A Rising Tide Lifts All…

by Thomas Kuk
President & CEO
American Society of Baking
All of us are keenly aware the industry has been experiencing tumultuous times. Commodity and energy prices are erratic and totally unpredictable. Low-carb, trans-fat and food safety issues are often confusing and contradictory. The trend away from producing unprofitable private-label baked goods and the increase in consumer acceptance of super-premium products might help restore profitability. Yet one fact remains: Long-term growth is a result of strong leadership, planning and investment, and the absence of any one of these factors can result in dire consequences that ripple through the industry.
At the American Society of Baking, we believe the future vitality of the industry will be based upon strong investment, sound science and technology and a collaborative community. From the 1930s to the 1970s, wholesale baking in America prospered because, year after year, productivity increased.
Productivity is more than an investment in capital equipment. Rather, it is the integration of applied science and human endeavor. As a generation, the post-Depression/World War II labor force shared a common “can do” attitude, an attribute sorely missing in today’s economy. If we look back at the advancements in baking, much of the science and technology that we enjoy today can be attributed to engineering and production processes crafted almost 40 years ago.
One generational attribute that these individuals enjoyed was the sense of personal achievement and professional recognition by ones’ peers. The synergy that was created was the result of collaborative relationships, a cultural behavior that transcended organizational boundaries and helped foster the greatest period of extended prosperity that the industry has experienced.
The recent creation of the Grain Foods Foundation is one example of collaborative community, and it is just the first step in returning economic prosperity to the industry. It is the Society’s intention to support this effort to the greatest extent possible, but we need your support. Our commitment is simple: “Invest in your people, we will re-invest in the industry.” For every new baking professional we add to our membership in 2005, we will contribute $100 to the Grains Foods Foundation. Our goal is $25,000.
You can support this effort by encouraging your management team to expand their participation in the Society. Challenge them to identify new leadership potential, empower them with information, initiative and confidence and support their personal and professional development with membership in the Society. While you invest in your people, we will work to promote the advancement of your products, your people and your profitability.
We believe investment is more than the accumulation of equipment and capital; that the human equation is the principle driver for long-term success. This is where we can help build value both for your organization as well as the industry.
For more than 80 years we have contributed leading-edge technical information, built sustainable peer networks and fostered generations of well-informed, highly skilled leaders. We need your support now in creating a new generation of leadership, one that will foster collaborative communications and carry the industry to new heights.
Like a rising tide that lifts all boats, investing in your people, encouraging their professional growth and development and empowering them with an confidence and initiative will have a profound impact on the future vitality of the industry.
Lead by example, support our efforts and help us help you.
For more information on the Society, visit www.asbe.org.