"Maybe next time you can offer more food!”
That comment from one of the attendees of our Waterborne Conference last year still cracks me up. Anyone who was there understands that comment was made in jest. I admit, we did go overboard on the food, but it did reveal to me one of the secrets of holding a successful conference: Feed ’em well, and the feedback will be 100 percent positive never mind the educational content!
But of course it was more than just the food that gave the conference rave reviews. The lakeside luau with picture-perfect weather (thanks, Mother Nature!), cornhole and an impromptu driving range made for an incredibly fun evening.
Oh yeah, and there were those educational presentations focused on waterborne/low-VOC basecoats, not to mention a trade show featuring the latest and greatest tools and equipment to make the transition to waterborne as successful as possible. Just a minor detail there.
Why am I rehashing what a blast everyone had at our conference last year? Because BodyShop Business is holding yet another conference this year. No, not a waterborne conference on the beach in Huron, Ohio a general business conference at the Hilton Hotel & Suites in Indianapolis Sept. 17-18 with the theme of “Succeeding Through Change.” But just because we won’t be frolicking in the sand doesn’t mean it won’t be a good time!
Why are we focusing on change? Think about how much change is going on in the industry. Vehicle technology is changing. The size of the industry is changing. The labor picture is changing. Basecoat refinishes are changing. Production models are changing. Environmental rules are changing. The list goes on and on. Change is often hard to embrace, but those who don’t change are simply going to become extinct. We’ve seen this coming for some time, and we all know the inevitability of it.
Obviously, we don’t want you to go extinct but rather prosper on, which is why we’ve been publishing this magazine every month since March 1982 and why we have now gotten into the face-to-face business with conferences.
You can expect the same great content at the conference as you get within the pages of BodyShop Business. In fact, we’ve already gotten speaking commitments from two of our longtime contributors, lean manufacturing guru John Sweigart and all-around business master Hank Nunn.
Remember that change thing I was talking about? Well, take a look at how everybody’s interacting these days on the Web. Ever heard of Facebook and Twitter? Of course you have. Many businesses are finding that these social networking sites provide great alternative ways to connect with customers, and we’ll have our own social media expert Nicki Lock on hand to assist shops in maximizing the free marketing opportunities that exist on the Internet.
Like last year’s conference, we’ll also have a trade show with the latest innovative equipment to help you become more efficient and profitable.
Two panel discussions will complement a host of breakout sessions: Lean Manufacturing Processes and Protecting Your Private Data. I’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with “lean,” but what’s this last one about? Again, it’s all about change. Shops have begun dealing with software and information providers that are increasingly delivering common business applications via the Internet, while the software and data those shops use are stored on their servers. Also known as “cloud computing,” (to read more about this, see pg. 67) this has caused concern among some shops about the confidentiality of that data and the fear that some entity may use it for unapproved purposes. This panel discussion will address that and hopefully allay some of those fears.
We certainly hope to see many of you in Indianapolis Sept. 17-18…and we promise to have more food!
Jason Stahl, Editor