Food Engineering

Editor's Note: Fast food nation is now on information overload

February 1, 2010
Technology, trends and information are bombarding the food and beverage industry at such a quick pace, it’s hard to get a grip on what is worthy of attention.

No, the subject of this editorial is not the film or book of the same title. It’s about the rapidity of our culture. Technology, trends and information are bombarding the food and beverage industry at such a quick pace, it’s hard to get a grip on what is worthy of attention.

According to Basex, a New York-based research firm, the tools that keep knowledge flowing can very well interrupt it. Many workers respond to emails, phones and pages with no filter as to what is truly urgent, disrupting productivity. The firm says the phenomenon is costing corporations hundreds of billions of dollars each year in lost time.

Whether it’s a report about food safety on the evening news, a Facebook plea to provide food and beverage aid to Haitian earthquake victims or a Webinar about sanitary plant design, you are inundated with information. The information is valuable, but when your executive team has access to scores of these types of sound bites per day and wonders, “why is our company not complying or helping victims,” it can quickly become your responsibility to do something about it.

Look at the information overload in two ways to: being overwhelmed or managing the information judiciously.

This month, Food Engineering focuses on a major industry time/technology saver: outsourcing engineering services. As engineering staffs continue to be downsized, intellectual property more frequently may reside off-site with an engineering consulting firm. Far from norm a decade ago when most processors relied on an engineering firm to construct a new plant or help with a facility renovation, engineering firms are now entrenched as part of the manufacturing team, providing real results in terms of food safety, energy savings, technology implementation and innovation.

In this overdrive world, at least we have found one way to save time, work smarter and serve manufacturing’s pressing needs.