NEW ORLEANS -- National Automatic Merchandising Association president and chief executive Carla Balakgie outlined the association's three-year strategic plan at the Coffee, Tea & Water conference in mid-November.
"We represent so many parts of the supply chain in this diverse industry that it's essential to determine just where to concentrate our efforts," she pointed out. "To do that, we began with an 'environmental scan' of the market." She also sought direct engagement with industry stakeholders through a "listening tour" and a survey of the association's board of directors. The final stage of the determination process was to synthesize the information gathered and to make sense of it.
"The foundational question is, what is NAMA's mission?" she explained. "Our conclusion is that we exist to foster profitable growth of the vending and office refreshment service industry -- and this industry is changing."
The industry's constituents may be designated as core members, principally operators; other members; customers (who are not members); and outside stakeholders, including public officials, Balakgie explained.
"Our long-term goal is to be a superlative leader of a principled, progressive and growing vending and office refreshments industry," she summarized. To reach this goal, the association has defined a series of "mission planks," including advocacy, education, collecting and organizing information, networking, and enhancing organizational effectiveness.
Immediate goals include establishing a system for identifying and managing public policy issues at the federal, state and local levels, Balakgie continued; the association's government affairs function remains at the forefront. Ongoing research to facilitate growth will be initiated, and NAMA will expand its outreach efforts. The association also will strive to reinforce its educational role by defining a body of knowledge that will underlie its core education programs, she said, with the objective of establishing its preeminence as a source of thought leadership.
To address the industry information imperative, the NAMA president said, a multiyear research agenda has been drafted and plans are under way to expand the scope, relevance and timeliness of the association's information products and services for its members.
Strengthened networking will provide a mechanism for clarifying strategic implementation, with the goal of protecting and evolving the industry's market position and value, Balakgie reported. And, in terms of organizational effectiveness, NAMA is endeavoring successfully to meet or exceed financial participation targets.
She summarized the association's "megastrategies" as making research a core competency, providing thought leadership, developing a robust Internet portfolio of Web-based services, engaging the next generation of industry leaders, and expanding all forms of external relations.
For the near future, NAMA's government affairs focus will be on compliance with the new requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, calorie-content disclosure, debit card interchange fees and small business taxes, the association chief continued. She added that NAMA will continue to take an active role in the ongoing discussion about "healthy" foods and beverages, and nutrition in general.