Innovation / Columns

Editor's Note: A season of change in food and beverage manufacturing

Oftentimes, business slows down in the summer. There are very few trade shows and conferences to attend. New technology typically waits for cooler months to make its debut. Slow news days usually occur around summer holidays. 
 
As we were preparing this issue of Food Engineering, I felt the opposite was happening this summer. Change is in the air, and trends seem to be shifting.
Results from the 2012 Replacement Parts & Components Trends Survey (see pages 18-26) show an adjustment in how parts are purchased. Not surprisingly, more readers than ever before (approximately 60 percent) are purchasing parts using the internet. And the shift in those rating alternative parts on par with OEM parts more than doubled in the past four years. New reader needs include the creation of standardized parts numbers, databases that cross-reference comparable parts for commodity items and qualitative data on lifecycle cost of parts. Of course, machinery maintenance and spare parts management aren’t the only things on our readers’ minds this summer.
 
Workforce challenges aren’t new, but the methods of attracting and retaining the right employees is being transformed (see page 13-14). In my 20-plus years at Food Engineering, operator and supervisor skill level has been one of the top issues food and beverage processors face. Today, the challenges aren’t only finding staff with the problem-solving and computer literacy skills needed to run automated equipment, but both young plant floor workers and engineering staff who now demand a stimulating work environment. 
 
In the clamor for skilled employees, some workforce experts have suggested rotating staff between departments every few months, or going a step further, partnering with other companies to rotate employees between firms quarterly to keep them engaged. 
 
In an economy with greater than 8 percent unemployment, it’s hard for me to comprehend anyone demanding a stimulating work environment. But it is being demanded, and it’s a change the food industry may have to embrace to gain an edge in efficiency.   

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.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.

Podcasts

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

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
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.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

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

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.