Reading the outstanding inaugural edition of SN Global (Oct. 11, 1993), I felt I was looking out a new window on the world of supermarketing.
It transported me back several years to a meeting with management expert Peter Drucker. The Food Marketing Institute's Strategic Planning Committee was discussing a vexing issue, and one of the members asked Peter how we should go about finding a solution.
Peter looked at the questioner, then out his window, and sat without speaking for more than a minute. Then he said, "Look out the window." Some of us got up to look, but Peter said, "No, no, look out the window that FMI has into the food industry, and you will find that somewhere members have already begun to create solutions. Then tell the rest of your members how."
How simple and how profound. Now SN Global has given us a broad and insightful new window. The first edition moved from Japan to South Africa to the Czech Republic, back to the United Kingdom and on to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The timing could not be better. When I stepped down as FMI president and chief executive officer last summer, I accepted the responsibilities in FMI's 1993-1995 Action Plan, Item 11: Develop a Total Strategy for FMI's International Role. An International Advisory Board is now developing that strategy.
Since the mid-1970s, FMI has become a part of the globalization phenomenon, with more than 250 members now in 61 countries. Those members have followed the technique historic to this industry: They have grown stronger by learning from one another how to serve the consumer better. In doing so, they have also purged our industry of cultural barriers.
We still have a lot to learn. The efforts of all who are in the business of sharing knowledge will be greatly enhanced by SN Global. We applaud you and wish you well.
Robert O. Aders retired last year as FMI president and CEO. He now chairs FMI's International Advisory Board. FMI, a trade association based in Washington, and Supermarket News are unaffiliated.