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NAMA's '06 Exposition Offers New Format, Sharper Focus On Today's Vending Clientele

Posted On: 10/11/2006

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-- The National Automatic Merchandising Association will mark its 70th anniversary with a new schedule for the 2006 National Expo, and a curriculum designed to provide greater insight into contemporary consumer attitudes and desires. It's set for the Orange County Convention Center here from October 25 through 27.

For the first time, the event will run from Wednesday through Friday. On Tuesday, October 24, the new Supervisor Development Program will get under way at 8:30 AM. Separate registration and course materials fees are required for the three-day workshop, which made its debut at this year's  Spring Expo.

The Supervisor Development Program has been designed to strengthen operating company middle management, both recently appointed and experienced supervisors and managers. Topics covered include decision-making, time management, communication, personal selling skills, leadership, working with customers, safety and security, and food handling. An overview of accounting also is provided. The course is sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice.

Also on Tuesday, NAMA will host its festive Golf Outing at Falcon's Fire Golf Club in nearby Kissimmee, FL. Registration opens at 11:00 AM, with complimentary transportation departing from the Peabody Hotel. Proceeds benefit industry educational programs and student scholarships.

The education program gets off to an early start on Wednesday with two more added-value separate-registration courses, the popular Quality Coffee Certification Program at 8:00 AM and a new Category Management Seminar at 8:30 AM.

The Quality Coffee Certification Program, which has been conducted at Spring and National Expos for the past five years, has certified more than 500 industry members. Its format has been updated to include instruction by experts not only in coffee roasting but also in pure water, operations, and vending, as well as a 60-minute presentation on quality coffee from vending machines. The program is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, and will wrap up at 3:30 PM.

The new Category Management Seminar will be led by industry veteran Brad Bachtelle, Bachtelle & Associates (Tustin, CA). Category management has been very successful in other retailing channels, maximizing throughput and streamlining inventory. Bachtelle will provide an overview of fundamental category management concepts, and also will offer specific recommendations for improved merchandising for maximum per-machine volume. The program is sponsored by The Hershey Co.


Registration for the NAMA National Expo opens at 10:00 AM, and the formal program gets under way at 1:00 PM with a choice of two business sessions. A panel discussion themed "Understanding Remote Machine Monitoring" will be moderated by Dr. Michael L. Kasavana, NAMA Endowed Professor at Michigan State University's School of Hospitality Business. Panelists will include Mandeep Arora, Cantaloupe Systems; Bill Lockett, Streamware; and Gene Ostendorf, InOne Technology. They will review the developments that have made vending machine telemetry practical, offering a new tool by which operators can tighten their cash management, increase customer satisfaction through more effective and efficient maintenance, and enhance route productivity.

At the same time, Vic Pemberton of Pepi Foods (Bainbridge, GA) will lead the always-well-attended "Vending 101" course, designed for operators of recently established vending businesses. Topics will range from sales strategies through equipment and contracts to customer service, financials, warehousing and food.

Both afternoon seminars end at 3:00 PM, at which time the curtain will go up on the 2006 trade show.

A "hot topic" networking session on Coffee Service and Food Safety will be held at the NAMA booth on Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:15 PM, led by Dr. Ronald F. Cichy, director and professor, The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. Dr. Cichy will explain how the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) can be applied by supervisors and route personnel to make sure that sound sanitation practices are followed, keeping customers safe and enhancing the operation's professional image. The session will be followed by a festive reception in the exhibit area.

On Thursday, October 26, registration opens at 8:00 AM. The NAMA General Session and annual meeting begins at 8:30 AM. A highlight will be presentation of the findings of a new vending consumer survey sponsored by NAMA and conducted by Harris Interactive. Reviewing the results will be Bill Dalbec, research vice-president of Harris Interactive, who will offer the latest information on consumer perceptions and expectations, usage patterns and habits, barriers, pricing issues, alternative payment methods and awareness of new products. This is the first consumer study for the vending industry in more than a decade.

The exhibits reopen at 10:30 AM and close at 4:30 PM. At 11:00 AM, Jerry McVety of McVety & Associates will conduct a workshop on the new foodservice manual developed by his organization specifically for NAMA members. Designed to assist in the operational aspects of onsite foodservices, the manual has been designed on the principle that, while every foodservice operation is unique, fundamental operating procedures are the same throughout the industry. McVety will lead participants through the practical information, worksheets and examples in the manual, demonstrating how it can be used to advantage in improving business processes and practices.

At noon, the NAMA booth will be the setting for a second "Hot Topic" discussion, this one dealing with health insurance benefits for small businesses. Ed Sterczek of Mass Marketing Insurance Consultants will offer an overview of the fast-changing health insurance world. Health insurance is an important benefit, valued by employees, but "one size fits all" health plans don't exist -- and finding the right plan for a particular company and its staff can be difficult. Sterczek will explore the types of plan available today, including PPOs (preferred provider organizations), HMOs (health maintenance organizations) and HSAs (health savings accounts). He will trace the rise in healthcare costs, suggest strategies for offsetting it, propose an alternative approach to funding health insurance costs for small firms and individuals, and demonstrate how operators can design health plans to fit the specific needs of their companies.

