Planning for the Future
While the low-carb diets grab the headlines, perhaps the most insidious trend impacting bakers today is inflation. The cost of flour, eggs, sugar and other ingredients keeps rising. Employee benefits continue to increase at double-digit rates. Don’t even think about the impact of natural gas and diesel, with the price of oil hitting record highs.
To survive in today’s environment, producers of grain-based foods need to find the tools to operate more efficiently and more intelligently. Fortunately, this year’s International Baking Industry Exposition, which runs from August 15-18 in Las Vegas, provides the timely opportunity for bakers to shop for tomorrow.
As Paul Abenante, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association, explains, “The economics of the current business environment dictates the need for advanced, emerging and applicable technology. IBIE is the time for the industry to focus on the impact of technology on both the present and the future.”
IBIE, which is held every three years, is the largest baking show in North America. Sponsored by ABA and BEMA, the baking industry suppliers association, this year’s Baking Expo promises to be a lot more than in the past. In many ways, notes Robb MacKie, ABA’s vice president of government relations, many businesses simply can’t afford to pass it up.
“There is no better opportunity for companies to find a multitude of ways to increase productivity, efficiency and safety while reducing operating costs,” he explains. “IBIE has it all — from new material handling equipment to distribution and routing technology and safety equipment. IBIE also is a great way to show unity and resolve in the face of the current environment.”
This year, there seems to be pent-up demand for attending the show, says Bob Kirkpatrick, IBIE 2004 chairman and president of Rondo Inc. That may be because many never made it to the last event because of 9/11, which no one will ever forget.
“Many people have not been to a Baking Expo in six or seven years,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity for them to check out the onslaught in automation, the advances in programmable logic controls, the use of the Internet and Ethernet, computer hardware, new processes, robotics. The advances are light years ahead of what was available three years ago, let alone seven years ago.”
Kirkpatrick notes that the IBIE show is a convenient place for shopping under one roof.
“This is a good place to see what technology is available and compare the construction of equipment, the design of systems and actually see in person how the equipment is built and how it operates,” he says. “For us at Rondo, it is and always has been the most efficient way for our company to reach the greatest number of customers in the most efficient way. It’s the best show in the industry for reaching grain-based food companies.”
Revent, for example, is offering new oven controls that allows the baker or the manager program and monitor the oven from a remote PC as well as get reports on each bake, says Hank Berglund, president of Revent.
And there’s more. “At Revent, our ovens have received a facelift with a new canopy and larger double glass window that will be on display in Las Vegas,” Berglund explains. “Revent is clearly a global suppler, and IBIE is an excellent opportunity to meet present and future customer from around the world.”
John Stone, president of Caravan Products Co. Inc., adds that Baking Expo is an ideal showcase because it provides the opportunity to offer information to many customers and meet prospective new buyers in a short period of time.
At Baking Expo, Caravan will be featuring low-carb bases as well as Good Carbgrain breads. “We will be showing bakers how Caravan’s new ‘Complete Do’ conditioning system can contribute to easily producing great-tasting breads, which are receiving new popularity with diet-conscious customers,” Stone explains.
“The IBIE Committee has gone to great lengths to create a better overall educational experience at a location where both the bakers and suppliers can get together,” he adds. “The committee has spent a great deal of time and effort to create a show that caters to destination bakers, international attendees and wholesale bakers as well.”