We have mentioned in a recent blog post that by most ways you want to measure it, the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit series (NAMES) is our longest-running and remains among our most popular. If it was the first, then our North American Food Safety & Quality series (NAFS) was the fourth, and both have grown and grown over the years to the point where we have moved venues and even cities to better meet the needs of the senior executives who attend year after year.

In all that time across all those events, we have always had a gap in the content we could cover.

NAMES is an industry-agnostic manufacturing event. One of the great strengths of it is that manufacturers from organizations of all shapes and sizes will come together to talk about the unique ideas and innovations they each bring to the universal challenges they all face. You would be surprised how many things a senior executive from a business making orange juice and a senior executive from an aerospace company have in common if they get a chance to talk to one another in an environment conducive to productive conversations. All this is to say while we have had food and beverage manufacturers attend each and every NAMES event, we have steered our speaker faculty away from building food-specific presentations whose takeaways are only relevant to food-specific companies. It would not be fair to the rest of the audience to include such a narrow focus at such a broad-by-design gathering.

Meanwhile, while NAFS is built for all kinds of companies working in the food, beverage, retail, and food service sectors, the audience is made up of the executives responsible for Food Safety, Food Quality, and Food Compliance within their organizations. Now it would be hard to imagine NAFS running in any way without Food Manufacturing being part of the content being shared, but that content is being looked at by and for FSQ professionals who have no overlap with the kinds of manufacturing job titles that attend NAMES.

With those two state of affairs explained, we return to the matter of the conscious choice Executive Platforms has made to have a gap in our content: NAMES cannot lean too far into food-specific subject matter without becoming less valuable to everyone else, and NAFS only looks at manufacturing issues as they relate to the challenges and opportunities facing FSQ senior leaders.

The time has come at last to close the gap with a new dedicated event. To that end, Executive Platforms is proud to announce the first annual North American Food Manufacturing Summit (NAFMS) will run October 7-9, 2024, at the Westin Chicago North Shore, which has at times served as the former home of both the NAMES and NAFS series.

Who is NAFMS For?

Without putting too fine a point on it, this is for the senior executives from food and beverage companies who want more industry-specific content than we have offered at NAMES, and ideally we would like the delegates responsible for Safety, Quality, and Compliance teams at all the companies who have been attending our NAFS events for years to tell their colleagues responsible for production that we now have a dedicated event built with them in mind.

If pressed to mention some specific job titles from the Food and Beverage sector who would be great fits for NAFMS, we would suggest Chief Manufacturing Officers, Chief Operations Officers, Chief Transformation Officers, Chief Supply Chain & Procurement Officers, Chief Engineering Officers, Chief Technical & Innovation Officers, and EVPS, SVPs, VPS, and Directors of Manufacturing, Operations, Engineering, Supply Chain, Procurement, Sourcing, R&D, Sustainability and more.

What will NAFMS Cover?

While our agenda writing and speaker recruitment are still in their early days as of writing this blog post, top-of-mind content we know we want to build into the program includes modernizing processes, effective GMP, automation, supply chain management, evolving consumer behaviors and expectations, product development, talent and labor challenges, cost control, energy consumption, and ESG goals, all specifically focused on real-world examples and industry innovations relevant to food and beverage producers.

The issues of Food Safety, Food Quality, and Food Compliance will be built into this content because it is part of the everyday reality of manufacturing these products, but now we will explore it from the perspective of Operations working with FSQ professionals rather than FSQ professionals working with the rest of the company. We are excited to give a platform to some of the incredible keynotes, case studies, and workshops we have heard about through our networks who attend NAMES and NAFS that were not relevant to enough of the audiences of those series to include in those programs. In NAFMS we really expect to get into the industry specifics in a way we have only been able to do for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing so far to date with our PMWS and BMWS series.

What Comes Next for NAFMS?

The next few months are going to be a very exciting time for everyone here at Executive Platforms. We are going to go live with our agenda, begin confirming speakers, rolling out the social media campaign, releasing relevant podcasts and blog posts, and eventually opening up the delegate registration process once we are confident the event will be viewed as the equal of a NAMES or a NAFS at a glance. Between now and then, we encourage everyone to keep their eyes open for the #NAFMS24 hashtag wherever you consume your social media. We will update you as we have more, and we will do our best to keep everyone informed of our progress.

Geoff Micks
Head of Content & Research
Executive Platforms

Geoff joined the industry events business as a conference producer in 2010 after four years working in print media. He has researched, planned, organized, run, and contributed to more than a hundred events across North America and Europe for senior leaders, with special emphasis on the energy, mining, manufacturing, maintenance, supply chain, human resources, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, finance, and sustainability sectors. As part of his role as Head of Content & Research, Geoff hosts Executive Platforms’ bluEPrint Podcast series as well as a weekly blog focusing on issues relevant to Executive Platforms’ network of business leaders.

Geoff is the author of five works of historical fiction: Inca, Zulu, Beginning, Middle, and End. The New York Times and National Public Radio have interviewed him about his writing, and he wrote and narrated an animated short for Vice Media that appeared on HBO. He has a BA Honours with High Distinction from the University of Toronto specializing in Journalism with a Double Minor in History and Classical Studies, as well as Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College.