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From The Field - Brian Ward

Brian WardBrian Ward, co-founder and chief editor/associate publisher, has brought an enthusiasm for machinery to E&S publishing for nearly 20 years. That "gearhead" interest in how things work shows in FER's informal, candid style that "talks" to readers the way they talk with each other. He serves on the NAFEM Technical Liaison Committee as well as the advisory board of the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif.


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NAFEM, The Show, And The Year Ahead

December 01, 2010

Well, 2010 is just about closed out, and we’re looking at a new year ahead. Time to review and strategize.

This year’s been a rough one for most of us, better than 2009, for sure, but still not what we’d aim for. The foodservice market’s been a challenge. Budgets have been tight. Some of you are still trimming staffs, and some very well accomplished, well respected facilities and equipment people have become free agents recently.

The Energy Star program in foodservice, too, is having troubles. For the details, see our news coverage on p. 10. In short, new, complex and expensive procedures for certification and periodic re-certification  look onerous and threaten participation. After 10 years of steady progress, Energy Star now is looking like a runaway truck with a blown tire and a stuck throttle.

Regulatory pressures from every direction—food safety, menu labeling, technical codes, etc.—continue to grow increasingly complex.

Which is not to say woe is us. But it does mean there’s good reason to chew some caffeine gum and stay heads-up.

You can start by marking your calendars for Feb. 10-12, 2011, and going to The NAFEM Show in Orlando, Fla.  If there’s one single place you can go to equip yourself and your company for the challenges ahead, the biennial equipment and supplies show put on by the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers is it. The show, which attracts 500 or more equipment and supplies exhibitors and about 20,000 attendees, is especially valuable because it’s so concentrated. It’s all E&S, or FF&E, depending on your personal terminology. That means you’re not spending precious time racing past cookie-dough vendors or elbowing through crowds of food shoppers. You can make the most of every minute.

And the show offers some great additional features as well. The Global Networking Event is just that—a great evening networking opportunity. The What’s Hot! What’s Cool! Pavilion is an impressive, concentrated display of the newest, most innovative products at the show. Educational seminars abound.

In short, The NAFEM Show is the place to go to see new technologies and make new connections that will make you better at your job.

Not to mention it’s a show that helps fuel the industry’s efforts in a lot of other ways. When you register for The NAFEM Show, you help NAFEM in its efforts to gather and disseminate information on anything and everything that impacts you and your job. You’d be amazed what NAFEM committees are working on all the time. Some of those meetings are downright scary. We know. We’re in some of them.

NAFEM tracks national and international regs, for example, from building, plumbing, electrical and gas to heavy-metal and other environmental regulations. You think you’re not under pressure? Think again.

NAFEM lobbies for manufacturers and for the whole foodservice industry where facilities and equipment issues become legal matters. Right now, for example, NAFEM is gathering input from the industry and working hard to communicate common concerns to Energy Star. If not NAFEM, then who?

And there’s plenty to keep track of these days, from food-safety and NSF standards to WEEE/RoHS type issues, fats-oils-grease and more.

So sign up for The NAFEM  Show at thenafemshow.org and get involved in industry issues. You and your company have a lot at stake.

 

Brian Ward

Chief Editor

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