Baking & Snack - July 2021 - 8

editorial
The perennial problem just got worse
A
At BEMA Convention 2021, the dominant topic onstage
and in between sessions and events involved workforce
challenges. Other matters such as sky-high ingredient
costs, lingering COVID-19 challenges and supply chain
disruptions were top-of-mind, but the sense was that
these issues - though stressful, to be sure - were transient.
Hiring and retaining people, however, was difficult
before the pandemic and a challenge that has become
more urgent as we emerge into recovery.
Jason Ward, president of AMF Bakery Systems,
summed it up during the BEMA Intel panel:
" I personally think we'll sort through these supply
chain disruptions over the next few months, but the workforce
issues are with us for a long time and are structural. "
The conversation wasn't all lament. Many offered solutions.
Duncan Wardle, keynote speaker and former head
of innovation and creativity for Disney, reminded the industry
that priorities for employment are changing for
younger generations. While millennials may have
asked for greater work-life balance, Generation
Z is looking for meaning and will take a lower
paying job for the opportunity to have purpose
in their 9 to 5.
Even in a panel devoted to a supply
chain update, the labor issue came up. Brad
chief operating officer,
Alexander,
Flowers
Foods, pointed out that new employees want to
know a company's sustainability plan.
" The new generation wants to know the cause
and why they should work for a company, and if they
don't believe in your mission and vision and what you
stand for, they will find someone else, " he said.
This was echoed onstage during the Ask-A-Baker
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Contributing Editors:
EDITORIAL
Charlotte Atchley
Dan Malovany
Keith Moore
Michelle Smith
Makayla Nicholis
Taryn Parker
Donna Berry
Beth Day
Laurie Gorton
panel. Mike Porter, president of New Horizons Baking
Co., expressed that New Horizons' work in sustainability
has become a recruitment tool. Richard Ybarra, corporate
manufacturing engineering project manager, Publix
Super Markets, shared how Publix reevaluated the way
it scheduled shifts to address employees' childcare challenges,
and Rod Radalia, vice president of innovation and
integrity, Aunt Millie's, challenged the industry:
" Who of us would want our children working in our
plants on the production floor with the odd hours and
the conditions? So I keep thinking about ways that we can
improve because that will really make a difference in our
industry. "
In this issue, we bring you ideas from within the bakery.
You can read about how White Castle has made its
bakery an attractive place to work and an employer that
boasts incredible retention rates for manufacturing.
The workforce issue is complicated with potential employees
reevaluating what is truly important to them after
a pandemic: salaries; work-life balance; benefits like
health care, family leave and childcare support; and, yes,
even a mission beyond baking the best bread.
Automation is a part of the solution, and bakers are
likely to be on the hunt for technology at IBIE 2022 that
can help mitigate workforce headaches. Still, automation
alone will not resolve the workforce challenges. But by
sharing ideas at conferences like BEMA and in the pages
of Baking & Snack and its digital media, I believe the industry
will make headway against this perennial problem,
tackling this issue from multiple directions and finding
solutions... even if they are a little outside the bread box.
- Charlotte Atchley, Editor
catchley@sosland.com
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Elisabeth Spillman
Marj Potts
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8 Baking & Snack July 2021 / www.bakingbusiness.com
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Baking & Snack - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - July 2021

Baking & Snack - July 2021 - Intro
Baking & Snack - July 2021 - 1
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