Anthony Turano, 2014 chairman of the American Society of Baking (ASB), Kansas City, Mo., and managing information systems director at Turano Baking Co., Chicago, has issued a letter about the association’s recent annual conference and the current baking industry. “Our conference and society have undergone a major evolution over the last few years,” Turano writes. “From themes like ‘Harvest the Past’ through ‘Change,’ our conferences have focused on this evolution and on the industry traditions that have helped us weather many challenges. I’m sure, though, that we’ve all begun to grow more than a little tired of the uncertainty that comes with the continuous waves of industry consolidation, government regulations and ever-changing consumer opinions. It seems that these forces have been battering our industry over the last five years, creating a need to constantly improvise, adapt and overcome adversity. Who among us hasn’t had to use at least one of these tools this winter, with the ice in Atlanta, the snow in the Northeast, the bitter cold in the Midwest and the drought in the West?”
Turano addressed the ASB membership during the March conference, saying, “The information and tools that you take from [this meeting] will help you effectively and efficiently manage change in your organization and allow you to put more focus on the future and planning for success. As we move into a new year and plan our move to a new venue, we present our theme for 2014-2015: ‘Engage the Future: People-Products-Processes.’ It’s time we embrace the opportunities that lie in our future and make it a priority to engage our people, products and processes.
“Our society and industry have many headwinds, but studying, preparing and executing plans to advance the pillars of our organization will propel us into the future. Our people need more training, development and attention than ever before…and we need more people. Our products must continually evolve to meet changing trends, tastes and regulations. And our processes must improve to keep us competitive and relevant in an ever-shrinking world, where an encyclopedia’s worth of new information is generated every moment, and the latest technology is obsolete within two years.”
Turano also notes that the industry has an opportunity to capitalize on the skills of a multi-generational workforce. “Consider the power of the baby boomers’ experience, combined with the technological prowess of generations X and Y,” he says. “Combine these, and we could have information overload at our fingertips. Future generations of bakers, engineers and professionals of the baking industry need this society, more than ever, to pass on knowledge, emphasize traditions and embrace new thoughts. Topics such as sustainability, talent management, product labeling, process innovation, work-life balance and information technology would never have been considered so vital to baking 15 years ago, but baking cannot do without them in the future.”
Turano also stresses that, going forward, the baking industry must engage its people, products and processes to shape the future, with the help of the ASB. “It continues to be our industry resource for technical knowledge through our library of technical papers and the vast experience of our peers,” he says. “Utilize these resources throughout the next year.”
The ASB will hold next year’s annual BakingTech meeting at the Chicago Hilton.