It’s been an incredible year for those involved in our EMC Food and Beverage Sector Consortium – one fabulous Conference – complete with a Food Sector Stream and two plant tours - 14 specific networking events across Ontario, a Blog Channel that now has 64 articles and to date has had 16,544 viewings this year alone not to mention that a staggering 3,610 people have taken a moment to peruse the Forums… wow!
December is traditionally a wonderful month to reflect and gather a sense of where we have been during the year and where we plan to go. It affords us the option to look at the projects accomplished, the deadlines met and the successes - or opportunities for improvement - that those endeavours sparked. Personally, I like to believe that every year should have challenged us in some way, shape or form - causing us to think outside of that proverbial box - forcing us to look at new ways of thinking, at problem solving, at generating ideas and at embracing new technologies and tools - all in an effort that allows us to perfect our skills and abilities… ever encouraging us to look ahead with open minds and creative solutions and in a manner that bespeaks teamwork and fosters a positive organizational culture… strengthening not only our people but that of our companies as a whole and their ability to prosper, develop and compete in a very competitive global marketplace. Looking back and reflecting - appreciating where you have been - is just as important to me as looking forward is.
As I mentioned above, we have had a terrific year - and on behalf of all of us at EMC Canada, we wish to thank you first and foremost for supporting these activities through your participation in attendance, in hosting and in presenting - and, most importantly of all - in freely sharing your experiences to enable others to succeed. This is what EMC Canada is all about - manufacturers working with other manufacturers - connecting and sharing in all key function areas to enable all of us to run our businesses in the most safe, efficient and effective, cost competitive manner.
This year our Members met and collaborated on emerging areas of interest such as "Sustainability" and "Supply Chain Management". We also took a look at some particular aspects of business such as "Branding" and dealing with "Planning Processes". Human capital elements were explored as well during our networking activities and Members shared perspectives on "Attendance" on "Culture" and reflected on our annual Hicks Morley "Employment Standards Update" and review of the "Violence in the Workplace Act, Bill 168".
We were also delighted to have had some excellent, excellent presentations and best practices shared by our Manufacturers in Industry:
Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative Ltd.
J.D. Sweid Foods Ltd.
Rich Products of Canada
Sleeman Brewing & Malting
Sun Rich Fresh Foods
Hearing another company's journey and recognizing similarities in our own - or opportunities for us to explore - can have such a tremendous impact on our organizations and in countless savings - perhaps in time, in money, in frustration, in searching, in planning and so forth! It's amazing how one idea can spark into something far greater!
In that same spirit, certainly our largest networking opportunity came in the form of our EMC National Advantage Through Excellence Conference held in May of this year. Not only did delegates have the ability to channel their interests in Lean, Sustainability, Human Capital, Purchasing and so forth - for the first time we were also able to offer a complete Food and Beverage Stream. Our heartfelt thanks again must be expressed to all of our Presenters and Community Partners who made this such an exceptional experience!
Driving Productivity Improvements on a Budget - Karma Candy, Hamilton
Creating a Sustainable Improvement Culture - Blommer Chocolate Canada, Campbellford and Bristlecone Learning
Capacity Through Excellence: HAACP, Lean, Top 100 Employer - Gay Lea Foods, Mississauga
What It Takes to Be Competitive in Canada - Ice River Springs, Feversham
Generation Y: Finding and Keeping Tomorrow's Leaders - Maple Leaf Consumer Foods
And to our panel:
The Garlic Box, Hensall
GFTC - Guelph Food Technology Centre, Guelph
OMAFRA - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
Economic Development, Hamilton
Thank you as well to the Teams at Karma Candy and at Nestle Waters for opening their doors each welcoming a bus load of conference delegates to their facilities… your hospitality was most generous!
Our Food Sector Project as many of you may be aware, is four-fold in nature - networking being the primary component both in environments as described above, but also online as well. Supplementing this project are rebate opportunities for training and for hiring interns who would assume a position in an advanced manufacturing role.
