WASHINGTON, DC — February 9, 2005 — Implementation of radio frequency identification (RFID), the reality of data synchronization, the current state of transportation, and disaster recovery and contingency planning are among the topics that will be explored at the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2005 Distribution Conference, March 13-16, at the Omni Hotel, San Francisco, CA.

Utilizing breakout discussion groups and business sessions, the conference will provide an opportunity to investigate the latest trends and concerns in the logistics arena.

Jeffrey Noddle, chairman, president and CEO of SUPERVALU INC., will open the conference with a keynote address.   

“The material covered at this conference is indispensable for distribution, logistics and transportation representatives, given the complexities of today’s business environment,” said Gerry Greenleaf, vice president of distribution for Hannaford Bros. Co., and chair of FMI’s Distribution Conference Committee. “Never have the benefits of using technology and improving efficiencies been so vital, not only to success but survival in the food industry. This conference will provide attendees with the background, latest information and solutions they need moving forward.”

Session topics at the conference will include:

  • Radio Frequency Identification — The buzz around RFID tags is that they will revolutionize how supply chains are managed. Among the benefits are 24/7 views of material availability, the ability to better share real-time information with trading partners and the elimination of shrink. This session will focus on what business systems will need to be in place in order to take advantage of these benefits and how to prepare a company for RFID.

  • The Reality of Data Synchronization — Data synchronization will impact all retailers and their business partnerships. This session will examine synchronization’s status within leading organizations, the inbound logistics, outbound transportation and warehouse operations savings that can be realistically achieved, and the key lessons learned to date.

  • State of Transportation — In this session, an industry executive panel will discuss the current state of transportation, specifically in the food industry, with “real-world” experiences, issues, constraints and opportunities being explored, such as carrier industry consolidation, driver retention and hours of service. Participants will learn how technology infrastructure and the operating environment can limit and/or enable process improvement.

  • Disaster Recovery/Contingency Planning — Pre-planning is critical for enabling a company to quickly respond to any emergency. Aligning roles, responsibilities, and communication channels before disasters strike will allow companies to work outside the normal channels of operations so often required in emergencies. This session will discuss how flexible plans should provide guidance so that organizations can react quickly and appropriately to any calamity.

  • Controlling Energy Costs in Warehouse Operations — In this session, participants will learn about the latest technologies and equipment for space heating and cooling, energy management systems and lighting. The results of a recent re-lamping of a 500,000 sq. ft. grocery warehouse with the newest in fluorescent lighting will be shared. Anyone facing energy-rising energy costs won’t want to miss this session.

  • The Supermarket Industry Speaks — Despite tough times, the key to remaining a successful operator is finding opportunity through focusing on emerging consumer needs and consumer attitudes. This annual report on trends and issues impacting and changing the supermarket industry will cover such topics as sales and profit data, new store development, and a wide range of data on consumer shopping behavior.

The conference will feature a golf tournament and three networking receptions. For further information, please contact Pat Shinko (pshinko@fmi.org).