A Fresh Veg Blog

Welcome to the Innovation Factory

by Loree Dowse | October 2016

If you do a search on Google’s Ngram database of word use, you’ll find that “innovation” outstrips “invention” by a wide margin. And if you search on Amazon for business books containing the words “innovation,” “innovator,” or “innovative,” you’ll have to sift through a whopping 24,780 titles.

To be sure, the word innovation has been a mantra of the business world for the last couple of decades. But that wasn’t always the case. According to Canadian historian Benoit Godin in The Atlantic’s Innovation, History of a Buzzword”, if you were accused of being an innovator back in the 17th century, it was akin to heresy and a sentence of life in prison with your ears chopped off. Ouch.

Fortunately, innovators of today are lauded, not persecuted. Which brings me to the point of my post this week: Mann Packing has received some serious recognition recently, and I get to crow about it.

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Our CEO Lorri Koster, EVP of Sales & Marketing Rick Russo, and Director of Corporate Marketing Gina Nucci receive not one, but two awards at the Sysco Supplier Excellence dinner in Houston

Our month started out in Houston, where Sysco recognized the winners of its 2016 Supplier Excellence Awards. Only a few companies were selected from more than 1,300 suppliers worldwide, and were chosen based on key business performance measures as prescribed by Sysco’s US-based distribution companies as well as its merchandising, quality assurance, and supply chain departments.

Mann Packing not only walked away with a Silver Supplier Award that night, but it was also selected for the Heritage Award for Diversity, meaning we met or exceeded Sysco’s standards regarding minority, women-owned, and diverse supplier partners. BOOM!

But wait, there’s more…

The following week, a gaggle of Mann’s employees invaded Orlando for the 2016 PMA Fresh Summit Convention & Expo, where we received the PMA Impact Award for Excellence in Packaging for our newest product line, Nourish Bowls. The award recognizes exceptional produce and floral packaging that demonstrates innovation and makes an impact on consumers. A panel of judges evaluated entries based on excellence in five areas: marketing, food safety, supply chain efficiency/functionality, sustainability and consumer convenience. FIST PUMP!

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Mann employees in the Innovation Factory. Being innovative.

So what exactly is the award-winning formula for bringing innovative products to market while maintaining admirable business practices, quality assurance, and supply chain management? Corporate culture certainly plays a role, and is manifested not only in our office building (as in, it’s literally written on the wall), but in how we speak, how our executive team makes decisions, the ideas we chat about while getting our breakfast in the kitchen, and our ability to put those ideas into motion.

For Mann Packing, innovation means not resting on our laurels (Broccolini, stringless sugar snap peas, our award-winnning Culinary Cuts are just a few that come to mind). Or the number female shareholders we happen to have. It means constantly looking forward to anticipate product trends before they’re trendy, and customer needs before they’re even uttered.

Lucky for us, our customers and peers happen to agree.

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