Since the launch of EMC's new Food Sector Manufacturing Network, needed resources have been developed for food & beverage processors/manufacturers.
For many years, Canadian food and beverage manufacturers haveenjoyed a relatively ‘recession-free' existence in oureconomy. As an essential sector to everyone's lives, global forceshave been slower to impact food sector processors and manufacturersthan it has on others such as forestry/wood products, textiles orautomotive. Food prices in Canada have climbed steadily andCanadians continue to pay for these essential products, regardlessof price.
In the past few years however, Canadian food companies havebegun to experience a new reality in their business lives. Pricehas become a more prevalent factor, as foreign produced food &beverage products are increasingly making headway into Canadianmarkets. Products previously made in Canada now contain‘made in' designations from countries such as China and SouthAfrica... if they openly list the country of origin at all.
The new reality food companies are experiencing has resulted ina need to become better at what they do, improve best practices,and connect with other manufacturing subject-matter-experts to helprapidly increase their competitiveness globally.
As a result, through extensive planning and discussions withmany food sector stakeholders, Excellence in ManufacturingConsortium (EMC) has developed and launched an innovative FoodSector Manufacturing Network, to help F&B companies enhancetheir global competitiveness, protect jobs and engage leading-edgeprofessional peer-to-peer knowledge networks. This is beingachieved through a new consortium-model hybrid network, whichincludes next generation Web 2.0 networks and labour-pool buildinginitiatives designed specifically for this important sector.
EMC officially launched the Food Sector Network initiativeearlier this year and recently hosted a cross-province trek,meeting with representatives throughout the Food and BeverageIndustry in a series of Strategic Interest Group (SIG) discussionswith industry senior managers. The events were hosted to gaininsight for the development of networking and learningopportunities and to map out a game plan for the coming year.
Free F&B Engineering & Maintenance Resource
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On May 6th, EMC's Food Sector network initiative turned upits resources another notch, with the launch of a new digitalpublication focused on Engineering and Maintenance for the Food& Beverage sector. Food & Beverage Engineering &Maintenance is a new publication developed by CLB Media's PEMMagazine (Plant & Engineering Maintenance) in cooperation withExcellence in Manufacturing Consortium.
This is just one example of the high-impact resources, expertiseand services EMC is working to bring to the food industry, throughthis special initiative. Working closely with Ontario Ministry ofAgriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) representatives,economic development and municipal partners to provide resourcesfor this endeavour, EMC met recently with processors/manufacturersacross the province, who represent a variety of products, corporatesizes, stellar best practices and some unique challenges.
A variety of issues and topics were discussed, including: foodsafety, consumer awareness, inventory management, maintenance,continuous improvement and lean implementation, packaging andlabeling, export and import development, transportation andlogistics, government regulations and legislation, human capital,innovation and utility challenges. A detailed needs analysis wascompleted, compiling literally dozes of hot items to be dealt within each of these categories. The input received from the food& beverage manufacturers was incredible. The Food Sectornetwork has also begun its Web 2.0 network, with several blogs andforums already launched and participating companies are alreadyapplying these thoughts, ideas and best practices in theirbusinesses.
Strategic Interest Group (SIG) events also officially underway.Participating f & b manufacturers have chosen to begin focusingon Continuous Improvement, with the first presentation anddiscussion on topics related to Lean Implementation and Sustainmentissues. For upcoming SIG events, EMC has arranged for one of NorthAmerica's leading Lean/C.I. experts - Chad Metcalf, President,Value Stream Solutions - to provide a thorough learning andnetworking session for the group.
EMC's "Implementing & Sustaining Improvements in the Food& Beverage Industry."
Continuing in June, EMC will host additional events throughoutEastern, Southwestern and Northern Ontario focused on Food Safetyand General Safety Practices, followed up by events later thisyear, focused on Building Competitiveness and Labour Relations...plus many other topics key to food manufacturers.
EMC's Food Sector Manufacturing Network is available to all foodand beverage processors/manufacturers and their immediate supplychain. In addition to the new resources and learning activities,companies will also engage peer-to-peer roundtable networking, bestpractice sharing, plant tours and hear from both industry andsubject-matter-expert speakers who can help address theopportunities, challenges and interesting issues identified duringeach of the brainstorming sessions.
With the strategic involvement of OMAFRA, the provincialgovernment is providing funding for Ontario food companies(participating in the network) to benefit from training andinternship incentives.
EMC's Food Sector Network initiative is being facilitated by Bren McKeachnie (Senior Community Developmentfor EMC), who is coordinating the grass-roots consortium group, aswell as the Strategic Interest Group events and online networkingactivities.
Food and beverage sector companies interested in learning moreabout this important resource initiative can visit www.emccanada.org orcontact Bren McKeachnie directly through her EMC profile or email@example.com