AT the opening of the recent 2017 IFDA Distribution Solutions Conference (DSC), John Tracy, vice-chairman of the IFDA board of directors and executive chairman of Dot Foods Inc, briefed attendees about a long-term strategic plan that IFDA will implement over the next three years and beyond.
Tracy said that while IFDA has been working on long-term initiatives since 2003, only recently was IFDA in a position to formalize those initiatives.
“That is primarily because when we broke away from NAWGA (National-American Wholesale Grocers Association), our primary mission was to get financially stable enough to make long-term investments,” said Tracy.
Thanks to IFDA member companies and other partners, said Tracy, IFDA reached a point in 2016 to work with Deloitte on a strategic plan that includes six pillars:
Moving ahead, Tracy said significant added investments in speakers will elevate DSC and all IFDA conferences. He also said the goal is to make the DSC not only the go-to event for operations education in foodservice distribution, but also the go-to operations event in all food distribution.
Tracy said the second pillar of the strategic plan is helping IFDA members in the area of technology.
Like technology, Tracy said talent is a fundamental consideration in any current strategic plan. In relation to the strategic plan, IFDA has made investments in new personnel in both insights and communications. But the larger focus, said Tracy is to help members in their efforts for talent.
“Information is power,” said Tracy. “We need to put into your hands more information, more insights, and more research.” In some cases, that will mean supplying insights where IFDA has done the sorting and filtering so members receive information that is more immediately actionable.
Tracy said government relations is a bedrock function of IFDA, and has been since 2003. But there are challenges. “There’s a lot more clutter, a lot more noise, and it’s getting harder to be heard in Washington,” said Tracy. “We need to be in a position where we not only amplify our voice, and really get to the critical legislative and regulatory issues that impact us — but we need to provide you with information and tools so that you can be part of that voice, so that you can take that message to your local legislator.” Communications
Tracy said the final point supports all five of the other pillars—and that is communications. To that end, IFDA has added a new position of director of communications, and recently hired Meghan Cieslak in that role.
For more information on the new strategic plan, contact IFDA President and CEO Mark Allen at 703-532-9400, or by email at [email protected]