Food, Beverage & Bio Sector Initiative

October 5, 2019 Bren de LeeuwFood & Beverage 147 Views

When I was younger, I took pleasure in listening to others recant their summer adventures and couldn’t wait to share mine. In thinking back, our peer sessions then were an early version of “best practices,” depending on how bold the exploit might have been. As always, the summer came and went, and each fall we began another school year full of enthusiasm, confidence and experience to build on, while revelling in lessons learned over what seemed an epic season!

Now older and less adventurous, as adults that same type of “experience sharing” we learned from days gone by continues to bring our teams together. Now rejuvenated from our summer achievements or R&R and ready to engage with fresh perspectives, open mindsets and tackle goals at hand within our business roles. 

Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) networking events and activities are about learning from each other and this fall is the perfect time to take stock of best practices that can foster cultures of business improvement, idea generation, and problem solving in our own organizations. They present the perfect forum for companies to review journeys, sharing what is works and looking at how to take businesses to the next level. 

In that “fresh back from summer holidays” spirit, one of the key issues EMC will be addressing this fall is the future of manufacturing. A topic that continues to invite dialogue and perspectives from manufacturers across Canada, and explores the possible impacts industry faces in the years to come and how businesses are adapting.

Years ago, I remember a speaker who included a chart in his presentation detailing the exponential speed of change. It continually reminds me how fast the world is evolving and how quickly our businesses, roles, products, markets, skills, and training need to transition and adapt. For-ward-looking companies are casting thought far beyond basic forecasts to focus on what the future of manufacturing entails to all aspects of their business, to industry at large and to our country in the years to come. The need to be flexible, nimble and adaptable has never been more imperative.

We can be sure that the future of manufacturing will incorporate a breadth of changes in the industry centering on issues relating to work-force (shortages/future skills/productivity), and technical impacts (advanced manufacturing and automation/digitization/cybersecurity) and sustainability (energy/carbon/legislative impacts/strategies).

A recent EMC manufacturers networking event brought representatives from various key function areas to discuss the current and expected impacts on businesses. During that session, those participating were asked to name one thing that might be different 20 to 25 years in manufacturing. Here are some responses:

  • Robotics
  • Highly automated
  • AI
  • Data/cloud management will grow
  • Higher skill requirements (such as technical labour)
  • Attraction and retention of employees in non-automated processes
  • Ongoing skill shortages
  • Increase in innovation and reduction of manual labour
  • Less waste and more sustainable practices
  • More state-of-the art equipment with greater efficiencies. 

Consider this for a moment – how might your company or your role within the organization change in this 20 to 25 year time frame? How will your position evolve? What kind of impact will automation have? How will your product or customers change? What will gauge efficiency? How will you be move innovative, competitive, adaptable? How will you attract and retain the talent needed? What kinds of skills will be required?

In short, these are interesting times for industries.

Looking ahead, registration is now open for the 10th Annual Food Regulatory and Quality Assurance Summit. It is a forum to garner a wide array of insight on legislative issues and regulation requirements through traceability, compliance, education, training, labelling, exporting, food fraud, blockchain applications, sustainability and consumer demand expectations. This year’s conference will hosted by the Strategy Institute and held at the Old Mill Inn in Toronto on October 29 and 30.

As we reflect on another summer, we look forward to building on our daring feats, taking stock of the lessons learned and engaging with enthusiasm, confidence and new experiences with another season of peer networking, best practice sharing and planning for the future. EMC participants can look forward to a fall that enables learning, development and growth.  

If you are interested in learning more about involvement in EMC’s Programs and Services including Strategic Interest Groups (SIG) or our Special Food and Beverage Sector networking sessions, please feel free to reach out and we would be happy to share information on what is coming up in your region.  How do you get involved? If you are interested in learning more about EMC and the Food Sector Initiative, please feel free to touch base with Bren de Leeuw, National Director – Program Delivery and EMC Food, Beverage and Bio Sector Pro-gram ( anytime.