National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) - InTouch Magazine, Summer 2022

Summer 2022 • NAMA InTouch 9 In recent months, NAMA has developed a transformational advocacy agenda that reimagines what new opportunities look like for our industry, our customers and our consumers. For example, convenience services are an integral part of a healthy workplace that provides important benefits to employees. What if our customers received tax credits or grants for expanding access to unattended retail in the workplace, especially in underserved areas? What if health insurance providers offered preferred, discounted premiums to employers that provide better-for-you products in the workplace, driven by the NAMA Public Health Commitment for vending, pantry services and other industry service offerings? Our industry is continually investing in energy-efficient equipment and vehicles. What government programs can we access to provide funding and tax credits for these socially beneficial investments? How can we work with the education sector to create training and career paths for individuals who want to grow and succeed in our industry? These are just some of the ideas and opportunities NAMA is exploring that have the potential to deliver tangible, positive outcomes. Will they all come to fruition? Maybe not. But those that do will be significant wins for our industry and customers and will only take root if we push for them. So, it’s a new day and time to think big. Advocacy will also help define how technology continues to open new opportunities to serve customers. As a society, we tend to look at technology as something that changes the world, and there is some validity to that. But really, it’s the application of technology that makes a difference. My hope and belief are that new partners and technology will generate fresh approaches in our industry as a way to support ongoing processes and initiatives that move us forward. Seed capital from suppliers, government programs and other sources, coupled with our creative application of technology, can create a self-sustaining flywheel of innovation. Earlier, I mentioned the opportunity in energy efficiency and sustainability. It’s easy to look at new environmental mandates and view them only as threats. But it’s the world we live in, and there is only so much we can do as an industry to influence them. So, let’s flip this into an opportunity. We want to become part of the narrative on the positive side of sustainability. With potential subsidies for new equipment and continued advancements in technology, we can not only address the hydrocarbon issue but also enhance consumer engagement and the opportunities we have to deliver product to consumers. That’s the type of creative thinking we need. Ten years from now, our equipment base is going to look a lot different than it does today. Consumer engagement and consumer demand are going to drive that. If we can generate the resources to accelerate that timeline and build the right platforms, our industry has the potential to gain the competitive advantage over our competitors in all areas of foodservice. It’s a lofty task, but one I think that NAMA and the industry can achieve. News & Views