Last week, the Executive Committee met for a two-day strategic planning review of AQHA and to discuss where we are on transformational business activities and areas where improvement can be made in fiscal year 2018-2019.
As you all know, AQHA has been working on the development of computer technology for many years, which supports everything we do as an association. When I was interviewed for the executive vice president position in the spring of 2014, the project had been underway for at least four years, and now I have been personally involved in it for another three-and-a-half years. For some, new technology is intimidating, but from your Executive Committee and senior management team standpoint, the new technology is designed to make your day-to-day membership activity much easier. Last week, the Executive Committee spent a great deal of time analyzing the things that that will help the office better serve our membership and drive out wasteful work that slows you down as a member.
The following is a high-level recap of the Executive Committee goals for next fiscal year’s operating plan. Financial sustainability and customer care are the two major priorities the Executive Committee raised as the primary drivers for the Association’s future success. Below is a breakdown of those most important themes for AQHA internal business:
Financial sustainability and growing the investment fund back to at least 50 percent ($23 million) of annual operating.
Customer care – modernize our computer system so members can find at their fingertips their own personal information, such as horse inventory and updated pedigree information, real-time show leveling and qualifying updates, an online show-entry process, and other information that might be valuable to breeders. In addition, streamlining the registration process to create quicker turnaround is a major priority. Moving toward an optional electronic registration certificate will support our international membership and those who would like to have access to their certificates through their mobile devices. We envision this being a big deal for our competitive members on the show circuit.
Launch the new 4.0 computer system and begin Phase II of that project, which will support and enhance the customer experience and the areas mentioned above, and develop a long-term plan for microchipping our horses, beginning with a voluntary program for our competition horses.
Develop operational efficiency that will drive out $2 million in waste over the next three years.
Create marketing opportunities through the new website, modern communication, the American Quarter Horse Store, event management support, an online education site, robust pedigree and leaderboard information. All of these new features are expected to enhance the value of the horse, and all collectively enhance the value of the AQHA membership, and that will collectively better serve current and future members and corporate partners.
So where are we with all of these projects and when can you expect to see some changes? In the next six weeks, there are two very important projects that will go live and impact you directly as a member.
Call Center Technology - New call center technology supported by the new computer system will be deployed by August 15. This new system will help our customer care call center better serve our membership by reducing wait time and help our customer care representatives better answer your questions. Being a cloud technology-based telephony system, it will provide future capability to link call center representatives across the globe. So if we, for example, want to have a customer care representative in Latin America or Europe who works in a different time zone, then we will have those capabilities. Our ultimate goal, which is currently being measured on a daily basis, is to serve 90 percent of the incoming calls within 30 seconds or less. Our ultimate goal down the road is to make that happen across time zones around the globe.
New Computer System and Website Launch - Our information technology and production and processing staff have been putting in overtime for several weeks now leading up to a go-live date for the new computer system. They still have a lot to do and the development will not stop even after we launch. But the current projection for the launch of the new product is set for a window between Labor Day weekend and September 14. This will require at least a three-day cut-off during which the old system will be taken down and the new system stood up. Countless hours are going into the planning of this event in the effort to reduce the risk of lost service time for the membership. In the coming weeks, our communication team will start the process of informing you more on what you can expect from the new system right out the gate. Phase II developments, including the development of an online personal membership dashboard, have begun. Workshops are underway to determine the personal account information you as a member would like to access on the website, some of that is mentioned above under customer care. We are currently designing that criteria and some of you will be asked to review those new developments as we get them further down the road.
I want to thank you all for your patience and loyalty to AQHA. It continues to be an honor for me to be a part of these long-term improvements, which will help better serve our Quarter Horse industry. Furthermore, I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication of our staff who are experiencing for the first time what it takes to get these kinds of business-changing projects delivered. I also want to thank our Executive Committee members for their forward-thinking business approach to raising the expectations and creating urgency for modernizing AQHA and improving our membership benefits.
