NFPA Continues to Strengthen the Fluid Power Industry
by Jon Goreham, President, QCC
The NFPA Board of Directors gathered last month for its annual strategic retreat to review the past year and to make strategic decisions for the association moving into the future. With the new year comes a new Chair for the Board, and I am honored to serve the association in that role.
To start the retreat, we reviewed and rededicated NFPA both to its essential mission – to strengthen the fluid power industry – and to its four ends statements: the clear, high-level objectives that describe the major outcomes that we wish to achieve for our members and our industry.
- Effective Forum: NFPA provides an effective forum for fluid power manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers to advance their collective interests.
- Industry Statistics: NFPA provides its members with timely and accurate industry statistics and business intelligence that support improved decision-making.
- Promote Fluid Power: NFPA provides opportunities and resources for its members to promote the unique strengths and inherent advantages offered by modern fluid power technology.
- Educated Workforce: NFPA helps increase the number of technical college and university students educated in fluid power and connects them to careers in the fluid power industry.
With this foundation in place, we next explored two key questions about the future: (1) What challenges will the fluid power industry face in the next five years? and (2) What role can NFPA play in continuing to strengthen the industry in the face of those challenges?
To help us better understand the changing climate of our industry, we both reviewed data from our latest membership satisfaction survey and discussed our recently-completed scenario planning exercise. This exercise helped us define the industry’s megatrends and create a positive future scenario for the association to begin working toward.
We decided that two major elements of that positive future were: (1) Increasing our efforts to create an educated workforce for our industry; and (2) Leveraging the effective forum our association represents to help our members compete in a marketplace increasingly reliant on connected technologies.
Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things – there are many names for the connectivity revolution we are already experiencing. NFPA’s new objective in this space will be to help our members collect, communicate, and use data from their products in a way that adds value for their customers. An action plan to help us achieve that objective is already in development and is likely to include:
- Recruiting appropriate technology providers into our forum;
- Providing critical information to educate and inspire members about the technological possibilities; and
- Engaging OEM and end user organizations to increase our understanding of their needs for connected technologies.
I am looking forward to working with the Board, staff, and NFPA members this year to continue growing our organization. As the Internet of Things and its related technologies represent a new focus for the association, I invite questions and comments as we work to bring new value to our members. I can be reached at email@example.com.