Frank G. Cannata spoke to Pacific Office Automation’s Doug Pitassi on how he and his colleagues strategized an agenda for their recent annual meeting themed “Grit.” In this interview, Pitassi shared his goals for the meeting, his passion for the document imaging channel, and the importance of strong business leadership.
Frank: Was there a singular objective in your approach to preparing for your annual sales meeting?
Doug: We approach the meeting by considering the human element and what our people endured during the pandemic. I refer to them as the core people, which includes drivers, techs, sales, and it does not matter what their title is. In preparing for this meeting, we came up with the title Grit. What that really represented was how we got here. We just worked hard, and it is in our DNA. Most importantly, we are proud of it and honor it. At the end of the program I wanted the people in that room to celebrate it.
Frank: Did you feel that the team got the message?
Doug: This question is a tough one – I am an optimist by nature, and everyone knows it is a continuing work in progress. I am not a Harvard grad – we could have only 27% of the people agree with our approach and the others have to accept it. We come in early, stay late, and POA is not for everybody. I love this industry, the business we are engaged in and POA. There will be those who come to love it and those who do not. It starts with leadership, and we do our job right, most of them will.
Frank: What do you believe will be POA’s biggest challenge for achieving your aggressive goal for click growth in 2023?
Doug: We have had such a good industry built on A3 copiers and the industry just kept on growing. Now we are faced with an A3 in decline. As people go digital there is going to be a little less in the pie. We understand print through and through and it is really simple math. For our people, when you get into the other areas (diversification) it is up to us to make sure that the vendors we bring on board understand the cost of having an outside sales team and provide us with the best possible support and training. I am very sensitive to having people fail. If I project a 7-year growth plan I budget 4. I want to be able to tell everyone they are on a winning team. To answer your question you have got to put a lot more machines to get those additional clicks out there as print is still alive and well.
Frank: Any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Doug: Profit is a big issue – we make that very clear to our people. We understand that in order to achieve our goals we have to give great service and overall a great performance. Our profit went down last year. We are in a good position to get that back because we make a lot on our cash discounts and rebates – the message of profitability is a big part of our message.