place to monitor reducing your carbon footprint? Where did you start? How did you get your people motivated and how do you continue the momentum once you have started? What are your next steps? If you are just starting and would like input from others, please feel free to note that in our comment section and we'll certainly try to provide some feedback for you. If you are well on your way, what is your next goal to achieve relating to sustainability?
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES:
CPC Pallet Return:
Knowing the wonderful processes many of you have in place, I wanted to add a Forum on CPC Pallet Return in light of a question one of our Food and Beverage Members recently asked. If you are able to share some thoughts or ideas to assist this company, it would be very much appreciated.
The issue focuses on the administration of CPC Programs within companies. In this particular company, the Front Office has looked after their program and due to an upcoming retirement, they need to refocus on how that program might best be managed going forward. As such, they wondered if involving the Warehouse Supervisors might be an alternative. The question becomes whether this function of "CPC Pallet Return" which has in the past been managed by one person be split among their three Warehouse Supervisors and managed during their extra time? How are your programs structured? Do you have more than one person involved? What role does that person play in your organization? What experiences have you had that might assist this Member?
5-S and Maintenance Departments:
We have a Food Sector Member who is looking to benchmark with others on their in-house 5-S initiatives as it relates to Maintenance Departments. They are interested in completing 5-S activities in this area and would like to visit with others who have had some success in implementing a program of this nature.
Sustaining Improvement Initiatives:
During our meetings with Ontario's food and beverage processors/manufacturers - we have had some good discussions on the challenges of sustaining continuous improvement initiatives and good manufacturing practices. In your experience, what challenges have you faced and what do you think it takes to be successful? What are some of the tools or methods utilized that continue to help you sustain your initiatives?
Solar Panel Installations:
We have a company proposing to build a 40,000 square foot cooler facility. They are considering solar panels in order to save on the enormous electricity costs in running a cooler this size but are somewhat challenged in locating an installer that can complete installations of this nature for cooling large warehouses used for cold storage. If you have some experience that might help this Member locate an installer, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Non-Fogging Safety Glasses and Goggles:
We have a Food Processing Member who is trying to source safety glasses and goggles that do not fog while being worn during sanitations. Safety glasses are being used for high pressure work and the goggles for chemical application work. Fogging has been a longstanding problem that they have not been able to solve. This was an issue that surfaced in the past for another processor and if you are able to help with your experiences or suggestions - it would be much appreciated!
Moving Toward a Green Facility:
A member organization has recently provided a 'best practice' event highlighting their progress towards becoming a green facility. They are interested in receiving input from other manufacturers on what they have done in their facilities as well as further sharing their own experiences.
Food Safety, Engineering and Plant Maintenance Focus:
With Food Safety in mind as one of the key challenges in industry, what are some of the areas to focus on from an Engineering or Plant Maintenance perspective?
Staying Abreast of Trends in the Food Industry:
How do you monitor Trends in the Food Industry? Are there particular sources that you find most reliable and helpful when it comes to new product development and marketing initiatives?
Tradeshow and Conference Opportunities:
What are some of your strategies for maximizing involvement in networking activities such as Tradeshows and Conferences either as a participant or an exhibitor? Do you have some learning experiences to share that others might benefit from?
Aseptic Packaging Requirements:
We have a company who has a need for an aseptic bag in a box (10 Kg capacity) to meet an order for diced tomatoes in puree. They are looking for a manufacturer of the bag as well as anyone interested in fulfilling a 20' container order.
We use quite a bit of Dextrose as a sweetening agent here, and we only seem to be able to source is it in 20 KG bags. We've looked at trying to get it in super sacks (large 2000 lb bags), but due to the nature of the product, there is risk for hardening and the product becomes unusable (or very difficult to handle). I know that Dextrose is quite commonly used in the food industry, and I wanted to know if there was anyone that you could put me in contact with that has had success in larger format sizes.
If you have some experience, thoughts, suggestions, ideas or a question of your own, please take a moment to log on to the web site and embrace the opportunity to leverage knowledge from your peers online through our Forums! We value your input and those seeking assistance both appreciate and thank you for your time!
Have a wonderful day and best wishes as always!