It has been very rewarding for me personally over my past 7 years with EMC to see how the monthly London/Oxford Region Strategic Interest Group Sessions (SIG's) have evolved. I recall my first year or so with EMC, trying to set up and facilitate these sessions. It would often turn into a very stressful endeavour...with very few Members coming out, and then they would look to me for answers around whatever the topic of that session would be.
I specifically recall one of the first SIG's I facilitated. The topic was "Attendance Management", I had maybe 4 members sitting around the table in the board room at whatever plant we were at. After the round table introductions and EMC update the conversation turn to the general things those in attendance do around the topic. But with only 4 members the the conversation really started to piddle out quickly and the members sitting around the table started to look to me for suggestions on the topic. I had no idea what to say, I'd never worked in HR, I had zero experience with this type of issue. I remember looking at the clock and thinking I got a hour to go in this session, we are out of stuff to say and people are just sitting and looking at each other!
Well we got through that session. I don't know how much the members in attendance got out of it but I quickly learned that I was not capable of providing really any valuable insights on the SIG topics. I could facilitate the discussion, but I could not add much to it. A light bulb went off after these first few sessions...I started to let the host pick the topic and having that host present their best practices around whatever the topic was that they chose. The session quickly started improving after implementing this. Also, the SIG sessions generally included a plant tour...but just a plant tour. The tours were always a very important part of the SIG's but could be improved on. I stumbled across the idea of turing the tours into "Group Continuous Improvement Exercises"...I started having the members participating in the tours identify 3 things they saw on the tour that they liked and 3 things they saw that could be improved upon. After the tour I break members up into small groups and they talk about their observations, record them and we then present them to the host before the session ends. This has turned into a incredible valuable to tool for the host and the participating members. Often the tour and CI exercise take up more than half the session!
From where the London/Oxford Region Consortium was 7 years to where it is today is astounding. It has come from around 40 members to about 120 today. As far as the SIG's, I don't ever have to worry about attendance any more. For some of the larger SIG events we have had 150 members out! Every SIG event for the past 2 years has been packed...every spot available has been taken. If the host has room for 30 we get 30, if the host has room for 60 we get 60 out. Members get excited about hosting, they get to pick an area they are good at and they get to brag about (share their best practices) and the tours provide a great opportunity for them to get some outside perspective on their operations. The best practices members choose to share cover absolutely everything that happens in a manufacturing facility. I am meeting new people from member facilities at each SIG, depending on the topic, which is great!
I really enjoy getting positive comments from members after they have attended a SIG, especially from those who first time it was at a session. The last London Region SIG Event was June 26th at JMP Engineering in London. The best practice shared was around "Employee Health & Wellness Programs". We had two members sharing best practices around the topic at this session, JMP and Steelway...here are a couple comments from members I got after the event.
"Excellent event, very informative."
"Both presentations were very well done, thank you for inviting me to participate. It was great to join the group today."
"Great session this morning, very informative."
"The event today was awesome, I walked away with lots of info."
"Nice to meet you this morning, please send me the presentation, what great info!"
"Thank you for setting up the session this morning, I got a lot out of it."
"Thanks for squeezing me into the session this morning, great info!"
These comments are so great to get and I get them after every session! It reinforces the value of the SIG events.
Thank you to all the London/Oxford Region EMC Members that support the local Consortium...The monthly SIG events will continue in the fall, with a very special session on Sept 26th. This will be our annual "Ministry of Labour Update", along with "Legal Due Diligence for Manufacturers Update". This event will be held at the London Convention Centre, more info to follow soon!
If you are interested in attending the monthly SIG Event please feel free to connect with me at...
EMC London Region