Midterm Message from the Board Chair

NFPA Helps Members Gain the Information and Connections They Need
by Ray Chambers, Chairman, CEO & President, Muncie Power Products

Halfway through NFPA’s fiscal year, we continue to see a time of challenge for the fluid power industry. Sales have not fully recovered, and uncertainty remains the dominant feature of all future projections. Against this backdrop, NFPA stands firm in its mission of delivering the information and connections its members need in order to recover and strengthen their businesses and the overall industry. Our focus, in good times and bad, is on the four essential value propositions that our members find most essential.

In our efforts to create an Effective Forum, all of our conferences, education programs, and committee meetings have continued in a number of virtual formats, each selected to maximize the networking potential of these platforms. Registration is now open for an in-person networking event in Scottsdale, Arizona, in conjunction with the 2021 Virtual Annual Conference, with a return to full in-person programming as soon as it is safe to do so. Highlights from the past six months include:

  • Three successful Quarterly Conferences, each engaging a record number of members in new technical content.
  • Continuation of our Executive Leadership Program, an interactive learning experience for Future Leaders, conducted in collaboration with the Kellogg School of Management.
  • New education programs, including an interactive Negotiations Workshop hosted by our Distributor Council and conducted by Red Bear Negotiations.
  • Dozens of ongoing ISO and ANSI standardization meetings, helping to ensure close collaboration with customers on their use of fluid power.
  • The launch of a new NFPA Roadmap Committee, bringing more than 100 players from across the supply chain to discuss and determine the evolving needs of fluid power customers and the needed advancements in fluid power technology.

In our efforts to provide timely Industry Statistics, we dramatically increased the amount and frequency of our communications relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging a number of key resources to keep our members informed about the decisions and programs that helped them navigate new regulatory and public health landscapes. Other highlights include:

  • A successful virtual Industry and Economic Outlook Conference, offering economic and customer market forecasts that helped members plan for the next year.
  • Growth in participation across our key market information services, including our Confidential Shipment Statistics, Customer Market Survey, and State of the Fluid Power Industry survey.
  • An increase in use and one-on-one tutorials for the Stats Toolkit, allowing members to access additional economic indicators to best determine leading indicators for their businesses.
  • The launch of an updated Regional Demand Estimates Report, including heat maps that show the relative demand for fluid power products by end-use industry and by state.

In our efforts to help you Promote Fluid Power, a safe and successful IFPE trade show was held in early March 2020. While attendance was understandably down, the quality of the leads gathered there was as strong as ever. To help better spread the word about key advances in our industry, NFPA has since been focused on:

  • Publication of a new Annual Report of the U.S. Fluid Power Industry, a shareable resource that helps tell customers and the general public about the strengths and advantages of fluid power technology.
  • Continued production and promotion of our Fluid Power Forum podcast – now with 40+ episodes and more than 6,000 downloads – showcasing interesting and innovative applications of fluid power.
  • Continued growth of our reach over a variety of social media channels, providing members with sharable content that reinforces positive messages about the fluid power industry and its technology.

In our efforts to build an Educated Workforce, we have continued our focus on our key workforce development programs, incorporating virtual connection opportunities wherever possible to keep our members in front of the emerging fluid power workforce they are helping to create. Highlights include:

  • Continued support of NAM’s Heroes Make America program, connecting NFPA members to qualified soon-to-be-ex-members of the U.S. military for production-level positions in their companies.
  • Awarding scholarships and program grants to support student engagement in the middle school, high school, and tech school programs associated with our growing number of “Fast Track to Fluid Power” Hubs.
  • Supporting a record number of Fluid Power Clubs at our nation’s universities, and through our Speaker’s Bureau, connecting those engineering students to NFPA members and to our growing Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge.
  • Launch of our new Pascal Society Council, recognizing the members whose donations best support our workforce programs and connecting them more productively to the schools and students that feed our future workforce.

This Midterm Report Series showcases these and other successes over the past year in all of our strategic initiatives, as well as some of the new programs we’re building for the future. We appreciate your continued membership in NFPA, and wish you a safe and successful 2021.