Aligning for a Competitive Advantage

Dennis J. Belcastro
Executive Vice President
Industry Affairs & Collaboration
Grocery Manufacturers Association

Grocery retailers and CPG manufacturers stand to gain by working together to improve supply chain effectiveness, food safety and environmental sustainability.

To that end, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has joined forces with the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute as a charter partner of the Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence.Both organizations share a commitment to product safety, sustainability, value chain optimization and global commerce. The Alliance aims to bring together CPG companies and solutions providers to tackle industry challenges and establish best practices.

GMA believes the Food Safety Modernization Act presents an enormous opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to be out in front with new preventive measures. While draft rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act aren't available yet, GMA has a good idea of what's likely to be included. Instead of reacting to food safety problems, the act is designed to help manufacturers prevent them from occurring in the first place. We expect the act will include requirements for validation, certification and verification of food safety systems. Manufacturers will need to maintain records verifying their safety systems and be prepared to show them to auditors who require compliance. Companies that embrace the changes swiftly will enjoy a competitive advantage.

CPG manufacturers and suppliers have an enormous opportunity to be out in front with new preventive food safety measures.

Besides food safety, sustainability is another strategic practice that CPG manufacturers and retailers alike can benefit from. Retailers are becoming more conscious of the need to be good stewards of the environment because shoppers are demanding it. It's good business, and at the same time, good for business. CPG manufacturers can play a major role in environmental sustainability by making changes in production, packaging and shipping and encouraging their suppliers to do the same. As an added bonus, not only will CPG manufacturers have the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to protect the environment, but they also will be able to compete more effectively in the marketplace.

By becoming a charter partner in the Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence, we believe we can engage more fully with our member companies, particularly in the areas of manufacturing, engineering and operations. The Alliance's focus on product output will encourage action steps for adopting best practices in manufacturing and other industry improvements.