- Craig P. Huffhines
Apply for an AQHA Internship. If you're a hard-working, enthusiastic college student looking for an exciting internship in the equine industry, apply for one of AQHA's fall internships. . . . read more
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PCQHA HALL OF FAME NOMINATIONS DUE JUNE 1, 2018. If you are interested in nominating a person or a horse to the PCQHA Hall of Fame, please fill out these forms: . . . Person . . . Horse
PCQHA HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS MOVED TO FALL CLASSIC SHOW IN OCTOBER. The PCQHA Hall of Fame inductions moves to October 5 during the Fall Classic and EMO California State Championship in Paso Robles. More details to follow at PCQHA.com . . . read more
DOT SET TO LAUNCH WEBSITE FOR AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY TRANSPORTATION REGULATIONS . . . read more
$5,000 ADDED TO THE EMO CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP, held during the Fall Classic Quarter Horse show, October 3-7, 2018 in Paso Robles, CA. For more details, go to: . . . read more
PCQHA IS PROUD TO CONGRATULATE THE CALIFORNIA STATE 4-H CLASSIC TEAM ON THEIR OVERALL 3RD PLACE IN THE STATE TEAM COMPETITION at the Western National Roundup in 2017. They also earned the following placings:
Overall State Team - 3rd Place
Horse Bowl - 7th Place
Speech - 4th place
Team Demo - 4th place
Individual Demo - 4th place
Hippology, overall - 8th place
Team Exams - 9th place
Team Stations - 8th place
Team Problem - 4th place
Team Judging - 9th place
Top Overall Judging Individual - Allison Harlow - 3rd Place
Thank you to PCQHA director, Judy Bonham, for donating her time to assist with judging. Way to go, California 4-H!
AQHA NOVICE CHAMPIONSHIP WEST Entry Forms Now Available Online- Come join us at this year’s Level 1 Championships, now with 4 different options: East, West, Central and Cattle. Make your reservations today and share your exhibitor’s badge to let others know which show you’ll be at. Experience the thrill of competing at the championship level in walk/trot, rookie and level 1 classes . . . read more
AMERICAN HORSE PUBLICATIONS HAVE LAUNCHED A SURVEY FOR HORSE OWNERS WHO LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, are 18 years of age and older, and who currently own or manage at least one horse are invited to complete the survey by April 1, 2018. The survey, which is hosted every three years, will gauge participation trends and management practices in the U.S. equine industry, identify critical issues facing the equine industry as perceived by those who own or manage horses, and better understand issues pertaining to horse health . . . read more
RESEARCHERS FIND LINK BETWEEN PSD DEVELOPMENT, Straight Hocks. For every degree of increase in hock angle, researchers found a 12% greater chance of a horse having proximal suspensory desmopathy (PSD) . . . read more
ORDER PCQHA WEAR! Jackets, Shirts, Caps and More! PCQHA launched a special website to offer PCQHA logo wear. Thanks to California Embroidery for their creative embroidery work. Check it out: . . . read more
The AQHA Professional Horseman’s Crisis Fund was established to provide temporary financial assistance to those in the equine industry who may have been negatively impacted by flood, fire, wind, debilitating sickness or injury. The disasters that have befallen the gulf coast and the west have taken a toll on the horse business, and the Foundation needs your help in generating funds so that we may continue to assist those in need. Your contribution is fully tax deductible. You may call the AQH Foundation at (806) 376-5181, or go on-line at donatetoday.aqha.com. Be sure to indicate that your contribution should be directed to the AQHA Professional Horseman’s Crisis Fund . . . read more
Level 2 Youth World State Qualifying Requirements. The Level 2 youth world state qualifying requirements for the core classes will require that an exhibitor show to a minimum of five judges (the best fifteen judges will be counted). The requirement for the over fence, speed, and cattle classes requires a minimum of two judges (the best fifteen judges will be counted). PCQHYA will invite four qualified youth for each class. (There is a possibility to invite up to six if we have not exceeded maximum team number set by AQHA).