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I have been blogging on new food product innovation over 3 years for the top two restaurant websites, and have learned a lot about the process of innovation from my own research, published articles from Harvard Business Press, and reader responses. But one topic that I have never written on is the role of trade organizations on driving technology innovation.

I have three passions in life: 1) new food product innovation, 2) new IT software systems innovation, and 3) the application of software innovation to the food and beverage manufacturing industry. There are two aspects of innovation- the identification of innovative technology and the application of new innovation technologies. Most identified technologies are used within organizations to develop competitive edges so that they can grow sales, profits, and share holder value. That concept represents free enterprise at its best. But a question remains; can an individual corporation reap the same benefits through shared innovative technologies? I believe it can, and an organization known as MESA is doing just that.

MESA (Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association) International is a global community of manufacturers, producers, industry leaders, and solution providers who are focused on driving business results from manufacturing information. MESA helps members formulate strategies to turn plant-floor data into valuable knowledge to be used throughout the enterprise. MESA’s Technical Committee is responsible for generating original MESA content and for reviewing content prior to MESA publication, ensuring high quality and adherence to MESA principles. The technical committee is comprised of a diverse group of professionals who are passionate about the subject of manufacturing enterprise solutions. That passion is delivered in the form of MESA content. Through this content, we provide objective guidance to MESA’s membership on how to evaluate, select, employ and deploy manufacturing enterprise software systems, driving innovation and improving manufacturing capability. The Technical Committee strives to elevate the level of knowledge and understanding in the MESA community through publication of whitepapers, guidebooks, webcasts, and other media.

Even though MESA supports all manufacturing industries, they have seen fit to form and promote a separate subgroup entitled Food Safety & Traceability Committee. This group has over 50 members from a diverse set of food manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, distribution, consumer products manufacturing, consulting, software, and research firms. The goal of the group is to share best practices, network, and produce a guidebook helping to educate interested parties on the history of food safety, the current regulatory environment, and best practices in data architecture and enterprise applications for improving food safety and traceability across the value chain.

In summary, I believe MESA is one industry organization that can promote new technology in the food industry, and also enable individual companies apply innovative technologies to new applications in there industry

Dr. Darrel Suderman is President/CEO of Food Technical Consulting and Business IQ LLC. He has 15 years experience in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and the Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) industries. For 10 years, he has led major MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Product LifeCycle Management (PLM) consulting projects at numerous #1 branded companies that includes: Jennie-O Turkey Store, Johnsonville Sausage, Ernst & Julio Gallo Winery, JBS Pilgrims, Organic Valley, and Gold’n Plump Poultry. Business IQ LLC was started in 2011 as a Business Intelligence Analytics consulting services provider using SAP Business Object Platform. He has published numerous IT white papers and spoken at major software company annual sales meetings.

For more information on 1-day cutting edge corporate IT systems innovation seminars, please contact me at or follow the Food Innovation Institute website ( for information on two Food Innovation 3-day workshops in Denver, Colorado.

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