In this IBIE blog post, Emily Bowers, the Senior Director of Education & Operations at BEMA offers insights on “Navigating Together Through Uncertainty.” BEMA (Bakery Equipment Manufacturers & Allieds), is a co-sponsor of IBIE, along with the American Baker’s Association and Retail Bakers of America.
Last year, many of us walked away from IBIE 2019 armed with a bigger viewpoint and a broader concept of new ways to work together in the global grain-based foods industry. As 2019 wrapped and 2020 began, we sought new ways to put this wisdom into action. Yet no one expected how quickly we’d put our assumptions and learnings to the test when faced with the changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global Industry Growth
Seemingly overnight, stripped grocery store shelves demonstrated just how important the food industry, and baking, is to consumers. No planned marketing campaign could match the outpouring of need and desire for products produced by the industry as consumers responded to stay-in-place orders. When shoppers couldn’t find what they wanted in-store or online, they looked for ways to make their own, driving a 600% increase in baking ingredients such a yeast and making flour almost as scarce as toilet paper.
To keep up with incredible demand, many manufacturers switched to round-the-clock production. The unprecedented demands included responding to new levels of social responsibility, safety and sanitation, and a need to adjust to the evolving needs of customers and employees. Manufacturers demonstrated extreme flexibility to create, adjust, and re-work projects and policies to accommodate new demands while supporting front-line employees with increased pay, safety, and enhanced communication.
Because of these incredible efforts, consumers continue to experience a heightened sense of food security in otherwise uncertain times. Industry-wide resilience has also given rise to unexpected internal leadership and collaboration between individual team members and among manufacturers. This includes employees stepping forward to offer suggestions for improved efficiencies and unprecedented sharing among companies who once saw each other as competitors. These stories of success, large and small, enhance confidence and buoy the workforce on the front lines and the collective industry.
Providing the Glue
Our front-row seat allows us to witness the many ways the industry is coming together for good. With a commitment to bring the right people together at the right time, BEMA is striving to discover new ways to provide support, education, and training in the post-COVID-19 environment long-term.
- Offering educational virtual classes and webinars to connect bakers and suppliers
- Connecting leading industry suppliers with customers/bakers through conversations and networking opportunities, and
- Uniting the industry by recognizing the needs of one baker, one supplier and one business at a time
JOIN US IN MAKING A DIFFERENCE, TOGETHER.
As we work together with industry colleagues to synthesize the learnings and navigate the “New Normal,” we hope you’ll join BEMA in our newest initiative. The #WeKneadYou Campaign is engaging BEMA members to actively support hard-hit community QSRs by providing meals to heroic front-line workers. For every BEMA member company that purchases meals from local QSR/fast-casual restaurants for donation to area essential workers, BEMA will donate $500 (up to a total of $25,000) to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Submit your entry by simply posting about this experience on social media with photo/video, tag the @BEMAConnectsYou page, and include the hashtag #WeKneadYou!
For information or to view the progress of this fundraiser, click here.
Together, we can make the industry stronger and more efficient moving forward.
Written By: Emily Bowers | Senior Director, Education & Operations | BEMA
How can you turn a meal delivery to front-line workers into a $500 donation to @FeedingAmerica (& give the #foodsupplychain a boost in the process)? Find out: https://t.co/q8lRJ68p3B #giveback #GivingTuesdayNow #BEMAconnectsYou #QSR #bakingindustry #restaurantindustry #endhunger pic.twitter.com/UiTTQ8aYSF
— BEMA (@BEMAConnectsYou) May 4, 2020
This guest post has been provided by BEMA, an international trade association representing bakery and food equipment manufacturers, companies that provide ingredients, packaging materials and vehicles, and service providers including publishers, consultants, installers and financial services. Formed in 1918, BEMA is dedicated to furthering the professionalism of its members with programs that enhance communications and promote technological advancement, education, safety, sanitation, marketing and good manufacturing practices. BEMA is committed to providing venues for our members to connect with customers and partner with suppliers. From the unique networking opportunities at the BEMA Convention to co-owning IBIE, their vision is to be the premier resource in the baking industry.