Viva Las Vegas!

Dec. 1, 2003
2004 is an even-numbered year, which can mean only one thing: back to Vegas. The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers will take its 16th annual

2004 is an even-numbered year, which can mean only one thing: back to Vegas.

The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers will take its 16th annual convention and exhibition back to the neon capital of America for the Feb. 10-14 event.

Since the NATM left Orlando, site of last year's convention and the upcoming conventions in 2005 and 2007, it has matured in a watershed year, growing 80 members to an all-time high of 650 while playing a key role in the effort to clarify and modify the Early Warning Reporting regulations handed down by NHTSA.

Executive director Pam O'Toole credits the EWR controversy with boosting membership.

“We've picked up a lot of new members who want to stay in the loop, know what's going on, and determine if they're going to have to report,” says O'Toole, noting that an EWR update will be given on the final day of the convention from 1-2 pm. “A lot of the phone calls we've received have been generated by EWR. They don't know anything about it, so they join.”

O'Toole attributes the rest of the membership growth to the lure of NATM's compliance program.

“It's very encouraging,” she says. “It seems like the new manufacturers want to have (compliance director Greg Soden) come in right away, because they want to build trailers right from the start, and they don't want to make mistakes, and they want to make sure they're following federal regulations and recommended practices. They're joining, having an inspection, and they're trying to do it right from the start.

“We've been marketing our decal program. We sent out countertop displays and posters to all manufacturers that are in compliance in using the decal, and they're sending them to their dealers. We've tried to make consumers aware that NATM members are concerned with safety and manufacturing a compliant product.”

Compliance issues will be part of the workshop session on the final day. NATM is switching to a new format, with three different workshops held from 8:30-10 am and then again from 10:30-noon, allowing convention goers to attend multiple workshops.

“If that works, we may offer four or five next year and expand it to see how that goes,” O'Toole says.

In addition, the trade show has been expanded to two half days, on Thursday and Friday, rather than one afternoon — accounting for a four-day convention instead of three.

The trade show will take up the entire floor of The Orleans Hotel & Casino's arena. Organizers have room for 148 exhibit spaces, each 10'×10' — a 50% increase over last year, when there were 100 exhibitors and another 20 on the waiting list.

“Last year, we were locked into a space we had outgrown because we had contracted it several years before,” she says. “This year, several manufacturers are bringing in bigger exhibits — getting double or triple spaces.”

The Orleans is located about one mile west of the Strip and I-15 at the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Arville. Complimentary shuttle service runs continuously to and from The Orleans' sister hotels, the Barbary Coast and the Gold Coast, which are centrally located on the Strip. True to its name, the hotel features New Orleans style décor and incorporates the ambience of the French Quarter, Garden District, and Mardi Gras.

Keynote speaker: Warren Greshes

Greshes is guaranteed to rock the room with his speech, “Supercharged Selling: The Power to Be the Best,” on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 9 am.

An expert in the area of personal and professional development, Greshes delivers over 70 speeches a year to corporations and associations throughout the world. He has an energetic, no-holds-barred delivery that offers a unique blend of street-smart sales instincts, confidence in every person's potential, and no-nonsense, goal-setting methods.

“My biggest job is to make the person who hires me look great,” he says.

Greshes has been called “one of the most riveting motivational speakers in the business. … provocative and hilarious, thought-provoking and outrageous.”

After beginning his career as a national sales manager in the ultra-competitive Garment District of Manhattan, Greshes joined a New York City consulting firm and tripled sales in just two years. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Speakers Association, and in 1998 was awarded their highest designation, the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame. He is also president of North Carolina-based “Speaking of Success.” His clients run the gamut from Albertson's to the American Cemetery Association.

He has produced several videos on sales, motivation, and customer service. Among them is “Supercharged Selling: The Power to Be the Best,” an audio/video program that is the Dartnell Corporation's number one seller.

Greshes believes a strong commitment to success exists only in those who are committed to something: a goal, dream, or sense of purpose. The creation of that kind of commitment is the focus of “Supercharged Selling: The Power to Be the Best.”

His program teaches the four most important characteristics necessary for sales success: commitment, attitude, self-motivation, and persistence. It is designed to teach salespeople how to motivate themselves effectively and keep the motivation going by determining their core values and what truly motivates them.

He believes participants will leave this session having developed their own personal, written, five-year plan. Specifically, what goals they would like to accomplish in their lives and careers, when they intend to accomplish them, and the steps they will take to achieve these goals. These goals and plans will give each salesperson the ability to motivate himself or herself, and create focus, direction, and discipline.

