PPG MVP Business Solutions conference offers 'Journey to Excellence'

Greg Smith, CEO of Chart Your Course International, addressed attendees of the PPG MVP Business Solutions Spring Conference.
STRONGSVILLE, Ohio, May 10, 2011 – “Same old, same old” is history. It’s time to accept change as the new normal. Performance and productivity are the new benchmarks for the industry.

These were some of the messages to attendees of PPG Industries’ (NYSE: PPG) MVP Business Solutions Spring Conference at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, Calif. Themed “Journey to Excellence,” the conference drew more than 250 owners and managers of collision centers across the United States and Canada that use PPG automotive refinish products to learn how to succeed in the industry’s highly demanding and rapidly changing climate.

“It’s a challenging environment today for collision centers, and the traditional paths to success just are not as effective anymore,” said Jim Berkey, director of MVP Business Solutions for PPG’s automotive refinish business, in his opening remarks. “It doesn’t matter how big or how good you were under the old rules. When those rules change, everyone goes back to zero.”

Keynote speaker Greg Smith, CEO of Chart Your Course International and a recognized authority on change and talent management, built on that theme. He discussed the importance of setting a business course that could address the need for continuously adapting to changing business models. According to Smith, being successful today requires a high-energy workplace that increases performance, generates more profits, and delivers exceptional customer service. One factor in achieving this is keeping morale and motivation high to avoid employee turnover, which compromises quality and productivity. “You need the right leadership to get staff to do just about anything,” he said. “People are not your most important asset; the right people are.”

Smith also presented a “Hire the Best, Forget the Rest!” seminar offering insights into hiring and retaining the right people.

Another featured speaker was Michael McMillan, who showed how situations perceived as problems are often unrecognized solutions or opportunities in a presentation entitled “Pink Bat: Turning Problems into Solutions.” Teamwork expert and author Tom Heck’s seminar, “The 7 Qualities of the Leader as Coach,” centered on employee motivation, the changed nature of the current multigenerational workforce, and the need for a new leadership approach for teams and individuals working together.

The conference also emphasized lean production, with interactive workshops that provided practical applications for increasing performance levels in collision centers. Workshop topics included The Lean Journey in Collision, Load Leveling, and Value Stream Mapping.

In The Lean Journey in Collision workshop, Berkey portrayed the journey as tough but rewarding. He offered a road map to lean implementation and discussed leadership and training, implementation planning, X-Ray Repair Planning™, 5S and workplace organization. The Value Stream Mapping and Load Leveling workshops were led by MVP Business Solutions Senior Managers Mike Gunnells and Mark Mueller, respectively. Value stream mapping helps identify changes that obtain cycle time improvement, and it aligns the organization around the right changes in the process that capitalize on eliminating the greatest sources of waste. Workshop participants used their own shop data to develop maps to help them recognize improvement opportunities and gauge performance. The Load Leveling session addressed the negative effects of variation in work volume and mix on the repair process and the positive impact that load leveling systems are having in collision centers today.

MVP Value-Added Programs Senior Manager Norm Angrove and Manager of Performance Learning John Martin, leaders of the 360º Marketing Systems team, discussed strategies for effective multigenerational marketing, the use of social media, and more marketing opportunities that go beyond traditional channels. “Marketing is part of the journey,” Angrove said. “Marketing today is different than it’s been, and it will continue to evolve. And relevant marketing is one of the most important tools for the journey.”

Attendees’ reaction to the conference was positive. Tom Tracy, president and owner of Tracys Collision Centers, Lincoln, Neb., said, “PPG did a great job putting this conference together. It showed me how committed PPG is to helping its customers. If you’re serious about succeeding, PPG is serious about helping you.”

For more about PPG MVP Business Solutions and future conferences, visit www.ppgmvp.com.

When introduced more than a decade ago, MVP Services was the first program of its kind in the collision repair industry. Since then, thousands of collision center owners and managers have taken advantage of MVP Business Solutions’ innovative services to improve the way they run their businesses. Green Belt Training is part of the MVP program.

About PPG
PPG Industries’ vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Founded in 1883, the company serves customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, PPG operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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MVP Business Solutions
PPG Automotive Refinish