NACDS anticipates another successful conference in Boston this August.
Jim Whitman, senior vice president, member programs and services, is bullish about the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo (TSE), and if last year’s inaugural mega-show is any indication, he is right to express such confidence.
“TSE was very successful because it provided a lot of efficiencies for people,” said Whitman, “And this first year offered the opportunity for people to come together as a team and be able to meet with front end, pharmacy, and technology.” By launching TSE in August last year in Las Vegas, NACDS combined a number of its conferences to come up with a large multilayered trade show that showcased educational sessions and exhibits from all segments of the industry, while offering new networking opportunities for attendees across the marketplace. This year, TSE will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, from August 22 to 26, 2014.
While the trade show is large, Whitman feels that TSE is not only manageable but also provides unique opportunities for those who want to take advantage of exploring new areas, while at the same time accomplishing what they need to do for their own segment of the industry.
“There are huge benefits with attending TSE—it’s a large environment, but really it is small. If you want to focus on technology, you can. If you want to focus on front end or pharmacy, you can do that, too,” explained Whitman. But the beauty of having everyone at 1 large trade show—the “total” concept—is that individuals and company teams can learn about innovations and new techniques and products from other areas. The team approach is paramount in health care today, Whitman stressed, and TSE facilitates that idea with a motto of “teamwork, synergy, and execution.”
One indication of TSE’s high value is the 92% of past participants who said they would return this year in Boston. That’s a good sign, and the NACDS team is making it possible for attendees to plan for the conference well ahead with tools such as the website, www.tse.nacds.org, which provides updates on programming, exhibitors, and more.
The Boston show floor may look different from the one in Las Vegas, according to Whitman, but it will provide the same opportunities to network and learn about new technologies. And the innovative app developed for TSE will allow attendees direct access to every part of the show floor, and helps get them to their appointments efficiently and easily.
“We want to make it easier for people, no matter what they are doing. Our goal is that when people come to the show, it is almost second nature and they know where to go,” explained Whitman.
Communication is the name of the game as TSE registration is already in full swing. NACDS plans to keep in constant contact with registrants every step of the way up to the show and provides them with updates online. NACDS TV, a video resource, is also available now and will be used at the show itself to communicate information about Boston and conference details.
TSE attendees will also see the familiar “Meet the Market” and “Meet the Retailer” programs, which provide the opportunity for joint meetings and information gathering. “Insights Sessions” offer a broad perspective, and for some executives they offer the chance to see what is happening in pharmacy, for example, and to see first-hand what is working and new in the field. The Innovation Zone, now known as Vision 2023, will continue in the 2014 TSE trade show, along with the Pharmacy Connect program, so attendees can expect to meet suppliers and pharmacists as they work the trade show.
These programs, in conjunction with the exhibits and educational forums, provide a great deal of valuable information and maximize time out of the office, according to Whitman.
Ultimately, the success of TSE is very individualistic, and the NACDS team is working hard to make it a fruitful and positive experience for all attendees in this second year. For some, finding new products or suppliers is key, while for others, revisiting strategic plans based on new information makes the time spent worthwhile.
“We’ve looked at surveys and comments from TSE attendees, and find it gratifying that our members appreciate the work that has gone into this format,” said Whitman.
But he is not satisfied with simply resting on the success of the first year, and noted, “People thought it made good sense to come back. We are going to build on that.”