Rick Lowrey, CEO, Pilgrim Quality Solutions
“The most successful customer conferences are contingent on active customer participation and Pilgrim team collaboration.”
#PilgrimFusion 2016 was my first customer event since joining Pilgrim Quality Solutions as CEO in May 2015. I had the opportunity to meet many customers at once and learn and understand their experience with Pilgrim as their compliance and quality partner. Having spent years in software, I’ve attended my share of user conferences both as a user and as an employee of an enterprise software business, but this year was an entirely new experience.
The New Kid on the Block
Man was I nervous. Summarizing my feelings I think you could say I was Confident, Content, and Concerned. Confident in the team’s preparation for the three days knowing our customers would be delighted by the interaction, session agenda and networking opportunities; content that the venue would be appropriate for our customers and would enable the learning, networking, and social activities; and, finally, concerned about my ability (or lack thereof) to effectively articulate the vision and focus for Pilgrim during the next phase of our journey.
I was elated to know we had a good mix of first-time customers, as well as more long-tenured customers in attendance. Our customer guests came from many different highly regulated industries including the Life Sciences, Aerospace & Defense, Energy & Utilities, government, as well as Distribution, Logistics & other manufacturing organizations. We had a great cross-section of attendees including quality, training, technical, project, and regulatory/compliance professionals, ranging in titles from specialist, auditor, and consultant, to manager, director, and Vice President.
Something for Everyone
The conference agenda was comprised of a good mix of how-to, technical, and networking opportunities for everyone. We benefitted by having customer sessions and an interactive hands-on laboratory, as well as partner sessions and an insightful keynote address by Karen Martin, a lean manufacturing expert. All of this was topped off by fabulous weather and a hotel staff striving to accommodate all our requests!
The Pilgrim product advisory board kicked off #PilgrimFusion 2016 by participating up close and personal with our Product Management team to review real-life Quality Management issues facing industry and professionals. Honing our strategy with this customer team, the ½-day session allowed for deep and candid dialogue about the future state of Pilgrim’s product platform. As we greeted our guests throughout Sunday evening, it was really my opportunity to meet everyone, and begin (for many) or continue (for some) the ever-important relationship building, exchanging ideas on our business, products, and most importantly customer service-focus areas.
Out the Starting Gate
As the morning of the first day approached, I wondered if my discussion with our attendees would resonate. Kicking off the conference, my prepared remarks were designed to provide each customer and partner attendee the necessary insight about our collective thinking about our future. Emphasizing two points, customer service and product evolution, I attempted to define the oft-used phrase of customer intimacy to the #PilgrimFusion audience. I shared with guests words and a lesson taught to me by a former CEO. To put it simply, for Pilgrim we are focusing our efforts on both “good product and great customer service.” Everything we focus on across people, process, and technology must be aligned with the goal of driving a more intimate dialogue and relationship with our customers. As I remarked, I’m not sure you can define customer intimacy better than that. Relieved that my time on the big stage came and passed without falling off, I was delighted to hear many customers echo their approval for our vision and mission.
The big stage presentations were fantastic with our trio of experts. Pilgrim offered forward-looking insight with our Vice President of Regulatory and Product Management, Kari Miller, on our evolving product strategy. We then heard from lean manufacturing expert Karen Martin on the importance and necessary focus on process and technology in the quest for #qualitybydesign. Lastly, our CTO Stanley Curtis offered insight on industry-changing themes and topics around #cybersecurity, #bigdata, and #mobility. It was a great trio of presentations.
A View from the Inside
I spent my time inside the guts of the conference attending our education sessions along with our customers, both in an effort to learn, but also to hear our customers interact with our product and subject matter experts. When not in a session, I oft times wandered the Solution Lab, listening in to our team discuss and drilling into advanced quality topics for customers to carry back inside their organizations. On occasion, I even snuck a peek inside our usability station, as our UX/UI experts discussed the evolving nature of usability with our enterprise flagship product SmartSolve®.
Connecting for Quality Advancement
Pilgrim’s Fusion conference for me, a first timer, was all about engagement, meeting customers, learning about areas of improvement to enhance our goal of great customer service, and understanding why SmartSolve is an important piece in each customers compliance and quality mission. Our time together at #PilgrimFusion 2016 certainly did accomplish our goal of active customer participation and team collaboration.
Fusion 2016 Overview
Get a glimpse into the productivity and fun that takes place when Pilgrim customers Connect for Quality Advancement.