April 27th, 2017
Association Meetings are Well Worth Your Time
This week, I gave a presentation outlining our overview and outlook of the door and window industry at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Southeast Region meeting in Orlando, Fla. Each time I attend an industry association event, I ponder the reasons that bring some industry participants to a meeting while others take a pass.
At this meeting, other speakers covered topics including cutting-edge weather-testing facilities and obtaining approval to sell products in Florida. The latter presentation hits close to home for industry participants, since it was designed to avoid hearing those terrible words from a potential customer: “I’m sorry, I can’t use your products because you’re not approved in Florida.” A code discussion in and of itself may not be a thrill ride as conversations go, but when it helps avoid losing a sale you’d otherwise win, it grabs our attention.
I asked several of the attendees what brings them to an AAMA meeting, rather than spending their time elsewhere. A common theme in all of their responses was that we have to choose whether we want to simply be “on the bus” or whether we want to help steer the bus. Companies that participate in the process of setting codes and standards are better able to gear their product-development efforts to match the direction of the industry’s expectations of product performance.
Digging deeper, the participants with whom I spoke said that they and other AAMA members have a strong willingness to help each other respond to various codes and government regulations that represent externalities acting on the door and window industry. Whereas one company won’t tell another how to design a winning door or window, they freely exchange ideas on how to address government and other regulations. In that way, no one is unfairly disadvantaged by regulatory changes and the competitive playing field remains level.
Another benefit of AAMA membership is the interplay between national and regional meetings. When companies gather at a regional meeting, they get to network with competitors in the same region and share thoughts on the dynamics of the regional market. By then attending a national meeting, that regional company can learn whether the challenges and opportunities in their region are the same or different than those viewed by national companies at the meeting. Dialing in all of these factors, participation in industry trade associations is one of the best returns on investment of time and capital that you can make.
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