Coming in 2023: IFDA Learning Exchanges – a new and improved program based on long-running IFDA Share Groups. This new program will feature a more comprehensive approach to these intimate peer-to-peer forums, where foodservice distribution professionals discuss effective solutions to and ideas around their everyday opportunities and challenges.
Under their new umbrella name, the meetings will remain 100% peer-driven discussions, with agendas consisting of specific questions, issues and topics submitted by participants from several different disciplines. All participants are encouraged to ask questions and share their processes and experiences with those specific issues with the group in the meetings. The events also offer unparalleled opportunities to network with professionals from within their own field and across organizations, building connections that serve participants throughout the year.
The IFDA Learning Exchanges program will include one stand-alone meeting focused on operations, technology/IT, HR and finance in June; one meeting focused on sales and marketing in conjunction with IFDA SMart in July; and one meeting focused on transportation held in conjunction with IFDA’s Truck Driving Championship in October. Meeting participation is exclusive to professionals at IFDA-member foodservice distribution companies.
But don’t take our word for it – this is what participants in previous meetings are saying:
“As someone who is new to the foodservice industry, I found [these meetings] incredibly beneficial. In my day-to-day, I don’t see the issues faced by Operations and IT. I was able to learn what challenges are present in that area and learn how other companies are addressing them. It was also great to meet other Finance individuals to begin to build a network of individuals who face some of the same challenges that we do.”
  • Brenda Schwickerath, controller at Martin Bros. Distributing Co., Inc., in Cedar Falls, IA
“I have to say, that my owners didn’t mention that the size of the share groups would be as comfortably small as they were, but it was a refreshing surprise to be able to be heard ‘by’ my peers, as well as ‘from’ my peers in such a direct way. We were able to share best practices and procedures on many of the topics that were affecting us all on a day-to-day basis. Things from like, finding the right employees for the job, keeping our staffs motivated and engaged; to using the right computer system to fit our needs and its operational fit. Whether we have 70 employees or 700, we all had the same recurring issues and concerns for our businesses and that was encouraging to know we are not alone with these issues in Food Distribution and Operations.”
  • Chris Murray, Director of Human Resources at Schiff's Food Service, Inc., in Scranton/Taylor, PA
"[These meetings] are an excellent opportunity to discuss best practices, pain points, and fresh ideas with your peers in a more intimate setting. The moderated discussion keeps the schedule on point, while also broadening the topics with knowledge from the industry. You can expect to walk away with a greater sense of how your KPIs line up industry wide, and new ideas to bring back and implement."
  • Jim Hoss, Vice President, Transportation & Operations, Cash-Wa Distributing, in Kearney, NE

If you’ve attended IFDA Share Groups summer meetings before, you’ll find some familiar features as well as some new ones.

What stays the same:
  • The meeting format of 100% peer-driven agendas to discuss everyday challenges and opportunities.
  • The focus on operations, IT/technology, human resources and finance.
  • The unparalleled networking opportunities.
What’s new:
  • Consolidated discipline format to accommodate cross-over among many common discussion issues. While the focus will still be on the core topic areas, individual disciplines will not be broken out by day.
  • Three full meeting days, condensed from the previous four.
  • Registration will not be combined with the Distribution Solutions Conference, but Learning Exchange registrants will receive a discount on DSC registration.
  • Learning Exchanges will not be held at DSC 2023.

Monday, June 5
Full day meeting
Breakfast and lunch included
Welcome reception
Tuesday, June 6
Full day meeting
Breakfast and lunch included
Wednesday, July 7
Full day meeting
Breakfast and lunch included

Registration will open in early 2023.

IFDA Learning Exchanges will cover a truckload of topics set by participants, such as: