Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back from Rio in Motion

I just got back from Rio in Motion in Albuquerque, New Mexico and it was great!

Rio Grande Jewelry Supply typically takes at least portions of this event on the road to some of the jewelry industry trade shows, such as the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show, MJSA's big show in New York, and others. I've actually been to an MJSA show, but I have to tell you, going to a trade show is something like going through those buildings at the State Fair where the vendors come to present their businesses - a lot of exposure, but way too busy of an environment to really get much in depth. Also, I know the Tucson show is huge (like, all over town) and the thought of going to something like that is, quite frankly, intimidating to me. I know many thousands of people attend the Tucson show every time they have one, but the mere thought of it seems overwhelming to me. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd "never" go to one, but in my current mindset, I can't imagine what it would take to get me to go to another huge trade show.

...So I was thrilled when I learned Rio Grande was going to do a Rio In Motion event right there at their home base facility in Albuquerque - I could definitely do that! One location, more focus, less chance of getting lost in a city that's not mine... and Rio totally went above and beyond to make things pleasant, informative, and as easy as possible for the participants. They must have planned it from a perspective of "If we were attending an event like this, how would we like it to go? How would we like to be treated?"

Rio got special rates for their participants at several hotels, Rio provided shuttle service from those hotels to their facility and back, they had a nice assortment of classes (which filled in a hurry!) with excellent instructors, and had tours of the facility and product demonstrations after each day's classes. They also provided snacks and very nice catered gourmet lunch each day. Many members of staff were on hand to meet and greet the participants and they all were so cordial and gracious! They really treated us all like royalty. I got the impression that they were as sincerely happy to have us there as we were to be there.

I learned in the facility tour that Rio Grande actually makes a substantial number of the jewelry findings and finished jewelry pieces that they sell, and we got to see the steps of process from wax impressions being cast and put on trees, investment, removing the pieces from the trees, cleaning the pieces prior to polishing, the different stages of the polishing process, the overstock warehouse, the big, medium, and small parts departments of the warehouse, the Made To Order department (if you need 1/2 ounce of silver wire that's cut from a spool, weighed and packaged in order for you to receive it, that is "made to order"). Rio also has their own CNC and metal shop department, so they are able to make any equipment they need, right there in house. Rio also can do custom imprints on any of the packaging materials they sell, and we got to see that department, too. They use state of the art communications devices to fill orders and maintain inventory.

Rio employs about 300 or so people, and everywhere I saw such a sense of community and team spirit.

Rio is quite green, using great recycling programs and solar energy.

Someone told me once, and I have found it to be true, that "any organization is the length and shadow of the person in charge." The founder, Saul Bell, has gone on to the Big Studio in the Sky now, but several of his descendants are still in evidence at Rio Grande. I am extremely pleased to report that Rio Grande is best of the best - quality, ability, competence, consideration, security, service, efficiency, politeness, good cheer, a sense of community, classiness, clarity,  integrity, and more... the list can go on, but I think you get the picture.

I sure hope Rio Grande does more Rio in Motion events in Albuquerque, because I would certainly go back!

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