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NAMA '08 National Expo Spotlights 'More' Access To Innovative Ideas

Posted On: 9/21/2008

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ST.LOUIS -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association is returning to the Gateway City for its 61st National Expo. The event, last held here in 1996, is again set for America's Center; it will take place from October 15 through 17 (Wednesday-Friday).

The theme of this year's National Expo is "More," and the association is organizing the event to provide more ideas, more profits, more deals and more contacts than ever before.

Continuing a practice that has become increasingly popular, NAMA is conducting a value-added in-depth workshop on the day before the National Expo formally opens. Brad Bachtelle and Gary Terrell, Bachtelle & Associates (Tustin, CA), will present the latest update to their acclaimed category management seminar on Tuesday, October 14, from noon to 5 p.m.

Category management involves grouping the products offered in a machine into categories, ranking those categories by popularity, allocating space to each category proportional to its sales volume, and tracking sales to make appropriate adjustments within categories. Thoroughly implemented, category management can maximize sales, streamline inventory and enhance warehouse and route efficiencies. The seminar is sponsored by Hershey. Separate registration is required for the early-bird event; the fee is $59.

On Wednesday, October 15, three more added-value educational opportunities are available.

The acclaimed NAMA Quality Coffee Certification Program, once again led by Mike Tompkins of Newco Enterprises, will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will receive a thorough grounding in the history of coffee and the various types of coffee, their countries of origin and the methods by which they're processed for shipment. They also will learn about the relationships among roast color, grind, brewing method and temperature, ratio of coffee to water, and water quality on the flavor characteristics of the finished cup. Graduates are able to make more informed and authoritative presentations to prospects and customers, emphasizing quality factors rather than focusing solely on price.

Advance registration is required; the $279 fee includes all course materials and lunch. The program is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, with in-kind sponsorship by Everpure LLC and Newco Enterprises.

At 8:30 a.m., Brad Bachtelle and Gary Terrell will team up for a half-day workshop on profit-enhancing opportunities in vending, another very popular educational program that's returning by popular demand. Sponsored by Hershey, the presentation zeroes in on each function within an operation and explores methods for improving its efficiency. Participants also will learn straightforward gauges for determining the bottom-line effect of these improvements.

Separate registration is required; the fee is $59. Operators who register for both Tuesday's category management workshop and this one can benefit from a combined registration fee of only $99.

Also on Wednesday, the latest staging of NAMA's ground-breaking Supervisor Development Program will get underway. It runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The program features a distinguished faculty including Dr. Ronald F. Cichy of Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI); NAMA experts Dan Mathews, executive vice-president and chief operating officer; Maggie Shah, manager, health and safety services; and Joann Gonos, human resources manager; Rick Leffke, R.C. Leffke & Associates (Carrollton, TX); and Jim Proebstle, Prodyne (Deer Park, IL)

The three-day course is designed to give recently promoted supervisors and managers a thorough grounding in decision-making, time management, communication, leadership, negotiating, human resources, working with customers and food-handling practices. Many sessions are interactive, with "mini cases" incorporated into class discussions. The enrollment fee of $1,250 includes course materials, Jim Collins's book Good to Great, most meals and breaks, and a certificate upon completion. The program is sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice.

On Wednesday afternoon, convention-goers will have a choice of two business sessions. "Understanding Vending Management Software" is a panel session moderated by Dr. Michael L. Kasavana, NAMA Endowed Professor in Hospitality Business, The School of Hospitality Business, Michigan State University (East Lansing), and panels of system suppliers and experienced operators. The two-hour program will cover the business data analysis, performance measurements and merchandising insights attainable with contemporary management software.

At the same time, Charles Cooper of Cooper Consulting (Philadelphia) will offer an in-depth look at the value of an organizational "culture" that makes the most effective use of the skills and experiences of people with different identities and perspectives. Cooper, a 30-year foodservice operations veteran, will provide a detailed overview of management and marketing techniques appropriate to a world that is becoming steadily more diverse.

