Friday, September 21, 2007
First, a few things about the conference, then some session observations:
- This was the largest meeting that IDEA has held and there were many technology providers presented. Much networking, and business, took place. Distributors and manufacturers who took advantage of the opportunity to talk to these companies are positioning themselves well to become more effective, and efficient, in the marketplace.
- IDEA launched its new website. Lot’s more information on it, plus a live chat function for quick customer support. The redesign, and new functionality, were very well received. Kudos to the team.
- I attended the eMobileCat presentation. Very interesting presentation and powerful software.
- Overall, attendees were pleased with the quality and the content. In the words of one attendee, “We get stuff done at IDEA meetings.”
- Manufacturers explained what they were doing, and why, in some of the sessions (panels). Distributors complained about access and quality of data. At the same time, it appears that legacy data in distributor systems is hampering some distributors, others are challenged based upon the age (hence functionality / capabilities) of their ERP systems.
- I understand that a session moderated by Ed Orlet, NAED, had some controversy according to a couple of manufacturers.
- A panel discussion entitled “What’s wrong with the data” was very good, and David Starr from McNaughton-McKay knows his stuff. If you are a distributor and have questions, he’s your man. If you are a manufacturer, you should consider listening to him.
- A NEMA economist provided an economic overview. He thinks that a slowdown will be “shallow / short-lived” although he projects that there will be a further decline in residential with some spreading to the commercial market. The overall sense from talking with attendees is that they sense a change in the market, but don’t necessarily have a good sense of what, or how severe, that change will be.
All of the presentations are available for download from IDEA’s website.
Additionally, IDEA announced that its 2008 Electro E-Biz Forum will be held September 14-16 in Washington DC. The conference will mark IDEA’s 10th Anniversary. Mike Rioux encouraged everyone to bring one non-IDEA user to the conference to generate greater efficiencies and e-knowledge, in the industry.
And about Bernie and Phil …
At the conclusion of the conference, the two of them stood before the attendees and publicly acknowledged the contributions of Mike Rioux. They commented on his professionalism, knowledge, performance and ability to make IDEA a success and wished him well on his next endeavor. Attendees responded with a standing ovation.
A class act…individuals with vision.