SCA Recap: National Restaurant Association’s Fall 2015 Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group Meeting

A few weeks ago, SCA Technologies was honored to serve as a platinum sponsor of the National Restaurant Association’s Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group Meeting in Orlando. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) maintains a number of stated goals for this event related to networking and education on supply best practices for the restaurant, food service and hospitality industry. The organization undoubtedly met those goals through its meticulously coordinated attendee interaction opportunities and compelling speaking agenda.

We found the presentations to be especially informative at this year’s event. Now that we’ve had some time to ruminate on the presentations, we wanted to share a brief recap of a few of them. You can register to view the event presentations here.

Hudson Riehle, the NRA’s Senior Vice President, Research and Knowledge Group, presented “Status of the Restaurant Industry in 2015 and Beyond.” In his presentation, Riehle noted that 2015 and 2016 are projected to show moderate restaurant industry growth, while job market and industry employment advances continue. The presentation explored how food cost dynamics have improved, and local sourcing, ecofriendly, and ethnic dishes are key menu trends. Riehle stated that further technology integration will aid productivity and customer loyalty. Ultimately, the presentation demonstrated that the future of the restaurant industry looks positive—despite challenges—over both a short and long term.

David M. Friedman, Associate Commissioner for Prices and Living Conditions for the Bureau of Labor Statistics shared “Producer Price Index–Practical Uses for Supply Chain Management.” The Producer Price Index (PPI) program measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. Notably, Friedman delved into the uses of  PPI data as:

  • A basis to benchmark prices for businesses
  • A basis to benchmark prices for purchased inputs and/or output prices
  • An economic indicator
  • A basis for contract price adjustment

Friedman shared practical guidelines for the use of PPIs in contracts, including:

  • Establish the base selling price subject to escalation the base selling price subject to escalation
  • State the frequency of price adjustment
  • Specify that calculations of price adjustments shall always use the latest version of the PPI data published
  • Avoid locking indexes used for escalation into any particular reference base periods
  • Select an appropriate index or indexes
  • Specify that the selected index will not be seasonally adjusted
  • Identify clearly the selected index and cite appropriate source
  • Define the mechanics of price adjustment

For more information on the Producer Price Index (PPI) program, visit

The event’s “State of the Distribution Industry” panel delivered an informative discussion from some of the best minds focused on the food supply chain. Moderated by Matt Riddleberger, Vice President, Supply Chain for Firehouse Subs, the panel included participants from C.H. Robinson, Deloitte, Produce Alliance, SYGMA, and Technomic.

The discussion covered a variety of dynamics facing the food supply chain today, including:

  • Identifying sources that meet a number of demands: healthy, sustainable, variety, safe, local and cost-effective
  • Establishing strategic partnerships and local flexibility, with the right blend of geographic networks
  • Meeting shorter cycles and delivery times and more frequent drops, using a mix of modes
  • Understanding convenience trends that bring the last mile into focus
  • Managing a shorter shelf-life supply chain
  • Implementing interconnected technology platforms and data integration
  • Achieving inventory accuracy based on real-time event/promotion build-up
  • Meeting risk mitigation requirements for controls, continuity, redundancy, and multi-tiered visibility
  • Ensuring supply chain monitoring and information flow with suppliers

These and all of the presentations shared during the event, combined with the unparalleled networking opportunities, demonstrate why this a top event for SCA every year. We look forward to the NRA Supply Chain Management Executive Study Group spring event, May 19-20, 2016 in Chicago. We hope to see you there!