The 2008 trade show opens at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and closes at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, October 16, the NAMA general session will get under way at 8:30 a.m. President James F. Brinton, Evergreen Food Services (Tukwila, WA), will offer some remarks on the industry and the association. Keynoting the general session is Brad Bachtelle, who will discuss "Recession Management: Dos and Don'ts for Difficult Times." He will review management initiatives that can reduce costs by increasing efficiency, while maximizing customer service and sales effectiveness.

The trade show reopens at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, and closes at 4 p.m.

At 1 p.m., Jackie Clark of Clark Communications (Gaithersburg, MD), NAMA's public relations director and Balanced for Life team leader, will bring operators up to date on BFL "Fit Pick" standards that can direct patrons to vending products that meet their dietary objectives while reminding them of the industry's commitment to nutrition awareness and sound lifestyle choices. "Fit Pick" identifies products that conform to two sets of guidelines, the widely used "35-10-35" content requirement and the somewhat more rigorous Alliance for a Healthier Generation standard. Clark will suggests ways in which adopting and publicizing the "Fit Pick" program can build business and strengthen goodwill.

On Thursday evening, NAMA will present its annual industry awards banquet, preceded by a gala reception from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The festivities will culminate in the recognition of five industry leaders for consistently exemplifying the highest standards of professional conduct and service. The awards include Golden Coin Vendor of the Year, Silver Service OCS Operator of the Year, Suppliers of the Year in the vending and OCS segments, and the Industry Person of the Year. Music and dancing will follow.

Four education sessions are slated for Friday morning. At 8 a.m., the final added-value seminar will get underway. Industry veteran Josh Patrick, Stage 2 Planning Partners (Burlington, VT, and Latham, NY), will lead a four-hour workshop on "Passing the Family Business," covering such must-know topics as estate and cashflow planning, ground rules and training methods for the next generation, and dealing fairly with children in and out of the business. Advance registration is required for this session; the fee is $40.

At 8:30 a.m., showgoers can choose from a menu of three business sessions. Rick Leffke of Leffke & Associates will discuss "Sales Simplified," identifying the three discrete areas requiring management attention to maximize sales effectiveness (establishing a sales process, understanding the wants and needs of prospects and customers, and making expectations clear so those responsible for meeting them will be accountable).

At the same time, Sandra Cummins of Southeast Green (Roswell, GA) will describe ways to incorporate practices regarded as "environmentally responsible" into everyday operations, which if done rigorously can reduce energy costs while enhancing a company's public image.

Also, Steve Hyde of Newco Enterprises (St. Charles, MO) will moderate the always-popular Coffee Service Open Forum. Famed for interactivity and candor, this program enables experienced and new coffee service operators to ask tough questions, propose solutions, critique industry practices and trade successful strategies.

The trade show opens at 10 a.m. on Friday and closes at 3 p.m.

Enhancing the trade show are specialty Pavilions devoted to coffee service and foodservice, simplifying show floor navigation for operators specifically interested in these industry segments. A New Exhibitor Pavilion will make it easy for showgoers to get to know companies that recognize the opportunities presented by the vending, coffee service and contract foodservice market.

New this year is a "corporate social responsibility" showcase, which will enable industry members to highlight such initiatives as "eco-friendly" packaging, partnerships with charitable causes and marketing directed to diverse customer bases. Tabletop displays of materials describing and furthering these initiatives will be available for viewing in the New Exhibitor Lounge.

The ninth annual NAMA Foundation Silent Auction, sponsored by Mars Snackfood, will give convention-goers the opportunity to bid on a wide variety of attractive prizes. These will be displayed near the entrance to the exhibit area, and bids may be placed starting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. On Thursday, there will be "closings" at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and a Second Chance Auction will be held on Friday, October 17, from 10 a.m. until noon.

Jim Harris, Harris & Pipkin (St. Louis,) is serving as general  chairman for the 2008 NAMA National Expo. Information on the event may be found at the association's website,, or by calling NAMA headquarters in Chicago at (312) 346-0370.