November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11
By Reginald Tucker
Floor covering retail and commercial contract software provider Pacific Solutions recently held its annual fall user’s conference in San Diego. Scores of Pacific Solutions’ customers as well as company employees were on hand for the comprehensive, multi-faceted event.
“The objective of the conference is to bring all our users together and provide them with that one-time-a-year opportunity to interface with Pacific Solutions’ employees in a social environment,” said Bob Noe, president and CEO. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to get to know us better so they can understand our core values as a business.”
At the same time, the conference allows a variety of Pacific Solutions’ software users—both retailer and commercial clients alike—the chance to network and benchmark. As Noe explained: “The users all have the systems in common with one another. So when they are here at the conference they can talk to other businesses about system usage and discuss with their colleagues how they adopted the system and adapted it to their business. This allows them to evaluate their company from a technical and operational perspective.”
The Pacific Solutions event—now in its 10th year—is not your typical educational conference. It is structured in such a fashion that attendees can tailor their participation based on their unique educational needs. For instance, the main event takes place over a two-day period, with the first two days comprising general sessions each morning. Then, in the afternoon of the first two days there are three blocks of education with three separate classes going on during each educational block. All totaled, there are nine educational opportunities in the first afternoon, followed by nine opportunities in the second afternoon.
“This allows attendees to sit in on whichever educational breakout session that best suits their needs and those of their company,” Noe said. “For example, if the retailer’s accountant attends, he might be interested in the classes that focus on the general ledger. But if someone in operations attends, she might be interested in subjects that focus on the B2B product catalog.”
The educational opportunities don’t end there. Beyond the initial two days, attendees are also invited to stick around for another two days of extended education in a lecture hall format. About half of the 100 attendees opted to stay for additional training.
In developing the curriculum for its annual conference, Pacific Solutions closely examines user trends. For instance, management reviews its tech support logs for the year and then confers with the training department to identify areas where there’s the greatest software need.
“If we focus those needs on that extended education, people will come out becoming better system users,” Noe explained. “In turn, they provide feedback that helps guide our future development and directives.”
Those who attended the conference had glowing remarks. “Many companies say, ‘Our customers always come first,’ but at Pacific Solutions it’s true,” said Alan Schwartz of Master Care Flooring in Baltimore. “They are extremely professional while remaining laid back and friendly. It’s a great combination.”
James Gray of Hawthorne Interiors, Calgary Alberta, is a regular attendee. “Pacific Solutions hosts an excellent event that is informative about current and future developments with their software. The structure encourages interaction between Pacific Solutions staff and attendees as well as numerous networking opportunities to find out how other users succeed with the system. It’s a must-attend event for anyone looking to maximize their investment in the system.”
Another attendee, Claudia Smith of Aggieland Carpet One, College Station, Texas, likes the communal aspect. “This conference is not only informational but a great source of networking and sharing best practices. I definitely enjoyed it and would strongly recommend it.”