Volume 12, Issue 1 - January/February 2011

Moulding the Future

Want an Alternative to Trade Shows?
Try Some PIE (Productivity Information Exchange)
By Kellie A. Schroeder, CMP, CAE

The Moulding and Millwork Producers Association (MMPA) will stage its Second Productivity Information Exchange (PIE) March 24 at the Wild Dunes Resort located on the Isle of Palms off the coast of Charleston, S.C. What is PIE and why should a moulding and millwork manufacturer attend? PIE is an event that expands the manufacturer’s opportunity to directly connect with suppliers in a meaningful segmented learning environment. Attendees sign up for a series of one-on-one 45-minute private appointments with suppliers in a “sales free” atmosphere. A manufacturing attendee will meet with top representatives from suppliers of their choosing on a wide range of topics such as: optimization; ripping; dry kilns; moulders; coatings; insurance services; and inventory, sales, accounting and production control system software, just to name a few.

Attending PIE to obtain product-and service-specific information is an efficient use of a manufacturer’s time. At a trade show, a manufacturer will gather general information from suppliers regarding their products and services as he stands with a crowd of other people in a noisy exhibition hall. The PIE experience places the manufacturer in a supplier’s suite, one-on-one with a representative who has familiarized himself with the manufacturer’s needs and is ready to address those issues.

The key component to the PIE event is the attendee informs the supplier(s) in advance the topic(s) he would like to learn about. For example, if a manufacturer is considering adding a scanner to his operation and would like to know how a scanner might impact his operations, he could sign up for an appointment with the appropriate supplier detailing his scanner query. The supplier would contact the manufacturer to gather details on his current operations, and then assemble a personalized presentation on the estimated outcomes if a scanner was installed in the manufacturer’s facility. When the attendee shows up at PIE, his/her personalized day of education has been constructed to his/her requirements from the various companies with whom they selected to meet.

"The PIE experience places the manufacturer in a supplier’s suite, one-on-one with a representative who has familiarized himself with the manufacturer’s needs and is ready to address those issues."

Manufacturers will be asked to register for the PIE event and send in a wish list of questions and/or topics on which they are seeking detailed information. Those questions, topics or specific issues then will be turned over to the relevant suppliers so they may design educational programs for the attendees as noted in the scanner example above. If an attendee does not have a distinct topic he would like to have covered, he may opt to have the supplier speak on new products and services.

I would like to reiterate that these sessions will not be sales pitches to purchase the speaker’s product or service. The PIE sessions will focus on educating, illuminating and problem-solving for the manufacturers on distinct issues brought to the attention of the suppliers. The sessions also will look to future products and services that should be considered in the manufacturing process.

The registration fee to attend PIE is $100, and early-bird registration ends February 1. PIE attendees also will have the opportunity to play in the MMPA’s Golf Scramble being held the day before PIE on the award-winning Links Course.

PIE appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis and, once the appointment slots are filled, no more registrations will be accepted. Manufacturing attendees may register for the PIE event as a stand-alone program or take the opportunity to register for the combined PIE and the MMPA’s Winter Business Meeting. Both programs will take place at Wild Dunes Resort. You do not have to be a member to be invited to register and attend these events if you are a manufacturer of moulding or millwork. Watch for further information on the MMPA’s event calendar at www.wmmpa.com.

Kellie Schroeder, CMP, CAE, is executive vice president of the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association. She may be reached at kelli@wmmpa.com. Her opinions are solely her own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.


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