At 1:00 PM, showgoers will have a variety of educational choices. A seminar on "Coffee Service: Best Financial Practices" will be led by Randy Parks, ProStar Services (Carrollton, TX), sponsored by Everpure. Parks will offer insights into routing, inventory turnover, deliveries, and the use of key indicators in profit-and-loss statements in gaining a better understanding of one's business.

At the same time, Jerry McVety will offer an overview of "Trendy Ideas for On-Site Foodservice." He will examine the future prospects for this foodservice area, discuss present issues, offer new ideas and elucidate trends while encouraging questions and discussion.

Also at 1:00 PM, Dr. Debra Cannon, director of Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, will assist operators in "Solving the Employee Retention Puzzle," exploring the critical elements needed to retain good employees and thus avoid expensive turnover. Dr. Cannon will suggest methods of hiring, training and managing that can develop more committed employees, offer insights into the effect of the changing labor force on operator hiring options, provide valuable information on cultural, linguistic and age differences, and propose approaches for using this information to design a positive employee retention plan that can be implemented realistically.


In a fourth concurrent session, Brad Bachtelle and Gary Terrell of Bachtelle & Associates will lead a discussion of "Managing for Improved Profit," offering an indepth look at operator financial decisions and their effect on company profitability. They will consider the role of operating efficiencies, pricing, commissions and overhead in creating incremental profit opportunities. Bachtelle and Terrell will offer an overview of the industry's profit history with an eye to identifying opportunities for operators to manage their businesses in such a way as to deliver better profitability.

At 1:00 PM, the NAMA booth will host a "Hot Topic" session on "Components of a Form Vending Agreement," which will be led by Sachnoff & Weaver associate Christopher McVety. The discussion will center on the general legal terms found in vending agreements, and ways to balance simplicity of language with the necessary safeguards that operators seek when negotiating such agreements.

The NAMA booth will then become the setting for a New Member Networking session at which operators who recently have joined the association can get to know the association and one another.

From 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM, NAMA will conduct its "Celebration of Leadership" awards banquet, presented by The Coca-Cola Co. The association will recognize distinguished achievement by coffee service and vending operators and suppliers.

Honored this year as OCS Operator of the Year is Peter Tullio, Gourmet Coffee; Alan Plaisted, Southern Refreshments is the Golden Coin Operator of the Year. Howard Fischer of U.S. Roasterie will receive the Coffee Service Allied Member of the Year Award, and Phil Bernish, Vistar of Houston, is the winner of the Vending Allied Member of the Year Award. The industry's top honor, the Industry Person of the Year Award for 2006, will be bestowed on Barry Frankel, The Family Vending Co.

The education session gets down to business bright and early on Friday, October 27 with registration reopening and three concurrent sessions starting at 8:30 AM. "How to Build High-Impact Proposals," led by Jim Proebstle of Prodyne Inc. will analyze methods for structuring and preparing a proposal that make it specific to each prospect and demonstrate an understanding of their needs and desires, thereby setting the operation apart from its competition.

At the same time, Paul Schlossberg of DFW Consulting will consider the question, "Which Comes First -- the Competition or the Customer?" Vending and manual foodservice operators confront increasing competition from other retailers, including convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and drugstores. Workplace service operators start with a great advantage of occupying the most convenient location. Schlossberg will propose ways to build an action plan on that strategic advantage of position, based on local market conditions and conducted by offering the right products at the right value.

Also at 8:30 AM, Rick Leffke of The Accession Group will discuss "Keeping Clients Forever," an outcome that would be much more likely if an operation's clients loved the operator. Leffke will observe that customer satisfaction is a starting-point, not the ultimate objective, and will propose strategies for strengthening satisfaction into enthusiasm.


The eagerly awaited Coffee Service Open Forum is another educational option on tap at 8:30 AM on Friday. Moderated by Steve Hyde, Newco Enterprises, this year's Forum will feature panelists Pete Doherty of Gloria Jean's Coffee, Tom Steuber, Associated Services (Oakland, CA); Con Foley, Gold Cup Coffee (Tampa, FL) and Jim Nelson of Everpure LLC. The format will be roundtable discussion groups, and the always wide-ranging discussion will center around single-serve coffee systems, water quality and operations. A special table will be available for operators who have been active in OCS for five years or less.

Operators who have met the criteria for certification under NAMA's prestigious Certified Executive program will have the opportunity to take the test for certification at 8:30 AM

The trade show opens at 10:00 AM, and a repeat of the "Hot Topic" presentation on health insurance benefits for small businesses is set for the NAMA booth at noon. At 1:00 PM, the "Hot Topic" will be milk vending as Julia Kadison, vice-president of Beverage Marketing Corp. (New York City) offers an overview of the progress to date attained by the dairy industry in rebuilding public demand for dairy beverages as an away-from-home cold drink choice, and introduces a presentation by Milk Processor Education Program experts of a case history, followed by an interactive session at which the presenters, a processor and an equipment manufacturer will field operator questions.

Also at 1:00 PM, Jerry McVety and foodservice veteran Paul Cerullo will offer an approach that can enable operators to "Say 'Yes' to Attended and On-Site Foodservice with Confidence." They will address the options open to a vending operator when a valued client asks for manual foodservice, most importantly the option of agreeing to provide the service and thus opening up new opportunities.