Inside This Issue - Opinion
Wasson: NACDS gears up for next generation of trade shows
August 27th, 2012
by Greg Wasson
At the NACDS Annual Meeting this past spring, I talked a lot about the “wellness kick” that is sweeping the nation. Consumers are looking for ways to improve their total health — physically and emotionally. Community pharmacy is uniquely positioned to help patients achieve total health, and now we have an even greater opportunity to take it to the next level.
NACDS had the foresight to embark on a new concept in trade shows — the NACDS Total Store Expo. For the first time the pharmacy; health and wellness; consumer goods; distribution and logistics; and technology aspects of the retail and supplier communities will come together in one major event.
Debuting in less than a year in Las Vegas — August 10 to August 13, 2013 — the NACDS Total Store Expo will unify the NACDS Marketplace Conference, NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference and the NACDS Supply Chain & Logistics Conference. The result is one experience that is, at the same time, a trade show, a strategic and tactical exchange, and an educational opportunity.
Following more than a year of ongoing dialogue and a formal outreach program with NACDS members, the NACDS board of directors approved what is in many respects the next generation of trade shows.
Out of this collaborative effort we outlined several important objectives for this new event: Maintain and even increase the time and access needed for retailers and suppliers to do business; ensure that NACDS’ meetings are spaced more strategically throughout the year; create opportunities to address strategies across the store and across the industry, such as those related to health and wellness; ensure the lineup of meetings presents value to all NACDS members; incorporate greater opportunities for discussion of supply chain and logistics; and mirror the cutting-edge way in which NACDS members lead their businesses, with innovative business forums that keep NACDS at the forefront of association and conference trends.
In all of its conferences and meetings NACDS consistently keeps its finger on the pulse of the industry, ensuring value and ROI for attendees, and honing that value and ROI for each event. Many of the valuable programming and educational components found in past NACDS conferences will be enhanced for the Total Store Expo:
• The Meet the Market program — which has become a staple of the NACDS Marketplace and Pharmacy & Technology Conferences — will continue as one of the NACDS Total Store Expo’s value-added services. I can tell you from experience that this program’s ability to pair retailers and first-time and new-product exhibitors for one-to-one meetings to discuss business opportunities is invaluable. More than 270 buyers, representing more than 85,000 top retail outlets and pharmacies, are expected to participate in the NACDS Total Store Expo’s Meet the Market program.
• Also incorporated from the Marketplace Conference into the NACDS Total Store Expo is the Meet the Retailer program, which provides suppliers firsthand insights into how to do business with retailers.
• Focused education programs will enable attendees to learn about compelling industry trends, find solutions for greater business efficiencies and technologies, and provide continuing pharmacy education credits. This programming will include interdisciplinary sessions for all attendees.
While many aspects of current NACDS conferences will be incorporated in the NACDS Total Store Expo, NACDS again will lead the way in marrying innovation and change under one roof:
• The exhibit floor will boast sections that NACDS is calling “Centers of Excellence” — Pharmacy & Technology; Health & Wellness; Retail Merchandising and Services; and Supply Chain and Logistics — unifying these key industry segments in a world-class exhibit hall. Under each center, exhibitors will introduce or preview the newest products, technology solutions and programs for retailers.
• Interactive educational resources will further demonstrate the importance of innovation as a tool in day-to-day business and meeting consumers’ needs. The conference will also launch two new areas, the “Center of Learning” and “Innovation Zone,” to provide timely insights and thought-provoking information for attendees.
• To further demonstrate the importance of the NACDS Total Store Expo for the industry, the NACDS board of directors will meet during the event, increasing its number of board meetings per year from two to three.
We have enormous opportunity to evolve community pharmacy as an industry and change the face of health care to one that supports total health and wellness for consumers. To be successful, we need to think about all aspects of the store as a cohesive unit.
NACDS has provided an invaluable forum for retailers and suppliers to collaborate, for the ultimate good of patients and consumers. Join me at the NACDS Total Store Expo from August 10 to August 13, 2013, in Las Vegas and experience the opportunity.
GREG WASSON is the president and chief executive officer of Walgreen Co. and the current NACDS chairman.