The second element - the online activity through our EMC Canada website - has been equally phenomenal. It is wonderful to know that so many of our Members are accessing the web site and reviewing the material there!
Our Blog Channel has been flourishing and I am delighted to say that there are now 64 Blogs on our Food Channel! Within that library of articles you can find stories on everything from Raising Hunger Awareness to Ethics to Biogas and so on, coupled with Plant Overviews and Event Information and Summaries. We are also thrilled to have contributions from Doug Harper, General Manager, Blommer Chocolate Canada and we invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in a Blog if you wish or to offer a comment - we would be delighted to hear from you.
The Forum's are another aspect of our online community resource - similar in some ways to Member Needs Help - and present an opportunity for you to participate in solving a member query or to join in discussion on a subject of interest. We have questions posted on Continuous Improvement, Environmental Issues, Food Safety, Human Capital, Packaging Requirements, Marketing and General Business. To date we have had 3,610 viewings of these postings! Again, we encourage you to share your thoughts with your fellow members - you may spark the idea or convey a message that could help another right away.
The uptake on our Food Sector Training incentive for in-house advanced manufacturing activity has been wonderful - and we are more than glad to help out when we can. If you are interested in learning more about this aspect of the project, please feel free to touch base with Todd Oliver, our Director of Program Delivery, at email@example.com at any time.
The final element involves rebates for Interns being hired specifically in a new role relating to advanced manufacturing. If this is something that is of interest to you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So - with the past reflected upon, we now sit on the cusp of 2011! It is our hope that the new year will be every bit as informative and exciting as 2010 proved to be!
Keeping that thought in mind, our Schedule for the New Year is officially under development. At our final networking events this year, I posed three questions - the first being to share the successes in your facilities, the second the issues you are currently facing and the third to let us know how we might direct our networking events in the upcoming year in such a way as to drive more value back into your business. My thanks to everyone who shared their ideas and thoughts with me - your input was and continues to be much appreciated!
From the question focusing on "Successes", it was easy to recognize some of the wonderful best practices that others may learn from. Everything from Continuous Improvement through to Food Safety, ERP Implementation, Sustainability Strategies, Controlling Injuries to Skill Development and Employee Suggestion Plans were noted - representing a wealth of knowledge, experience and successful program implementation. We look forward to hearing some best practices that touch on those success stories!
Always of interest to our Team, to our Community Partners and of course to our Members are the issues that you are facing on a day-to-day basis which impedes your ability to grow, develop and compete. Needless to say, Food and Beverage Sector participants have identified several common factors from Senior Management issues such as matters related to business growth and innovation through to the necessity of keeping up with Regulatory demands, etc. etc. Food Safety, Continuous Improvement and Health and Safety issues were also identified. There is also a growing interest in Sustainability as we become more "green oriented". An aging population brings particular challenges for Manufacturers, and there is tremendous pressure on our labour pools, so certainly human capital issues relating to training and skill development are foremost on many organizational minds. Finally, it is interesting to see the growing interest in the marketing aspects of our business.
In an effort to stay abreast of these challenges and in support of your endeavours to consistently seek improvements on various aspects of your business, the following presents a draft of what the New Year ahead may be bringing so far…
Literacy and Multiculturalism (Ontario Literacy Coalition/ABC Literacy Canada/
|April||Supply Chain Management I - Best Practices|
|May||Continuous Improvement Processes and SR&ED|
|June||Plant Safety - WSIB/MOL/MOE|
|September||Food Safety - HACCP|
|October||Supply Chain Management II - Getting Your Suppliers on Board|
|November||Continuous Improvement Best Practices|
If you are interested in hosting any of the above sessions, or, in sharing a best practice within your organization in conjunction with or beyond the topics suggested, we would be very happy to hear from you. Our Schedule is flexible and there will definitely be other events as we move forward - everything will be posted on the calandar - so please make sure that you check it from time to time.
Finally, on behalf of all of us at EMC Canada, thank you for your participation and thank you for your support of this incredible program!
We wish you the very, very, very best for the holiday season and upcoming New Year!
Best wishes always,