The International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) only happens every three years and can be an overwhelming show to attend. The 2022 show will happen in Las Vegas, Sept. 17-21, and offer nearly 1,000 exhibitors and more than 100 sessions of education. To get the most out of the experience, the IBIE 2022 committee agree it’s important to have a plan of attack.
“If you walk in the door just to do a drive-by, you’ll miss everything you need to see,” says Jason Frye, IBIE committee member and senior vice president of supply chain and purchasing for Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga. “You have to plan your visit. Break your team up, have visits throughout the day, go back and revisit the top three to five things that you need to see. Have daily morning meetings with your team and nightly debriefs. It’s so important because IBIE has so much to offer, and you want to see the key components that you need to see.”
When it comes to the team a baking company brings, Jorge Zarate, IBIE vice chairman and senior vice president of global operations and engineering, Grupo Bimbo, Mexico City, urges attendees to be intentional.
“Bring more departments from your company to help with decision-making, not just the engineers and food safety but also commercial and business people,” he says. “Define what you’re looking for. What is the problem you want to solve, or what is the opportunity you want to take? And then do what Jason mentioned: Make a plan and use the time for that. But it’s very important that you bring the right people who can make the change for your company, not just those who will make the decision but those who will implement and execute it.
Zarate also points out that IBIE can be an opportunity to introduce up-and-coming employees to the baking industry and show that you are ready to invest in them.
“They won’t be making the decisions, but you will open their eyes and accelerate their professional development, and they will engage more with our industry,” he says.
IBIE 2022 Chairman Dennis Gunnell, president of Formost Fuji, also points out that IBIE has changed thanks to the investments Las Vegas has made in the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s important to pay attention to something as simple as the show layout even as a veteran attendee.
“Not everything is located where it used to be,” he says. “In addition to being located in the North Hall, we’ll also be using the brand-new West Hall for the first time ever, so planning ahead is essential to get the lay of the land.”
The IBIE website, show app and show materials can all help attendees know where to go and what’s available.
“There’s so much going on at IBIE, not just the show itself but the education piece, the hands-on training,” says Dave Watson, IBIE committee member and bakery and snack subject matter expert, The Austin Co. “Visit the website, take the time to plan, set up meetings with key vendors in advance who you know you want to meet with. But also don’t plan every single minute of the day either. Leave some time to wander around and see some new suppliers, new bakers.”