IFDA conference focuses on efficiencies, best practices

This Year's Foodservice Distribution Conference & Expo will address key issues surrounding efficiency, information technology, transportation, distribution center operations, human resources, and the supply chain. Sponsored by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), it features more than 40 educational sessions, plus an operations-focused exposition of the newest offerings by suppliers and service providers.

General sessions include a political outlook on the November elections by a noted authority on US politics, and a panel of industry leaders who will provide a strategic view of operations and insights on opportunities that exist in today's challenging times.

There also will be a Fuel and Energy Summit to discuss the changing fuel and energy landscape. Facility tours are scheduled for Sysco Food Services of Pittsburgh, US Foodservice Greensburg Division, and the Heinz Innovation Center.

The event, themed Bridges to Success, is taking place October 12-14 in the “City of a Thousand Bridges,” Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Located in the hub of Pittsburgh's cultural, business, and entertainment district, the Center is the first and largest certified “green” convention center in the world.

Pittsburgh, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary with a year-long celebration, features 89 historic and ethnically distinctive neighborhoods, diverse cuisine, history, and more than 70 miles of urban riverfront - more than any other inland port city in America. Once referred to as “the Smoky City” because of its sooty factories, Pittsburgh has been transformed from an industrial center to a leader in science and technology.

Pittsburgh got its name in November 1758, when a British and Colonial army led by General John Forbes occupied the ruins of the former French fort, Fort Duquesne. Forbes named the new settlement after British Prime Minister William Pitt.


The event's educational sessions have been designed for practical take-away knowledge for attendees to help them tackle current issues that drive competitiveness and long-term profitability. Among the sessions planned:

Operations — Addresses improved efficiency in operations, order selection, technology, and a host of other issues affecting distribution center facilities. Matters to be discussed include:

  • Key components of high performance operations.

  • Identifying purchasing KPIs (key performance indicators) from an operations perspective.

  • Lowering operating expenses.

  • How to successfully implement voice into your warehouse

  • Food security.

  • Slotting to improve warehouse operations.

  • Maximizing efficiencies of the small warehouse.

  • Incorporating the concepts of Leadership in Energy And Environmental Design (LEED) into your facility.

  • Six-sigma methodology and better decision making.

  • Improving safety and damage management to reduce costs.

  • The next generation of voice technology.

  • Making sustainable choices for your warehouse.

  • Engineered labor standards in a voice-picking environment.

  • Evaluating effectiveness in inbound logistics.

Transportation — Addresses issues affecting foodservice fleet operations including technology, cost control, regulations, and more. Matters to be discussed include:

  • 2010 engines: what you need to know.

  • Key transportation metrics.

  • The role of safety culture in preventing commercial vehicles crashes.

  • Driver training practices.

  • Fleet management/maintenance costs.

  • Backhaul opportunities using existing fleet.

  • Driving down transportation costs.

  • The next generation of onboard computers.

Technology — Addresses key issues for IT professionals and provides insights for operations professionals who want to better understand IT's role and potential. Matters to be discussed include:

  • Pain points between IT and operations.

  • How to build an IT infrastructure to support operational technologies.

  • Executive reporting systems.

  • Future trends in technology.

  • Why software solutions become good investments in slow economic times.

Human Resources — Addresses recruitment, cost management, training, and other key issues affecting distributor human resources. Matters to be discussed include:

  • Maintaining a union-free environment.
  • Recruiting and retention best practices.
  • Screening techniques for supervisors.
  • Buying healthcare in today's market.
  • Wellness programs.
  • Building a cross-functional team.
  • Supervisor training for a non-union environment.

Supply Chain — Addresses key issues for executives working to unlock supply chain potential for improved efficiencies. Matters to be discussed include:

  • Score cards.

  • Improving the manufacturer/buyer/operations triangle.

  • Mutual pain points between suppliers and distributors.

  • Matching pallet layer to reduce handling costs.

  • Increased advantages of EDI.

Convenience Distribution — Addresses issues of foodservice interest to c-store distributors including handling perishables, cube utilization, and more. Matters to be discussed include:

  • Maximizing the cube utilization of the warehouse.

  • Activity-based costing for the C-Store segment.

  • Using foodservice programs to build profits in C-stores.

  • Dealing with refrigerated/perishable products.

A number of workshop sessions will include a highly interactive roundtable format with small group discussions on industry hot topics.

The opening general session for Bridges to Success features a presentation by Charlie Cook, widely regarded as one of the nation's leading authorities on US elections and political trends. He will share his insights on the November elections and the direction of American politics.

There will be a panel of industry leaders who will provide a strategic view of operations and actions their companies are taking to achieve operational efficiencies in today's challenging times. Participants include Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution president Jeff Braverman, Ben E Keith Foods president Mike Roach, McLane Foodservice Distribution president Tom Zatina, and Pate Dawson Company CEO Mac Sullivan.

Rocky Bleier, a former running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be on hand to talk about being one's best. Told that he would never walk again after suffering crippling wounds to both legs in Viet Nam, not only did he walk, he went on to become an NFL great who contributed to four Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl victories.