He discusses self-motivation, goal-setting, planning, sales, and customer service.

His principal points: The role commitment and attitude play in a person's success; why successful people are self motivated; how successful people think: short pain vs long-term gain; developing good habits; why a person should set goals, and what kind of goals should be set to create balance in life; visualization; the three key components of a written goal; the three key components of an effective, written plan; creating the habit of achievement; setting yourself up to succeed on a daily basis; acting on the plan; persistence in overcoming roadblocks; and how to manage activity, not sales.

During the program, each attendee will develop his or her own written five-year plan, enabling them to become more focused and self-directed. He believes attitude levels will skyrocket as a result of learning how the job becomes a vehicle toward achieving life goals that fit in with core values, and by increasing their ability to motivate themselves, each participant will be able to increase their own personal productivity.

He says the program emphasizes and teaches the benefits of long-term thinking and planning. By learning proper planning techniques, salespeople learn how to break down big, “unreachable” goals into small accomplishable goals.

Speaker: Scott Franklin

Franklin's “Economic Update” will be on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 10 am.

His commentary on economic trends and national policy is carried in more than 30 trade magazines throughout the country. He headed the corporate planning group of a Fortune 500 company and taught for several years at the university level. He holds a master's degree from the London School of Economics and is a contributing editor for Professional Retailer magazine.

“My presentation will touch on a lot of topics,” he says. “I'll give an economic outlook for the economy for the remainder of 2004, taking a general look at exports, employment levels, job creation, interest rates, the deficit, and changing demographics in the US. I'll spend some time talking about the consumer, touching on confidence levels, expenditure patterns, and the trend of higher household debt.

“International trade, tariffs, and retaliation for trade barriers will be a focus. I will be sure to include the impact of the US tariffs on imported steel and its long-term effect on international trade. Small business issues will be briefly reviewed, particularly rising health care costs and environmental regulations. I try to be timely, so I might include 2004 presidential election issues as they relate to the economy.”

Franklin's business, First Generation Consulting, based in Overland Park, Kansas, integrates strategic planning, market research, and consumer/client surveys to successfully position organizations for future success. He says his research focus includes client satisfaction surveys, industry trends analysis, primary and secondary market research, competitor analysis, and market potential analysis.

All three First Generation principals are economists with advanced degrees and experience in marketing and research. He believes their background in various disciplines within economics provides a unique perspective for both analyzing the market environment and providing effective solutions.

He says the firm's diverse client base includes professional and trade associations, not-for-profit education organizations, as well as corporations representing a broad cross-section of the economy. It provides economic education materials and seminars to corporate clients as well as to secondary schools throughout the country.

Speaker: Dan Baker

Baker, widely acclaimed speaker, facilitator, and consultant to the trucking industry, will bring the warmth, wit and wisdom of his own unique Texas style to bear on the people problems faced in the workplace today with “The People Side of the Trailer Business,” set for Friday, Feb. 13 at 1:30 pm.

Baker has served the trucking industry and its vendors for over 25 years and is a consistent favorite on the convention stage.

Baker knows about the trucking business because his father was a trucker. He also knows how to communicate because he served for years as a Methodist minister.

He believes that by watching and getting to know people, he has learned some simple principles that help make life easier.

“The People Side of the Trailer Business” focuses on people. He believes that anyone who works with people, in any capacity or on any level, will benefit from attending: everyone from a new employee who needs to learn trailer basics or an old “mossback” who is set in his ways.

He says that dealing with people issues is the No 1 challenge in the trailer business today. This seminar is all about working together, getting along, understanding job responsibilities, staying close to our priorities and managing our perceptions.

Seminar topics: essentials of the trailer business; priorities: what people perceive and why; managing perceptions; understanding people and how they think; stress factors; breaking out of destructive cycles; conflict resolution and managing anger; building a company culture; and being comfortable with ourselves.

He says that retaining the best people is a critical aspect of keeping a company efficient and profitable. Company policies and supervisors' attitudes can cause high turnover or result in the retention of the best people and the continuing development of the rest.

He believes he can help companies make choices that result in a stable, motivated, loyal work force. He believes people like to feel good about themselves, and like to feel what they are doing is important. If employees are treated like they are being entrusted with a responsibility they are worthy of, there's a good chance they'll be willing to prove they were worthy of that trust.

