Vending, Vending Machine, Office Coffee, Coin-Op, Trade Show, National Automatic Merchandising Association
LAS VEGAS -- The challenges and opportunities faced by operators in today's fast-changing environment will be examined at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's Spring Expo. It is set for the Mandalay Bay Convention Center here from April 14 through 17.
This year's Spring Expo is themed "Dedicated to a Changing World." Educational and social events will begin on Tuesday, April 14; the trade show is set for Thursday and Friday, April 16 and 17.
Reflecting the pressing need for the industry to focus on its priorities, the educational program has been expanded and the Western Golf Classic has been canceled. The five NAMA state councils that have cooperated in organizing the event have agreed to defer it, and will organize individual fundraising events closer to home.
Educational opportunities begin on Tuesday, April 14, with the first of a number of value-added in-depth presentations for which separate registration in advance is required. This one is a two-day sales training workshop led by NAMA Knowledge Source consultant Rick Leffke, R.C. Leffke & Associates. Titled "Sales Simplified," it will be structured like an athletic team's practice session at which salespeople and coaches will learn, practice and master best practices. It is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, April 15, operators not enrolled in the sales training program have three options. NAMA will kick off the latest presentation of its acclaimed Supervisor Development Program. This will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 4:30 p.m., and will continue all day Thursday, wrapping up at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Also on tap for Wednesday morning is NAMA's popular Quality Coffee Certification Program, led by Newco Enterprises' Mike Tompkins, and an update on the evolving science of category management presented by Brad Bachtelle, Bachtelle & Associates. The Spring 2009 QCCP offers a complete overview of coffee "from the bean to the cup," with details on countries of origin, processing methods, roasting and grinding, the determinants of quality in a brewed cup and more. It runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Category management is a method for allocating retail space to different product categories in order to appeal to all patron preferences, and then to adjust the components of each category on the basis of actual sales behavior. Bachtelle will explain how this can be done effectively in vending, and why doing it is essential to maximizing per-machine sales at a time when location populations are shrinking and every sale counts. The session begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m.
Immediately thereafter, Bachtelle will present the latest installment in his ongoing discussion of "Profit-Enhancing Opportunities in Vending." Running from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., this program can be taken as a sequel to the category management presentation, but can stand on its own. It will explore a wide variety of ways to reduce costs by improving efficiency and productivity without impairing service, and for building sales volume and customer satisfaction.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Dr. Michael Kasavana, NAMA Endowed Professor at Michigan State University's School for Hospitality business, will lead a three-hour overview of "The Anatomy of Cashless Vending." This will cover both location-specific "closed" (hosted internal) and "open" systems – the latter accommodate major credit and debit cards – and will address the system requirements, costs and benefits of each approach.
The Spring Expo General Session will lead off the program on Thursday, April 16, at 8 a.m. NAMA president and chief executive officer Richard M. Geerdes will welcome convention-goers and offer an overview of the event and the industry. He then will introduce the keynote speaker, Mark Adams, to address "Turning it Around in Challenging Times." Adams is a business educator, author and college basketball analyst for ESPN.
The trade show opens at 10 a.m. on Thursday. This year's Spring Expo overlaps the annual National Bulk Vendors Association show, and the two associations have made a badge-sharing arrangement under which registrants for either exhibition can attend the other. The show closes at 5 p.m.
The NAMA Spring Expo exhibitors will host the ever-popular Spring Fling reception from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., providing a rousing finale to Thursday's agenda.
On Friday, five concurrent business sessions are planned for 9:30 a.m.:
• The eagerly awaited Coffee Service Forum, moderated by Newco's Steve Hyde, promises lively discussion of a range of topics important to OCS operators today.
• Dr. Michael Kasavana of MSU will offer an update on remote machine monitoring, complementing his Wednesday presentation on cashless transactions in vending.
• Jackie Clark of Clark Communications, who coordinates NAMA's Balanced for Life taskforce, will explain the association's "Fit Pick" program and describe how operators can make it work for them in meeting or anticipating location requests for vendible products that fit into a healthier lifestyle.
• McVety & Associates' Jerry McVety, a NAMA Knowledge Source consultant with extensive experience in foodservice concept design and execution, will describe a personality evaluation structure that he calls DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) and explain how identifying one's own personality "style" enhances communication and interpersonal relationships.
• Jim Proebstle, Prodyne Inc., will offer an overview of the central role played by strategic planning in guiding an organization through turbulent times. Proebstle, a veteran sales executive and trainer, is a NAMA Knowledge Source consultant.
These concurrent sessions wrap up at 10:30 a.m., at which time the exhibits reopen. The show closes at 4 p.m.
Registration at the Spring Expo opens at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 15, and closes at 4:30 p.m. It reopens at 8 a.m. on April 16 and 17, closing at 5 p.m. on Thursday and 3 p.m. on Friday.
Information on the National Automatic Merchandising Association, its programs and services, and trade shows can be found online at vending.org.
The First & The Last
This year's NAMA Spring Expo will be the last in a series that dates back almost half a century, to 1960. In December of that year, the association launched a Western Convention and Trade Show for the benefit of operators in the western states, who often found it difficult to travel to the national convention.
The 1960 Western Convention took place at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was held a few weeks after the national show (which was set in Miami that year), so that western operators could check out the new products introduced there as quickly as possible. That Inaugural Western Show. attracted representatives from 338 operating companies, and spotlighted products and services from 66 exhibitors.
The event proved so successful that it was expanded and rescheduled to the spring, giving it a separate identity. The NAMA Western Show remained at the Ambassador Hotel through 1969, after which the association relocated it to the brand-new Orange County Convention Center in fast-growing Anaheim.
The first Anaheim convention and show drew 81 exhibitors, and subsequent conventions alternated between Anaheim and other western cities. The event settled in Las Vegas in 2000. Its name changed from Western Expo to Spring Expo a year later, reflecting increased attendance from all parts of the U.S. and other nations.
NAMA plans to combine its two present Expos into a single event, provisionally called OneShow, in 2010. The inaugural unified convention and exposition is set for April 28 through 30 at Chicago's McCormick Place North. The association expects future shows to alternate between Chicago and Las Vegas.