How is your organisation coping with the rapid consolidation of the food industry, the rise of b2c, or staffing challenges that face every part of the fmcg community? Questions like these echo around the boardrooms of most food businesses, but what about those who have just embarked on a career in the food industry? Are they also getting to grips with these challenges? With so much energy directed to day-to-day trading issues, it can be hard to take time out to look at the bigger picture of the food supply chain. Yet every business must prepare for the day when younger managers take over the reins. All of which explains the success of the management development programme run by CIES, the Paris-based Food Business Forum. CIES says the programme is designed to provide the structure for potential senior managers in the food business to "gain knowledge from shared experience". And that theory is turned into practice with a stimulating annual three-day conference held in a different city each year. Last week, it was Edinburgh's turn to host the congress ­ the 40th ­ which attracted 160 delegates from all sections of the food supply chain. A key theme at this year's congress was how the food business must change if it is to get the most out of its "human capital" and prosper in the years ahead. It was a theme explored by a range of speakers, including Sean Summers, boss of South African retailer Pick N Pay, and Norwegian business guru Kjell Nordström. And delegates were given a chance to visit supermarkets in and around Edinburgh and then dissect the strategies they had seen working. It's all good stuff. But what's really impressive about the programme is the informal forum it provides for networking. Retailers, suppliers and, God forbid, even journalists from around the world mingle freely and discuss the common issues facing the food industry. Discovering how managers in other parts of the world are facing up to the challenges that their organisations provide is one of the most valuable lessons from the management development programme congress. For details of next year's congress call CIES on:00 33 1 44 34 69 00 or email: {{PEOPLE MOVES }}