Revolutions begin with ideas, then discussion, followed shortly by action taken by those with vision and courage.  Recognizing its leadership role in the vending, coffee and foodservice industry, the Board of Directors of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has declared a revolution of its own, and is encouraging its members and those from related industries to join them in the effort. 

A shrinking workforce, economic uncertainty and the changing consumption patterns of consumers have all contributed to the “whys” of this revolution.  Recognizing those realities, the NAMA Board turned vision into action and put a plan in place to address these and other factors primarily threatening the vending industry and its suppliers.   

“Over the past year, we have had to start changing the way our industry thinks about itself,” said Craig Hesch, NAMA Board Chairman and Partner, A.H. Management Group, Rolling Meadows, IL.  “Now, each of us needs to step up and accept the challenges we face as business owners and industry leaders.  The bottom line is that if nothing changes, then nothing changes!”

Change Is All Around

Evidence of the revolution cited by NAMA includes:    - In 2009, the Board began implementation of a new strategic plan intended to reinvent the vending industry, drive operator profitability and growth, and change perceptions among customers, consumers, lawmakers, and news media – in short, everyone who “touches” the vending experience.
    - As part of that plan, a comprehensive program approved in 2008 was actively engaged to combine NAMA’s Spring Expo and National Expo into The OneShowSM, signaling a major change in the history of the 50-year-old Spring show and 63-year-old National show.
    - A constant buzz about new technologies is audible throughout the industry: specific examples include new Vending Data Interchange standards, launched by NAMA in September 2009; the Diji-Touch machine from Crane Merchandising Systems, Kraft Foods and Samsung; and Coca-Cola’s new interactive vending machine featuring a large-format touch screen, among others.  The new machines promise a lasting change in the consumer vending experience.
    - Earlier this year, a very successful “Coffee Service & Vending Innovation Showcase” was held in Washington, D.C.  More than 500 Capitol Hill staffers got a chance to see the latest innovations in V-commerce, and the Washington Post followed with a positive article about the changing face of vending. “The Showcase was a real eye-opener for Hill staffers and media, and gave us a keen indication that this type of event could work well as a vending innovations ‘road show’ that we could stage in state capitols and large metro markets around the country,” said NAMA President & CEO Rich Geerdes.
    - As the industry’s representative and advocate, NAMA is hard at work negotiating with credit/debit card processing companies to make cashless payment options truly viable and affordable in the vending channel. 

“These exciting changes have been a long time in coming,” said Eddie Hicks, NAMA Chairman Emeritus and President, Prestige Services, Inc., Clifton Park, NY, “but they are essential to the future of our businesses, our families and the communities in which we live and work.” 

The OneShow: Bringing the Revolution to Life
NAMA’s leaders point to The OneShow, April 28-30, 2010, at McCormick Place West in Chicago, as a clear barometer of change. 

“The OneShow is the only place and time in 2010 that folks in the beverage, snack food, candy and coffee industries will be able to learn about the reinvention of our industry, to meet the key players behind it, and to see what’s causing all the excitement,” Geerdes said.   

The OneShow has been designed to help attendees discover new ideas for increasing their own sales and profits, find answers to some of their most pressing questions, and learn about new research findings that can help them build their businesses.

The OneShow education sessions – completely free to registered attendees – will offer practical, hands-on solutions that attendees can take away and implement immediately.  The brand new sessions will cover such topics as using social media to build business, “green” and sustainable solutions, advances in cashless vending, “the vending store of the future,” and a variety of government affairs issues.

At The OneShow, participants will enjoy face time with the industry’s top suppliers and see revolutionary innovations in products, services, equipment and technology that are changing the way vending works.  “A specially redesigned Expo show floor will feature wide aisles and specialty pavilions so they’ll be able to find exactly who and what they’re looking for,” said LyNae Schleyer, NAMA’s Director of OneShow & Education. 

Plus, the show floor will be dotted with iSpots, a brand new emblem that’s designed to indicate what’s new, innovative and notable among exhibitors.  Not only will the new iSpots create a visual celebration of innovation on the OneShow floor, but they will also enable attendees to literally locate what’s new each year as they walk the show floor.  All iSpot entries will be evaluated by an independent judging panel for eligibility to receive a NAMA Innovation Award, also new this year and intended to recognize the innovations that are changing our industry. 

The OneShow also promises to be fun!  The line-up of keynote speakers includes ABC “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and the two-time SuperBowl MVP Terry Bradshaw.  Plus, Mike Ditka will emcee NAMA’s Industry Awards ceremony this year, slated for Thursday, April 29.  In addition, the schedule allows for lots of networking and socializing – making the OneShow both fun and productive.

Registration – including all OneShow events and educational programs – is just $99 for NAMA members and $249 for non-members (until April 16, when the cost increases slightly).  And because it’s located in Chicago, one of the nation’s most accessible transportation hubs, nonstop airfares are as low as $300 roundtrip, and hotel room rates are as low as $129 a night.  “There’s certainly no other show that offers such value for the dollar,” said Geerdes.  “It’s a worthwhile investment that will pay attendees back again and again.

“This is the moment for everyone to get on board,” Geerdes continued.  “The vending revolution is underway, and the OneShow is our rallying point.  If you don’t want to be left behind, get yourself to the OneShow and join us on the path to change, growth and success!”