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cermatech '98 - (late) feedback

updated sat 11 jul 98


Grace Liu on fri 10 jul 98

I did promise to give my feedback after attending the Cermatech '98
conference. So after over a month of being offline, here it is.
As a newcomer to the industry (I run a small-scale porcelain factory), I
found this conference to be tremendously helpful.
I would say that I learned something new in every presentation, & there
were a few presentations which were especially enlightening. By far the
most valuable part of attending Cermatech though was two-fold:
1) having the opportunity to meet, talk to and discuss technical
questions with the experts. The amount of experience and knowledge at
the conference was quite impressive.
2) meeting other people who share the same experiences, difficulties,
and successes. Exchanging ideas & building friendships. It was
important to have the longer break periods so people could mingle more.
I have some ideas of what I'd like to see in the next conference. Since
Cermatech is geared toward small to medium production operations
(potters or slip casting operations), it would be helpful to hear from
those who have experience in the actual operation & management of a
pottery facility. I'd love to hear topics on:
-- how to enforce & improve quality control (across the operation)
-- how a successful operation manages its slip casting room/or potting
workshop, mould making, firing, decorating, (in other words, any of the
steps of production)
-- operations management (say of a medium-scale operation): after all,
we're all trying to run successful businesses. What are the issues &
problems specific to the ceramics business? How does one manage to it?
How to increase productivity on an operational level (as opposed to a
technical level)?
-- design and/or product development. (no need to divulge company
secrets!) What is involved in the development cycle? what is the
time-frame? what market information/trends do they pay attention to (if
any)? (panel discussion set-up? as I'm sure there are many ways of
tackling this issue)
It would be nice to see some more focus on operations management. After
all, not all of us have MBAs.
Hope this has been useful feedback, Victoria!