AED Takes Action Following Member SurveyBy Paul Campbell
Article Date: 09-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
A special task force recommends greater emphasis in two key areas.
Not long ago I wrote about AED’s member satisfaction research conducted this spring – in response to your distributor feedback, a specially appointed task force developed action plans during June and July, which were then presented to the AED board of directors in August. I’d like to update you on what the survey found and what AED is doing to increase the value you receive. Overall member satisfaction with AED is very high. Much of what AED is actively engaged in is exactly what members want the association to be doing. However, there are areas where improvement is needed and where greater emphasis needs to be placed. Two critical AED strategic initiatives – both central to the future success of dealers and the association – were identified as needing more attention: Workforce Development and Public Policy. Workforce Development
The development of qualified technicians in sufficient quantity to support future market demands is something in which all dealers must be anxiously engaged. While current market conditions may make this seem unnecessary, we all know as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, our markets will turn up again and the industry will be faced with technician shortages – unless we act now to identify, attract and train those future employees who are so critical to the success of our customers and dealerships. To this end, The AED Foundation will be adding resources to help dealers and local groups identify local technical schools and partner with them to increase the supply of available qualified technicians.
As we all know, service is a local business. Engaging local trade schools and helping them establish programs to produce qualified graduates cannot be done from AED headquarters in Oak Brook alone. AED Foundation staff members will work with you to identify the needs of your local area and provide best practices and know-how to engage the local schools to attract and train the qualified employees we will all need. Public Policy Advocacy
While the outcome of the November elections is by no means certain, the likelihood of new faces in Congress and the Administration are high. The policies of our new leaders will likely favor increases in tax, regulatory and environmental controls not seen for years. The costs of operating your business will undoubtedly rise, in some cases dramatically, as compliance to these new laws and regulations becomes a part of your everyday business. The role of AED Public Policy, as identified by members, is to do everything possible to stem the tide of economically unhealthy control from Washington in business and our free markets, while promoting healthy fiscal policy and spending to ensure the long-term economic viability and competitiveness of our nation. For several years Christian Klein, along with his staff, has done a remarkable job in leveraging the influence of AED in Washington and our impact on federal policy – critical to your business as identified by the member survey. To increase this effectiveness in the face of what will undoubtedly be a firestorm of regulation and federal control, AED has committed to invest in strengthening our efforts and expanding our influence in Washington. If we fail to stand up and be heard in Washington now, we will by default allow others to determine our fate. As an association, we simply cannot let this happen. Another area of Public Policy improvement will be in how AED communicates our successes and challenges in Washington and how they impact you and your business. A critical part of our success will be your involvement in grassroots efforts to contact your elected officials and leverage the influence of your local group. If you aren’t part of a local group, I encourage you to seek out those who are, or are willing to be, and work together for causes in your best interest. Several other areas were also identified as important to members and needing improvement including: business information and benchmarking; professional education and training; networking events; and distribution advocacy. AED staff has been charged with re-examining these areas and making adjustments based on member recommendations. Look for more information on this process in the near future. While our AED Board and staff have taken great steps to ensure the long-term success of our association, we are just at the beginning of a long road, but one I am convinced will lead to a bright future for our industry and for each of us as members – if you are involved.
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