NPMA’s PestWorld 2014 is here! This annual convention has proven, year after year, to be the best opportunity to network with your industry peers and gain invaluable information that can help your company reach the next level. It is also, from a technical perspective, your best opportunity to identify, evaluate and compare suppliers, products, equipment and potential services all in one place.
Know the Suppliers.
The PestWorld convention floor is a great opportunity to get to know your suppliers. This is the time of year where suppliers, whether chemical or equipment, have the opportunity to showcase their support teams. Yes, most PMPs already have a great relationship with their specific product or equipment representative. However, what happens if there is a problem; a spill, equipment breakdown or even a customer-generated claim? Is that representative able or qualified to handle all of these challenges, or is there a support team available to assist in a time of crisis? What are the capabilities of that support team? If a piece of equipment breaks, can it be fixed in the field or does it have to be sent off?
New product introductions and launches are always front and center on the PestWorld convention floor. I am sure that this year will be no exception. During these product introductions, manufacturers want nothing more than to spend time discussing these new products. Take advantage of it! Use this as an opportunity to do your research and gather as much information as possible. Compare these new products with those products that you already use or are thinking of switching to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask for data supporting the product’s claims of effectiveness. This is your time to compare and contrast different products and decide how you may want to incorporate these products into your particular business model.
In many cases, our businesses rely on the type of equipment we use to do the job. It’s important to take a very hands-on approach to equipment review. The convention floor is the perfect place to do this! Since many vendors bring both standard pieces of equipment, as well as the latest and greatest technology, this is the perfect time to compare and contrast. Equipment must be evaluated to ensure that it is not only effective, but that it is also user-friendly and extremely durable when being used in the field. It’s important to determine whether each piece of equipment can be serviced by professionals during the normal course of business, or whether it must be sent away, resulting in lost production time.
It is also important to identify those technologies and items that may be new, or even ancillary, to the pest management industry, but can help a company move to that next level. Software and hardware packages to assist in billing and vehicle tracking should be reviewed and compared between all providers. This is also a great opportunity to review technology and products that can help to minimize a company’s liability claims, including vehicle safety, workplace safety and employee health.
Lastly, it is always best to use your time wisely. Identify and focus your efforts on those products, equipment or services that are most important to the success of your company. However, don’t forget to ask questions. Lots of questions! This is your first opportunity to make a big impact for the upcoming 2015 pest season.
The author is Rollins’ technical services director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.