When members enter The HTC Center on the day of Annual Meeting, they will see signs directing them to a single, serpentine line for Registration. “The single serpentine line may look long, but it’s part of a traffic-flow pattern we’ve been able to set up this year that we are confident is going to be much more efficient than having 10 separate lines for Registration,” says Danny Shelley, chief financial officer for Horry Electric.
Amusement parks like Disney and Carowinds have been using a single serpentine line to get access to rides for years. Retailers like TJMaxx and Marshalls have both recently put the system in place. “Wendy’s was the first among fast food restaurants to use the concept,” says Shelley.
“There is a whole science behind it,” he adds, citing research conducted by Richard Larson, a professor of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Larson spent 30 years researching multiple lines to multiple end points vs. single lines with access to multiple end points.
“With few exceptions, people generally prefer a single line because it guarantees first-come, first served,” said Larson in an interview with a newspaper reporter. “The average waiting time in both kinds of lines is the same,” he pointed out, “But the variance of the time is much larger when you don’t have a single serpentine line.”
“We’ve been keeping track of the registrations per table at the Annual Meeting for several years,” says Shelley. “Our numbers support his conclusions.”
End of the line
When the line reaches the area where the 10 individual Registration tables are set up, an employee will be there to help direct members to the next available table. “Each table will be numbered, and we’ve developed a method for signaling when a Registration table is ready for the next member in line,” says Shelley.
“It will be the first time for all of us, so we ask members to please be patient with each other and with us,” says Shelley.
Because the deadline for petition candidates did not coincide with the printing of the March 2013 edition of the magazine, Horry Electric officials do not know if voting will be a part of the process. “We have, however, planned for it,” says Shelley, referring to the diagram shown in the top right of this page.
“Members who are voting will go ahead to the designated area,” he explained. “Members and others who are not voting will just go into the Arena.” Signs clearly marking each designated area are also part of the plan.
Keeping it simple
The focus for HEC Annual Meeting planners this first year at the Convocation Center has been on making sure the logistics for the most critical business aspects of the Annual Meeting of Members are handled effectively. “We had one team working on the logistics of getting members to the building and a separate team working on the logistics once the member entered the building,” explains Shelley. “Both are equally important.”
“We’ve been able to plan for two exhibits outside, but we’ve not been able to plan anything for the inside of the building,” says Shelley. The popular Meet Your Linemen exhibit and the Landscaping Around Electrical Equipment will both be on display between the parking areas and the entrance to the The HTC Center.
Exhibits inside the building have not been planned. “We’re concerned about creating congested areas that will frustrate members and possibly cause confusion,” says Shelley.
Concessions will be available for members to purchase and stage entertainment is planned.