Performance benchmarking, sharing best practices and customized training were all part of a recent AkzoNobel performance group meeting in San Diego, CA.
Held in September, the AkzoNobel Acoat Selected North American Performance Group (NAPG) provided an opportunity for body shop owners and managers to work on their businesses instead of in their businesses. The ultimate goal during the three-day event was to enhance the performance of both the individuals and companies through peer-to-peer networking.
“Imagine being with a group of 100 shop owners for the sole purpose of exchanging business growth ideas. That is exactly what happens at Acoat Selected Performance Group meetings,” said Rick Fifer, North American services manager. “Acoat Selected Performance Group members meet to share successes, find solutions to problems and make new relationships with like-minded shop owners from across North America. The wealth of knowledge and experience present at these meetings is nothing short of awe-inspiring.”
There are two main components to the meetings for the body shops, distributors and AkzoNobel employees who attend. The first involves group activities, which consist of keynote speakers, idea contests, panel discussions, classes and other activities.
Fifer said that many of those who attend mention how much they value the conversations that take place.
“With so many people in attendance, you are sure to find someone who has solved the problems you face or has a great business improvement idea you can implement,” he said.
Sub-group sessions are the other focus of the meetings. Similar to a conventional 20 group, Fifer said members analyze financial data, formulate improvement strategies, assist one another in problem-solving and share experiences.
“The close friendships---both personal and professional---created at the meetings are immensely valuable to the members,” said Fifer. “They know that anytime during the year, they can contact a known, trusted shop owner for advice. That is a good feeling.”
“The performance group meetings have been outstanding. I find that just getting away from the business twice a year to attend the meetings improves my perspective significantly,” said Van Takemoto, owner of Island Fender in Hawaii. “The opportunity to benchmark, to collaborate with my peers in the industry and to set new goals has really sharpened my skills as a businessman. It’s made a difference to the bottom line!”