By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Tourism campaigns to the contrary, what happened in Las Vegas during last month's Marcone Servicers Association (MSA) national convention is not likely to stay there.
Instead, the 400-plus attending members of the servicers trade group, created by majap parts distributor Marcone Appliance Parts, are expected to apply what they learned from the event's extensive technical-training sessions and in-depth business-management seminars to their own businesses back home.
The annual convention, held Sept. 23-26 at Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, also represented the launch of a new partnership with Brand Source Service (BSS), the one-year-old service division of the $11 billion Brand Source home furnishings buying group. BSS held its own confab in conjunction with MSA's Harrah's event, which was followed by a joint 15-city technical training tour this fall.
Highlights of the MSA convention included the announcement of multiple new programs under the heading “Game Changers Designed to Increase Profitability,” plus a raffle that raised more than $6,000 for the Bob Hope USO. Raffle winner Terrance Timmons of Quality Maytag in Prescott, Ariz., won a Honda all-terrain vehicle donated by Marcone Appliance Parts, while J.R. Zirkelbach of BSS won a stainless-steel gas grill donated by Fisher & Paykel. Michael Teilmann, retired Brig. General and executive director of the Bob Hope Hollywood USO in Los Angeles, was the keynote speaker.
New member-benefit announcements included a guaranteed-issue life insurance program, including $10,000 in no-cost coverage; a new health insurance offering to be released at the end of the year; and enhancements of the individual Web sites that MSA provides to its membership.
Other events included numerous games and quizzes presented by Electrolux, with winners receiving tickets to popular Las Vegas shows including Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil's Love and Zumanity.
In between the entertainment offerings, attendees participated in three days of breakout sessions that provided the latest in business strategy and management for the service industry, along with hands-on technical training for household appliances. As Dan Terfehr of Dan's Appliance said, “In this industry, classroom training is needed badly. Where else are we going to get the training unless someone steps up and organizes us?”
The service training and breakdown sessions included several new courses on high-end appliances by such vendors as Dacor, Fisher & Paykel, Bosch and LG, plus a water-filtration system class presented by Everpure . Water filtration represents a promising new business opportunity for MSA's 1,200 member companies, the trade group said, and attendees learned how they could readily enter the business.
The new “game changing” programs announced at the show included “MyCycleTime.com,” “Picture Perfect Service Company” and “One and You're Done.” For more information on these programs or next year's annual MSA Convention, visit msaworld.com or email the trade association at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, BSS's overlapping convention, offered to Brand Source Service members at a discounted rate, provided access to MSA's special presentations, business-management training and technical instruction.
The joint MSA-BSS technical training tour, which runs through 2008, focuses on Brand Source's core Bosch, Electrolux and Samsung CE and majap brands, along with its private label Gourmet Professional Series line of premium kitchen appliances. Admission is free to group members and will be refunded to non-members upon joining Brand Source.
Brand Source created BSS in November 2006 to support group members who perform their own repairs on major appliance and consumer electronics products, and to provide manufacturers with an alternative to existing national service organizations. BSS said its aim is to bring profitability to the independent servicing dealer through training, education and a national service network.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.