Companies in the consumer products industry, like many others, step into 2001 facing a series of challenges, from consolidation pressures to labor shortages. Likewise, the industry faces new opportunities for growth and innovation through rapidly advancing technology. Just as our member companies must adapt to our fast-paced new economy, we too must be flexible enough to anticipate and address the changing times.
It is from this mind-set that we decided to move forward late last year with plans for the Association of Sales & Marketing Companies to become a subsidiary of GMA (SN, 11/20).
With GMA's membership of the leading food, beverage and consumer products companies, and ASMC's membership of sales and marketing agents, and professional merchandising companies, we saw a number of natural synergies in this new alliance. First and foremost, GMA's alliance with ASMC makes practical sense to our members. Our members are essentially part of the same family, working with the retail and food service channels to successfully market and distribute food, beverages and consumer products. The new alliance will allow us to speak with a unified voice on industry issues, streamline the work of our industry committees, and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturer/sales agency relationships.
From an association perspective, merging the two groups will allow GMA to tap into ASMC's strengths in food service, general merchandise, and health and beauty care issues, in addition to sales and marketing insights. From a practical perspective, our alliance allows us to streamline costs and resources more effectively. While ASMC will remain a separate entity within GMA, retaining its name, board of directors and dedicated staff, both organizations will be located at GMA's headquarters in Washington, and our leadership will be strengthened with the addition of Mark Baum as GMA executive vice president and ASMC president. (See Page 16.)
In welcoming ASMC to the GMA family, we approach the new year anticipating a new era of progressive change. While our 93-year history and traditions remain strong, we must adopt a new sense of adaptability to our members' changing needs.
Our 2001 priorities cover issues ranging from the food and health debate, to the business potential of biotech, to using B2B exchanges. Behind each of these priorities, we've designed strategies and programs to help GMA members handle the challenging times -- and stay one step ahead of the emerging issues.
Companies in this industry are continually called upon to adapt to new challenges. We, too, must strive to be nimble and flexible in developing priorities and programs that help you address these challenges.