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Pear Shaped Plans
31 July 2018
Pear Shaped Plans

I enjoy being candid in my blogs. So this month I am going to take things up a notch and show you under my skirt, so to speak.

Last week was the culmination of a huge amount of work from many many people to get the Jenkins crew to the Horticulture Conference in Christchurch. While attending trade shows and conferences is far from foreign to us, this one was a bit different. At this year’s conference we debuted our new product the Aporo Produce Packer to the world, and yours truly had a slot as a key note speaker in the conference proceedings. So, it is fair to say there was a bit of pressure to ensure things landed just right as the whole team was very emotionally invested in the week in chilly Christchurch.

Overall, the week was awesome and we made some excellent connections and had some great social and professional time with our customers and networks. However, a couple of key things went horribly pear shaped along the way.

In order to debut the Aporo operating at full speed live on the stand, we needed to create some sort of recirculating conveyor to avoid the need for the team to run fruit back to the in-feed of the packer constantly. The R&D team came up with a brilliant plan and started about building what we truly believe is an absolute work of art (you should see this thing, it is seriously clever). The problem was that it didn’t work. Despite literally pulling all-nighters in the days leading up to the deadline to ship all of our trade stand items to Christchurch, there was one small problem that they simply could not rectify in time. We still had the packer running on the stand, but we were running fruit back to the front of the machine to demonstrate it. You will be pleased to know that the recirculating conveyor is now working beautifully and our pedometers got a good workout!

The second item that went pear shaped was my key note address. In an effort to be extremely modern in my presenting style I built an attractive and simplistic slide deck that was 99% full screen images, with no bullet points. I wanted the audience focused on what was coming out of my mouth rather than what was on the screens behind me. The absence of bullet points to prompt you in your presentation means that you come to rely on the speaker notes function in Power Point where the speaker can see their notes on their screen, while the audience only sees your beautiful slides. Approximately 3.75 minutes before being introduced onto the stage, the conference AV guy advised me that the presenter screen had gone down and he was unable to get it back up. I was not just bullet point-less, but completely note-less. Scrambling to get the notes up on my own tablet I took to the stage and delivered a fairly average version of my content that was far more dynamic in my hotel room earlier that day, in my humble opinion!

You can see a recording of my address here - https://youtu.be/rmwsWLcqb74

So, why share the stories above when anyone observing probably saw a well-oiled trade stand and perfectly acceptable presentation? Well, for that very reason actually. While sometimes the best laid plans go astray, it is truly amazing to watch a team like we have at Jenkins scramble to make sure the best possible outcome is still achieved. No one threw their toys, no one walked away, and everyone turned on their heels and made s%$t happen. As a leader in our organisation I love watching the team respond to adversity, whether that be our own or a customers, and seeing shock and horror turn into smiles and relief. The importance of plans B and C was never more important than last week.

We don’t always get the exact outcome we wanted, but we always get an outcome.

 

This post was written by

Fresh News Articles
Jamie Lunam - who has written 11 posts

Jamie is the General Manager of Jenkins Freshpac Systems.