Speaker: Drew Locher

Locher, who wraps up the speaker agenda with “Lean Manufacturing — Getting Lean Started” on Friday, Feb. 13 at 3:30 pm, is currently Managing Director for Change Management Associates (CMA), which provides various business consulting and organizational development services to industrial and service organizations.

Locher is an instructor at the Institute of World Class Manufacturing (IWCM) in Philadelphia, where he delivers Flow Manufacturing, Quality Management and Employee Involvement workshops. He is also a member of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS).

Since 1986, he has been working to implement innovative business management strategies in a wide spectrum of business environments. From 1986-1990, he worked to develop and deliver business improvement programs for General Electric. During this time, he had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in significant business improvement initiatives throughout a large industrial and service company.

In 1990, Drew left GE to form CMA, a consortium of individuals who share a similar business management and improvement vision. They are committed to seeing innovative strategies implemented in all business environments.

In 1997, CMA partnered with the National Institute of Standards and Technologies' Manufacturing Extension Partnership to develop a “Lean University,” which trains field engineers, specialists, and subject matter experts on Lean Manufacturing techniques so that they can better assist small to medium-sized manufacturers throughout the country.

Most recently, CMA has become a faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), the not-for-profit organization of the authors of the landmark book Lean Thinking, by James P Womack and Daniel T Jones.

CMA has been working with a printing and fulfillment company on a full lean transformation since late 2001. During the past year, the company has successfully reduced make-ready (ie set-up) times by over 50%, implemented continuous flow concepts in the pre-press area, made major layout changes throughout the facility (office and production areas), and initiated a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) program on key production equipment.

The most impressive application of lean concepts was in the prepress area. Previously, approximately five days was required to successfully complete all prepress activities in order to prepare a job for production. Overall lead time, including printing and bindery, was about seven days.

The company reduced its management timeframe and now provides a “pitch” of two hours. In other words, the system is reviewed every two hours to verify that it is meeting the desired service levels. A cross-functional team reviews the status of each job and the current load on each stage of the system to identify problems that must be immediately resolved, such as to re-assign resources as necessary due to bottlenecks that may arise. The office layout was changed to support the new team approach, and visual controls are utilized to provide an immediate indication of system status.

The result was a 60% reduction in prepress lead time from five to two days, with a marked decrease in quality related issues.

After one year of implementing the system, overall order-to-ship lead time has been reduced from 7 days to three — a 57% reduction. There has been a 50% increase in sales revenue from the prior year.

Locher, along with Beau Keyte of Branson Inc, will be publishing a book, Seeing the Enterprise: Incorporating the Office in Value Stream Management” through Productivity Press, with an expected release of April.

Opportunity to unwind

The golf tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 10 am at the Paiute Golf Resort's Sun Mountain course, one of the resort's three Pete Dye-designed 18-hole courses.

The Sun Mountain course opened in August 1996 and has received a 4.5-star rating for Places to Play by Golf Digest, which also rated it among the top 200 public golf courses in North America.

The resort, located 20 minutes from down Las Vegas and 30 minutes from the Strip, has a spectacular 50,000-sq-ft clubhouse with floor-to-ceiling picture windows to capture the most breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and golf course. It was voted “Best Clubhouse” in Las Vegas in Vegas Golfer.

Awards will be presented for first, second, and third place, longest drive, longest putt, and closest to the pin. The format is a four-person scramble with a shotgun start.

Big Bertha Callaway clubs are available for rental at $40 per steel shaft set and $50 per graphite shaft set. The dress code for all golfers is collared shirts, no denim, and soft spikes. Transportation will be provided and will leave The Orleans at 7 am.

The tournament is preceded by golf registration and breakfast 8-10 am.

