Better Together: Total Store Collaboration Jan 05, 2017 By: Mark Baum, Chief Collaboration Officer, Food Marketing Institute Total Store Collaboration is a core strategic pillar of FMI and is our wrap-around means of describing our approach to fostering partnerships between retailers, manufacturers, and distributors in the food industry. While retailer/supplier collaboration is an oft-discussed topic and wished for industry aspiration, FMI is in a unique position to facilitate the conversations needed for true cooperative effort to move from dream to reality. In the past year, we’ve built significantly on the initiative (started in early 2014) by expanding our collaborative communities and focusing on high priority industry issues. A rising tide The Total Store Collaboration initiative is spearheaded by the Industry Collaboration Council (ICC), a parity-based body whose governance model reflects the spirit of shared interest that the initiative seeks to inspire throughout the industry. Through the ICC, FMI develops insights to better understand four focus areas: Share of Stomach, Share of Wallet, Share of Talent and Share of Capital in the food industry. We are convinced that these four uniting forces mark the turf the industry must occupy to seize growth opportunities and better serve consumer needs. Going on offense The Senior Merchandising Executive Forum is a successful peer-to-peer network of chief merchants from retailers and wholesalers, and now boasts 67 members. This year, FMI delivered three high-impact content features with the theme of “Going on Offense,” underscoring the reality of today’s world that retailers must actively experiment and innovate to succeed in the future: In April, FMI hosted a virtual roundtable on how to build your own click and collect offering; At FMI Connect in June, an in-person meeting featured a transformational approach to assortment by extracting customer behavior insights from transaction data; and In September, another roundtable highlighted key components of a mobile experience – including payments, loyalty programs, and mobile apps. Making modifications to the successful Senior Merchandising Forum model of offering content, FMI branched out to reach another audience by socializing the Senior Operations Executive Forum. As its title implies, this forum provided content features and discussion platforms expressly contoured for food retail operators. Top of mind FMI continues to prioritize “hot-button” focus areas for future support of industry initiatives. Throughout the year, we’ve been developing ways to elevate and connect innovative new suppliers with retailers, and building capability assessments (e.g., cyber risk mitigation, food safety readiness) as a valuable service to members. Specifically through the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), a joint leadership group between FMI and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the grocery supply chain addresses priority and emerging operational issues. These include SmartLabel, On Shelf Availability, Hazardous Waste, and Product Code Dating, and the ongoing adoption of Rapid Recall Express, Facts up Front, and participation in the GS1 US Data Quality program. It has been a busy and productive year, and we look forward to showcasing the culmination of further development and research at Midwinter 2017!