The Importance of Networking In Food Manufacturing

“Your network is your net worth” is a principle that rings exceptionally true in Canada's competitive food manufacturing landscape. If you have a relevant professional network, promotions, salary increases, and lucrative projects are within your grasp.

Imagine using your connections in the food manufacturing industry to position yourself as the go-to problem solver at your company. Your network can be instrumental in: 

  • Addressing the company's most significant challenges 
  • Securing partners and resources for the organization’s innovation initiatives 
  • Keeping you well-informed about regulatory changes and supply chain disruptions

Don’t get us wrong, employers appreciate those who bring an issue to their attention, but problem solvers are invaluable. Your network could be the compass an employer needs to guide them through their most pressing and urgent times.  

That said, we’ll help you learn how to leverage your network effectively to ascend the food manufacturing ladder and become the top person employers look for.

Employers Value Employees with Big Networks

Think about the reach your employer has through your considerable network. Through you, the organization gains access to a smorgasbord of key people and industry intel. 

Access to Niche Expertise

Networking in food manufacturing opens the gateway to a deeper world of expertise that connects you with specialists in critical areas such as food safety, sustainability practices, or niche product development, including allergen-free or plant-based foods. 

Say your employer is a major player in the rapidly growing field of plant-based products. Experts in the plant-based food science space can offer insights into the latest ingredient innovations, texture improvements, and flavor profiling techniques. 

This could give your employer the competitive edge they need by adopting the new approaches and technologies gathered from networking. In doing so, they can meet specific consumer needs, enhance product offerings, and open up new market segments. 

Early Warnings of Supply Chain Disruptions

Strong relationships with suppliers and other industry professionals can be your radar for detecting early signs of potential supply chain issues, such as ingredient shortages or logistical challenges. 

Remember the pandemic? 

Manufacturing companies lost as much as 20% of their sales and saw shipping costs triple.

Imagine speaking with the logistics guy in your network, who alerts you about upcoming changes in shipping regulations or a potential strike at the local distributor. You can inform your employer, or if you’re a supply chain manager, you can begin to take action. 

The heads-up empowers you to create proactive strategies to mitigate the risks of unexpected costs and delayed deliveries, such as adjusting shipping routes and schedules in advance.

This type of information could save your employer millions of dollars in losses. 

Opportunities for Co-Innovation

Collaboration through networking can be an incubator for all things new. Food manufacturers, scientists, R&D specialists, food producers, and more can come together to cultivate new technologies and products. 

Thanks to shared financial risk and combined knowledge bases, not only does your employer benefit, but so does the industry. Co-innovation is particularly beneficial in exploring new food processing techniques, equipment, and processes. 

Influence on Regulatory Changes 

Networking with industry associations and peers can be your lens to observe and prepare for regulatory changes, providing a transparent platform to stay informed, exert influence, and stay ready.

Through your network, you can participate in discussions or committees that consult with government agencies before drafting new regulatory guidelines.  You’re enabled to advocate for regulations and laws that are favorable to food manufacturing and adapt your company’s compliance strategies well in advance.

Thus, helping your employer avoid penalties and compliance violations while enhancing your reputation as a responsible and forward-thinking employee.

Tips for Building Professional Relationships

The days of talking to real-life people aren’t dead yet. That said, conferences, seminars, and workshops offer opportunities to meet professionals in your field that you may not usually run into. Online networking platforms like LinkedIn are also valuable tools for networking. 

Here are a few tips to help you make networking a bit easier:

Preparation for Events

Research the event, and focus on the program agenda, key speakers, and relevant sessions. 

If there is anyone in particular that you’d like to meet, you can reach out via email or LinkedIn to lay the groundwork for an in-person discussion. 

Engagement at Events

When you attend networking events, don’t solely set your sights on chalking it up with hiring managers and executives. Don’t be afraid to connect with other professionals in your field. Recruiters and managers aren’t the only way to find out about who’s hiring.

Workers in your field receive various information about upcoming job opportunities, which manufacturer offers the best benefits, and just about anything else you may interested in.

Networking on LinkedIn before the event

LinkedIn provides a great space to forge connections with both employers and your peers. You can use the platform’s advanced search feature to link with new contacts based on shared interests, industries, and skills.

You can easily spark up a conversation by sending a simple message.

Conferences and LinkedIn are great for networking, but what do you do with this information or your network if you’re still trying to land a food manufacturing job or find a better one?

To expedite your career growth, you need a platform that’s in the food production space and puts you in front of employers looking for professionals like you. 

You want QTalent.

Create a profile today that spotlights your skills, experience, and qualifications. Once your profile is created, watch our platform go to work to find the right job for you!

Sign up today to see available job opportunities!

Brittany Brooks

Author

Brittany Brooks has worked in Human Resources as an HR specialist and manager for 10 years. After that time, she decided to use her powers for the good of the workplace. She uses her first-hand experiences in her writing to give employees and business owners an honest look into what’s happening at work.

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