WASHINGTON, DC, April 26, 1999 — Recognizing the challenges and opportunities of a networked economy and its potential impact on the food industry, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) are teaming up to host their first-ever "e-business Summit," June 23-25, in Chicago.

     Business opportunities in electronic commerce — business-to-business and business-to-consumer — will be the summit focus. Both applications are viewed by the industry as essential to efficiency and growth objectives.

"The world is rapidly moving to redefine current business practices and policies to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Internet," said Michael Sansolo, FMI Senior Vice President. "The e-summit will allow retailers and manufacturers the opportunity to jointly explore the future of electronic commerce and to develop mutually beneficial strategies for reaching technologically-savvy consumers."

"There’s no question that electronic commerce will significantly change the way we do business with each other. The big question is how?" said GMA Senior Director of Industry Affairs Dave Mallon. "Realizing the full potential of e-business will require supply chain partners to rethink fundamental business processes, not simply transfer what we’re already doing to a new technology."

     Featured speakers include Ira Magaziner, former Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to the President and former co-chair of the White House Interagency Task Force on Internet Issues, who will address the impact of e-business on consumer privacy issues; Eric Johnson, Ph.D, Professor of Marketing, Operations and Information Management,
Wharton School of Business, who will examine the new business-to-consumer relationship
evolving through the Internet; Jack Stahl, President of Coca Cola USA, and Danny Wegman, President of Wegmans Food Markets, who jointly will discuss the new age of collaboration e-business is creating between manufacturers and food retailers; and John Hagel III, Principal of Interactive Multimedia Practice, McKinsey and Company, Inc., and acclaimed author of Net Worth: Shaping Markets When Customers Make the Rules, who will explore the rapid growth of Internet technology and its potential impact on the food retailing industry.

The conference program also includes a status report on UCCNet, the new industry Extranet being developed to enable manufacturers, distributors and other supply chain partners to communicate and retrieve instant information about inventory, product movement, invoicing and other critical business transactions. In separate sessions, pilot participants of two Internet-based applications — scan-based trading and collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment — will discuss the technological requirements, organizational structure, and financial benefits associated with these pioneer projects.

     On the consumer side, the e-business summit will analyze methods used by manufacturers and retailers to reach consumers via the Internet; Internet advertising opportunities for food and consumer product makers; the impact of e-commerce on "brick and mortar" retailing; and the standards needed to protect consumer privacy.

     The "e-business Summit" is geared towards industry executives responsible for development of corporate electronic commerce strategies. For more information, please contact GMA at 202/337-9400 (prj@gmabrands.com) or FMI at 202/452-8444 (ebusiness@FMI.org).