Food, Quality and Lessons from Vegas
Delta Partners joined over 25,000 attendees and 4,000 exhibitors at the IFT12 Annual Meeting and Food Expo held in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 26th to 28th. We shared a booth with Ithos with whom we’ve partnered to provide food manufacturers with a comprehensive food safety, food quality, and regulatory management solution.
Now that we’ve had the chance to cool off from the scorching heat and our feet have recovered from pounding the trade show floor, I thought that it was a good time to reflect on our IFT12 experience.
What we heard
When IFT12 attendees were wandering through the booths and approached ours, they would often ask me, ‘What does Delta do?’ or ‘Why are you here at a food technology event?’ Inevitably as I would start to give them my tradeshow spiel on how Delta is a management consulting firm that specializes in change management and the ‘people side’ of things, they would get that knowing look in their eyes that said, “do I know about change and people problems!”
Well, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, because we see it wherever we go; whether we’re talking to public, private, not-for-profit, B2B, or food manufacturing sector organizations – they are all dealing with same issues:
- Constant and rapid change
- Mergers and reorganizations
- Leadership and employee engagement
- Risk management
- Performance measurement and management
- Innovation and collaboration
- IT enablers
- Corporate social responsibility
What has been the key to our success, without question, has been valuing our people. I don’t believe that you can build a great organization of any kind without having people aligned in their vision.”
Howard Schultz, President, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks
Starbucks’ President, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Howard Schultz, addressed a large crowd during the opening Keynote Session and looked back on the guiding principles that have shaped Starbucks over the past forty-two years:
- Stay authentic, honest, and transparent: “You can’t ask people to follow and believe in you without 100% honesty and transparency.”
- Manage through a “lens of humanity”
- Recognize the value of your employees – they are your most important resource.
- “Balance profitability and a social conscience.”
- Encourage entrepreneurial innovation
- Dream big
What we learned
Here are some of our key observations:
- Innova Market Insights and Netherlands Food Valley presented an interesting overview of innovation and how it is being driven both in the Netherlands and globally by consumer demand for healthy food products, an increasing awareness of food safety, sustainability, and convenience.
- Some food manufacturers we chatted with really do ‘get it’ and would like to use quality to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
- Many conference delegates were in the hunt for technical systems to manage their manufacturing controls, food recall, supply chains, quality compliance, and third party certification processes.
- We spoke with several delegates who expressed their frustration with successfully implementing reliable quality systems, getting various software pieces to communicate with each other, and foremost, getting their people to use the IT tools.
- A number of U.S. based and foreign food companies were interested in exploring export development to Canada.
Food safety has crossed the barrier of being just an issue for a production manager to being something that you can market to consumers.
LuAnn Williams, Head of Research with Innova Market Insights
All in all, our first IFT experience was extremely positive; we made many new and interesting contacts, held some very engaging conversations, and gained some new insights into the issues many attendees are struggling with.
What we’re going to do
So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to work with our friends at Ithos to present a webinar that will touch on some of these hot-button issues that come up repeatedly:
Thursday, July 19 at 11:00am EDT
We will be looking at:
- Assessing the organizational maturity of your firm
- Benchmarking against Best-in-Class companies
- Proven strategies and practices to help you grow
- The role of IT solutions
Let us know if you would like to join us for this 1-hour interactive session. Just send me an email to hold your place.