NATM 2004 agenda▪ Tuesday - February 10, 20043 pm - 8 pm Registration 6:30 pm - 8 pm Early Bird Reception ▪ Wednesday - February 11, 200410 am - 3 pm Golf Tournament, Paiute-Sun Mountain 3 pm - 6 pm Exhibitor Set-up 1 pm - 7 pm Registration 3 pm - 5 pm Board meeting 5 pm - 6 pm New Member Reception 6 pm - 8 pm President's Reception ▪ Thursday - February 12, 20047 am - 4 pm Registration 7:30 - 8:45 am Breakfast Buffet/Membership Mtg 8 am - Noon Exhibitor Set-up 9 am - 10 am Keynote Speaker: Warren Greshes — “Supercharged Selling — The Power to Be the Best” 9:30 - 9:45 am Coffee Break 10 am - 11:30 am Scott Franklin — “Economic Update” 11:30 am - 1 pm Golf Awards Luncheon 1 pm - 5 pm Trade Show 4 pm - 5 pm Trade Show Reception ▪ Friday - February 13, 20047 am - 8 am Continental Breakfast 8 am - 5 pm Registration 8 am - Noon Trade Show — Day 2 11:30 am - 1 pm NATM Awards Luncheon 1:30 pm - 3 pm Keynote: Dan Baker — “The People Side of the Trailer” 3 pm - 3:30 pm Coffee Break 3:30 pm - 5 pm Drew Locher — “Lean Manufacturing — Getting Lean Started” Free evening ▪ Saturday - February 14, 20047:30 am - 8:30 am Continental Breakfast 8:30 am - 10 am Breakout Session 1
• Brake Design, Performance and Maintenance
• Compliance
• Welding 10 am - 10:30 am Coffee Break 10:30 am - Noon Breakout Session 2
• Brake Design, Performance and Maintenance
• Compliance
• Welding Noon - 1 pm Networking Luncheon 1 pm - 2 pm EWR Update 2 pm - 3:30 pm Nuts & Bolts Session — Technical Issues — Q & A 6:30 pm - 9 pm Saturday Night Gala 6 pm - 7 pm Social Hour 7 pm - 8 pm Dinner 8 pm - 9 pm Entertainment — Comedian, Buzz Sutherland

NATM exhibit space boosted 50% over 2003

Here is a list of the companies that are scheduled to attend:

Company Booth # 3M 17, 18 5 Star Product Design 11, 12 ADCO Products Inc 57 AL Hansen Manufacturing Co 106 Al-KO Kober Corp 126 American Metal Stamping 9 Atwood/Creation Windows 33, 34, 35, 36 Bauer Products 51 Best Fender 145, 146, 147, 148 Blaylock Trailer Products 59 Butler Products Corp 16 Buyers Products Co 85, 86 Carlisle Industrial Brakes 143 Carlisle Tire & Wheel 144 Cequent Trailer/Electrical Products 127, 128 Champagne Metals 145, 146, 147, 148 Command Electronics Inc 102 CR Brophy Machine Works Inc 37 Craton Inc 108 Crysteel Manufacturing Inc 99 Curt Manufacturing 27 Dec-O-Art Inc 123 Dexter Axle 54 DuPont Company 1, 2 Edge International Ltd 135 Elixir Industries 101 Endura Manufacturing Co Ltd 46, 47 GE Commercial Distribution Finance 130 Geocel Corporation 136 Global Direct Components 116 HE Parmer Co Inc 110 HE&M Saw 120 Holland USA 96 Hopkins Manufacturing Corp 88 Imperial Stamping 62 Integrity Products 22 International Extrusions 100 KampCo Steel Products Inc 65, 66, 79, 80 Kenny & Gyl Company 5 Kodiak Trailer Components 87 Laclede Chain Mfg Co 118 Lucky ‘B’ Manufacturing Inc 81 M-3 & Associates 107 Metalwest 97 Navistar Financial Corp 58 North West Rubber Mats 137 Nudo Products Inc 125 Optronics Inc 94 Owens Corning 50 Pacific Cargo Control Inc 29 Pendley Quality Trailer Supply Inc 129 Peterson Manufacturing Co 113, 114 Philips Products 52, 53 Phoenix USA Inc 84 Plastics By Design Inc 92, 93 Port City Metal Services 132, 133 Powerbrace Corporation 64 PPG Industries 44 Premier Lights LLC 119 Professional Micro Computer Service Inc 56 Putnam Hitch Products 45 Quality Custom Components 21 Quality Trailer Products 91 Redneck Trailer Supplies 19 Reliable Tool & Machine Co Inc 60 Ryadon Inc 98 Saddlebrook Barncams 28 Safety-Tow 117 Safeview Systems Inc 22 Scorpion Protective Coatings Inc 71, 72, 73, 74 Service Plus Distributors Inc 124 SFS Intec 10 Shelby Industries 109 Sierra Pacific Eng & Products 68, 69 Syncro Corporation 89 Taskmaster Components 111, 112 Tireco Inc 63 TODCO Division 20 Trailer Equipment Mfg Co Inc 134 Trim-LOK Inc 121 Ultra-Fab Products 131 Unified Marine Inc 115 Vacation Vehicle Mfg 95 Valspar Inc 55, 90 Venco/Venturo Divisions 8
About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.