PMA Australia-New Zealand’s Fresh Connections offers something for everybody

PMA Fresh Connections 2014’s educational sessions will offer real-world value for every member of the fresh produce and floral supply chain, from grower to chief executive, and across all business functions.

PMA Australia-New Zealand’s annual Fresh Connections conference and trade show will convene 24-26 June, in Auckland for the first time. This year’s conference program features expert speakers from the Australasian region and around the globe.

Senior executives
To succeed in today’s global fresh produce and floral markets, businesses need a competitive advantage. Senior-level business leaders can learn how to harness innovation and collaboration to gain competitive advantage during a plenary session featuring innovation expert Allan Ryan of Hargraves Institute. His session “Work different: Achieve real business improvement through Innovation 3.0” will also bring a valuable international perspective to these timely topics.

During a concurrent session, The Nielsen Company’s Jeanine Sciacca will then discuss “The 12 factors of successful innovation”, featuring consumer, food and retail trends research from Australasia and overseas.

PMA Senior Vice President Anthony Barbieri will focus a produce-specific lens on the topics with his plenary session on “Collaboration and innovation driving a stronger global fresh produce industry.”

Attracting, retaining and developing human talent are also needed if today’s produce and floral industries are to effectively compete with other employers. To help senior executives maximise their team’s potential, performance expert Dr. Adam Fraser will offer plenary session tips on “Promoting a high-performance work culture”.

As attention to food safety has increased, so has interest in – and pressure for – fresh produce traceability. Panellists from across the supply chain will offer real-world examples of traceability business value during the concurrent session on “Business and science working together on improved traceability and risk mitigation”. That session will be led by PMA supply chain efficiencies expert Ed Treacy.

To increase its fresh produce and floral production, the Australasian region must overcome a number of challenges, including high labour costs. PMA Fresh Connections 2014 speakers will offer solutions to some of those key challenges.

Exploring how to reduce farm labour costs, Professor Salah Sukkarieh of the University of Sydney will provide a plenary session update on “Farm automation: Robotics and intelligent systems that will shape the fresh produce industry in the next decade”. Sukkarieh and his team are testing intelligent machines to automate key parts of a farmer’s job.

Taking production out of the field and under roof – hydroponics and greenhouses, that is –produce industry veteran strategist and trainer Ronnie De La Cruz will report to delegates on “Protected cropping: Trends, opportunities and implications for Australasia” during his concurrent session. The fast-growing protected cropping industry now produces about 20 percent of the total value of Australia’s total vegetable and cut flower production, with attractive average return on investment.

Business development and marketing
Today’s consumers expect more of a relationship with their food producers, and look to social media channels for information. To meet their needs, today’s fresh produce industry must also think and act differently.

To better understand today’s consumer, plenary session speaker Jim Prevor will explore “Consumer trends impacting the global fresh produce industry”. Prevor is publisher of Produce Business magazine and America’s “Perishable Pundit”.

Tim Reid, host of Australia’s #1 marketing podcast The Small Business Big Marketing Show, will offer tips for “Marketing on a shoestring” that he has shared with thousands of business owners from around the world.

Bill Gerlach of the U.S. speciality produce supplier Melissa’s Produce will offer concurrent session attendees “A case study in promoting speciality fresh products to build a successful business”.

International trade
The Australasian region is in a unique geographic position to serve the growing Asian market, yet it is not a region that is easy to access. Two PMA Fresh Connections 2014 sessions will shed light on the subject. Plenary session speaker Patrick Vizzone of National Australia Bank Asia will discuss “Taking trade and investment linkages with Asia to a new level”. Concurrent session speaker Leonie McKeon of Chinese Language and Cultural Advice will advise delegates how to “Lure the tiger down the mountain: strategies to negotiate your way around Chinese business culture”.

Unparalleled networking, too
In addition to its cutting-edge education offerings, PMA Fresh Connections also provides unprecedented networking opportunities to help delegates strengthen and grow their business connections. The conference agenda includes a welcome reception, morning teas each day, a gala dinner, and closing drinks at the trade show.

For more information:
Erin Hart
PMA Australia-New Zealand Ltd
Tel: +61 3 8844 5536

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