By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI

Child in the ready stance

In sports there is something called “The Ready Stance.” It’s the optimal positioning to allow your body to swiftly change directions. In The Ready Stance, a persons’ core muscles and major muscle groups are engaged and at the ready so they can quickly maneuver in any direction necessary. Anyone who’s coached a youth sports team or stood on the sidelines at a practice has probably seen a demo of The Ready Stance, but I would suggest that this same principle now applies to the food industry.

We learned from The Food Retailing Indsutry Speaks 2022 that food retailers and suppliers are facing numerous obstacles—from supply chain issues and inflation to recruitment and retention and ever-shifting  consumer habits. Those are the obstacles in our industry’s sight line. However, there are myriad of challenges facing the food industry that we often don’t see coming—natural disasters, hurricanes, cyber security attacks, and, even just last week, the possibility of a rail strike. The food industry needs to take a position like “The Ready Stance” and here is what that looks like:

Learn The Position

To master The Ready Stance, you must first learn the basics. FMI has a number of resources on our Asset Protection and Crisis Management webpages that can help your food retail or supplier organization prepare.

Of note, the TPOP Online Training for Workplace Violence Preparedness offers FMI members a discount on foundational training tailored to your organization that can minimize potentially violent conflicts. Also, EarlyAlert is a critical resource that provides access to discounted packages for Meteorology and All-Hazard Emergency Management solutions.

Practice Preparedness

The only way to make The Ready Stance feel natural is to practice. Once your organization has utilized preparedness resources and engaged in training, the key is to practice those drills repeatedly. There is a reason schools and office buildings regularly host fire drills—so we all know what to expect in an emergency. The same principle applies to building The Ready Stance for your organization—practice makes perfect.

Stay Aware and Nimble   

The easiest way to get sidelined is to relax out of The Ready Stance. It’s important to go beyond practicing and stay aware and nimble. This includes learning about new technologies, strategies and best practices for any challenge ahead. One way to do this is to take part in FMI’s Asset Protection & Grocery Resilience Conference, which will take place again in March 2023. FMI also hosts committees including the Asset Protection Council and Risk and Safety Council for networking, collaboration and best practice sharing. If you’re interested in joining these committees, contact me at