Friday, April 27, 2012

Notes from Chicago

At this week’s NAPB, twenty seven companies sent 259 team members to work from sun-up to sun-down on a benchmarking and research curriculum that 31 Steering Committee Members designed last October. The Data Book went out a few weeks ago that was the blood, sweat, and tears of 45 Data Gathers. In Chicago, the 259 participants spent 32 hours together, after choosing which of 19 sessions to attend. Sessions lasted between 90 minutes and four hours. This is our 20th year of doing this - this year there were some tough choices and tough topics:
  1. Keynote
  2. Independent aftermarket
  3. Digital update
  4. BMW facility tour
  5. GM facility tour
  6. Terms & conditions
  7. Dealer communications
  8. Headcount benchmarking
  9. Telematics
  10. Gray market and counterfeit parts
  11. Hybrid & Electric vehicle parts
  12. Diesel particulate filters
  13. Supply chain
  14. Supply chain success stories
  15. Outbound transport flows & measures
  16. Packaging and condition of delivery
  17. Warehouse technology
  18. Forecasting & inventory management
  19. Managing 3PLs
Since participants send their resident subject matter experts to the sessions, the content is more post-doc level than 101/201 level. The sessions have to appeal to the true experts in the field, … or they slaughter us in the satisfaction ratings. These folks are not easy scorers – it is very difficult to get top-box satisfaction much higher than 65%. A successful session gets top-two box satisfaction scores of 95%, where there is plenty of feedback for future improvement.
Timeout: Let me put this into context. The 259 participants come from all over the world – North America, Europe, and Asia. The 27 companies represent segments spanning automobile, heavy truck, medium duty truck, agriculture, construction, mining, powertrain, and tire wholesaling. Now, imagine all these cultures and sectors sitting down in the same room, where the topic is Gray Market or Aftermarket, and emerging “satisfied.”
Less than 90% top-two box is considered a failure. Our attitude about these failures is fairly schizophrenic – if we do not fail at least once a year, we are not stretching ourselves enough … and thus we risk becoming stale and sophomoric. Of course, the Carlisle folks who are responsible for the bombed session content don’t get much sleep for a week or so – all self-imposed.

Bottom line: Lots of work. Looking good. Thank goodness for those Steering Committee Members and Data Gathers.

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