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Happy 2024 to All!

I wanted to start this post looking ahead to some of the key challenges facing our industry this year. I came across a great piece in Food Safety Magazine and although it is from August of last year, I think it is entirely relevant to what we will continue to see this year.

This was the first time I heard about going from “just in time” to “just in case” inventory management. Obviously, we’re still in the wake of the pandemic and dealing with supply chain disruptions and a workforce shortage that is simply not going to go away soon. While this piece covers a variety of topics, the one that speaks to me the most is the workforce shortage and what we can do to address it.

If you have read my entries before, you’ve probably read about our Food Industry Technician (FIT) Program. It’s a great program graduating hundreds of new trained and certified technicians each year whether they be for food manufacturers or the OEMs that supply them. As you know, we use a lot of people in this industry and so “hundreds” is a drop in the bucket, but we’re working on it as we look to open other campuses and attract more people to this fulfilling career.

Also covered in this article, is the expansion of plants or new plants construction entirely, and the challenges these present. Whether we’re talking about overall project management, designing the production lines, HVAC, electrical, etc., there’s a million things to focus on as many of the subcontractors have their own issues in securing materials and maintaining their own workforce to produce the products and services that will go into building these plants.

Many of these topics will be on the program at this year’s FPSA Executive Exchange & Conference, taking place March 26-28 at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells, California. This exceptional event will bring together food manufacturers, OEM’s, engineering firms and a variety of other service providers to tackle critical issues in sustainability, new plant construction, artificial intelligence and its use in the food and beverage industry, and workforce issues such as recruiting, training, and keeping the employees that you need to get product out the door. Featuring subject matter experts from a variety of disciplines including food manufacturers, this event is a great opportunity to learn from your peers and network with other vendors.

On top of that, this Conference will include the first face-to-face meeting of the new FPSA Design-Build Network, bringing together the cream of the crop in construction project management. In short, these are the people you’d like to meet over a drink and see what they can do to solve your manufacturing issues.

Open to all industry insiders, registration for the Executive Exchange is now open. We hope to see you there!

Happy 2024!

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP