Industry eVENTS

November 19, 2014By Industry Intuition, Views

by Dave Wendland, as seen in Healthcare Distributor magazine, Out of the Box column

August/September 2014

I was recently pondering whether it would be possible to achieve the same level of industry connectivity and productivity if annual industry events were conducted via the Internet? In other words, sponsoring organizations would host eVENTS.

Having attended a series of events sponsored by leading trade associations during the first half of this year, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide my impressions of each, and what factors prevent these conferences from being replaced by a web-based alternative. The virtual world can only go so far.

The industry events

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
The purpose of this group’s Annual Leadership Conference is to discuss issues important to consumer healthcare product manufacturers (over-the-counter drugs, homeopathic products, and vitamins and supplements). High impact management and transformational speakers, industry-specific presentations, and plenty of time for networking are all part of this event’s DNA.

Global Market Development Center (GMDC)
At the centerpiece of the association’s Health, Beauty, and Wellness Conference are structured top-to-top strategic meetings called Senior Executive Conferences (SECs). In addition, the event features one-on-one meetings during which key trade partners meet in brief 10-minute "speed dating" formats. A product showcase featuring new items and presentations from several industry experts round out the conference.

Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA)
HDMA’s annual Business Leadership Conference brings drug wholesalers, suppliers, and service providers together in a casual, highly-productive environment to foster discussions on current business issues and future initiatives. Structured one-on-one meetings during which key trade partners converse in a relaxed setting encourages productive business discussions and go-forward decisions.

American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP)
With two conferences each year, ASAP offers knowledgeable speakers discussing compelling industry topics and opportunities for the association’s volunteer work groups to meet and discuss key technology-centric issues. ASAP events represent the leading forums on technology for the pharmacy market.

Considering a web-based alternative

The Annual Leadership Conference couldn’t possibly be replaced. The value of the face-time with key leadership from the nation’s consumer healthcare companies and service organizations that work with them is truly unprecedented.

Absolutely not feasible. The SECs are thought to be among the most effective, forward-looking discussions bringing key executives face to face to examine the possibilities and chart a course of action. The Controlled Casual Conferences (CCC) are rapid-fire and could not be reproduced online. The immediate next steps that result from these highly focused discussions can only occur when participants are all together in person.

The value of this one-stop executive-level wholesaler meeting simply cannot be replaced. Participants have consistently found value and one-of-a-kind opportunities available at this annual conference. The intimacy of this event — that being focused on issues of healthcare distribution and those involved — make this a results-oriented conference like no other for this industry segment.

No other event puts a spotlight directly on technology-related issues affecting pharmacy and pharmacy operations and it requires in-person participation. The networking opportunities alone make this event a must-attend for any organization involved in aspects affecting automation in pharmacy.

Final thought

Did I happen to mention that each of these events boasted record-setting attendance and high marks on their post-conference surveys? Simply put, I believe that these key industry conferences cannot become virtual eVENTS anytime soon but rather remain KEY in-person events that generate strong results for participants.

One final thought. Throughout my 22+ years in our industry I’ve continually witnessed that we learn from one another in person, face-to-face.

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