The 2022 International Production & Processing Expo promised the usual: technology, equipment, supplies, and services galore, all revolving around egg, meat, and poultry processing. Boasting on its website that IPPE is “the world’s largest annual poultry, meat and feed industry event of its kind,” the annual show at the Georgia World Congress Center felt like something more this time around.
It felt… dare I say… more “normal” than we’d expected. Few masks were worn, handshakes were freely offered, and local eateries were crowded (though, most restaurants visibly struggled to provide services). Ditto hotels. The chatter among processors and suppliers was predictable: automation desperation coupled with supply chain frustration. These issues are constraining an industry that otherwise could be thriving.
Trade shows are always an interesting gauge of the industry’s health. It’s clear from IPPE that the meat and poultry business is very much alive, though it needs to regain some lost energy. The supply chain should improve over time, but businesses are going to have to be strategic to manage labor losses. Improving inefficiencies in operations by streamlining processes, adding automation where appropriate, and improving facility layouts can help. These efforts, while not a panacea for all pandemic-triggered woes, will move us closer to normal more quickly.
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Outside The Box is where Food Plant Engineering's creative team shares knowledge that'll help your business; perspectives on the latest food industry trends; and facility design and operation ideas that may be, well, a bit more inventive.