With in-person conferences currently a no-go during the coronavirus pandemic, FMI-The Food Industry Association this summer plans to hold a virtual event to foster grocery and food industry interaction.
Called the FMI Midsummer Strategic Executive Exchange, the event will launch in early July and leverage a new, virtual trading partner platform, as used in the association’s Strategic Executive Exchanges, FMI said Monday. The program is aimed at accelerating business recovery and streamlining supply chain collaboration, FMI noted.
“COVID-19 has provided FMI members a vivid reminder of the need for enhanced communications and planning and has proven that agility and speed are the new normal as companies seek to stabilize their business operations and better prepare for a future filled with unknowns,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a statement. “To help facilitate addressing these industry needs, I am pleased to announce a unique, virtual, strategic opportunity for trading partner collaboration to identify, prioritize and address the industry’s most pressing business issues.”
Plans call for FMI Midsummer 2020 to kick off with a keynote presentation on July 7 and run over eight business days in two rounds, from July 7 to 10 and then from July 13 to 16. FMI said the collaborative technology platform will offer participants 48 meeting time slots via, allowing retailers and suppliers to pick the dates, times and the number of meetings that best meet their availability and needs over the course of the event.
FMI Midsummer 2020 is open to FMI members from retail, wholesale, consumer products companies and suppliers who sell food, beverage and nonfood products. FMI said those interested need to sign up by May 22 to reserve a spot and then register by June 2. FMI and its technology partner will provide participants with online live and on-demand training tutorials for the platform, with a focus on the virtual meeting room features. Technical support will be available before and throughout the event, according to FMI.
“The possibility of focused, private online meetings with multiple company teams over the course of a few days is an excellent opportunity for trading partners to regroup, discuss business challenges, opportunities and anticipate post-pandemic shifting consumer shopping behaviors,” commented Mark Baum, senior vice president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer at FMI.
FMI added that the Midsummer program offers business continuity and complements the upcoming FMI Annual Business Conference scheduled for Sept. 13 to 16 in Dallas — at which top executives across the food retail value chain collaborate in private meetings, hosted by CPG supplier partners — and the 2021 Midwinter Executive Conference, slated for Jan. 22 to 25 in Phoenix.