An Insider's View into FMI's 'Boardroom'

Recently FMI, in partnership with global consulting firm Oliver Wyman, jointly released a compilation journal of strategic insights to help senior executives successfully guide their companies in this ever-changing food retail environment.

Boardroom is comprised of original perspectives from leading experts in food retail on a selection of the most critical issues executives must confront in boardrooms across the country and around the world. We are excited to share a series of Q&As with various authors from papers included in the journal that will give an expanded perspective on a number of key topics.

The concept of Boardroom stemmed from our desire to more broadly package content presented to the FMI Board of Directors and from FMI's community of Senior Merchandising Executives (SME) Forum that offer significant insights in a efficiently packaged and compelling manner.

Over the last several years, Oliver Wyman and FMI have been collaborating as strategic partners, and together we created a great deal of intellectual capital—webinars, whitepapers and frameworks for business building opportunities—and were looking for a way of bundling it to present to food retailing executives and other industry stakeholders. As an annual journal, Boardroom includes relevant information with an extendable shelf life on priority food retail industry and related business issues of concern.

While the current edition of Boardroom covers industry issues pertaining to growth strategies, food waste and food safety, cyber and crisis management, and omnichannel challenges and opportunities, it is important to note that this content is member-driven. We interview CEOs and senior merchandising executives throughout the year to encourage peer-to-peer discussions, and presentations to leverage the insight to improve their business performance.

As I reflect on the topics in Boardroom, the No. 1 challenge for all companies is growth—or as I often say, "You'll never save your way to prosperity." Other topics are also very timely and directly impacting our businesses today; for example, cyber security and crisis management are permeating our industry across all channels and segments. For example, in today's social and digital environment and in a world of instant communication, crisis management is increasingly becoming just "management."

Since growth is the primary challenge—and opportunity—in food retail today, I can't think of a more critical area than the emerging consumer health economy. It is literally a multi-trillion dollar opportunity, and food retailers are poised to claim a big part of that marketplace. We believe health care will "go retail," and FMI members have many if not all of the assets to make this happen. Boardroom outlines what is required, how they can utilize their existing assets and what will be required to offer world-class capabilities. I would encourage you to explore more in our Boardroom compilation at And we are already building for the 2016 edition.

Mike Matheis, global industry association lead, Oliver Wyman: "We interview CEOs and SMEs throughout the year to make sure that any topics discussed are the most important issues for them and what they want to have peer-to-peer discussions about, leveraging the insights to improve their business performance."

David Waller, retail practice partner, Oliver Wyman: "If I think about the central challenge of retail, it is growth. There are at least three different tidal forces that are working against traditional retailers. You have the rise of discounters, emergence of online business models, and the trend toward consolidation. In many ways, we are interested in growth strategies because of the centrality of that challenge and how severe it is becoming for many players who have coasted for a while and are now in more precarious straits."

Jacqui Martinez, retail practice partner, Oliver Wyman: "Omnichannel is one of a number of threats that are confronting traditional grocers today. All of these threats could chip away at the basket size and trip frequency of their current customers. It doesn't take a lot of that chipping away to cause a pretty substantial decrease in the profitability of individual stores and eventually the overall company."

Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, VP of food safety programs, FMI: "Grocers have more responsibility in terms of ensuring that the foods are taken care of while they are in their control and that the food is safely prepared, handled, and delivered to customers. There are numerous ways to communicate food safety—but they all relate to the changing role of the retailer."

Boardroom Charts the Changing Food Retail Environment:

  • Finding the Next Source of Profitable Growth
  • Strategies to Survive
  • Building a Culture of Food Safety
  • Reducing Food Waste
  • Crisis Management in Food Retail
  • Cyber Security
  • Click & Collect Strategies and Lessons Learned
  • Omnichannel Operations
  • Opportunities for Retailers in Consumer-Centric Healthcare Markets
  • Are Consumers Ready for Retail Healthcare?

Read more at ;