Year: 2014

Employee Engagement is Key Topic at Pepperidge Farm Plant Tour

Members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council gathered at Campbell Soup’s 611,000-square foot Pepperidge Farm plant in Denver, PA, last week to see how the state-of-the-art facility makes such iconic brands as Milano cookies and Goldfish crackers and also to discuss a pressing industry issue – how to create a culture of employee engagement. The event, co-hosed by the ML Council and Eric B. Fidoten, Vice President, Global Supply Chain Strategy & Operations Excellence, at Campbell, and a member of the ML Council’s Board of Governors, enabled Council members to observe the often-complex processes used at the plant to produce bread, rolls, cookies such as the Milano brand, and Goldfish crackers. From preparing the basic dough used in the bakery products to cooling finished cookies as they made their way down a vast production line, Council members witnessed what was at times the operation of a highly automated facility. At other points of production, however, the process had the personal touch of workers manually inserting rolls or cookies into the special Pepperidge Farm bags that are so familiar to consumers. After the 90-minute tour, Council members and invited guests took up the question of how to create a corporate culture that fosters better employee engagement, crucial to not only improving any company’s performance but also critical for attracting new talent in an industry with an aging population and difficulty in...

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AAM Plant Tour: Don’t Underestimate Incremental Innovation, Says ML Council

The idea of coming up with a breakthrough innovation that can create competitive advantage captivates many companies these days. The success that companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Google have had with market-defining, breakthrough products and services sets the bar and motivates others to go for the biggest prize possible. That bar is both necessary and useful as an aspiration, and some do manage to grab the brass ring. But the message from members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, who convened earlier this week to discuss the many dimensions of innovation, as part of a special plant tour at...

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Lexmark Plant Tour: Big Data Discussion Centers on Business Rationale

In the third of a series of plant tours and round table discussions held this year, members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council gathered at Lexmark International’s Boulder, CO, plant to see how printer toner and photoconductor drums are made and to discuss one of the hottest, and most controversial, technology topics of the day – Big Data. The event, co-hosted by the ML Council and John Gagel, Corporate Manager of Sustainability at Lexmark and a member of the ML Council’s Board of Governors, enabled Council members and invited guests to see first-hand a product that people use in their daily business and personal lives but whose complex science and chemistry is rarely seen or understood. During a nearly two-hour tour, Council members learned how the Lexmark Boulder plant, originally built by former parent IBM in 1967 (Lexmark was formed as an independent company in 1991), makes printer cartridge toner, a bulk polymer that incorporates colorants and what are known as Extra Particulate Additives to provide proper material flow. The plant, which produces 5 million kgs of toner per year, is the only such plant in the U.S. that both develops and manufactures the product, Lexmark officials said. Council members also witnessed how Lexmark makes photoconductor drums, a key printer component, using a multi-dipped coating process. Today, a drum is capable of generating 100,000 pages, but in the future, Lexmark...

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