Highlights from NRF 2023: Evolution, Resilience, and Service
The chilly weather of New York City did not cool the enthusiasm at the National Retail Federation's 2023 tradeshow, "Retail’s Big Show," which was held at the Javits Center in midtown Manhattan January 14-17, 2023. Almost 16,000 industry professionals from around the world gathered at this year’s flagship event of the NRF. More than 6,000 retailers representing around 2,500 unique brands were courted by companies of all types during the 3-day expo, with an air of optimism despite the uncertain economic conditions as we head into the new year.
Dominating the event was the presence of technology in every handshake, each vendor booth, and the many speaker sessions. On the food side of retail, technology was particularly focused on three themes: evolution and journey, resilience and risk management, and customer service and employee loyalty.
Evolution and Journey
There's no doubt the industry is still calibrating after the impact of the 2020 pandemic. Long-term investment into technology is being seen as a critical measure to ensure continued market share, lowered operational costs, and a stronger competitive edge in today's constantly changing business environment. The sunsetting of disparate legacy systems in exchange for a single, centralized, integrated platform is the trend over having siloed solutions.
The recent merger of FoodLogiQ and ESHA Research fits perfectly into this industry direction, where companies of all sizes can upgrade their old processes with technology that brings more value and benefits from a one-stop solution. Having food and supplement formulation, compliant labeling, supplier management, document compliance, audits and assessments, quality incident management, recall communications, and whole chain transparency all under a single, integrated brand is a great example of where the industry is heading.
Resilience and Risk Management
No retail company was left unscathed by the pandemic over the past three years. Business closures, supply chain shortages, shifting customer demands, the rising cost of goods, and changes in ordering and processing transactions have all spurred on the demand for advanced technology. But with technology also comes security risks. Food safety, quality assurance, IT and risk management are collaborating to ensure flexibility and strength of the supply chain with the presupposition that challenges still loom ahead. Companies are seeking cross-functional solutions that contribute to increased visibility and more effective communications to improve response times.
Luckily, our solutions fit well within this theme, too. FoodLogiQ’s enterprise-level Connect platform is uniquely designed to bring the supply chain closer through transparency of product movement, the ease of data transmission, and the flow of dialog between trading partners. Better visibility and communication can strengthen companies during turbulent times.
Customer Serviceand Employee Loyalty
The use of the word “service” is more than just a nod to this being a gathering of service industry professionals. The intent of this common thread among presenters was not only to understand what the customer needs, but to be agile enough to pivot quickly to continually meet the expectations of the shifting market conditions and challenges.
Technology is being touted as the essential tool to offset tight labor market needs, which resultantly allows for more investment into ensuring guest satisfaction and increasing customer loyalty by relieving full time employees of tasks that can be automated and streamlined. Better tools also attract better employees, and top talent are now demanding the best technology to be successful.
FoodLogiQ, as an industry leader with a full-platform solution, is able to provide savings on labor costs in hiring and training, while simultaneously increasing accuracy of data and transparency of the supply chain. Plus, our platform solution offers a simplified supplier onboarding, so even those not employed with your business (but working closely with it along the supply chain) can transition smoothly onto the platform. We help maximize productivity and empower industry leaders to be at their best.
Starting 2023 Off Strong
We'll likely see heightened discernment in 2023 as companies look to upgrade their tech stack. In reality, it’s less about the software solution than it is about the solution the software solves. This will bode well for companies who have been around for many years with proven results, like FoodLogiQ and ESHA.
Bruce Hoffmeister, SVP and CIO at Cracker Barrel perhaps summed it up best during his session at the NRF’s Food Service Tech Pavilion when he said, “Nobody cares about technology. They only care what technology can do for them."
Interested in seeing what FoodLogiQ or ESHA can do for you and your company? Let’s talk!