Metrology, The Big Game, Gemba and Armchair Coaching vs. Being There

Villa Mar Burg.Day

Wenzel’s 20thAnnual Sales Conference

By Drew Shemenski

While most of you were probably making last-minute runs for Game Day refreshments, the Wenzel America team was arriving at Wenzel’s company-owned, 5-star hotel, called the Villa Marburg in Heigenbrucken, Germany.

Every year Wenzel Group’s global sales teams converge on this tiny Bavarian hamlet about 35 miles east of Frankfurt in central Germany for an annual International Sales Conference. It’s our yearly forum for staff and dealers to learn about new technology and strategies and get to know our far-flung colleagues from across the globe.

When we arrived at Villa Marburg on Sunday there was a picturesque snowfall blanketing the surrounding hills and valleys near the Wenzel factory. The first day was pretty informal as we reacquainted ourselves with our colleagues from Wenzel’s global network and adjusted to the time change.

It began with an address from our Co-CEO, Mr. Frank Wenzel who has jointly led our company with Dipl.-Kff Dr. Heike Wenzel since 2006. His talk began with an overview of the past year’s activities, a discussion of the results, and a look ahead at what is to come.

As a global metrology company, our future is very much tied to manufacturers worldwide. On that note, Mr. Wenzel summarized what 2014 looked like in that sector and the indicators of what looked like continued fast growth in 2015, especially in North America and China.

It was apparent from the CEO’s closing remarks that this second-generation leadership maintains the strong vision toward long-term growth and stability set forth by Werner Wenzel in 1968.

Great Football, Great Content, and Gracious Hosts

This year the 20th annual event happened to take place on Big Game weekend. Luckily our German hosts understood the American obsession with our version of “football” and graciously threw our delegation a small “Big Game” viewing party after the first-day overview ended. So we did not miss the two most exciting (and second-guessed) minutes of football in recent memory.

The remaining days of the meeting were a balanced mix of presentations and hands-on demonstrations designed to educate the sales teams in the latest products, their place in the market, and the benefit for an end customer. There was a lot of great content. * (Get an inside look at a few pieces at the end of the article.)

Winning teams aren’t coached from a couch – Gemba & “Being There”

So, why am I focusing this blog post on our annual sales meeting? What does it have to do with you?

And, what is the point of investing time in travel and being away from our offices, customers, and families?

After all, it’s 2015 and we’ve got so much technology to be connected…

Why not just hold a series of webinars? What’s the point?

Simply put, you can’t replace the experience of Gemba – BEING THERE.Couch-POtato

It’s no different than the Big Game. Whether we were watching from our couches or from the stands – we’re just spectators.

We may have seen every play of the game and think we knew everything that was going on…and I’m sure we all have an opinion about that last play…. but even if we were in the stands unless we were down on the field with the players, coaches and the whole team, any play call we made would have likely been worse.

Business is no different.

We can learn about our products, our strategies and plans remotely. We can write emails to our colleagues to tell of mutual successes and ask for regional news by phone, but none of those actions can replace being there – Gemba.

In fact, I think it’s safe to say that those remote communication tools are as effective as they are, because we have met in person.

That personal interaction is what makes the other tools we all have work as well as they do. Without some shared background and a personal interest, the chain of emails can easily become noise, the phone calls going to voicemail.

What has this got to do with you – our customers and your needs?

I think the same rules apply for the relationships between customers and vendors. We can email you the latest product catalog. You can read about our technology and testimonials in this very newsletter.

But none of that can replace being there.

Walking your manufacturing floor.

Talking to the people who do the work.

Seeing how you make your parts.

This is where the ideas come from.

This is where solutions are created.

Where partnerships are made.

Where visions are shared.

Without gemba, without being there, the product catalogs go in the trash.

The calls end up going to voicemail.

The game ends.

Not with an amazing play by a rookie, whose life will be forever changed, but in frustration and stagnation, and no chance of ever making it to the Big Game.

That’s what this weekend was for us, connecting and being there. And helping our people and your people and our companies make it to the Big Game, in whatever industry we find ourselves.

*The inside scoop on some of our latest developments included:

  • Quartis R11 features new tools for managing multiple horizontal arm CMM systems. One seat of software can manage up to 8 arms.
  • Geartec is launching new software tools for inspecting camshafts and rotors on the WGT Gear CMM series of machines. This will allow for easy inspection of these specialized parts with minimal programming time.
  • Pointmaster 5.4 can now perform a full simulation of your inspection run with the Shapetracer 3D laser scanner, before you run the scan. This will verify all angles and positions used during the scan, even on highly sculpted parts.