ARLINGTON, Va. — Longtime industry veteran Mark Baum has been named to spearhead a new collaboration initiative at Food Marketing Institute.
The association said last week that Baum will be senior vice president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer at FMI, a new role. In this newly designed function, Baum will work with chief executive officers at retailer, supplier, manufacturer and service provider companies “to help raise the bar on industry collaboration at all points of the food retail chain,” FMI said.
Baum, an industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience, was the president and CEO of the Association of Sales and Marketing Companies (ASMC) and, after leading the merger between ASMC and the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2001, was executive vice president of GMA. Later, he was a partner and managing director of the CPG/retail practice at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants. Most recently, Baum was the managing partner of MARCAT Group, a consulting firm specializing in business, market and customer development.
FMI said leading retailer and supplier collaboration is a key component of FMI’s new strategic plan. A first step of this component’s implementation will be to establish a broad-based retailer and supplier forum that will seek to create tighter industry connections to unify efforts and outcomes on topics of common interest.
“The Total Store Collaborations initiative is one of the major pillars of FMI’s strategic plan,” Baum told SN in an interview last week.
He said the initiative will “get us focused on categories wall to wall,” some of which “have been underserved in the past by the association.”
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He noted that while FMI has a strong track record in working on collaborative initiatives with industry partners in Center Store, and to some extent with health and beauty care and general merchandise suppliers, opportunities exist in the perimeter departments.
“Produce, meat, seafood — there are great opportunities to reach the suppliers in some of those categories,” Baum said, although he noted that they tend to be more highly fragmented.
“We are developing an infrastructure to bring all of them to the table on issues of substance that are going to lead to greater efficiencies, greater consumer shopping experiences, and greater trading partner collaboration as well,” he said.
In addition, he said he sees opportunities to expand FMI’s private-label initiatives.
“As members see the opportunity to expand in those assortments, we think there’s a greater opportunity for the association to play a role — not just in helping the members with their strategies, but also engaging with private-label manufacturers as well.”
Baum begins on July 31.
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