Heath’s travel diary: Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference & Expo-P1

Heath Barker - Wiley

The theme of the Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference & Expo (Clearwater Beach, Florida) was Innovation and Operational Excellence.

Before the Day One keynote speakers took the stage, Food Engineering Magazine’s Editor in Chief Joyce Fassl briefly shared their findings over the past year. Fassl listed the top ten trends impacting food manufacturing as:

  1. Shifting consumer demands
  2. Automation/robotics
  3. Lean manufacturing
  4. Expanding production lines
  5. Economic factors, costs, cost cutting
  6. Consumer demand related to production capacity
  7. Increased production/output
  8. Sustainability
  9. OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)
  10. Regulations requirements

Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference & Expo

Interestingly, Fassl noted that over 60% of companies surveyed are utilising lean manufacturing philosophies and methodologies, 50% of the companies have added production capacity through new lines and 25% have installed advanced automation systems. Fassl went on to highlight that a slight downturn in plant OEE has been observed with both current OEE and target OEE dropping from 74% and 83% to 72% and 79%, respectively.

Fassl then closed with a continuous improvement strategy for business success by engaging employees at all levels of the business, ‘Engagement begins when employees are empowered to take responsibility, hold themselves and others accountable, make decisions, lead, give input and challenge the cultural norm, take risks, take actions, take initiative and be flexible’.

Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference & Expo

The first three keynote speakers were:

  • Bob Reed, Vice President, Global Engineering, Kellogg Company
  • David Watson, Vice President, Engineering, International, Baking Technology, Filling & Packaging, Campbell Soup Company
  • Craig Wilson, Vice President/GMM, Costco

We look forward to hearing what Heath learnt from these presentations in his next update!