Best Practices For Today’s Times

Your guide to the International Foodservice Distributor Association’s annual event.

Baltimore is one of America’s great historic ports. Known by locals as “Charm City,” the city is a perfect location for the annual Distribution Solutions Conference, hosted by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).

Several hundred foodservice distributors will head to Maryland to attend the event, which will take place Oct. 19 to 21 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The convention center and conference hotels are adjacent to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which includes many restaurants, historic ships and Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner. Places to visit around the harbor include the Baltimore National Aquarium, the Baltimore Maritime Museum and Little Italy.

Themed “Best Practices for Today’s Times,” the conference enables attendees to learn about practices that can be implemented now to improve efficiency and to see the latest in warehousing and transportation hardware, technology and services.

Supported by UniPro Foodservice Inc., Progressive Group Alliance, F.A.B. Inc., Frosty Acres, Federated Foodservice, Bellissimo Foods and the Independent Marketing Alliance, the conference provides an opportunity to meet counterparts from across the industry.

Some of the highlights of this year’s event include:

Expo—New Resources and the Latest Solutions: Distribution Solutions is what the conference exposition is all about, providing foodservice distribution professionals with an opportunity to see suppliers and service providers that support the operational side of the industry. Two days of exhibit hours provide an opportunity to find solutions that add to the bottom line and help serve customers better.

Vendors showcasing the latest in warehousing and transportation hardware and technology, as well as engineering, consulting, construction services, and more are available during Expo hours on Monday and Tuesday.

Workshops—Hot Topics and On-Target Resources: The conference’s five educational tracks offer practical take-away knowledge for executives with responsibilities in operations, transportation, human resources, technology and supply chain.

From the latest ways to squeeze costs out of operations to leveraging technologies and meeting human resource challenges, more than 40 sessions will help attendees make better, more informed decisions.

Networking: Meet People You Won’t Meet Elsewhere: The conference provides opportunities to expand professional contacts and talk with peers who deal with the same challenges. Some of the many opportunities to network include breakfast tables identified by discipline area, receptions, lunch events, breaks between sessions and discussions with peers who speak at the conference.

Member companies of IFDA as well as every major buying group attend this conference, providing an invaluable networking opportunity that can’t be found at any other foodservice distribution event.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, join friends and colleagues for a fun-filled reception at the Maryland Science Center and the Dinosaur Mysteries Exhibit, where you can enjoy refreshments with a T-Rex. The reception overlooks Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and includes beverages as well as hors d’oeuvres. This is an ideal opportunity to meet industry counterparts in a relaxed setting.

New this year—One-Two Punch Sessions: Designed to help attendees plumb the depths of some of the industry’s hottest topics. Following a formal presentation, a discussion leader will take over in a follow-up session for dialogue. Please note, space is limited to 20 attendees for the roundtable portion and is filled on a first come, first served basis at the session location. These sessions include:

Best Routing Practices;

Top Five Safety Concerns and How to Deal with Them;

Cost-Saving Ideas through Technology;

Top Purchasing Pain Points and How to Heal Them.

The conference provides education for foodservice distributors, with timely topics for broadline, systems and specialty distributors. Whether you have a single facility or distribute on an international scope, you will find education at this conference that meets your needs.

General Sessions

Get answers from industry leaders in educational sessions.

Sunday Opening Session with Forbes Publisher and Author Rich Karlgaard

Entrepreneur Rich Karlgaard shares cutting edge perspectives on technology, economic development and the future in his monthly “Digital Rules” column. The ’09 conference opens with an engaging message from the publisher of the world’s most popular business and financial magazine.

Closing Session with Hall of Fame Washington Redskin Darrell Green

A legendary cornerback, proponent of youth development, and once the fastest man in the NFL, Darrell Green was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2008 in his first year of eligibility. One of the most respected men to ever play the game, Green will share his message on integrity, civic duty, personal responsibility, commitment and diligence.


The industry’s hottest topics come together in one educational forum.

Operations Track:

  • Key Methods to Increase Throughput
  • Optimizing Your Operation in a Downturn
  • Ways to Optimize the Energy Performance of Your Distribution Center
  • To Be or Not To Be: Selecting a Labor Management System
  • Supply Chain Collaboration in a Perfect World

Transportation Track:

  • Determining the ROI of Leasing vs.Owning
  • How Sustainable Efforts in Your Fleet Affect Your Bottom Line
  • How to Spec Your Tractor/Trailer for Energy Efficiency and Control
  • Life Cycle Costing
  • Driver Safety

Human Resources Track:

  • Using Selection Instruments to Improve Hiring
  • Taming the “Lead Foot”: Train Your Drivers on Fuel Efficiency
  • Making a Connection: Effective Assessments of Employee Opinions
  • Legislative Update
  • Supervisor Training

Information Technology Track:

  • Aligning IT with Business Strategies
  • Decentralized vs. Centralized IT
  • (Expo Session) The Right Steps to Paperless Delivery
  • (Expo Session) Routing Technology Updates
  • (Expo Session) Improvements Made Using Voice Technology and Scanning:
  • Actual Results

Supply Chain Track:

  • Inventory Management Methods to Better Influence Purchasing
  • Ways to Optimize the Energy Performance of Your Distribution Center
  • Supply Chain Collaboration in a Perfect World
  • Bridging the Gap between Purchasing and Operations
  • Traceability: An Industry-Led Initiative