AWMA Summit 2011 Opens
Atlanta is the site of an info-packed agenda as trading partners prepare for AWMA Business Exchange.
The 2011 AWMA Summit opened at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, in Atlanta, GA Monday, September 12, with distributors and suppliers ready for groundbreaking educational sessions, networking opportunities, and the AWMA Business Exchange (ABX), beginning Tuesday afternoon though Thursday.
The Summit & ABX are designed to help distributors improve profits, address key issues and get business done with their trading partners who are on hand for face-to-face meetings. This year’s Summit program will focus on ways distributors can help their retailer customers boost profits, prepare for major developments in tobacco, improve center store assortment to boost candy and snacks profits, and take steps to use data to improve assortment. The ABX will feature two and a half days of face-to-face buyer-seller meetings where distributors and suppliers will make concrete plans for doing business together over the next year.
Monday morning began with a round of AWMA committee meetings, followed by a meeting of the Board of Directors. The Summit Welcome Reception brought attendees together Monday evening, the first of several opportunities for making connections, comparing notes, and discussing common concerns.
“This year’s Summit program, sponsored by The Hershey Company, is packed with an incredibly strong agenda that includes discussions of steps distributors can take to improve operations and generate increased profits,” said AWMA Chairman Keith Canning, managing partner, Pine State Trading, Augusta, ME. “Then, we’ll have two and a half days of highly productive ABX meetings with trading partners that will help us develop concrete plans for the year ahead. It is an incredible combination that provides real value for everyone who participates.” Some 54 distributors and more than 40 suppliers have signed up for the ABX.
“It never fails to amaze me, the productivity that we enjoy by participating in this meeting,” said Tom Joyce, vice president, global customer & industry affairs, The Hershey Company.
Michelle Sausen, Convenience Valet, said her company is participating in the Summit & ABX to enhance its relations with distributors and discuss key industry issues. “And, of course, we want to sell more of our products,” she acknowledged.
That’s the bottom line for suppliers who participate in the ABX, and distributors are here to meet with the suppliers and their top people. It’s an opportunity to get a great deal accomplished in a very short period of time.
“It’s the one time during the year when we can spend three days talking to the people who we really need to listen to us,” commented Rob Sincavich, of the Sledd Company, Wheeling, WV as he spoke with Brian Washburn, Kraft Foods during last night’s reception.
“The Summit gives me an opportunity to network and get the perspective that I need,” added Nick Zaden, City Wholesale Grocery Co., Birmingham, AL.
Today’s session opens with a look at what’s ahead, starting with Al Bates, president, Profit Planning Group, who will outline ways distributors can help retail customers be more successful. Then, Nik Modi, UPS Investment Research, will look at the future of the tobacco industry within the context of rapidly evolving regulatory environment under FDA.
The program will shift to a discussion of how trading partners can leverage core products, efficient assortment and category management within center store, with a presentation by industry consultant Kit Dietz. James Hachtel, senior category manager of center store, BP/ARCO ampm, will discuss ideas on leveraging foot traffic, and Tom Cinnamon, vice president of merchandising, Eby-Brown Company, will focus on helping customers win with data driven assortment decisions.
That session will conclude with a discussion by Sincavich, and Dietz regarding core SKUs, efficient assortment opportunities and data driven category management solutions.
After incoming 2012 AWMA Chairman Chad Gummer, Gummer Wholesale, Inc., Heath, OH, is recognized at lunch, Mike Dion, vice president, sales, InfoRhythm, Inc., will detail opportunities for distributors and suppliers to leverage data provided by AWMA’s new InfoMetrics program.
Then, ABX meetings will open at 1:30 p.m. and continue through 5:50 p.m. The Summit & ABX Reception, sponsored by Altria Group Distribution Company, will follow at 6 p.m.
Silent Auction Benefits Government Relations Program
All day Monday and again on Tuesday, Summit attendees can bid on fabulous items contributed by suppliers. Winners will be posted Tuesday evening.
AWMA wishes to thank members for their support of this crucial funding initiative for AWMA’s government relations program, which represents distributors’ interests at the national and state levels of government.