I had to visit my Chicago office last week for a couple of days for meetings. That always puts a crimp in my blogging time. Here are a couple of opportunities for you to contribute to the good of the profession and industry as a whole.

Want to see proof of the importance we all have on companies? Just check the seemingly never-ending news emanating from Johnson & Johnson. That company just doesn’t seem to be able to get manufacturing done right.

Here’s one answer. MESA has formed a Working Group focused on food safety and traceability. MESA notes one of the most pressing issues today in the Food and Beverage industry is ensuring product quality and regulatory compliance when it comes to Food Safety and Traceability. To help increase general awareness and share best practices in these areas, MESA is launching a new working group focused on the issue, headed by Matthew Littlefield, Senior Research Analyst with the Aberdeen Group.

The working group will be holding quarterly meetings throughout 2011 to discuss the topic, share best practices, and network with other interested parties. The Food Safety and Traceability working group will also coordinate activities for the publication of a new MESA guidebook on the subject, where working group members can serve as either contributing authors or reviewers of the content. It is the goal of the working group to recruit volunteers from across the complete value chain to participate, including: crop science, growers, packers, packaging, food and beverage processing, food service, retail, software and service providers, and industry associations. To date there are volunteers expressing interest from the following companies, but there is room for many more: Sonoco, Unilever, Coca-Cola, GS1, IFT, Rockwell Automation, and Brock Solutions.

If you are interested, contact MESA. You must be a MESA member to participate on a committee or working group. Basic membership in MESA is free, if you are not a MESA member click here to join. For questions regarding MESA membership contact the registrar.

OMAC, The Organization for Machine Automation and Control, is again participating in the annual ARC’s World Industry Forum being held February 7-10, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. OMAC sponsors an annual session on best practices, technology, and standards development in manufacturing machinery (converting, CNC, packaging, etc.) and line operations (packaging operations management, OEE, etc.). During this session you will hear from experts with real life experiences. In addition, there will be a general membership meeting, board meetings, and several OMAC working group meetings plus a Technical Advisory Board meeting. It is one of the few times when OMAC members and those involved in machinery and line automation have a chance to participate in face-to-face activities and networking with their peers from around the world. I attended a teleconference of the machine tool working group Friday and learned that it will have a demonstration and idea session Wednesday of the Forum. Not to be missed if you’re a machine tool engineer.

Meanwhile, the agenda has been released for ODVA’s 2011 Industry Conference and 14th Annual Meeting to be held March 1-3 at The Wigwam Resort, Litchfield Park, AZ.

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