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NAMA 2004 Expo Turns Spotlight On Today's Opportunities, Challenges

Posted On: 10/13/2004

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CHICAGO - A new "Leaders' Forum" will lead off the educational programming at the 2004 National Automatic Merchandising Association National Expo here. It is the first item on a varied agenda of issues central to the competitive success of vending, coffee service and foodservice in a fast-changing world.

The "Leaders' Forum" is a panel session featuring Craig H. Hoskins, Vistar/VSA; Douglas C. Huffer, Dixie-Narco; Robert C. Maurer, The Standard Cos.; James H. Terry, Coca-Cola North America; and Richard L. Wyckoff, Aramark. It will be moderated by NAMA president and chief executive officer Richard M. Geerdes, and will review new marketing techniques, the latest consumer trends, and untapped sales opportunities. It's scheduled for Thursday, October 14 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM.

Taking center stage at the forum will be NAMA's "Healthy Balance for Life" campaign, designed to give operators a tool for use in helping schools and other clients to promote healthier lifestyles by making good dietary choices and engaging in regular physical activity.

The 2004 trade show opens at 11:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM.

On Thursday afternoon, the educational program will continue at 1:00 PM with a choice of four one-hour programs.

"Measuring and Improving Productivity in your Foodservice Operation" will be presented by Jeffrey Elsworth, Ph.D., assistant professor at Michigan State University's School of Hospitality Business. Dr. Elsworth will describe productivity measures that enable managers to gauge the efficiency with which their operations deploy people, equipment and financial resources. Principles of work design and work measurement analysis also will be explored.

"Crossroads: Strategic Actions for Revenue and Profit Growth" will be the topic for Paul Schlossberg, D/FW Consulting and Greg Westnedge, V-Com Associates International. They will provide an overview of the changing market environment, including the present competitive situation, product selection, technology, sales and marketing, business valuations and market appraisals in negotiations to sell or buy, market analysis and strategic planning.

"How to Make a Sales Call," presented by NAMA Knowledge Source consultant Jim Proebstle of Prodyne, Inc., returns by popular demand. Proebstle will describe the key elements in making a sale and basic selling strategies of proven efficacy.

"Water Quality and Treatment Fundamentals," led by Everpure, Inc.'s Jim Nelson, will probe the opportunities for increased customer satisfaction, higher-quality beverages, longer brewer life and additional profits offered by implementing a pure-water program. The speaker will discuss the elements of delivering the best possible water to customers, including water quality and treatment fundamentals, "what's in the water," and basic water treatment.


A new educational program, "VendTec," is planned for the exhibit area each afternoon. This will consist of three informative presentations on the technologies that are transforming the vending business, and will be held adjacent to the VendTec Pavilion, also making its debut this year. The VendTec Pavilion will concentrate technology exhibitors to make it easy for showgoers to get an overview of the latest data capture and storage, retrieval and transmission, processing and analysis hardware and software.

Exhibitors in the VendTec Pavilion include Blue World, Inc.; Cantaloupe Systems; Debitek; DigiVend Systems; Data Intelligence Systems Corp. (DISC); eSecure Peripherals; inOne Technology; IRM Corp.; ITC Systems; Paykey USA; Protel; SEM; USA Technologies; and Validata Computer & Research.

VendTec sessions on Thursday will include "Data Capture &Reporting," from noon to 1:00 PM; "Vending Information Services," from 1:15 to 2:15 PM; and "Cashless Vending Systems," from 2:30 to 3:30 PM.

The VendTec Pavilion joins the popular Foodservice Pavilion as a special-interest magnet in the exhibit area. Again in 2004, the Foodservice Pavilion will feature cooking demonstrations by leading industry chefs. And, again in 2004, the Coffee Service Pavilion will be a magnet for workplace refreshment service providers.

The NAMA booth again will serve as an educational resource for showgoers, with a series of "Booth Hot Topics" on tap. Thursday's topics will include "Financing Options for the Operator," presented by John Barsanti, president of LeaseAde and director of Torridon Cos. Set for noon to 12:45 PM, this session will review the traditional options for purchasing equipment, from paying cash to borrowing and finance leasing, and will describe a new alternative, operating leading, that can increase flexibility, reduce the investment's payback period and increase return on assets.

At 1:15 PM, NAMA's new Profitability Handbook will be the topic for J.E. (Eddie) Hicks of Prestige Services. This Hot Topic session will provide an overview of the thoroughly updated manual, which presents concepts and guides for profit improvement essential to owner/operators as well as managers responsible for specific functions like marketing and accounting. A show discount will be offered on the Profitability Handbook.

 "Food is Fashion and Fun," led by Jerry McVety of McVety & Associates, is set for 2:30 to 3:15 PM. McVety will pinpoint new opportunities to gain market share through understanding and taking advantage of present tends.

After the exhibits close on Thursday, NAMA will host its eagerly-awaited Coffee Service Reception from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

On Friday, October 15, operators also will have a choice of four business sessions. All run from 9:00 to 10:30 AM.

"Keeping Catering Clients for Life" will be led by Kerry Stackpole, executive director of the National Association of Catering Executives. He will describe the "lifecycle" sales and marketing strategies that can upgrade catering from a disconnected series of individual transactions to a steady, profitable source of renewable business.

