Renewed commitment to employee training may be the ticket

July 2, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Each year when we produce the Annual Replacement Parts directory issue of Food Engineering, the trends we uncover in purchasing habits are pretty standard fare. For example, it is no surprise that the number of food and beverage manufacturers using the Internet to order parts has nearly doubled in the five years we have been conducting the survey.  (See feature article beginning on page 12.)

One trend that took me by surprise is the growing role of the purchasing department in parts and components buying decisions. Back in 2003, purchasing staff was involved in recommending or evaluating suppliers, brands or models 18 percent of the time. Today, the role of the purchasing department in these decisions has nearly doubled to 32 percent.   

The good news is that maintenance and engineering staffs still control 90 percent of part and component needs determination. However, the growing role of purchasing is a clear indicator of food and beverage manufacturers’ relentless need to manage costs.

According to a recent report from the Small Business Research Board (SBRB), the food industry must make certain that strong cost controls and employee training programs are part of their operating recipe.

While the role of purchasing is evolving as a method to contain costs and improve plant efficiency, training is a major area where things are moving too slowly.  The SBRB report hit the nail on the head. For decades, plant worker training issues have continued to plague the industry.

As we all know, plant automation will continue to be one of the best ways to squeeze costs out of food operations. While improved machinery, software and a little help from the purchasing department will go a long way to improve efficiency, a renewed commitment to basic employee training could make a world of difference.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Joyce Fassl, Editor-in-Chief

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

FE October 2014 Cover

2014 October

The October 2014 issue of Food Engineering explores companies that have successfully grappled with "the new business reality" and are coming to terms with it being here to stay. Also, read about the work going on behind the scenes to keep FSMA on track.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.