Being Prepared is a ChoiceBy Paul Campbell
Article Date: 03-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Are you and your managers ready to pass the test of these challenging times?
It seems whenever I pick up a newspaper or watch the news these days headlines are seldom encouraging and often times downright depressing. Whether it's the dreaded "R" word, world and political unrest, dire environmental predictions or some other cause for concern, there seems to be a relentless onslaught of negative news and information.
Troubling times for business are all around us. Dealing with difficult sales environments, government regulation, rising costs and all other aspects of business these days call for increased fortitude, aptitude and just plain guts. Day-to-day decisions can seem more difficult as we navigate through rough waters not seen for years. Equipping ourselves with the tools necessary to be better managers and employers takes on new meaning as we deal with difficult circumstances and challenges that will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
How we are suited to deal with these challenges may not only determine how well we endure these difficult times, but if we survive at all. The challenge, however, lies in finding the time and resources to train when we are in the midst of the firefight. When "all hands on deck" becomes the battle cry it may seem like the wrong time to step away to train. However, a wise man once told me, "If you think it's expensive and time consuming to train employees, don't train them and see what it costs you."
So what options are available to train ourselves and those who work with us? Where do you go to find the type of training specific to the needs of an equipment distributor? Luckily, you belong to an organization that provides the best training, specific to our industry, offered anywhere in the marketplace. AED has the training and resources available to make you better and improve your ability to manage your business. Through The AED Foundation, you can train in parts and service management, branch management, improve your sales ability and increase the effectiveness of rental operations.
If ever there were times when we need to be at the top of our game it is in times like these. It's easy to hide mistakes when revenues are going up and there's always another customer waiting to be served. However, when the water in the pool starts to drain, the cracks in the walls and foundation start to appear. The same principle applies to business. Volume is a wonderful thing and covers up a lot of the inefficiencies and cracks in our businesses. But when the top line starts to come down, that is when the true foundation of our business starts to show. Inefficient operations were easily covered up due to the "just get it done regardless of the cost" mentality brought on by the heady construction times of the recent past. Now those weaknesses start to rear their ugly heads and test the true mettle of managers.
Do you, or your managers, have the tools and skills necessary to deal with the cracks? If not, what is your plan to gain those tools and skills? How are you and your managers going to deal with the challenges that lie ahead? Will you turn those challenges into opportunities or will they continue to erode the foundation of your department or business?
What we do with the challenges ahead is entirely up to us. We can meet them head on with our quivers full of arrows gained from taking the time to train and develop ourselves and our people, or we can go to battle empty handed, somehow hoping things will work out. While I am not a historian by any stretch, I do know enough about it to understand that those who go to battle prepared are typically the ones who end up on top.
While AED offers myriad opportunities for training and development, we are always looking for ways to better serve you. Your feedback is extremely important as we continue to refine existing offerings and design new ones to benefit you. Our association serves a broad and diverse group of companies, all with individual and varied needs. However, many are surprised by the common challenges we all face when it comes to working in this industry. Best practices are applicable in large and small equipment distributors.
Officers, board members and AED staff are all anxious to hear your ideas and input. A list of this group can be found on page 11 of this magazine. Please take the time to review which board members represent your area and feel free to contact any one of us at any time with your thoughts and suggestions. This is your association. Help us make it better - and better able to serve you by letting us know how we can improve.
Meanwhile, take the time to sharpen your skills. The choice is yours.
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