TheGrocery Manufacturers Association(GMA) announced the full schedule of sessions for its "Manufacturing Excellence Conference," which will be collocated with PACK EXPO International 2010, at  Chicago's McCormick Place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3

The conference’s three tracks -operational reliability,product safetyandsustainability- are critical to brand owners’ success, says Charles D. Yuska, president & CEO of PACK EXPO producer PMMI.

“For brand owners, including GMA member companies, PACK EXPO is the place to come for technologies to create and implement necessary innovations,” he says. “The extra educational benefits will inform their decisions and increase the value of their trip.”

Adds Pamela Bailey, GMA's president & CEO, “GMA member companies have long valued PACK EXPO as an important annual forum where they can gather with supply chain partners, garner key insights and learn about emerging trends from their counterparts upstream. 

"With a focus on product safety, sustainability and operational integrity - critical issues for GMA and PMMI members - we are thrilled to launch the inaugural GMA Manufacturing Excellence Conference at this year’s PACK EXPO,” she says.

GMA’s Manufacturing Excellence Conference takes place Monday, Nov. 1–Tuesday, Nov. 2. To register for PACK EXPO and for educational sessions, visit

3:00 PM–4:00 PM

Track: General Session
Topic: Manufacturing Excellence:  From the Top Down to the Feet on the Ground
Speaker: Alan Wilson, President & CEO, McCormick & Company

Manufacturing excellence in today’s food, beverage and consumer products companies is being driven by many factors including product safety, sustainability, globalization, consumer demands, technology, and heightened competition for resources.  But just exactly how are these drivers impacting manufacturing and who is driving them deep into the operations of the leading CPG manufacturers? Visionary leaders, that’s who!  In this keynote address, hear from an industry leader who turns vision into action and drives quality and excellence in manufacturing down through the entire organization - all the way from the top down to the feet on the ground.

4:15 PM–5:30 PM
Track: Product Safety
Topic: Advances in Effective Lot Tracking
Speaker: Mike Hayes, Director, Food Safety & Quality, Del Monte Foods Company

A significant challenge facing food manufacturers today is the effective lot tracking and identification of product, especially in a continuous flow production environment. But just how should batches be identified and designated when there are so many variables that must be accommodated?  Hear from a panel of consumer products manufacturers on how they are managing these challenges and making advances in effective lot tracking in their companies.

Track: Sustainability
Topic: Downstream Consumer Trends’ Effect On Upstream Manufacturing
Moderator: Jeanne von Zastrow; Senior Director, Sustainability & Industry Relations; Food Marketing Institute
Speakers: Wesley Bean, Senior Director, Strategic Sourcing, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.; Ellen Feeney, Vice President, Responsible Livelihood, White Wave Foods; Michele Halsell, Managing Director, Applied Sustainability Center, University of Arkansas; Kim Lymn, Senior Manager, Packaging, Target

Getting ahead of the “green” curve – that’s what manufacturers are constantly striving to do when it comes to anticipating market signals and consumer shopping patterns and their potential effect on “green” manufacturing.  A retailer-manufacturer panel will share some of their “market-to-manufacturing” success stories pertaining to nearly half of all shoppers who gravitate to green when shopping.

Track: Operational Reliability
Topic: Pursuit of Overall Equipment Efficiency
Speakers: Rob Aleksa, Machine Control Section Head, Procter & Gamble; Mel Bahr, Founder, MGS Machine; Jeff Russell, TPM Coach for Controls & Automation, PepsiCo Americas Beverages

Margin protection through more effective manufacturing operations is a key focus for consumer products companies today.  Avoiding costly production line stoppage for equipment maintenance and changeovers due to new manufacturing requirements is a valuable tool in pursuit of these improvements.  Hear how some manufacturers are driving costs out of their operations through more robust equipment that improves consistency & harmonization of machines, reduces training requirements, improves vertical & horizontal integration and requires less troubleshooting.

8:30 AM–9:30 AM

Track: General Session
Topic: Welcome to the New World of FDA Food Safety Modernization!
Moderator: Bob Brackett, Ph.D., Vice President & Director, National Center for Food Safety & Technology
Speakers: Dane Bernard, Vice President, Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Keystone Foods; Matilda Freund, Senior Director, Food Safety, Kraft Foods Inc.; Joe Levitt, Partner, Hogan Lovells

Some manufacturers are already experiencing it and many more are likely to in the near future – the effects of a new world of FDA food safety oversight.  So just how do consumer products companies manage their expectations of the impending impact of the 2009 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, specifically at plant level?  A stakeholder panel composed of regulatory and food, beverage and consumer products manufacturing professionals will address some of the Act’s key components including facility hazard evaluation & preventive controls, food facility re-inspection, and allocation of inspection resources based on risk profiles of food facilities.
9:45 AM–11:00 AM

Track: Product Safety
Topic: Meeting & Managing the Myriad Food Safety Certification Requirements for CPG Manufacturing Plants
Speaker: Greg Flickinger, Director of Manufacturing, Lance, Inc.