"Selling your Business? First Understand its Value," led by Linda Zimmerman of RSM McGladrey, will identify the factors that can maximize the value of a business when the time comes to look for a buyer, and that are under the owner's control. Zimmerman will explain how planning ahead can strengthen the seller's negotiating position and provide support for the asking price.

The always-popular "OCS Open Forum" will be facilitated by Steve Hyde of Newco Enterprises, and this year will feature a panel of experts who will survey the fast-widening range of single-cup coffee systems and the implications of this revolution for workplace service providers (see further discussion on Page 59). The Forum will afford operators a rare opportunity to get well-informed answers to their questions about the respective roles and merits of classic countertop single-cup systems, "brew-by-pack" equipment and the new filter pod brewers.

The always-vexed question of "How to Find New Route Employees and Combat Turnover" will be addressed by Tom Siciliano of Integrity Recruiting & Consulting.    Siciliano will address the crucial topics of hiring the right people and then keeping them on board in a two-part presentation, dealing first with identifying the kind of person best suited for the job, then locating and recruiting those people, and second, with the communication, recognition and empowerment skills needed to build and maintain a long-term route sales and service team.

On Friday, the trade show will open at 10:30 AM and close at 4:30 PM.

Friday afternoon's educational curriculum offers a choice of four sessions, conducted concurrently from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.

"Learning the Secrets of Fiercely Competitive Companies," led by Syntient's Daniel Elash, Ph.D, will probe the ways in which successful organizations prosper by out-thinking their competitors, making the most effective use of their existing resources.

"Managing the Tax Dragon: Selling or Buying a Business on a Tax-Efficient Basis" will be explored by industry veteran Josh Patrick of The Patrick Group. A case study will demonstrate how well-thought-out tax management can increase the effectiveness of a transaction by as much as 40%.

Victor E. Pemberton of Pepi Foods, a National Certified Executive of NAMA, will discuss "Best Practices: Growing Market Share , is it E-Myth, V-Myth or P-Myth?" Pepi Foods, which was launched in 1985, has become a major regional supplier of vending, manual foodservice, catering, coffee service and pure water to clients in northern Georgia and southwestern Florida. Pemberton will explain how "people plus products can equal profits."

"Coffee Service, Part 1," the first half of a two-part session that will continue on Saturday morning, will be led by Randy Parks, ProStar Services. Parks will provide a thorough orientation in the OCS business for startup operators and executives interested in coffee service as a complementary business (see discussion on page 59).

"Hot Topics" slated for presentation in the NAMA booth will begin with "Interviewing Skills" at 12:30 PM. NAMA human resource manager Joann Gonos will offer an overview of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules for the interviewing and hiring process, what questions are appropriate and which ones are not, ways to reduce the risk of hiring-related lawsuits, and a review of relevant litigation under provisions of the Equal Employment Opportunities Act as well as the penalties for failing to prevail in one.

Tom Nagle of the International Dairy Foods Association will lead a discussion of "Vended Milk as a Healthy Way to Lose Weight" starting at 1:15 PM. Nagle will review medical research suggesting that milk can play an important role in reduced-calorie diets, and will discuss tools operators can use to increase their vending sales of today's very popular milk beverages. This presentation will hit the highlights of the MilkPEP milk vending workshop, a separate early-bird function scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

At 2:30 PM, NAMA senior director of technical standards Larry Eils will explain the Environmental Protection Agency's "Energy Star" guidelines as they apply to new packaged cold-drink vending machines. This spring, EPA and the industry agreed on the criteria under which the "Energy Star" symbol can be awarded to this kind of vending equipment, and Eils will detail those criteria.

The VendTec technology orientations will repeat on Friday afternoon in the VendTec Pavilion, with cashless vending systems taking center stage at noon, vending information services under the microscope at 1:15 PM, and data capture and reporting in the limelight at 2:30 PM.

Rounding out the National Expo will be the festive Industry Awards Banquet, which begins with a reception at 6:00 PM and concludes at 11:00 PM. The highlight of the evening will be the recognition of operator and supplier members for outstanding achievement and distinguished service. Excellence in vending operations is recognized by the Golden Coin Award; outstanding professionalism and success in coffee service, by the Mike Savoie Memorial Silver Service Award. Unexcelled sales and customer service skills are honored by Supplier of the Year and OCS Allied Member of the Year awards.

On Saturday, October 16, Jim Brinton of Evergreen Food Services will emcee his very well received "Vending 101" industry introduction from 9:00 to 11:00 AM. Designed for owners and manager of recently established vending operations (or those planning to establish one), the session will offer a one-hour overview of the vending business, from equipment and warehousing through sales strategies, location contracts and financial oversight and reporting to customer service and opportunities in food. The second hour will be devoted to question and answers.

At the same time, Randy Parks will present the second half of his two-part OCS orientation, which will conclude with a one-hour "problem solving" question-and-answer period.

Exhibits open at 10:30 AM and close at 2:30 PM. on Saturday, winding up the 58th annual NAMA National Expo.