Dermot O’Connor is vice president of engineering services for Aspire Bakeries, Los Angeles. He has worked in the baking industry for 35 years and attended the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) six times.
In this second installment of IBIE Point of View, Mr. O’Connor shares how his visit to IBIE 2022 is meeting his business needs.
What have you seen at IBIE that has surprised you?
The high level of attendance was pleasantly surprising given the issues over the past three years. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am glad to see the crowds are back and everyone excited to be here.
What has been the most exciting thing you’ve seen at IBIE so far? What technology has caught your attention?
Robotic packaging concepts customized for baking applications with flexibility for multiple product categories and for diverse product characteristics.
What were your goals, and how do you feel about the progress you’ve made in reaching them?
- Identify new technologies, including the use of automation, for product categories that are relevant to Aspire, focused on increasing production efficiencies and reducing costs: I have seen several relevant applications with follow ups planned
- Leverage scheduled vendor meetings to initiate new or progress further with work streams that are relevant for our 3 to 5 Year Capital Plan: Our scheduled meetings have provided expected results, with in-person participation and the ability to inspect equipment on show contributing to the success of these meetings.
- Provide a learning opportunity for Aspire attendees to increase their knowledge through education seminars, on-floor production trials and “kicking the tires” of the equipment on show: There is always much to learn at IBIE shows, and 2022 is no exception. Team members have got value from production demonstrations as well as from discussions and equipment observations during booth visits.
How has your experience been meeting with exhibitors? Are you finding the information you were looking for?
Our scheduled meetings have been successful with the appropriate information being provided as expected. Ad hoc booth visits have also been very productive. It’s great to be back networking in person with old friends and colleagues.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned either in an education session or at an exhibitor meeting?
I found out interesting information on vendor capabilities that would not have been apparent without in-person brainstorming that can only happen when all the right experts are together
How does IBIE 2022 compare to previous IBIEs you’ve attended?
While difficult to gage, it feels like IBIE 2022 is slightly smaller than previous IBIEs. However, all the equipment suppliers of relevance to us are exhibiting. The move to the new West Hall may be impacting this perception. But the level of “excitement” is higher, driven by the eagerness to get back to business as normal.
How will you be spending your remaining days at the show?
More scheduled vendor meetings, completing our tour of exhibitors, and following up on “leads” from Aspire Bakeries colleagues.