Today’s consumer products manufacturers face a variety of plant certifications, standards, guidelines and practices including cGMP, GFSI, HACCP, and ISO just to name a few.  Learn how some of these manufacturers are successfully navigating and implementing these requirements while not losing site of their desired effect – safe, quality products.

Track: Sustainability
Topic: Upstream Migration of “Green” Requirements for Suppliers
Speakers: Bruce Cords, Ph.D., Vice President, Environment, Food Safety & Public Health, Ecolab USA; Jon Doering, Director, Environmental Health & Safety, The Schwan Food Company; Willie Johnson, Associate Director, Global Product Supply Sustainability, Procter & Gamble

Several of the industry’s largest retailers have instituted “green” requirements for consumer products manufacturers who, in turn, are now looking to their suppliers to submit evidence of their sustainability initiatives as well.  Requirements range from reductions in energy, waste and air pollutants to “eco-friendly” sourcing, labor practices and safety for employees & community.  Hear from a panel of retailers, manufacturers and upstream suppliers who will share how they’ve met the challenges of “green” requirements throughout the supply chain.

Track: Operational Reliability
Topic: Manufacturing Execution Systems:  Advances in Successful Implementation
Moderator: John Blanchard, Research Director, Life Sciences & CPG Industries, ARC Advisory Group
Speakers: Peter De Moerloose, MES Process Business Development, Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc.; Mark Hanley, Global GE/OEE Program Manager, Kraft Foods Global, Inc; Jeff Russell, TPM Coach for Controls & Automation, PepsiCo Americas Beverages

As the intermediary between business systems and the factory floor, Manufacturing Execution Systems perform a vital function linking the two.  The goal is a fully integrated plant floor in the factory of the future.  While the food and beverage industry continues to make a strong push in the adoption of these automation technologies, challenges remain.  Hear from a panel of CPG companies that has some valuable lessons to share regarding successful implementation of MES that is driving costs out and efficiencies in.

3:00 PM–4:15 PM

Track: Product Safety
Topic: Successful Raw Materials Sourcing in Today’s Global Procurement Environment
Speakers: Industry Panel

Among the most critical challenges facing consumer products companies in the global raw materials marketplace are supplier integrity and product quality & availability.  In many cases the products they seek are more limited, higher priced and more varied in quality.  A panel of manufacturers will share case studies of how they’ve overcome these challenges in a way that provides steady sourcing, budget consciousness, quality products and consumer receptiveness.

Track: Sustainability
Topic: Some Lessons Learned in Implementing Lean-to-Green Manufacturing in Plants
Speakers: Amber Brovak, HSE Manager & Sustainability Manager, Sunny Delight Beverages Company; Bob Gonzalez, Productivity Program Manager, Land O'Lakes, Inc.; Ellen Iobst, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing & Technology, Sunny Delight Beverages Company; David Prybylowski, Sustainability Program Manager, Mars Chocolate North America

Talking about sustainable manufacturing is one thing, actually doing it is quite another.  While many consumer products companies have made significant strides in lean manufacturing, most are struggling with the challenges to make lean green.  Hear from a panel of manufacturers about some of the lessons learned in the lean-to-green journey and how they might be turned into best practices to share throughout the consumer products industry.

Track: Operational Reliability
Topic: Workforce Development:  What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There
Speakers: Jennifer McNelly, Senior Vice President, The Manufacturing Institute - Affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers; Pamela Stroko, Vice President, Management & Organizational Development, Kraft Foods Inc.; D. Joel Whalen, Ph.D., Effective Communications, Kellstadt Center for Sales Leadership, DePaul University

According to a recent survey on the American manufacturing workforce, a high-skilled, flexible workforce ranked second in a list of the top three drivers of future business success in the next two-to-three years.  However, the study also finds that many companies rely on traditional approaches and old tactics even in the face of higher aspirations to do better.  Learn how new approaches to workforce development can make a difference and hear from practitioners who have put them into action with improved results.
4:40 PM–5:30 PM

Track: General Session
Topic: Back to the Future in CPG Manufacturing:  Re-thinking Simulation & Modeling!
Speaker: Kevyn Renner, Senior Technology Consultant, Chevron Global Manufacturing

Figuring out the future through modeling & simulation has transformed industries like defense, aviation and automotive and now stands poised to do the same for manufacturing in the consumer products industry.  Working in virtual space can overcome time zones, speed trials & learning cycles, save time & money, improve speed-to-market, foster innovation and create a whole new way of working for next generation manufacturing professionals.  Learn from a virtual world visionary about the Real Asset Virtualization Environment featuring manufacturing avatars and 3-D manufacturing possibilities evolving out of the online gaming space.  A tour de force you won’t want to miss!