Reflections From a Jet-lagged Traveller: the Cat Conference
The Mavim team has just touched down after a mile-high three days in Park City, Utah for the Continuous Improvement conference for CAT Dealerships. Some of the largest and most prominent CAT dealers were in attendance, and we were lucky enough to be invited as a vendor and given an opportunity to present to various representatives and dealer groups in attendance.
As this particular conference is extremely selective about which vendors are invited to participate, requiring a vendor’s nomination by a dealer-member as well as vetting by the selection committee, we felt truly honored to have received the official green-light to represent Mavim (thanks again, Ben!)
Although we were there as a vendor, our primary goal was simply to listen and learn, to better understand the challenges Caterpillar dealers (and their associated affiliate companies) overcome on a daily basis.
In between the crisp mountain air, clear skies, drinks, food and fun, here’s what we learned.
ERP Projects are on the Horizon, and Dealers are Rightfully Scared
The majority of CAT dealers are still running DBS, a purpose-built ERP that has withstood the test of time despite being taken off of support over 15 years ago. While these dealers make do with what they have, several are in the process of, or anticipate, making changes to transform their businesses with a modern ERP system (Microsoft Dynamics and Infor products among the most popular.) ERP migrations are daunting, and as anyone who has been through one will caution, they can become messy and expensive very quickly. The key to a successful implementation is instilling and adhering to proper change management practices.
Mavim was critical to PON’s CAT ERP implementation, as they utilized our Application Implementation Management platform to keep their project on-time and on-budget. Now that they have gone-live, they utilize Mavim to manage upgrades and ensure that the people and processes affected by system changes are in conformance with the company’s defined best practices.
If the Best Practices are the Best Practices, Why Doesn’t Everybody Do Them?
One of the many themes we heard from Caterpillar dealers revolved around the concept of instilling best practices, or ‘one way of working’ across multiple facilities, branch offices, or subsidiary companies. Many of the companies in attendance have spent countless man-hours documenting processes in an attempt to optimize the processes that comprise their operating model, and yet when the rubber meets the road, they find that these painstakingly designed, modeled, and notated best practices are not being adhered to. The question becomes, how do we ensure that our employees are following the guidelines the company has laid out?
Mavim’s platform combines Business Process Management and Process Mining, giving stakeholders the ability to see exactly where processes are adhering to best practices, and where they are deviating from the optimal models. Mavim’s conformance checking capabilities provide quick and easy insight into where processes are running into bottlenecks and chokepoints that prevent maximum efficiency.
The Customer (Experience) is King
The modern customer has more choice and power than ever in today’s competitive marketplace, making the Customer Experience (CX) paramount to instilling brand loyalty and gaining maximum profitability from every customer. Every step of the customer journey represents an inflection point whereby a customer increases or decreases the likelihood of doing business, and continuing to do business, with the organization.
Inconsistent customer experience represents one of the largest root causes of customer churn in any industry, and in a service industry like the world of CAT dealerships, the potential for revenue loss due to poor customer experience is magnified.
Mavim has helped hundreds of customers re-design their customer experiences to provide consistency, speed, efficiency, and above all, satisfaction. By giving a fact-based view of as-is customer journeys, Mavim’s customers are able to bring myriad, highly variable customer journey pathways into consolidated, consistent, and streamlined customer experiences that decrease sales and customer service resolution times and increase customer loyalty.
The Air in Park City is Very Thin
I took advantage of a perfect mid-70s afternoon and made an attempt to run from our mountaintop campus at the Hyatt Centric. I say “made an attempt” because within a mile and a half, running at my normal pace, I became light-headed and felt a burning in my lungs typically reserved for much greater distances. By the time I realized that, duh, the air was much thinner than I was used to running through in the streets of Boston, I was already about two miles down the mountainside. Unless I wanted to miss dinner, I had no choice but to run back up. So, word of advice, maybe don’t do that.
Among all, we learned that Caterpillar and its affiliated dealerships come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and focus areas, but share similar challenges with regards to process management, conformance, and implementing best practices to optimize efficiency in their operations.
For those of you whom we met at the conference, we are excited to talk through your specific use cases further to design a solution within Mavim to meet your business objectives. For those who didn’t make it, we’re sorry we missed you, and we’d love to discuss how we were able to help PON in their transformation efforts, as well as some of the current projects Mavim will be assisting with in other similar dealerships.
Scott Leddy is the Sales Director in the Americas and has over 10 years of experience in his line of sales.