The fourth Barcelona Pest Control Innovation Forum took place 1-2 April 2019. The event is held every two years and for the first time Pest went along to find out more. We were impressed. This is no run of the mill event. The format is highly participative with workshops that really make you think and the standard of the keynote presentations was exceptionally high.
The event is organised by the Association of Pest Control Companies of Catalonia (ADEPAP – Associacio d’Empreses de Control de Plagas de Catalunya), which is the oldest pest management association in Spain having been established in 1977.
The forum is designed to gather together pest management professionals who are seeking ideas to address industry challenges. This year’s conference covered the latest digital technologies and ways to effectively implement them into a pest control servicing business. There were around 150 delegates, including representatives from the sponsoring companies and, not surprisingly, the majority came from Catalonia and Spain. The event however has a very international outlook recognising that the challenges faced by pest control businesses are similar the world over. Simultaneous translation into English is provided for all the auditorium sessions and there is always one workshop conducted in English.
Workshops are a key part of the Barcelona Pest
Control Innovation Forum
|From left Quim Sendra, Mar Toribio, Dominique
Stumpf, Dennis Jenkins and Henry Mott
The first day was certainly a full one. Registration at the venue, the impressive Foundation of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Health of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, opened at 08.30 and, for those who had booked to attend the social dinner, it didn’t end until 23.00.
After the usual welcoming worlds from ADEPAP chief executive Mar Toribio and President Quim Sendra, the morning session got underway with SpeakTacular, a three-man group described as delivering ‘mindshaking edutainment’.
The group comprises Joan Plans, Albert Bosch and Salva López. They acted out a job interview scenario with a difference. Briefly the set up was that Joan Plans was a psychologist hired by a company to recruit a business development manager. The audience was briefed that they were going to decide which of the two candidates was best so we all listened hard.
Speaktacular's Joan Plans, left and rock star, Slava Lopez
Speaktacular's adverturer, Albert
Quim Sendra enters into the spirit of the marathon workshop
The candidates were far from ordinary. The first Salva López is a rock musician and he used his experiences of the music industry to show how he could manage change and motivate talent in the company. Albert Bosch is an adventurer and explorer who has run ultra marathons, climbed Everest and crossed Antarctica. Like Salva he argued that his experiences provided a template for managing change and motivating staff.
Both candidates gave entertaining presentations which also provided plenty of good business management advice. There was a twist in the tale at the end of the session but that should remain secret just in case you ever get to an event that features SpeakTacular.
Three workshop sessions followed, one with each of the three from Speaktacular. These too were excellent. One looked at creative thinking using the SCAMPER technique to help the groups come up with new product/service ideas. SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adjust, Method/Modify, Put to Others, Rearrange or Reverse.
The second focused on the importance of cooperation and planning with teams working out how to cross the room on imaginary stepping stones (actually sheets of A4 paper). Each stone could only have two feet on it at any one time but always had to have at least one foot on it.
The third session was outdoors in the warm spring sunshine where two imaginary marathons were run by the delegates. During the ‘run’ everyone was asked to write down their fears about the exercise. The first ‘run’ was an ordinary marathon and all the fears turned out to be connected with personal doubts so things like fitness, sore feet, commitment and the like. The second run was in the jungle and with no support so all your supplies had to be carried. There were also snakes and crocodiles to contend with i.e. things outside personal control. The business lesson – globalisation means we are now all running in the jungle and not in supported marathons.
At 15.00 there was a trip to the famous Barcelona Football Club ground Camp Nou and a tour of the museum. This was followed at 17.00 by several more traditional presentations on various types of new technology including drones, augmented reality, trap sensors and the like. These concluded at 19.30 when it was off to the social dinner.
The famous Camp Nou stadium
Day two’s keynote presentation was from the USA’s National Pest Management Association (NPMA) President, Dennis Jenkins. He outlined how his company ABC Home & Commercial Services has begun to embrace technology and is already reaping the rewards in terms of business growth. For example:
- A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system;
- Mobile field devices with all customer information available for technicians;
- Vehicle technology such as GPS, hands-free phones, technology to encourage good driving;
- Remote technology such as drones and remote monitoring devices for rodents;
- Route optimisation;
- Remote payment system.
In particular he highlighted how route optimisation has brought spectacular benefits allowing technicians to have a shorter working week – no Saturday working unless they want to – and yet they now service more customers earning more for the company and themselves. Average earnings per technician have increased by a third.
He commented that Amazon has taught customer to want things now, not a week on Wednesday. And, they want to book appointments, pay bills, ask questions when they want to, not when the office is open. Looking to the not too distant future he foresaw the uberisation of pest management where, particularly residential customers will want to book a technician based on availability and his or her online reviews. His company is already working with a specialist company, Podium, to capture those reviews.
After the presentation, delegates split into small groups and spent the next two to three hours identifying, and then selecting, one technology-related business challenge. The groups then focused on one aspect of technology and how it might be used to meet that business challenge. As an example out group looked at how big data could help to improve/grow/better a pest control business.
The forum was brought to a close around 15.00 with presentations from Dominique Stumpf, CEO NPMA, Henry Mott, President of the Confederation of European Pest Management Assocations (CEPA) and a representative for the Minister of the Catalan Regional Health Department.
The BPCIF was sponsored by BASF, Bayer, Killgerm, Mylva, Quimosa with support from Ensystex, IGEOERP, Pestnet and Sumitomo.