McLane, PDI Meetings Tackle Technology

Dual conferences share tools, ideas

SAN ANTONIO -- There was a time when convenience stores were considered the collective stepchild of the retailing industry. But if the McLane Retailer Technology Conference being held this week in San Antonio is any indication, that reputation certainly is not warranted from a technology point of view.

Events like this crystallize in my mind that convenience stores are a significant part of the channels that consumers recognize first and [they] are emerging as the winner, Roger Grogman, vice president of marketing for McLane Co., told CSP Daily News. [[image-nocss] C-store retailers] know what they're doing, and they're able to be what the customer wants them to be quicker than other channels that may not have the information. This is not an information-deprived channel at all, and the resources available to help clearlyas exemplified by PDIare there and are helping and it's really gratifying to see the results.

The conference, being held through tomorrow in conjunction with the PDI Users Conference & Training Seminar, aims to provide information on the effective use of McLane technology to increase its business partners' success. Educational workshops at the conference, which began Saturday, aim to provide value for all levels of retailers' business decision-makers, highlighting new application features, informative industry presenters, training sessions, discussion sessions and lab sessions.

Each year the value of technology continues to accelerate, and the awareness of that appears to be at an all time high, said Grogman, who noted record retailer attendance at the conference with nearly 500 retailers representing 75 chains on site. The advantages that can be achieved technologically are being seized by members of our community, which is very valuable.

While Grogman said retailers have shown great interest in the McLane Virtual Trade Show and the company's hand-held ordering system, he admits that he and his colleagues most welcome another type of take-away from such conferences.

In my opinion, some of the greatest learnings that we take away from this are the needs of our customersand ways we can present our technology and the things we can do to help them be successful, Grogman said. So we've got the skill set to do that which should be done, the direction and catalyst to provide a favorable outcome is what our customer brings to this.

Temple, Texas-based McLane Co. is the largest distributor of groceries and foodservice products to the convenience-store industry. From our 36 distribution centers, McLane services every state and county in the United States. For more about the McLane conference, visit

The PDI Users Conference & Training Seminar is designed to help retailers navigate their business journey with the tools they rely on every day. The PDI conferencewith the theme Get on Boardis a unique forum for the over 300 corporate customers who use PDI's software solutions to improve their skills and create lasting business relationships with other industry experts, according to the Temple, Texas-based company.

At The Industry Event 2007, we've found ways for you to get even more out of your conference experience: more in-depth topics, more knowledge sharing, and more time in sessions, the company stated. Learn more about PDI/Enterprise, PDI/RMS, and PDI/FocalPoint. Take advantage of more experts available to help you get more out of your PDI software solutions.

[Pictured: McLane/PDI meeting attendees view some of the newest technology offered by the companies.]

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