Whether you attended the 49th Annual Convention in Montreal as a plant manager or a production team member, the education courses offered enriching learning opportunities for every member. Attendees learned valuable tools to manage a successful business from utilizing marketing practices to improving employee productivity and morale.
Monroe Porter, president of Proof Management Consultants, launched the convention on a great start by delivering a thought-provoking presentation on marketing. Porter communicated in his course “Selling and Marketing Precast Products and Services” how marketing covers the entire scope of a precast concrete operation. Marketing is the organizational process of identifying, developing and providing services to potential customers. This includes:
- Identifying and matching your capacity to the most appropriate customer base.
- Understanding requirements and limitations such as geographic, financial, technical and other constraints.
- Development of a plan and message to reach, attract and retain targeted customers-distribution, product information, branding, etc.
- The sale and closing of the deal.
He explained that for many precast companies this may require hiring part-time or full-time help. To make matters worse, Porter talked about the lack of expertise in business-to-business marketing and how it varies from selling to consumers. Architects and engineers may not directly purchase the product but they do specify and design what will be used.
He discussed that when some products are technically superior, it may not be enough. Adding blue to 3M’s superior tapeline did not make it stick better but it did make it stand out. He also used an example of how new waterproofing products were slow to gain recognition until color was added and they appeared different from the “black tar” look of ancient waterproofing. He challenged precasters to make superior products look different and readily identifiable in the market place.
On the first day, Damian “Skipper” Pitts, N2Growth, also presented on an intensive program called“Go Slow to Go Fast.” The program brought attention ways to bridge the gap between the rational development of strategy and real-life execution – turning strategic acumen into action at a precast plant. Precasters learned the importance of changing their leadership lens and how to identify important lessons from the past five years to make better decisions.
NPCA also welcomed to Montreal keynote speaker and author Larry Johnson to present during the keynote luncheon and keynote break-out sessions.
Johnson first discussed on how some businesses are seeing improvement in their economic outlook while many are still facing falling revenues, restricted budgets and reduced growth. Like past fluctuations in the economy, this downturn will eventually pass. In the meantime, those who survive – both organizationally and individually – will be those who keep their spirits up and never stop looking for new ways to perform more efficiently, effectively and creatively. He showed precasters how to make the most from hard times. They learned how to enjoy their job more and have more fun in the face of doing more with less.
His second presentation then focused on how companies like Google, Johnson & Johnson and Zappos.com are consistently listed in Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best companies to work for. He explained that it’s more than on-site health centers and gourmet cafeterias that got them listed. It is management practices that inspire employees to contribute their best and then some. He showed precasters how they can apply the same principles to create a great work culture for their own team. He discussed proven tactics to improve productivity and engagement along with strategies to build morale and increase excitement. They came away with new ways to help their associates innovate more, produce more and have more fun.
Other speakers present at the Annual Convention included Bryan Dodge of Dodge Development, Jaime Hasty of SESCO Management Consultants and Sam Lines of Concrete Sealants Inc.