Carla Balakgie, the new president and CEO of NAMA got to address the members of the National Automatic Merchandising Association for the first time Wednesday, April 25, 2012. To a packed auditorium, Balakgie talked about how NAMA is there to help members seize and identify opportunities. Because cashless payment systems will be a big part of that, Balakgie's prior experience as CEO of Electronic Transactions Association will be helpful.
Balakgie called the industry vending and refreshment services, commenting it was a diverse industry with large, sometimes international companies as well as mom and pop operations. She traveled to different operations to learn about the industry and believes change is the air. There are forces in the broader business environment affecting vending and refreshment services, she said, including social media, loyalty programs and other apps. It's difficult to change the way we think about business when battling to keep margins up, but Balakgie asked attendees to take one idea away from this show and implement it in their business.
Balakgie mentioned the industry growth strategy (IGS) and how its goal was to revitalize growth in the industry with a better image of vending among consumers, especially generation Y. The Gratitude tour drew lots of positive media cover, all positive. "It helped tell our story," said Balakgie.
She also discussed NAMA's commitment to the coffee, tea and water service segment of the industry. Besides the fall CTW show, NAMA plans to help foster growth in the "on-premises sale of refreshment services" with targets messages to the audience and more aggressively associate itself with events such as national coffee week.
"Government affairs remains mission critical," said Balakgie. The level of federal legislation in this country hasn't been so high since the 1930s. She mentioned the ADA accessibility guidelines, the upcoming calorie disclosure ruling, pending coin and currency redesign, lowering transaction costs of payments and rallying against taxes that affect the operators bottom ling.
Balakgie clarified how NAMA will serve its members in the future.
- Advocacy, advocating in government affairs, industry affairs and company affairs.
- Knowledge, being the go to resource for critical business intelligence, whether it's white papers, news briefs or best practices.
- Education, being the thought leadership and identifying trends and issues that impact vending and refreshment services business.
- Networking, using the power of associations whether it's b2b or individual networking to go beyond our business.
Finally, Balakgie announces a new capital campaign, Positioning for Growth with will help achieve the four goals she set forth, especially Advocacy, research with actionable data of the industry, and through leadership with enhanced education and business strategies.