New Horizons – EDWCA Annual General Meeting

The EDWCA hosted their 2017 AGM on 12th September at The NEC in Birmingham, a pre-cursor to the rest of the day’s events AVEX International 2017.  Chairman James Anderton addressed a bustling audience to reinforce the actions and activities that are focusing the association on their 2020 vision.

The Executive Council has been careful in determining the direction in which to drive the association forward and the presentation that followed focused on the theme of “New Horizons”.

The chairman reminded the assembled that it is important to acknowledge the evolution that the EDWCA has made from an annexed segment of the market cooler industry 20 years ago to metaphorise into what has become the most represented and “inclusive” hydration trade association. EDWCA has welcomed members from the wider beverage industry, as well as bottled, mains, small pack, bag in box and boilers.

From the initial inception and blurred vision for a small passionate group 20 years ago, a clarity and single purpose has been shaped. The EDWCA is proud of its heritage and ambition, with clear principles of openness, and to assist members without barriers, sub agenda’s or the requirement for personal recognition. This vision has proven to be both popular and lasting as it stands today stronger in membership and financially than ever before.

So where does the association go next as there is much more work to be done? In the EDWCA’s mind this is simple, going forward to build on the foundations that have been laid, looking for new partnerships and paths to follow which will further strengthen the association, the credibility of its voice in the market and by adding value to the membership and industry as a whole.

The association may have started with one clear option, through necessity, to promote, guide and direct the POU industry, however during this journey it has welcomed more diversity with each step, from what started as a seemingly solo journey it has gathered momentum, creating involvement, knowledge and growth, all of which provides validation for the decisions and direction made over the years.

An important cornerstone of the success has been the fundamental principle that the EDWCA has never seen quality as an end goal. The quality of the services, training and knowledge bank available to members are designed to help create, deliver and maintain a culture of service excellence across all business operations. Quality itself is not a destination but a continual vocation, a cycle of learning, adapting, improving and retesting. The EDWCA strives to help create consistent, attainable and relevant quality standards that are monitored, audited and assessed.

THE EDWCA has created a leading audit programme that is truly transparent, consistent and meaningful and it makes no apologies for the rigorous nature in which it is conducted working with members to help them achieve good and strive for excellence. This process has teeth and ensures that members that are not willing to make the efforts to attain the required grade are removed from membership. Therefore end users selecting an EDWCA member can be confident in their choice.

The EDWCA stands for quality, collaboration and progression

James continued by thanking the Executive Council members for their support, determination and drive in creating such a robust association for its members and for its industry. The EDWCA is in great shape; having had a significant number of new members joining in 2017. This progression, along with demonstrable participation from the members is validation enough of the tough decisions made in the past.  Having said that, after a brief pause and enjoying the view, it is time to keep moving towards the new horizon. As they say, the last breath is great, but the next one becomes increasingly more important!

As the meeting continued James went on to say that although our position is strong it cannot rest on past achievements and it must forge forward by establishing strong, relevant partnerships that will drive the association and ethics onward. The EDWCA continues the partnership with the AVA and AVEX along with developing new relationships and initiatives.

The last time the membership met was at the table top show in Chelsea which was a great success. After this time the association has continued to forge partnerships, collaborations and meaningful relationships with a number of organisations, trade bodies and individuals who it is felt can assist the members to attain higher horizons still. Partnerships such as BSA (Beverage Standards Association), John Guest, Vendex and the EVA (European Vending Association) to name a few.

The EDWCA are promoting the industry with various collaboration partners at Vendex North and South along with running a number of workshops and seminars. There are regional meetings, a new pop up networking event in October, all furnished with the new marketing collateral that has been developed to promote members and the association but also to assist in educating people about hydration. The website is now fully launched and more fact sheets and technical information along with educational videos are being added.

The EDWCA training courses for hygiene and installation continue to be developed and from 2018 there will be a southern based location for the installation course, locations in the north of England are also being developed. In addition to this a whole host of membership benefits have been launched throughout the year to ensure that this association is recognised as the association ready for its future.

James closed the meeting by providing an overview of the projects that are being worked on and the exciting new ideas, innovation and positive exposure that our membership is getting.