PLASA hosted its 2003 Association Day and Annual General Meeting on Friday 6 June, in the impressive surroundings of the historic Coombe Abbey Hotel, near Coventry.
The PLASA Association Day is designed to incorporate the Association's AGM into a full day's activity, offering PLASA Members an event that is both useful and enjoyable, as PLASA's managing director Matthew Giffiths outlined: "We've made a conscious effort in recent years to get away from the focus on the AGM: this meeting is a legal formality for an Association, and is itself over very quickly. The real value of the Association Day then arises from the seminars, discussions, networking and entertainment which follow - all of which is heavily subsidized by the Association and is there for members to take up."
The AGM itself provided the opportunity for PLASA chairman David Hopkins OBE to address his first AGM as chairman. He spoke of how an Association should serve its membership in a fast-changing business environment. Managing director Matthew Griffiths then described the Association's activities over the past year, and gave a brief overview of the year ahead.
The business information element of the day included two well-attended seminars - the first, on Lean Manufacturing, was presented by Annie Pearson from the Manufacturing Advisory Service, and detailed how manufacturing processes can be streamlined to increase efficiency and reduce lead times. The second session, presented by Bob Empson of White Maple Consulting, was titled 'Effective Marketing for Tough Times' - both sessions were well received.
Running alongside these seminars were two discussion forums, led by business consultant Phil Pratt, covering a range of pertinent issues affecting PLASA members, from cheap imports and copyright protection, to the Euro, escalating insurance premiums and competition law. Many of those in attendance commented on how useful and informative they found these sessions. In the evening, the more leisurely part of the day's schedule began in earnest with an excellent dinner, followed by a jaw-dropping performance from 'psychological illusionist' Derren Brown - star of Channel 4 Television's 'Mind Control' series. The entertainment was enjoyed by all concerned - even those picked on as guinea pigs!
PLASA's Matthew Griffiths summed up the day: "I accept that attending this kind of event is traditionally not a priority for members of an association, yet we strive to make it worthwhile. I am pleased to report that the overwhelming response from attendees was that it was of benefit to their business, and I would encourage all members to try and make it next year, to see what they're missing.
"We've had so much positive feedback on the seminar and discussion sessions that we will look at running them again during the year - there's also been input on ideas for other sessions. That's the great thing about the Association Day from PLASA's perspective - it allows us to tap into members' needs and look at ways of addressing them."