August 4, 2016
To: AKC Dog Show Rules Committee and All Delegates
From: The Dog Show Superintendents Association
The Dog Show Superintendents Association is committed, like you, to creating a customer friendly environment for all clubs and exhibitors. We also share the mutual goal to grow our sport and work every day to assist in doing so. However, from time to time a change is proposed which we do not believe will provide better service to exhibitors and our kennel club customers.
The July Board minutes indicate a proposed change is being considered to Chapter 6, Section 9 of the Rules Applying to Dog Shows that will alter the time of entry closing to 11:59 PM. It is unfortunate that Superintendents, with their experience in closing entries in accordance with the current Rules, did not have a chance to weigh in on such a decision before it was proposed. The purpose of this letter is to identify numerous parameters and consequences of such a change.
The noon closing hour is the most convenient time for entries to close. This time is consistent with the normal business day, business hours of AKC, Superintendents, Internet providers, Federal Express, UPS, US Postal Mail/Express Mail, as well as many other courier services and various suppliers.
Operating during normal business hours and closing entries at the noon hour facilitates the ability to verbally assist exhibitors with questions and problems on closing days. Superintendent call record statistics indicate a substantially larger volume of callers on closing dates. Changing the closing hour to 11:59 P.M. will create a challenge in several areas, resulting in significant additional costs to Superintendents to provide the same level of customer service. These additional costs will be passed on to clubs and ultimately to exhibitors at a time when financial limits are already stretched.
A "simple" change in Rules to take entries until 11:59 P.M. will not take care of itself. To accommodate the 11:59 P.M. closing time Superintendents and AKC will be forced to create an additional night shift for closing days to assist exhibitors in answering questions and dealing with technical issues with computers, online entries and credit card processing companies. For Superintendents such staffing must include telephone switchboard personnel, entry processors, fax processors, IT personnel and troubleshooters, personnel to handle various problems, etc. It is important to note this additional shift of workers will be required until 2:59 AM on the East Coast in order to accommodate the shows closing on the West Coast. Another prime example of this challenge would be years when Christmas and New Year's Eve fall on a closing day.
Is the American Kennel Club going to have staff in their offices overnight to handle problems as well? They very often get calls and assist both superintendents and exhibitors on closing days; problems do arise.
Our current statistics for refused/late entries do not indicate late entries are a significant problem. A sampling of Superintendent returned entries during the first quarter of 2016 showed out of 151,135 superintendent entries processed there were only 200 returns (accounting for 325 total dogs) processed as being received after the closing hour. This is only two-tenths of 1% (.002) of the entries, or one to two entries per show. (It is also important to note that all those entries may not have been accepted if received prior to closing; some may have had some other issue that would have made the entry unacceptable, such as no signature, missing required info, a limit being reached, etc.) A change in the closing hour will have no noticeable effect on the number of entries. It should also be of note that several shows throughout the year elect to close entries early and those entries are not adversely affected.
It would appear a solution is being offered for a problem that, in effect, does not exist to any large degree. What data/statistics did AKC analyze to indicate this is a problem of such import that the Rules need to be changed? Why is such a change and solution for a nonexistent problem being considered?
Exhibitors presently have 4-5 weeks to submit an entry for a show. The decision to enter a show is primarily based on the judge and the location of the show, which is information exhibitors readily have. Certain exhibitors will always procrastinate and take the risk of waiting until the last minute regardless of the closing date and time. This proposal only encourages more procrastination.
An 11:59 PM closing on Wednesday night will effectively move the closing process ahead one full business day to Thursday and further delay the process of resolving overloads, producing a judging schedule and providing vital timely information to exhibitors. This rolling delay will likely result in even more overtime cost in order to produce the same amount of work in less time.
So, the net result of having to hire additional staff and/or pay increased overtime will be that Superintendents will have to increase contract prices in order to cover this increased expense. In these times we cannot see the benefit to any club if it's going to cost them thousands of dollars to get one or two entries.
Technological advances cannot solve everything. Such a significant change to placate a very small minority will not result in huge increases in entries, but it will result in huge increases in contract prices to accommodate the change.
All DSSA Member organizations have responded with their opinions on how this would affect them. We ask the Rules Committee and Delegates to please seriously consider these factors before making a decision to move the proposal forward or adopting it.