By Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI

running marathon

Washington, D.C. recently hosted the 47th U.S. Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) live for the first time in two years. The MCM hosts 11,400 runners from 48 states and seven countries and is one of the largest marathons in the world that doesn't offer prize money. It is known as the best marathon for beginners, earning its nickname, “The People's Marathon.”

The historic marathon reminds me of the journey we are on for food retail technology and shopper experiences. For example, some first-time marathon runner tips include:

  • Visualize where you are going.
  • Pick up the pace.
  • Build a support network.
  • Look to the crowd.

I’m sure you can agree, these same tips apply to food retailers and CPG companies experimenting with technology to improve the shopping experience.

The Marathon Road Map

FMI’s Technology Council is taking a first-time marathoner mindset to develop a roadmap of priority areas to include:

  • The shopper experience—including frictionless check-out, in-store and online shopping.
  • Operational efficiencies and supply chain—including labor management, automation, auto fulfillment, perpetual inventory, and secondary sites.
  • Technology and data analytics—including POS software, IT security, cloud migration, network optimization, privacy, and BI tools.

With these focus areas in mind, we have developed a program and topics for FMItech at the Midwinter Executive Conference to help you cross the finish line. Here’s what’s included in the training plan:

Long Runs - FMItech Exchanges

FMItech Exchanges enable face-to-face time between technology service providers and FMI retail, wholesale and product supplier members to explore how to best enhance technology strategies. It’s an excellent approach to meeting a wide variety of partners efficiently. We encourage retailers and suppliers to make commitments for time together.

Interval Runs - Talks & Pitches For Timely Insights

FMItech 35-minute education sessions at Midwinter focus on keeping you up to date, shed light on upcoming trends and prepare you for the future of food technology. We encourage those with concepts for these dialogues to submit your TechTalk idea for consideration. We have already received strong submissions for the FMItech Pitch Competition, and the six finalists will be invited to present their pitch and host a meeting table within the FMItech program.

To prepare and win the food technology marathon, together, we need to invest in our long runs, tackle hard intervals and focus on what we can control with a strong support network. I look forward to seeing the community at FMItech at Midwinter.

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