VOL. 8 May ISSUE YEAR 2007


in Vol. 8 - May Issue - Year 2007
Business Management Track Expands SUR/FIN Educational Curriculum

Targeted seminars to focus on platers’ day-to-day operational issues.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2 — Owners and managers of plating shops now have another compelling reason to attend SUR/FIN 2007, which kicks off Aug. 13–16 at the Cleveland Convention Center in Ohio. Conference organizers have expanded the show's traditional technology-based educational offering with a new Business Management Track, a well-rounded program that focuses keenly on the finisher's critical day-to-day operational issues.

Developed predominately by platers for platers, the Business Management Track is comprised of relevant and timely seminars tailored toward virtually every level of a metal finishing operation—from employee to manager and financial officer all the way up to the business owner. Following is a snapshot of some of the topics on tap:

-Retirement Planning

- OSHA Safety Training 

-Truth… or Blowing Smoke? Business Insurance – What Do You Really Need and What are Your alternatives?

-Employee Satisfaction

-Metals Update 

-Succeeding with OEMs in the “Exponential Economy”

-Seven Steps to a Successful Exit Strategy

-Disaster Planning Panel

-Preventative Maintenance and Asset Management

“From the standpoint of coming up with the curriculum for the courses, it was very important to the Management Committee that we had bits and pieces that appealed to all levels of the business,” said Matt Kirchner, vice-chair of the NASF Management Committee, and president and CEO of ABQC Corp., a  Milwaukee, Wis.-based plater. “We didn’t want it all to be directed at the owners and CEOs, or just at the employees of metal finishing facilities. Instead, we wanted to come up with something that had a broad appeal, and I think we were really successful in putting that together.”

Successful, indeed. According to Kirchner, the committee worked tirelessly with platers as well as other industry members around the country in developing strong, issue-specific content that reflected the challenges and concerns central to finishing operations today. For instance, he cited the “Preventative Maintenance and Asset Management” seminar, which will be conducted by a panel of operations managers representing some of the most sophisticated surface finishing facilities in the U.S. Specifically, they will discuss how equipment uptime, reliability and performance are three of the most important factors in the efficiency of any metal finishing operation. The panelists are also expected to share their individual company philosophies on predicting problems and solving them before they occur.

Kirchner cited other seminars, such as the “Employee Satisfaction” course, which will be conducted by Steven Bauer of Nebraska-based Lincoln Plating. “That should be a very good presentation, because I know Lincoln Plating has a strong track record of dealing with employees and creating a great environment,” he said. Another example is the seminar on metals pricing, “which looks into the challenges that come along with a volatile metals market. That's something we all deal with on a daily basis.”

The examples don't end there. In fact, Kirchner himself is set to deliver a presentation on a topic of critical importance to any finisher, regardless of their size: serving original equipment manufacturers. In “Succeeding with OEMs in an Exponential Economy,” Kirchner plans to discuss the dynamics of keeping up with the pace of a fast-changing business environment. Relative to OEMs, this means understanding shrinking product life-cycles, corporate re-engineering, dealing with shorter order lead times, and global regulation, to name a few. Kirchner will also share examples of the trend toward OEMs rewarding their employees for performance and innovation in finishing technology.

Regardless of the subject matter—and there are variety of worthwhile seminars from which to choose—organizers say the business management courses will provide attendees with tangible, real-world information they can apply to their operational strategies after the show. “We had to make sure that—at least for a lot of these segments—there was usable take-home value at the end of the program,” Kirchner said. “It was really important that we offered a first-class list of topics that people could really use when they leave SUR/FIN.”

SUR/FIN 2007 is sponsored by the newly formed National Association for Surface Finishing (www.nasf.org). At SUR/FIN 2007, you’ll find a technical program that includes sessions focused on OEM and captive platers, as well as the expansion of exhibitors and attendees to reflect the entire supply chain. SUR/FIN 2007’s technical program will occur on Aug. 13–16; the exhibition takes place Aug. 14–15 at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  For more information, visit www.sur-fin.net or contact Cheryl Clark at 202-457-8403; (e-mail) cclark@nasf.org.