NFPA Continues to Strengthen the Fluid Power Industry
by John L. Stenz, Chairman & CEO, FORCE America, Inc.
The NFPA Board of Directors gathered in late June 2019 for its annual retreat to review NFPA’s performance over the past fiscal year and to make strategic decisions for moving the association forward into the future. And with each new year, a new volunteer steps in the role of Board Chair. It is my honor to serve in that capacity for the year ahead.
To start the retreat, the Board engaged in a simple environmental scanning exercise, where we noted some of the larger trends affecting our businesses and the industry we serve. In summary, most of us saw the beginnings of a downward trend in order volume, with many companies moving into new markets and new technologies while struggling to find the right talent to keep their businesses growing.
Against that backdrop, our review of NFPA’s performance over the past year shows many programs successfully helping our members navigate these challenging waters.
In our efforts to create an Effective Forum, we saw the recruitment of several key suppliers who are now, through education and networking programs, helping other members adapt to the new environment of Industry 4.0 and the industrial Internet of Things. Member participation in these programs, including our Annual Conference and a new series of events with the Fluid Power Industrial Consortium, are near record levels, indicating strong interest among our members in this topic and the market-shifting challenges it contains.
A new program was launched in our already highly successful portfolio of Industry Statistics programs. The Regional Demand Forecast Report profiles the geographic distribution of fluid power products to end-use industries by state and allows members to benchmark their regional sales performance and determine regional sales targets. It’s another one-of-a-kind intelligence report that helps members better understand their marketplace to keep their businesses growing.
We’ve helped members Promote Fluid Power to broader audiences by again publishing our shareable Annual Report on the U.S. Fluid Power Industry and by increasing the amount of fluid power promotional information we’re sending out over popular social media platforms. Member access to these resources has increased more than 40% over last year. Disseminating positive information about our industry and our technology is key to shaping important public and customer perceptions.
And finally, in our efforts to build an Educated Workforce for our industry, our first FAMTEN community become fully operational in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with more than 200 students enrolled in the fluid power program at the local tech school, and important middle and high school programs established to ensure a steady pathway of new students for the future.
Continuing to support and to build on these successes is an important objective for our Board of Directors. In this regard, several new programs, or expansions of existing programs, were approved as part of our strategic budgeting process for the new year. Watch for more announcements concerning:
- An expanded series of NFPA/FPIC Regional Conferences, moving to cities with high concentrations of NFPA members, and focused on the market-ready technologies that are re-shaping our industry.
- A new NFPA Executive Leadership Program, conducted in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management, to provide emerging and established leaders in our industry with the customized education and contacts they need to navigate future challenges.
- Market reports and webinars on the impact Industry 4.0 and industrial Internet of Things are having on fluid power markets and technologies.
- A renewed focus on the NFPA Stats Toolkit and its utility for helping members identify and understand key leading indicators for their businesses.
Promote Fluid Power
- The launch of the Motion + Power Technology Expo, a new opportunity for members to promote themselves to mobile and industrial customers at the Detroit Cobo Center, October 15-17, 2019.
- The return of IFPE, the premier trade show and technical conference for fluid power, power transmission, and motion control technologies, again co-located with CONEXPO-CON/AGG, March 10-14, 2020 in Las Vegas.
- The launch of the second FAMTEN community around Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, and a new regional allocation option in our Foundation’s Pascal Society to help determine communities for future FAMTEN programs.
- A renewed focus on our University Education Partners, connecting more of them to the fluid power education resources our Foundation has created and hosting more industry connection events on their campuses.
It should be an exciting year! I’m looking forward to working with the Board, staff, and NFPA members to continue growing our organization. I invite questions and comments as we work to bring new value to our members. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.