Bleier will share his remarkable story of courage and his insights on overcoming challenges.

A Fuel and Energy Summit will cover the changing fuel and energy landscape, fuel purchasing options, steps being taken by OEMs and distributors to reduce fuel consumption, warehouse designs to reduce energy consumption, alternative fuels, and environmental mandates.

Agenda (Subject to change without notice.)

Saturday, October 11
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm Conference registration
Sunday, October 12
6:30 am - 5:00 pm Conference registration
7:00 am - 7:45 am Breakfast buffet
8:00 am - 9:15 am Opening general session: The 08' Elections and the Balance of Power, with Charlie Cook
9:30 am - 10:30 am Concurrent workshops
10:45 am - 11:45 am Concurrent workshops
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Expo opening luncheon
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Exhibits open
2:00 pm and 3:00 pm Expo panel sessions (30-minute sessions on the Expo floor)
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Expo reception
Monday, October 13
6:30 am - 5:00 pm Conference registration
7:00 am - 7:45 am Breakfast buffet
8:00 am - 9:00 am General session: The Times They Are a-Changin' - Assessing the Economic and Environmental Impacts on the Industry
9:30 am - 10:30 am Concurrent workshops
10:45 am - 11:45 am Concurrent workshops
11:30 am - 4:00 pm Exhibits open
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Expo lunch
2:00 pm and 3:00 pm Expo panel sessions (30-minute sessions on the Expo floor)
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm US Foodservice facility tour
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm SYSCO and Heinz Innovation Center facility tours
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm Monday night networking reception
Tuesday, October 14
7:00 am - 11:30 am Conference registration
7:00 am - 7:45 am Continental breakfast
8:00 am - 9:00 am Concurrent workshops
9:15 am - 10:15 am Concurrent workshops
10:30 am - 11:30 am Closing general session: Be the Best You Can Be, with Rocky Bleier
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm Post-conference Energy Summit


As of late July, exhibitors for the Expo include:

A M King Construction
A Epstein and Sons Int'l
AFS Technologies
Allison Transmission
Apex Logistics Group
Appian Logistics Software
Artex Risk Solutions
BFC Associates
Boston Rack
Bustin Industrial Products Booth # 927
(See ad page 13)
Cadec Global
Carrier Transicold
CMC Associates
Crusader Staffing Associates
Dade Service Corporation
Dematic Corporation.
Digiscribe International
Diversified Logistics
DL Manufacturing
Eclipse Advantage
Engineered Products
FG Products
Fleetboss GPS
Food Facility Engineering
Food Tech
Freightliner Corporation
General Services of Virginia
Gleeson Constructors
Great Dane Trailers Booth # 121
(See ad page Cover 4)
Grote Industries
H & M Bay, Inc.
HCR (Division Jamison Door Company)
Hyster Company
Innovative Refrigeration Systems
Interlink Technologies
International Truck and Engine
IRM Corporation
ITW Insulated Products
J. J. Keller & Associates
JACOBS Engineering
Kalman Floor Company
Leo A Daly
Lesesne Industries
LMS Intellibound
Lucas Systems
Magline Booth # 113
(See ad page 11)
Manhattan Associates
Mi-Jack Systems & Technology
National Packaging Specialists
Old Dominion Freight Line
Orion Energy Systems
PACCAR Leasing Company
PLM Trailer Leasing Booth # 407
(See ad page 19)
Primus Builders
Psion Teklogix
ROM Corporation
Randall Manufacturing
Rapid Ramp by Thermo King Northwest
Refrigerated Transporter Magazine Booth # 1109
(See ad page Cover 3)
Rehrig Pacific Company
Retalix USA
Rytec Corporation
Samco Freezerwear
SAP America, Inc.
Save-A-Load, Inc.
Silver Eagle Manufacturing
Speech Interface Design
StarTrak Systems
Steel King Industries
Summary Systems
Superior Tire & Rubber Corp.
Supply Chain Intelligence
Syntelic Solutions Corporation
Systems Application Engineering
Target Data Systems
TEAM Group.
Tegrant Corporation - ThermoSafe Brands
Tennant Company
The Fricks Company
The Hollingsworth Companies
The Raymond Corporation
The Sterling Truck Corp
Thermo King Booth # 420
(See ad page 7)
Thomas M Williams and Associates
Tippmann Group/Interstate Warehousing
TKO Dock Doors
TODCO Booth # 211
(See ad page 43)
top-VOX Corporation
Transervice Logistics
Unarco Material Handling
UniPro Foodservice
UPS Logistics Technologies
Utility Trailer Manufacturing
Volvo Trucks North America
Waltco Hydraulic Liftgates
WeatherGuard by Refrigiwear
Weber/Smith Associates
Whiting Door Manufacturing Booth # 914
(See ad pages 26-27)
World Information Systems
Wyse Industrial Carts
XATA Corporation
Yale Materials Handling Corporation

For additional details, access www.ifdaonline.org or phone 703-532-9400.

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