Trading pine-trees for cactus, representatives from Encoder Products Company joined the 2012 spring conference of the Association for High Technology Distribution (AHTD) held April 11-14 in Tucson, AZ. Twice a year the AHTD membership gathers for association business, top-flight educational sessions and unbeatable networking events. We always come away with renewed appreciation for the exceptional individuals and organizations with whom we're privileged to work.
Highlighting the conference were the General Session presentations. These included best-selling business author Scott McKain, who focused on the importance of differentiation in the market place and the need to create exceptional customer experiences. He used Taxi Terry, who turned the commodity of an airport taxi ride into a one-of-a-kind experience, as an example. Drawing on the principles outlined in his best-selling book "The Collapse of Distinction", McKain challenged the audience to focus on delivering distinctive, extraordinarily good experiences for their customers.
Economist Alan Beaulieu of The Institute for Trend Research (ITR) offered an overview of near and long-term economic trends for North America. In a "good news/bad news" assessment, Beauieu's outlook for the next several years is somewhat upbeat, tempered with some potentially cloudy economic weather farther ahead. The good news is that economic expansion across many sectors is expected to continue through late 2013, with a mild slowdown expected in 2014, but rebounding again through 2018. In terms of guidance for businesses, Beulieu suggested now is the time to expand and invest in assets that generate income (...we'd like to think that includes lots of machinery with encoders!).
Adam Hartung from Spark Partners encouraged those present to recognize the importance of innovation in securing future success. A sobering list of failed or failing companies that ignored the value of innovation gave credence to the points made.
EPC also exhibited in the Product Showcase (shown above) and met with a number of principals and managers from key distributor partners. Products of interest included the TR1 TruTrac, the TR3 Heavy Duty TruTrac, the Model 25T through-bore encoder and the Model MA36H multi-turn absolute encoder.
Finally, EPC's contingent took part in a tour of the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum, an incredible collection of hundreds of historic and rare aircraft such as the USAF B-58 Hustler below. Developed in the 1950's, the 4-engined delta-wing bomber was capable of Mach 2.0+, with many of its performance records still holding strong. (Our tour was enhanced by repeated fly-overs by the USAF Thunderbirds, rehearsing for an upcoming air show.)
With everything from bi-planes to champions of the jet-age, the tour is an inspiring testimony to the incredible advances in aviation over the span of just a few decades.
With the words of our AHTD conference speakers fresh in our minds, I couldn't help but consider this from a manufacturing perspective. These accomplishments were done in response to "market" needs. Most of the examples on display represented machines designed to acheive specific mission requirements. In many cases, the primary need was to outperform the capabilities of an enemy--flying faster, farther, higher, (or lower), heavier (or lighter) and with more precision. These sometimes daunting technical challenges were overcome successfully with tenaciously focused innovation-- and the skill and valor of the aircrews involved. (Of course, a near endless river of cash from Uncle Sam helped, too!).
It's a lofty standard of achievement. One that that could benefit just about any company.
Steve Dilts, Americas Division Marketing