Ever since its inception in 1933, the Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association (FEDA) has made education and training a top priority, investing in on-line product education, dealer-focused workshops and seminars, an informative bimonthly magazine, and leading distribution experts to speak at its annual convention. In order to continue to meet the increasing educational demands of its members and the dealer community at large, the Association is starting the FEDA Education Foundation.
The purpose of the Foundation is to provide FEDA member firms as well as the rest of the dealer community with cutting-edge training and education to not only enhance their industry knowledge, but to strengthen the industry as a whole. "This is especially important to the dealer community because manufacturersí expectations have grown significantly higher," said Past FEDA President Harold Gernsbacher. "They expect us to run our businesses better than we ever have before and itís our responsibility to train our people to ensure that dealer-based distribution continues to go forward."
FEDA University Online, the Foundationís centerpiece, will offer a variety of informative courses covering topics of key concern to the dealer community (i.e. negotiations, selling, pricing, customer relations, etc.). Each course, which participating firms will be able to access at their leisure, will contain lecture material accompanied by graphics, examples, exercises and a posttest. The posttest will be used to determine a studentís level of understanding after taking the course.
The university also will be able to monitor studentsí progress by keeping track of how they score on the tests and by offering them advice on which courses they should take next.
"There are many advantages to an on-line university," says Michael Workman of Michael E. Workman Associates, the company hired to develop the course content for the university. "You can customize it specifically for the needs of the dealer community. Costs are minimal, there are no travel times and participants can access the program from anywhere and at anytime, so if they have a spare 20 minutes they can log on, do part of a lesson and log off."